The future is here

The final day of Asia CanTech kicked off with Thongchai Oranrigsupak, vice chairman of the Thai Metal Packaging Association, providing an overview on the Thai metal packaging industry. Mr Oranrigsupak explained how there is 3.2 per cent growth in the Thai economy, with the country being the fifth easiest to do business in South East Asia and the Pacific.

Although there was nothing too groundbreaking with the presentation, Oranrigsupak did reveal the key threats to the metal packaging industry in the region. The obvious emergence of PET and other plastic packaging was one, but also new taxes in Thailand will result in a price rise for alcoholic beverages and other soft drinks. The industry doesn’t have a direct competitor which is a positive, but due to the high value investment needed, and the low return in the metal packaging industry, it explains the relatively low growth rate of one per cent in metal packaging. He concluded with the fact that the industry in Thailand very much depends on the export of tuna and pineapple.

Nelson Schneider, KBA MetalPrint’s director of sales, explained how the company is celebrating its 200th year anniversary, with its new corporate identity, nostalgically referring to its Koenig & Bauer heritage and how the company used steam power to run its printing presses 200 years ago! Schneider then went on to discuss its latest range of product innovations, including the new CS-MetalCan with 10 inking units, and the new MetalDecoJet, said to be the first industrial inkjet system specifically developed for metal decorating.

After an interesting perspective on the metal packaging industry from SLAC’s Chris McKenzie the day before, I was particularly looking forward to Richard Moore’s presentation from SLAC and it didn’t disappoint. Moore explained in detail about the acquisition of Intercan, with the excitement of the company developing a new 10-colour proofing machine alongside the UK-based company.

In addition to this, Moore said that digital decorators are the answer for the trend of short run demands. It means the cost remains stable; usually with short runs there is a cost implication. This ensures that there are instant label changes, no ink changes and no set-up needed, amongst others. This allows for small orders to become feasible and allows for personalisation. This led Moore to conclude that “The future is here” in terms of metal packaging decoration.

Nomis Consultancy’s Simon Jennings introduced ‘Open Clean’, a new innovation for the beverage can industry. As well as overcoming hygiene issues, Open Clean is said to solve the problem of the impeded pour experienced with SOT cans, as it has a clear opening and can be resealed. Pour has become a major issue for beer brands, due the turbulence in the SOT can creating unacceptable levels of foaming with their lager. This problem has meant that many Asian brewers have continued to use RPT cans and has led to the development of complex venting ends for use with major brands in the US. The impeded pour is also a growing issue for premium soft drinks with added fruit particulates in Asia and the Middle East, and which led to the development of cans with very wide opening RPTs.

As far as cost goes, bringing Open Clean to market for the can maker is said to be relatively simple and speedy. This innovation is based on proven ends manufacturing technology and can be produced on exiting equipment using current shells and tabs with partial tooling changes. For the filler, Open Clean will run on existing filling lines with no need for any adjustment. The product was formally launched at the show and you can read more about it via –

Our review of the show begins in our November issue, where we have more on the developments at Stolle and Simon Jennings speaks to us exclusively about Open Clean. In our December/January issue we bring you the full round-up of all the conference presentations.

There will shortly be an announcement on the date and location for Asia CanTech 2018.

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