Belvac: “A continuing innovation process”

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Ruben Robels, vice president of global business development at Belvac, answers questions on the company’s recent expansion announcement, and desire for continuous innovations within the canmaking industry.

Please provide an overview of the company’s expansion with the two-piece can pilot line.

The two-piece pilot line provides hard to obtain preforms, the ability to develop and test tooling and container design, as well as the ability to test aluminum alloys prior to manufacturing.  The pilot line development was a natural expansion and next step in Belvac’s Container Engineering Services.  In the near future Belvac will also be able to provide short run completed containers for market testing. This will be an incredible asset for anyone looking to introduce a new product or container design.

The industry is booming – do you attribute this growth to consumption in the home due to Covid-19, the increasing sustainability message globally or other factors?

This question is more appropriate for the packaging customers, who are closer to end consumer trends and behaviors. We believe that can manufacturers would be reluctant to invest in large-long-lived production assets if the demand growth was transitory in nature. Our work with packaging manufacturers suggests that the growth is primarily driven by long-term secular trends of shifting to more sustainable packaging and innovations in design.  The aluminum can is just a fantastic container and it is meeting todays needs of the beverage industry on many levels.  The recyclability of the aluminum can and bottle is unsurpassed and it provides a unique value proposition in terms of merchandising attractiveness, consumer convenience and efficiency of storage and logistics.

We’re hearing of up to a 2-year wait for new equipment from some suppliers – how is Belvac looking to handle this increasing demand for can making equipment?

Belvac recently announced further expansion of our manufacturing capacity.

Belvac offers market leading lead-times and will continue to focus on meeting the requirements of our industry.  Belvac has been consistently offering delivery in less than 12 months.

How will you be looking to increase the company’s global workforce by 15%? Engineering expertise is hard to come by!

Belvac is a very attractive company to work at.  From a technology perspective we have been leading our industry segment for over 50 years with great vision, fabulous innovations, and technological advances. This is a very desirable opportunity for someone in our industry who wants to work at the forefront of emerging technologies.  We are also part of Dover Corporation, a Global leader in industrial technology.  Dover supports our expansion endeavours and also offers a large range of engineering resources that Belvac has access to, including a well-staffed and talented engineering firm in India.

We’re seeing a number of new can lines and plants installed in the US this year – what are the challenges involved for the industry? 

Many of the challenges for the industry go even beyond the expansion of the major can makers growing to meet increased demand.  There are also many new entrepreneurs entering the industry that also require support.  For both of them this is where Belvac’s expertise is, not only in production machinery, but our Integration Services which are stepping up to fulfill the needs to build out the needed capacity. 

For many who already own Belvac production machinery equipment, they are taking advantage of the potential for minor updates in their machinery to increase capacity.

Explain Belvac’s point of difference when it comes to its machinery? 

Our machinery produces the lowest cost can with high and consistent quality.  We are known for our extremely high efficiencies and technologies that optimise throughput at the lowest possible aluminum content. Our IMS HS3 technology even allows for real time monitoring and sampling at full speed. And our Neckers have produced industry leading performance for decades and continually improve with innovation. Our entire line of equipment undergoes a continuing innovation process.

Post Covid, will this growth in the two-piece aluminum can industry continue?

Absolutely. As stated earlier, Covid is likely a minor and transitory driver in the growth and large long-term investments we see being made in our industry.

How has company adapted during Covid? 

This is another area where Belvac has benefitted from the resources of its parent organisation, Dover. Dover provided a Global Response Playbook. 

This has been extremely successful in minimising exposure. Belvac also has expansive communication technology in place that minimises the need for extensive travel and for the most part enabled us to continue with business as usual, in a safe environment.

What are the main challenges for Belvac in 2021 and beyond? 

We face challenges that are similar to what most manufacturers face today globally, including rising input and shipping costs, and transitory supply chain capacity bottlenecks. Our inventory policy and supply chain management flexibility offered by the scale of our parent, Dover Corporation, position us well to navigate these waters.

Plus, we’ve been a leader in this business for over half a century and have experience dealing with a wide variety of issues. If there is a supplier that our customers can trust to deliver in this environment – that would be Belvac.

Please explain the following from your press release in more detail – how will you do this?  “Full plant integration services, mitigating risk at installation and startup.”

The key to a successful Integration project is paying attention to the smallest details and knowing the key issues in bringing a new line quickly up to high operating efficiencies.  This is Belvac’s expertise. Belvac brings all the necessary support to your project as well as the latest technology. Belvac is there every step of the way from container engineering to full commissioning of the line as well as post start up support. 

Belvac provides experienced project management and integration teams throughout the entire process. This is especially helpful in mitigating risks for new canmakers.  The pilot line is another Belvac asset that provides cups and preforms normally unavailable on the market to validate the equipment.

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