Canmaking professionals came from around the globe to the Cannex canmaking technology show, this year held in the US, to find that the business was going up in the world. John Nutting reports from Denver, Colorado
High-rise canmaking line wins Cannex booth of the show award
Award for the Best Booth of the Show at Cannex went to the combined display of Roeslein & Associates, CarnaudMetalbox Engineering and Pride Conveyance.
The booth was a highlight of the show at the Colorado Convention Center by combining a pre-fabricated section of a beverage can production line, as would be delivered by Roeslein during the construction of a plant, with a pair of CarnaudMetalbox Engineering’s latest Reformat inside-spray machines and two types of feeding systems from Pride Conveyance.
The booth, quickly fabricated inside three days to demonstrate the benefits of modular design of canmaking lines, represents increasing collaboration between US-based project integrator Roeslein and UK-based canmaking equipment manufacturer CarnaudMetalbox Engineering.
For example, the most recently completed project is for Silgan Containers, in which a complete food can plant was built at Burlington, Iowa, last year, with the first cans produced some ten months after Roeslein started civil engineering followed by the installation of three high-speed D&I steel can lines each featuring a number of 5000 series bodymakers supplied by CarnaudMetalbox Engineering.
“It was a great pleasure working with Roeslein on the stand for Cannex 2016, a real showstopper and a fantastic achievement winning Best stand,” said Andrew Truelove, general manager of CarnaudMetalbox Engineering. “This clearly demonstrates our appetite for innovation and collaboration and our reformat Lacquer Spray Machine is a shining example of both these qualities.”
Rudi Roeslein, founder and chief executive of Roeslein & Associates, said he was thrilled by the award.
“After 25 years of delivering our unitized systems to over 50 countries and providing the preferred solution to most of the major canmakers we continue to innovate and find ways to reduce our costs,” he said. “We have played a major role in reducing risk, time to market and producing the best beverage package in the world. We are grateful to the industry and our customers for the opportunity to play a role in making the D&I aluminium beverage can the package of choice for the most widely-used package in the world.”
The inside-spray machines shown by CarnaudMetalbox Engineering are the first in its Reformat range, which incorporates new-generation servo drives and smart technology to improve process control. In the Reformat inside-spray machines, this enables higher speeds by offering independently controlled index and spray periods. In effect it means higher productivity before the important spray period is reduced. Speeds of up to 600cpm are possible with a 50 millisecond spray window.
Controlled drives means that the machine can be slowed, rather than stopped when cans are unavailable, so that the spray guns don’t become clogged. The machine also regenerates energy during deceleration.
The single turret machine launched last year is ready for sale, said technical manager Dan Egerton. “The latest dual turret machine that offers wider options for the outfeed is undergoing tests at a non-Crown beverage can plant,” he added.
The spray machines were connected on the booth by two types of infeed from Pride Conveyance, one with an air conveyor using a cooling system to optimise coating adherence, the other with a mechanical indeed.
Ball’s sleek can lines to be installed by SLAC.
SLAC Precision Equipment, the China-based canmaking equipment manufacturer, has expanded into project integration, and has already started work on two new beverage can lines for Ball Corporation in South East Asia.
And, following its acquisition of end-making equipment supplier Corima in Italy to provide a European base, it is also in the process of supplying a complete beverage end shell and conversion system to a customer in France.
SLAC president Shu An revealed at Cannex that the company was providing turnkey project management services to Ball. “In both cases we are providing plants with a second production line to make sleek cans,” he said.
The first line is being installed at Ball’s joint-venture plant at Binh Duong in Vietnam, and includes an upgrade to the original production line. “We are supplying nine or ten bodymakers, some of which will be used as replacements,” said Shu An. Seven bodymakers and trimmers will be used on the sleek can line.
The second line is being installed by SLAC at Ball’s new plant at Yangon in Myanmar, the country’s first, where the first line is due to start production soon. SLAC is supplying six of its newly-developed D&I bodymakers and trimmers fed by a Minster cupper.
SLAC started out at Suzhou about 15 years ago manufacturing end shell press and conversion lines. Four years ago it started developing a D&I bodymaker which was tested in China at canmaker Gao Shen. The production version, along with a trimmer, was launched at Cannex in China last year.
Shu An has strengthened his company’s board with the appointment of Richard Moore, a former executive at Ardagh Group and now an industry consultant who also serves on the Editorial Board of The Canmaker magazine.
Polyolefin dispersion technology for internal can sprays
A polyolefin dispersion technology for new internal spray coatings on food and beverage cans was launched at Cannex. It is said to offer the canmaking industry another BPA-non-intent alternative to epoxy systems, which are of concern to many consumers.
Developed by Dow Coating Materials, a business unit of Dow, Canvera is a polyolefin water-based dispersion that is commercially available to formulators.
Following trials with key customers and canmakers, Dow says Canvera is compliant for direct food contact with a wide variety of food types and temperatures, both under US FDA and applicable EU regulations.
“Canvera is basically a thermoplastic in liquid form,” said Jan Weernink, global marketing chief at Dow Coating Materials. “It is a dispersion of thermoplastic polyolefins and is very similar in application to current water-based epoxy systems, hence its great compatibility to the current application processes.”
The curing process initially evaporates the water at 170-210 deg C, forms a thermoplastic film and then crosslinks to form a highly robust film. The film forming process is completed within minutes and at temperatures lower than current technologies, which offers the opportunity for energy savings.
“Canvera still requires a level of crosslinking to take place to achieve full performance but the majority of the performance profile is derived from the intrinsic polyolefin composition and characteristics,” added Weernink.
The dispersion is a very fine particle size distribution of polyolefin made using Dow’s proprietary Bluewave technology which enables the formation of an ultra-thin thermoplastic film that can be spray applied.
“The Canvera technology unlocks the opportunity for the metal packaging industry to utilise the same polymer families as used in the flexible and rigid plastic industry for years. We use the same polymer family as used in plastic milk jugs, bringing this to the metal container,” said Weernink.
Dow says that Canvera has no negative operational impact on the canmaking process. Canmakers will be able to use their existing infrastructure and application equipment while converting to the new technology.
“The reason we chose Cannex to present Canvera to the whole value chain was to make stakeholders aware of this viable option given the increasing pressure on the industry to find alternatives to current technologies,” said Weernink.
CPMC aims for more beveragecan capacity in China
A seventh canmaking plant for beverage cans is being constructed in China by CPMC, the canmaking division of China’s leading diversified food manufacturer Cofco.
The plant, being built on a greenfield site at Putian in eastern Fujian province, will provide room for future expansion in beverage can manufacturing capacity by CPMC.
Mark Jones, president of US-based Evergreen Packaging Technology, whose company is managing the project for CPMC, revealed at Cannex that the first Putian line will be relocated from CPMC’s line 2 Hangzhou plant in China and expanded to increase the capacity.
Capacity will be more than one billion cans a year with room for a second line in the future. Evergreen has provided project integration for all of CPMC’s plants since the canmaker expanded into two-piece beverage can manufacturing in 2010 and collectively has designed and installed more than 20 canmaking lines in China.
CPMC’s operational plants are at Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanning, Tianjin and Wuhan. Its most recent beverage can capacity increases were in 2013, when a second line was commissioned at Hangzhou, increasing capacity at the plant to 1.5 billion cans a year, in 2014 when a plant in Guangzhou’s Panyu area was commissioned with its first line providing 1.5bn capacity and a second swing line planned in the future, and in 2015 when a plant in Nanning was commissioned to provide one billion cans a year.
At the time overall CPMC capacity was increased to more than six billion cans a year.
Based at Hangzhou, CPMC Holdings also operates a number of three-piece canmaking plants for food, aerosol cans and metal caps.
Earlier this year, ORG Packaging announced strategic cooperation agreement with CPMC Holdings to “improve their industrial synergies”. This followed the acquisition by ORG of a 27 percent share in the state-owned company.
Stubby beer bottles for ORG Packaging
The bottle-making line being built for ORG Packaging in China is using integration services from Togo (Hong Kong) Industries. Sales manager Cheng Yu was at Cannex and explained that the short aluminium bottles would be used for beer.
Made using Universal Can Corporation necking systems, the bottles are shorter than the similar Alumi-Tek cans made by Ball in the US. The line comprises a Standun cupping press, CMB bodymakers and curing ovens supplied by HeatTek.
Insights into processes at The Canmaker Technical Conference
Techniques for identifying design and production problems on two-piece D&I canmaking lines were one of the highlights of The Canmaker Technical Conference, which was held over two early-morning sessions during Cannex in Denver. David Lieb of Sandvik Hyperion explained how understanding ‘windows of runnability’ for processes could enable plant managers to produce cans with more input variability, while Tom Murphy from Pressco showed how the use of vision systems could spotlight process problems from the signatures on cans.
Stolle’s D&I body maker goes vertical in Japan
Stolle Machinery’s novel Vector D&I bodymaker, which was launched two years ago, is being tested at a beverage can plant in Japan. The novel machine, which uses two vertically-mounted tool packs driven from a common crankshaft, has been designed so that the gravitational effects on the ram found on a conventional horizontal machine are eliminated. Another benefit of the machine, which produces up to 700 cans per minute, is a smaller footprint.
Another novel space-saving technology launched two years ago by Stolle is the CS3000 end conversion system, details of which were outlined by Ian Scholey during The Canmaker Technical Conference. Following testing at Stolle’s Sidney, Ohio, base this ‘step-change technology’ is almost ready to go, The Canmaker was told.
Line upgrade at Envases in Guatemala
Beverage can manufacturer Envases de Centroamerica in Guatemala, reportedly one of the most efficient plants in the Americas, is expanding its operations with additional buildings and a capacity expansion for the D&I line.
First beverage can plant for Algeria
Plans are being laid for Algeria’s first two-piece beverage can plant, with Roeslein & Associates signed to construct the buildings and install the first line from later in 2016.
The location of the plant in the north west African state, an investment by Olbapack SA, has not been revealed, but will be when executive director Marc Monteil, formerly with Royal Can Making in Kurdistan, gets board clearance, he says.
• More news from Cannex in July’s issue of The Canmaker.