The demand for automation and packaged consumer goods is growing in Asia, and there seem to be more opportunities for equipment manufacturers. Three APPMA members headed to Bangkok this month to network and seek new business avenues at the processing and packaging trade event ProPak Asia.
HMPS: A first-time exhibitor
Automated packaging solutions provider HMPS exhibited at the Bangkok show for the first time this year. Managing director Mark Emmett was keen to investigate ways to promote HMPS in the Asian region. Although labour costs in Asia are low, he could see a real drive in the region for automation and packaged consumer goods.
“Multinationals entering the packaging market are looking to Australia for their solutions in Asia,” he says. “Robotics, case packing and palletising are growth opportunities for HMPS in Asia.”
Emmett says ProPak Asia is an important event which caters to a growing market.“Attendees came from Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines – a range of Asian countries,” he says. “ProPak Asia really is the largest show in the Asian region.”
On the stand, one of the products HMPS was able to demonstrate was its bag-in-box packaging for liquid products. Since it is new to the market, HMPS also took the opportunity to showcase its broad range of capabilities.
New foods lead to new opportunities
Ricky Ong is the sales manager – Asia for food processing, packaging and weighing equipment manufacturer and distributor Heat & Control. He says the company has been dealing with the Asian market for over 50 years, and exhibiting at ProPak Asia for 20.
“Our aim is to continue to promote the Heat and Control image and current product range and share the development of our new technology,” says Ong. It’s also a chance for the team to offer support to the company’s local agent, meet with existing customers, and create new relationships with visitors to the stand.
“Asia accounts for more than half the world’s population and is one of the most exciting parts of the world for food companies and packaging manufacturers,” Ong tells. “Its rising population and wealth is driving food demand both in variety and quality, bringing with it many food processing opportunities.”
Asia was once a very traditional market, but has seen many changes over the years. Ong believes the introduction of new foods from western cultures has helped many new markets to open.
“To date we have focused largely on prepared foods, providing ovens and fryers for proteins – but now we are finding the snack food industry to be rising rapidly,” he says.
“We’re now seeing more opportunities to supply companies with the ‘total systems package’ – with complete snack food processing systems and seasoning and product handling systems.”
Heat & Control was able to demonstrate two systems on its stand, including the FastBack Mid-Gate which can be mounted at the beginning, middle or end of the conveyor pan to eliminate product transfer pinch points and increase advantages of proportional distribution. It ensures zero cross-contamination, reduced product breakage and responsive full-open to full-closed speeds for all throughput. Also on-stand was the WeighBack Weigh Conveyor. It integrates direct load cell weight measurement and onboard control with gentle FastBack horizontal motion, conveying to deliver precise mass flow data to processing, seasoning application or packaging equipment.
Fibre King rules the Asian market
Fibre King – with its global brand Oryx Automation – has been exhibiting at ProPak since 2013. CEO Earle Roberts says the stand has grown from 9m2 to 72m2 in the last two years due to its success there.
“Asia is one of our closest neighbours and the fastest growing markets in the region,” he says. “It simply has the most opportunities for Australian manufacturers.” “Fibre King has also been manufacturing in Thailand since 2012, so it feels “embedded” in the market and part of the equipment supplier landscape, says Roberts. “We have a sales team targeting Thailand and the broader Asia Pacific region, so this is the ideal opportunity to meet with new and existing customers and showcase our innovations, upgrades and improved designs,” he says.
The company looks forward to future opportunities in Asia, working with sales, service and support teams to capitalise on the region’s growth. ProPak this year provided the chance for Fibre King to network and connect with customers in Thailand and South East Asia. It was able to showcase its RSC Top Load Case Packer, featuring its clean design technology, user-friendly interface and intuitive product changeover.
“We also took the opportunity to highlight our ideal manufacturing and service location in Thailand – right on the doorstep of one of the world’s fastest growing regions,” says Roberts.