Well prepared for challenging market conditions
Friedrich s opinion is that steel as a packaging material is still the most advantageous solution for many products. Steel packaging offers the best product safety keeping food fresh and flavourful for years. It also enables high-speed filling of over 500 units per minute, with a high level of safety during the filling process. "And with a recycling rate of 89.2 per cent in Germany, the ecological advantages are obvious", explained Friedrich.
With the consolidation of production plants in Andernach, and the factory improvements making it the world's largest site for the manufacturing of packaging steel, the ThyssenKrupp Steel subsidiary Rasselstein has now positioned itself as a future-oriented, premium supplier. Friedrich said, "As we discuss at this fair, it is our intention to reliably deliver top-quality material to our customer, coordinated exactly to their specifications, for every conceivable application. Rasselstein backs this claim with comprehensive technical service which develops on-site solutions with the customer. We also foster innovation and develop the necessary steel qualities so that our customers can react to new market trends with modern solutions."
At the Metpack, Rasselstein will present its diversified product range which reaches new technological levels of "hardness" and "formability". These developments enable the user to use thinner metal thicknesses for the same or better quality product, while saving weight and costs further down the value-added chain. Another advantage comes from the fact that because the material is so exceptionally expandable, it can be shaped into the desired form with fewer deep-drawing processing steps.
Rasselstein Ein Unternehmen von ThyssenKrupp Steel ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein offers a material only 0.100 millimeters thick, usable for both deep drawing and for welded three-piece cans. This thickness reduction alone increases material efficiency by about 20 per cent over today's standard, both an ecological and economical advantage.
For use in the catering and restaurant markets, Rasselstein, packaging maker Impress, and Heineken have developed an award-winning 10 liter beer keg, which takes advantage of these newly developed material characteristics. The barrel-shaped container is able to withstand an internal pressure of five bar.
The Flexiline project, a product line developed by Rasselstein and a well-known machinery manufacturer from the steel packaging industry, enables can manufacturers to realize unique designs in small lot sizes and at an acceptable cost. Rasselstein will present a prototype demonstrating its high formability and the wide variety of possible designs this product offers. Rasselstein will also bring attention to the opportunities opening up for brand specific packaging solutions from steel.
With an annual production of about 1.5 m. tons, and exporting nearly 80 % of its production, the German tinplate manufacturer has firmly positioned itself in its home market of Europe, in light of overcapacities. Friedrich emphasized that the full exploitation of production capacity exists because of customer demand and not from price: "As a premium supplier, technology and quality leadership are absolutely key success factors."
Cost issues give the company the biggest worries. "We ve never experienced such a simultaneous explosion of all cost factors. Ore prices, which alone have increased by 65 per cent this year, along with price increases for alloying agents, coal, coke, other energies and transportation, have caused drastic rises of our pre-cost of materials. The specific costs for tinplate, like tin which is now selling at over 20,000 dollars per ton, add yet further costs. The market will have to adapt itself to these costs that we must pass on.
Friedrich summarized, "With that said, our customers still have good arguments to use tinplate over other materials and packaging alternatives in the future. Quality doesn t only cost more, but also has an inherent value which expresses itself in numerous competitive advantages. Packaging steel from Germany is and remains an advantageous choice."
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