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United Caps on expansion trail; plant in Malaysia to open in 2018

plant in Malaysia to open in 2018

Luxembourg-headquartered caps and closures manufacturer United Caps says it is making significant progress on its growth initiatives. Besides the upcoming opening of its new manufacturing plant in Malaysia, the company has completed an extension of its R&D facility in Messia, France, to meet the demands of business growth, and also recently acquired Spanish closures company Embalatap. Meanwhile, it has added bioplastics-based Greener closures and new anti-counterfeiting measures to its portfolio.

At the Malaysian plant, to be opened end of 2018, it will produce a range of closures for infant nutrition and agrochemicals, with a capacity of 300 million closures/year. The company’s investment is expected to create initially more than 20 new jobs.

Furthermore, as part of the company’s “Close to You” strategy, it is also planning a new EUR20 million facility in Dinnington close to Sheffield in the UK. The initial facility will be 5,000 sq m, with an option to expand to 20,000 sq m as business growth demands. Production is expected to begin at the end of 2019 and will initially focus on beverage and dairy closures, with options to add additional segments as needed. This project is expected to increase group turnover by 15% in Phase One.

Meanwhile, the R&D centre located in Messia has been expanded in floor space from 400 to 600 sq m, with a 30% increase in both staff and floor space ; and it now includes a 3D printer for rapid prototyping. It is also designed to facilitate United Caps strategy of maintaining a mix of 50% bespoke and 50% standard closures.

About 50% of United Caps’s products are created through customer collaboration with its design labs to develop bespoke closures tuned to their specific requirements. As an example, Nestlé was seeking a closure for its Nescafé Gold coffee that would support the high-quality image of Nescafé and stand out on the shelf. Nestlé was aiming for a classy brushed metal look for its new packaging. This required a 100% metallic material to be wrapped around the skirt of a closure, something that had never been done before. The Belgian cap maker says it was able to overcome several challenges, reaching full production in two years.

In pursuit of more environmentally sustainable solutions, United Caps has collaborated with Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem for its Greener bio-sourced plastic caps and closures made from sugar cane-based PE.

Another new initiative is two different anti-counterfeiting solutions as part of its smarter closures initiative With an estimated US$460 billion in counterfeit goods worldwide, counterfeit prevention has significant economic benefits, including protection of jobs. In addition, it is estimated that there are some 3,000 preventable deaths per year due to counterfeit goods. Counterfeiting can also damage a brand’s reputation, since 45% of consumers will avoid a brand for at least two years after a bad experience, and they share that bad experience on social media as well.

One of the solutions includes QR+ technology, a combination of a QR code and secure fingerprint that helps brands enhance consumer confidence. This is especially effective when these technologies are printed onto a non-removable in-mould label. Brands, consumers and others in the distribution chain can quickly and easily validate whether a product is genuine using a mobile app. It partnered with Verstraete In Mould Labels in the development of this approach to anti-counterfeiting.

The other counterfeiting solution is holographic engraving integrated into a closure, forming an intrinsic and irremovable security feature, providing immediate verification with no need for additional scanners or other equipment.

(IMA)


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