Asia CanTech 2022 – Bangkok, Thailand
Asia CanTech’s return has been a much-anticipated one, and the 2022 edition of the show exceeded all expectations, both from our event team’s side and from the excellent quality of feedback from the conference attendees.
Monday 24 October saw a busy afternoon of registrations, presentation rehearsals and the beginning of tabletop exhibitions. In the evening there was a buffet-style dinner on the terrace at the event’s location of the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers.
On the morning of Tuesday 25 October, conference director Neil McRitchie gave a warm welcome to attendees, both returning and new. “It’s great to be back in-person and actually seeing people-face-to-face rather than in front of a screen,” he remarked.
The presentations were then initiated by keynote speaker, Saravoot Yoovidhya, CEO of TCP Group. He explored the company’s ‘Energising a Better World for All’ vision, with a focus on fighting climate change as well as new product development.
“This year marks a significant turning point in our corporate history as sustainability has been adopted into our business strategy,” Yoovidhya said, emphasising how crucial it is for businesses now to have sustainability at the forefront of their operations because it’s “not just a trend” to follow. He then outlined TCP Group’s main sustainability goals for the coming years: all packaging is to be 100 per cent recyclable by 2024; the group also aims to be net water positive by 2030; and by 2050, should achieve carbon neutrality.
Yoovidhya also spoke about TCP Group’s sustainability-focused collaborations with metal packaging manufacturers such as Crown, to reduce water, and TBC, to collect cans for recycling. TCP is also working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on a three-year project in both Thailand and Vietnam to establish a model for packaging waste collection and integrated waste management that leads to improved responsibilities and commitments by manufacturers in their beverage packaging post-consumption. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) project aims to collect at least 730 tonnes of waste.
In terms of new product development, TCP has released two new Red Bull energy drink flavours with Halls – watermelon and mentholyptus – targeted at Generation Z consumers. Asia CanTech attendees were able to try these drinks for themselves, with free samples available from TCP’s booth in the lobby at the event. Additionally, TCP has now launched its Red Bull Cold Brew Coffee Flavour in Vietnam.
Elsewhere, the topics covered by Asia CanTech speakers included can tooling; lubricants; sealants; digital printing; inks; enamel rating; handling; conveying; water treatment and inspection, to name but a few. Robert Nieman, sales manager at Ibea, presented the company’s latest developments in the latter category, including the Clever + Smart inside can inspection system and the Cube 360 full can décor system.
Kalvis Jaunarajs, global director of business management at Integrated Packaging Solutions (IPS), delivered a lively presentation with visual metaphors detailing how businesses can maximise sellable can output, while also introducing IPS’ new AirSave valve system for bodymakers, which is currently being tested in North America and showing encouraging sustainability credentials – offering between 58-78 per cent air reduction, as well as cost savings and performance longevity.
Richard Moore, managing director of RMRM Consultancy and board director of SLAC, took to the stage to discuss the challenges of a changing world economy. “When we’re in the history books, there will be a ‘before 2019’ and an ‘after 2019’,” he noted, setting out the differences between pre- and post-pandemic. Moore highlighted that while demand has boomed in the past two years, some drivers that were borne out of the pandemic remain uncertain for the future, especially the demand for pet food cans and paint cans, which were popular previously as a result of consumers spending more time indoors.
In terms of SLAC’s developments, Moore announced that the company’s new facility – a tool and component centre – in Suzhou, China, is set to become operational by 2023 and will improve the company’s technical customer services. Additionally, SLAC has heralded in a new era in digital printing with the technology it has worked on most recently with Ball Corporation, delivering photorealistic image quality with up to 600 dpi resolution and “an infinity” of colours.
Moore also spoke about the Boxer, a new bodymaker from SLAC that uses a contra power drive, meaning that each stroke produces two cans – twice the output of a conventional bodymaker. The technology, now two years old but stalled by the pandemic, is currently running in two non-beverage sites in China but will be delivered in Q1 of 2023 to a customer in Europe.
For Belvac’s presentation, production specialist, decorating systems, Hein van Tuyn, detailed the company’s latest product development with the Belvac Tiger Sleeve. The system was created as a response to slow label changeover times; it can provide label changes three times faster than conventional printing plates, as well as offering a direct laser engraving process and a 97.5 per cent reduction in can spoilage. The sleeves are made from granulate, which is resistant to high temperatures.
Van Tuyn’s closing note stressed the importance of existing equipment maintenance and modification, stating, “you’ll get more out of your current production by upgrading rather than replacing equipment – to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint – which is where Belvac can help.”
Greg Frisby, CEO of Sensory Analytics, emphasised in his presentation that “technology is the future,” calling attention to the fact that the next generation of plant managers are going to want “more of a work/life balance,” and so solutions in automation are key for industry survival and optimisation.
Many of our speakers echoed this point; Kevin Johnsen, director of sales EMEA & APAC, Antares Vision Group, relayed the importance of automation in the group’s Decomatch decoration inspection system, stating that it allows for better registration and closed loop colour control, as well as keeping control of tight specifications (more information on page 39).
Wednesday 26 October marked the last day of Asia CanTech 2022, with the return of the Candid Forum to conclude proceedings. Participating in the panel this year were Richard Moore, Shaun Thompson, commercial director EMEA of INX International, and Bob Gary, chief operating officer at Stolle Machinery Company.
The session covered the topics of rising costs in energy and materials, and the importance of transparency with customers amid such global crises. The panel also shared their views about plastic taxes and other recent legislation across Europe that is helping drive businesses and thus consumers towards metal as a circular packaging option. The Forum concluded with a discussion on deposit return schemes and the challenges in their implementation.
Both the Candid Forum and all of the speaker presentations at Asia CanTech made it clear that the metal packaging industry is doing all it can to innovate and develop energy-efficient, cost-saving solutions for their customers in order to help them navigate constantly challenging times.
For the full list of winners at this year’s Asia CanTech Awards, click here.
Asia CanTech 2023
After such overwhelmingly positive feedback from this year’s event, Bell Publishing is delighted to announce the dates and location for Asia CanTech 2023. The event will once again take place at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Bangkok, Thailand, this time from 30 October – 1 November 2023. We hope to see you there.