Packaging news round-up: Bosch; JBT; Huhtamaki; Mondi; Rockwell

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Picture credit: Easypack. Pregis acquires Easypack, UK-based protective packaging company.
Picture credit: Easypack. Pregis acquires Easypack, UK-based protective packaging company.

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Bosch has relocated its R&D activities to a new facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, having outgrown its previous location in various buildings across the city.

The 5,000m² technology center develops internet and security technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as the Bosch subsidiary Akustica, which develops and markets MEMS microphones (microelectromechanical systems), which continues to grow.

The center has space for 200 associates and some 130 associates now work at the facility including Carnegie Mellon University.

Pittsburgh is one of the smartest cities in the US. It is known for its innovative strength and start-up culture,” ​said Mike Mansuetti, president, Bosch North America. “Pooling our activities at an attractive location gives us ideal conditions for further positive development​.”

Bosch has also expanded its technical center in Plymouth, Michigan, developing its Mobility Solutions business sector for automotive electronics, driver assistance and safety systems. The expansion has doubled the size of the engineering center, established in 2007, to 41,000m² and has space for around 1,400 associates.

Other Research and Technology Centers (RTC) are based in Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, and Boston, researching future trends for Bosch. These include internet technologies, automated driving systems, robotics, battery technology, and sensor and chip design (IC design).

JBT Corporationto acquire C.A.T.

JBT Corporation has agreed to acquire Cooling and Applied Technologies (C.A.T.) for $90m, with the transaction expected to close in Q4, 2016.

C.A.T., based in Russellville, AR, makes chillers, injection, marination, weighing, freezing, and refrigeration systems mainly for the poultry industry. 

"The addition of C.A.T. enhances JBT's presence in primary and secondary protein processing and advances our strategic acquisition program in proteins and liquid foods​," said Tom Giacomini, CEO, JBT.

"As part of JBT, C.A.T. will access our global sales and service organization, driving geographic expansion of their technology​."

Huhtamaki to open manufacturing unit for US west coast markets

Huhtamaki will open a $100m manufacturing and distribution unit in Goodyear, Arizona, to serve the southwest and west coast foodservice packaging and retail tableware markets.

The investment includes the site purchase, modifications, improvements in infrastructure, and machinery investments and installations.

Huhtamaki will start using the 70,000m² facility as a distribution center in early 2017 and manufacturing is scheduled to begin in late 2017.

When fully operational, the unit is expected to have approximately 300 employees and manufacture products including single wall paper cups, insulated paper hot cups, folding carton packaging, food containers, pressed paperboard plates and plastic cups and lids.

"This is a significant investment to further grow our foodservice business in the US and to leverage our global paperboard packaging expertise​," said Jukka Moisio, CEO, Huhtamaki. 

Huhtamaki has also started to renovate a manufacturing unit in Guangzhou, South China, as part of efforts to improve the competitiveness of its foodservice business in China and consolidate its South China manufacturing operations. Operations are expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

"With its growing population and rapid urbanization China is an important market for our quick service and specialty coffee customers. With this investment we will create a modern, efficient, high-capacity manufacturing unit and significantly improve our productivity and capability to serve our customers in the future,​" added Moisio.

Mondi expands flexible pouch capabilities in Europe

Mondi has upgraded its plant in Solec, Poland, with machinery to produce spouted flexible pouches for the European market.

The company already makes spouted pouches in Seoul, South Korea, and Jackson, MO, in the US, and it says moving to Europe was a logical next step. Fruit juices, purées, fitness drinks, alcoholic beverages and condiments are often packaged in flexibles in Eastern Europe.

According to Ulf Wienböker, COO, Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging, the global market for spouted pouches is set to reach 38m units by 2020. Their growing popularity is thanks to their convenience in use, enhanced product protection and accurate application.

Mondi is building on its existing strength in pre-made stand up pouches, by investing further in production while sharing technology and know-how among its production sites in Europe, North America and Asia,​” he said.

We are also targeting the demand for greater diversity of stand-up pouches by offering different options for a variety of consumer industries and needs - spouted pouches being one of them​.”

Mondi will be demonstrating one of its spouted filling machines at Taropak 2016, from September 26-29, in Poznan, Poland.

Reading Bakery Systems expands further into China and South East Asia

Reading Bakery Systems (RBS) says it has continued to expand in China and South East Asia with new personnel and resources.

David Kuipers, who joined RBS in 2004, will become senior VP, sales and marketing and will relocate to Singapore to lead sales efforts in China and South East Asia.

Ric Watts, who has been with RBS since 2005, will assume the role of manager, RBS Operations China. He will be leading the expansion of the company’s engineering and manufacturing resources at the company’s Tianjin factory, a facility already owned by the Markel Food Group.

China and South East Asia are dynamic, developing and diverse snacking markets​,” said Joseph Zaleski, president, RBS. “They are an important part of our growth strategy​.”

RBS already has resources of people, offices and an installed base of machinery in the region,” ​said Zaleski. “Our aim is to add additional sales, engineering and technical personnel as a platform for continuing to develop relevant baked snack systems for those important markets​.”

Pregis acquires Easypack, UK-based protective packaging company

Pregis has acquired Easypack, a paper-based protective packaging company, based in Hertfordshire, UK, to expand its North American product portfolio of paper void fill, cushioning and block/brace technology. 

Pregis will continue to operate Easypack’s three UK manufacturing facilities, and its offices and distribution centers in France and Germany.  

This latest acquisition enables us to expand our performance-oriented paper packaging offering in North America, as well as provide Easypack with inflatable packaging to support the European markets they serve,​” said Kevin Baudhuin, president/CEO, Pregis. 

Easypack, which was established in 1992, has been recognized with the Queen’s Award for International Trade three times and develops environmentally-friendly paper-based cushion and void fill systems, for industrial consumption.

Rockwell Automation acquires Automation Control Products

Rockwell Automation has acquired Automation Control Products (ACP), which makes centralized thin client, remote desktop and server management software.

ACP’s products, ThinManager and Relevance, provide visual display and software to manage information and streamline workflows for a more connected manufacturing environment.

Rockwell Automation says the acquisition supports its growth strategy to increase global competitiveness through The Connected Enterprise – a vision that connects information across the plant floor to the rest of the enterprise.

This is related to the Industrial Internet of Things and advances in technologies, such as data analytics, remote monitoring, and mobility.

Frank Kulaszewicz, senior VP, Architecture and Software, Rockwell Automation, said today’s plant engineers want to improve their manufacturing quality, reliability and productivity and with ACP it can offer new capabilities.

For example, ThinManager centralizes the management and visualization of manufacturing from the control room to the end user. It streamlines workflows and allows users to reduce hardware operation and maintenance costs.

ACP is a privately-held company located in Alpharetta, GA, with about 30 employees.

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