Label industry suppliers have taken note of this rapid growth rate and are capitalizing. Whether it’s labelstock, presses, dies or ancillary equipment, several companies continue to establish and expand upon their presence in this dynamic region.
Going green in China
Whereas many Westerners may not immediately associate sustainability with the Chinese economy, labelstock leaders see opportunity.
UPM Raflatac recently announced the expansion of its RafCycle recycling solution into China. RafCycle services were launched in Changshu in December 2017 and promoted at Labelexpo Asia in Shanghai. The first RafCycle partner certificate in China was awarded to label converter Hangzhou Changli, which is the 100th RafCycle partner globally. The number of RafCycle partners has grown increasingly over the years as sustainability has become one of the key drivers in the labeling industry. Today, more than 10,000 tons of label liner waste is being recycled in Europe through the RafCycle program. UPM Raflatac is actively searching for new RafCycle partners and the expansion to China is an important step in this process.
The paper liner waste generated by the RafCycle partners in China is being delivered to Hangzhou Fulun Ecology Technology Co., Ltd. where the paper liner waste can be recycled back into pulp and paper.
RafCycle is a recycling concept that offers a new life for label liner waste, which provides numerous benefits to printers, packers, brand owners, and, of course, the environment. “Turning waste into a resource is a key concept in the circular economy and an important part of our approach to sustainability. The recycling of wood fibers in paper products is a closed-loop solution and a shining example of sustainability at its best,” explains Sharon Xiao, sustainability manager, APAC, UPM Raflatac.
Avery Dennison has been recognized By-Health Co. Ltd., a China health supplements company, as the first brand owner to partner in the Avery Dennison Liner Recycling Program in China. Through this program, label liner is collected for recycling, thereby saving on waste disposal costs and preventing environmental impact from landfill or incineration.
Traditionally, label liner recycling programs require a complex process of collection and sorting, which can be a deterrent for companies that want to recycle. Roger Machado, vice president and general manager, Label and Graphic Materials North Asia Pacific, Avery Dennison, says, “We are proud to offer a liner recycling service as a solution that will enable brands like By-Health to meet their sustainability commitments. We believe that together, we can solve the problem of label waste.” Since joining the program, By-Health has diverted over 100 metric tons of release glassine liner from landfills into recycled products.
A second slitting center for Ritrama
Italy-based Ritrama, a supplier of self-adhesive materials, has opened a new slitting center in the Zengcheng district, Guangzhou City – Guangdong Province. This is Ritrama’s second slitting center opened in China following a production and distribution center opening in 2009 in Hefei, Anhui Provice. This latest investment allows the company to offer shorter delivery times and a wider range of products, strengthening Ritrama’s footprint in the Asian region.
The new factory covers an area of 2,000 square meters and is only 30 kilometers away from the hub of the label printing plants in the region. It is estimated that the annual slitting capacity will reach more than 50 million square meters. Choy Wai Weng, general manager of Ritrama Asia-Pacific division, says, “Being one of the largest self-adhesive materials manufacturers in the world, we have been, in the past, extremely careful in our venture in China as though we are walking on thin ice. We spent many years researching the Chinese market, and finally in the second half of 2016, through restructuring of the management team, building of reliable product quality and improvement of service experience, our products and services have been widely accepted in the region. Since then, our monthly sales have quadrupled. This substantial growth not only reflects the striving spirit of the Ritrama team, but more importantly, we put the customer buying experience as our top priority.
“We hope to provide not only reliable products, competitive services, but more importantly, to let our customers enjoy a better buying experience,” he concludes.
New tooling site for RotoMetrics
RotoMetrics recently announced the opening of a brand new site and technology center in Suzhou Industrial Park, China. The new facility expands RotoMetrics’ commitment to growth and service in mainland China. The new location is supported by a staff of six RotoMetrics employees and includes a dedicated sales force, technical support staff, converting technology center and a solid die repair department.
Paul McKay, general manager of RotoMetrics Asia, comments, “We researched locations for nearly a year to find the perfect spot for our new China site. We talked to customers and asked them what they were looking for in regional support that other rotary tooling companies could not provide. This facility provides the service and support customers are asking for, including a solid die repair center that can quickly re-sharpen and repair RotoMetrics RD300 solid dies. Additionally, we offer a Converting Technology Center where customers can come and learn about the latest advancements in rotary die applications, plus training opportunities so our customers can get the best press performance. Finally, this location gets us closer to our Chinese customers and places a key resource in the areas where our customers do business.”
Maxcess recently celebrated its 10-year-anniversary in China by unveiling an additional 25,000 square foot facility in Zhuhai. The expansion comes only one year after tripling its manufacturing space in early 2017.
“Maxcess China began operations 10 years ago,” says Nang Young, general manager for Maxcess China. “During that time, we have continued to increase production, requiring a new state-of-the-art facility to further grow our capabilities and expand into precision roll production. We will transfer best practices from Webex as we expand our capabilities in China.”
The expansion will allow Maxcess China to better serve its domestic market in a wide range of industries and emerging applications
“Just last year, Maxcess China tripled its manufacturing footprint,” says Greg Jehlik, CEO of Maxcess. “This year, we again saw the need to expand, effectively quadrupling our space from 25,000 to 100,000 square feet in just two years.”
ETI Shanghai, a subsidiary of ETI Converting Equipment Canada, known for its Cohesio multifunctional in-line coating and printing equipment, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Under the direction of Waley Xuan, ETI Shanghai has about 60 employees, including managers, engineers, mechanics, electricians, technicians and more. Since its founding, the company has enjoyed constant growth. ETI credits its success in the region to the competence of Chinese labor combined with the quality of ETI technology, which has created high demand. Recently, Xuan says, ETI sales in the Chinese market have “literally exploded,” and he expects a record year in terms of sales for ETI Shanghai. “We would like to thank our partners and customers for the confidence they have shown us over the last 10 years. We are encouraged by our success and will continue to move forward by offering quality and service to all our customers,” says Xuan.
Press manufacturer Bobst recently held the official opening of Bobst Changzhou Co. Ltd, the OEM’s second production facility in China. The company hosted a special event earlier in the year, called “China 4.0 - Beyond Your Packaging Future.”
Sebastien Geffrault, Bobst’s zone business director, Web-fed for Southeast Asia, comments, “The commitment to provide solutions that integrate the requirements of the packaging industry in Asia is exemplified by the Competence Center that is part of the Bobst Changzhou facility.”
Operated by an experienced team of Bobst engineers and specialists, the Center provides full support and advice to Asian clients, in addition to being the location for the joint development of process improvements with other suppliers of equipment, devices and consumables, and of course for R&D and testing Bobst equipment.
“We can deliver to converters equipment and services that are ready for the future of the industry,” says Lubin Lu, zone business director of Bobst Business Unit Web-fed for Greater China.