Pressure is mounting for food manufacturers to move further into sustainable packaging and automation, according to Friedbert Klefenz, president of Bosch Packaging Technology.
Speaking exclusively to FoodProductionDaily.com, Klefenz explained the factors lying behind both trends.
“Retailers are pushing customers to have sustainable packaging and more regulations are coming into the food arena, driven by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), so there’s a big drive towards automation.”
Klefenz explained automation was seen as a way to limit human contact with food, lessening food safety risks.
“This has been a key topic in pharmaceuticals [a market which currently represents 45% of Bosch’s business] for a long time and is coming more and more into food.”
“I see this as a coming trend in emerging markets, such as China, India and Thailand.” Bosch Packaging Technology had established manufacturing bases in all three countries in the past few years, he said.
Outside Europe, the firm would keep driving development in China, India, the Association of South East Asian Nations and the US, said Klefenz.
The company had established a small manufacturing plant in Thailand earlier this year to serve the whole of Asia and had opened a €5m factory in Goa, India, he said. “We established a 33,000 square metre facility in Verna in the state of Goa in August.”
Total sales for Bosch in China amount to nearly €100m. The company manages two factories in Hangzhou and Chengdu.
Ampack Ammann acquisition
Commenting on Bosch Packaging Technology’s acquisition of Ampack Ammann, which has just received regulatory clearance, Klefenz said the business would pursue further consolidation in the packaging industry, but had no plans currently for further acquisitions.
The company would maintain its focus equally on developing its three core business areas of pharmaceutical; confectionery and dry food; and liquid food packaging machinery for the time being, he added. “We would look to have a good balance.”
Ampack Ammann, which claims annual sales of €35m, will remain an independent unit and will be operated as a Bosch subsidiary. Its products will continue to be marketed under its own name.
Besides the production of machinery and equipment, the company offers services such as maintaining and refurbishing used equipment, supplying spare parts, validating bottling plants and training operators.
In a separate development, Klefenz said Bosch’s launch of its first flexible mandrel wheel package maker at trade show FachPack 2012 would enable food manufacturers to change packaging format sizes swiftly.
The PME 4061 would enable manufacturers to use a number of bag styles in sizes ranging from 60mm x 40mm x 80mm to 140mm x 100m x 250mm as well as a variety of top closures.
The machine is designed for sugar and flour applications and could process 100 packs of sugar or 80 packs of flour a minute.