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It’s in the can

Portrait

mall//herlan shares its market niche with just four other manufacturers that can compare to it in terms of size. “As one of the market leaders, our aim is to develop systems and equipment that offer both value for money and a consistently high standard of quality,” says Roger Schmidt, CEO of the mall//herlan group. “The focus of our efforts is always our clients’ success.”

mall//herlan manufactures highly efficient turnkey lines for the production of monoblock aluminium or steel packaging. These lines range in length between 70 and 90 m and represent an investment volume for customers of between eight and twelve million EUR. With such large sums of money at stake, securing orders with a superior product is crucial. mall//herlan operates in three key areas: aerosol cans, beverage cans and tool manufacturing.

“In the aerosol can segment, a distinction is drawn between three-part and one-part cans,” says Mr. Schmidt. “We specialize in one-part cans which are known as monoblock packaging. The advantage is that their quality is better, the shaping possibility is given and the lack of a join means that they are easier to print on. This sort of packaging is widely used in the premium beauty and healthcare sectors where the packaging is used to signal a high quality product inside.”

Another advantage of monoblock packaging is that it is less likely to leak. Impact extruded monoblock packaging currently accounts for half of all the aerosol cans produced worldwide, however the balance is gradually changing in favour of the one-part monoblock solution.

“We have noticed a marked trend towards the replacement of three-part packaging by monoblock cans,” says Mr. Schmidt. “Of course this trend works in our favour as this is the area in which we have chosen to specialize and to which we have devoted substantial resources. This investment appears to be paying off handsomely.”

This development is accompanied by strong growth at present in the drinks markets in both Asia and the USA. “In Asia this growth is being driven predominantly by sales in fruit juice, tea and coffee-based drinks while in the USA a growing interest in craft beer is fuelling growth in demand for beverage bottle-cans,” explains Mr. Schmidt. “The small craft breweries rely on the use of distinctive, attractively printed packaging to help set them apart from mass-produced alternatives. This trend is also working in our favour.”

Interestingly, the German market for drinks cans is practically non-existant. Beverage bottle-cans are rarely seen. mall//herlan’s production lines cover the four key steps in the manufacture of metal packaging starting with the forming of the hollow body either by Impact Extrusion (IE) or Draw and Wall Ironing (DWI).

The cylinder is then trimmed and printed before necking and shaping can take place. The company is also the only manufacturing worldwide to offer its patented embossing and debossing technology with which structured patterns can be pressed onto the surface of the metal such as a company logo in relief or raised lines to prevent slipping when gripping the can.

At all stages of the process, mall//herlan offers machines that are market leaders in terms of their performance and reliability. “We also offer the highest levels of system integration of any manufacturer in this segment with integrated solutions for entire turnkey lines,” says Mr. Schmidt. “On the basis of our customer requirements we are able to produce innovative solutions for customers throughout the world.”

mall//herlan machines are in use at customer sites worldwide and are produced at the four sites of the mall//herlan group. Sales are divided evenly between Europe (including Russia), Asia and the Americas. The company employs 200 people and is part of wifag//polytype group in Switzerland, a leading international development and plant engineering company.

Through its backing mall//herlan has succeeded in developing from a machine manufacturer into a system supplier. With the continued support of its parent organization it hopes to maintain its current leadership position in the future.

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