Delivering innovation meets global demand

Unprecedented growth in demand for beverage cans around the world requires a streamlined system for constructing manufacturing plants. Ron Ragan, director of business development at Roeslein & Associates, explains the process

If you are looking for some optimism during these times of global economic concern, may I suggest Nigeria? The West African nation is in the midst of explosive population growth. The United Nations estimates that Nigeria will be one of eight countries accounting for half the world’s population increase by 2050, a fact that presents opportunities for unprecedented economic development.

Developing business opportunities in emerging markets requires creativity and unique partnerships. Roeslein & Associates determined the economic feasibility of constructing an aluminium can manufacturing plant in Nigeria with the help of a grant from the United States Trade & Development Authority (USTDA). The successful partnership showed that a long-term commitment in Nigeria made sense which led to Roeslein & Associates being awarded a $30 million contract to design and construct the first Nigerian D&I canmaking line for GZ Industries.

The first 2008 project proved very successful on three fronts: for Roeslein’s client GZI, for USTDA and for Roeslein & Associates. From this first initiative in 2008, and continuing into 2013, Roeslein has been selected to design and construct four additional facilities on the African continent which have been commissioned on time and have proven to be very successful investments for our clients.

Roeslein & Associates expanded its market into Nigeria working for two independent canmakers. The success of these projects was due to Roeslein’s unique integration approach that detaches the construction and preassembly of the processing lines from the construction of the building itself. Both lines are 2,400 can per minute manufacturing facilities, producing 33cl aluminium D&I cans.

Demonstrating continued growth, GZI recently announced the ground breaking for a second facility to be located in eastern Nigeria. Roeslein has been contracted to design and construct the new facility for our valued customer. The project kicked off recently in Roeslein’s offices with the purchase of all major process equipment being completed. The new facility is scheduled to be in production by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Chief executive of GZ Industries Motti Goldmintz said: “Three years ago GZI became the first manufacturer to locally produce aluminium beverage cans in the Nigerian market. In order to ensure our success we knew we needed professional guidance and expertise to design and construct our facility.

“We looked at the alternatives and decided that Roeslein’s unique approach to project implementation, utilising its Unitized & Pre-Assembled system, was a perfect approach in the challenging environment of Lagos, Nigeria. This approach assured the highest quality product with substantial schedule advantages at a very competitive price. Our existing facility continues to perform at world-class efficiencies as the result of the partnership between GZI and Roeslein.”

Africa as a whole is one of the hot markets for beverage can growth. But there are many similar stories around the world. Global demand for beverage cans is projected to increase from 275 billion units in 2009 to nearly 325 billion by 2014. The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) recently suggested that two-piece can production will increase 18 percent, driven by global population growth and consolidation of filling enterprises. Estimates indicate that Africa, West Asia, and Central Asia will experience the most significant opportunities. Central and South America also appear poised to increase their share of the can market. And in spite of Europe’s well documented economic troubles, can demand is still expected to show slight growth over the next two years.

Global beverage can growth comes as the North American market matures and adjusts. While still the dominant regional sector the North American share of world-wide demand is expected drop to 34 percent by 2014, according to the CMI. Total beverage can shipments in the United States have declined in the past five years because 12-ounce can shipments have dropped at a rate of nearly two percent a year. Those losses are partially offset by a simultaneous increase in popularity of beverage cans of all other sizes; non-12-ounce cans have grown at about six percent per year in the US over the same five year period. New product introductions will provide opportunities as the economy improves and consumer buying habits evolve.

Now, more than ever, the industry needs to develop solutions to meet the needs of a shifting competitive landscape. Roeslein & Associates meets those challenges by innovating; the same as when the company started more than two decades ago. That means recognising strengths and creating value at every opportunity. Roeslein delivers a unique approach to engineering, manufacturing, and constructing specialized beverage can plants. The company’s global headquarters are in St Louis, Missouri, USA with locations in Denver, Colorado, USA; Birmingham, England; and Shanghai, China.

The Roeslein & Associates concept is to use highly skilled labour and engineering prowess to build specialized manufacturing processes and ship them for installation all over the world. In our proprietary process called unitizing, Roeslein integrates mechanical piping/ducting, electrical wiring, conveyance, and access walkways into a freestanding manufacturing process. Compared to conventional methods, unitizing allows for accelerated installation when the units arrive at their destination. It also significantly reduces the construction schedule when the processing lines are installed by skilled manufacturing and construction professionals to achieve maximum control over quality, cost, performance, and safety.

“We think this concept is only just beginning to catch the attention and the sincere interest of many other leading global companies. Customers realize their huge investments are in good hands when we apply our unitizing concepts with the quality and efficiency of our resources. It mitigates their risk, it deploys their assets faster, and most importantly it repeatedly exceeds the schedule of producing commercial quality cans thus improving the time for return on the initial investment,” said Dave May, president of Roeslein & Associates.

The addition of 50,000 square feet of new manufacturing capacity at Roeslein’s wholly-owned IMT facility at Red Bud in Illinois is evidence that the approach delivers value. Approximately 50 new skilled trades’ professionals will be hired at a time when too few such positions are being added to employment ranks around the United States. The new space allows added capacity to meet global demand for our specialised beverage can processes. It also provides the ability to continue an already successful diversification of taking the modular manufacturing approach into new markets including oil and gas, refinery, petrochemical, and alternative energy.

Rob Campbell, vice president of operations at Roeslein & Associates, said, “Investment in a new high bay crane manufacturing facility gives us the capability to serve many other industries. We believe this will reduce customer risk, reduce time to market, enhance performance, and ultimately provide the best value for investors. The goal is to become the preeminent provider of unitized systems for many industries around the world.”

There is considerable promise in China and across the Pacific Rim, home of the world’s largest population base. It is also where having a local presence brings significant advantages. More than 20 months ago Roeslein & Associates opened a state of the art engineering and manufacturing facility in Shanghai. The company is staffed with local employees who were trained according to the company’s unitized and pre-assembly methods in the United States. The Shanghai operation works with the support of the entire Roeslein organization in the United States and Europe.

“The first year was exciting in that we were able to start production and deliver two major projects,” said Gangwei Wu, director of Roeslein China. “In the second year we are realizing the challenges of growing the company to attract more local business. It helps to have a local presence in this particular market, perhaps more so than in others. We are now in a strong position to support customers in China and Southeast Asia.”

Dr Wu grew up in the Guangzhou area and is an American citizen with a PhD in Engineering from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He seized the opportunity to put his technical skills and international background to work for a company that values its reputation and its employees.

“Our modularized system design delivers the same quality, performance and efficiency no matter where in the world we send them. These systems, unlike conventional construction, are tested and proven to deliver results. We will start our enterprise as a canmaking engineering company. But we will step out of the box to support other businesses as well by using our relationships to penetrate other sectors,” Wu said.

The Roeslein strategy has delivered a clear track record of success for more than two decades by relying upon a staff of experienced and dedicated professionals. The ownership group is committed to providing opportunities for the very best people in sales and marketing, project directors, senior project managers, construction managers, and start-up managers. Recently, positions have been added including can tooling and design specialists, production equipment specialists, and structural engineering design professionals. The talent level is deep and covers all essential functions necessary to design, fabricate, and implement projects around the world.

It is also critically important to work with the best suppliers in the industry. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers are eager to work with Roeslein knowing they will be part of projects that help shape the beverage container industry. The systems are designed and engineered using the most effective equipment for the customer’s particular requirements. All of our OEM suppliers understand the methodology applied at Roeslein manufacturing facilities in the US and China will ensure high quality control over interdependent and often unpredictable factors. The result is projects that are efficient, reliable, and quick to deploy.

“The key to competing successfully in the marketplace is to offer customers complete solutions to their unique situations,” said Brian Sneed, chief financial officer at Roeslein & Associates. “We deliver results by setting the worldwide standard in modularization, unitization, and pre-assembly with unmatched quality and return on invested capital.”

Prospects for the global economy remain a concern for everyone. But it is also clear opportunities exist for those willing to seek them out and deliver solutions that provide value. Innovation, creativity, and teamwork will deliver success. Roeslein takes pride in our systematic delivery of successful projects. The system works on a repeated basis.

Roeslein processes have homes in 40 countries on every continent across the globe. Risk mitigation is critical at a time when the economy is in flux. We believe in our tested and proven manufacturing approach of unitization, modularization, and preassembly developed over the past 22 years. But so do our many customers who have come back to us over the years for help solving new challenges.

They trust their investment in a Roeslein system will deliver value, quality, performance, and efficiency. Every time.

This article is reproduced from the November 2012 issue of The Canmaker