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Composite cans, drums and plastic container manufacturer, Weidenhammer, at FachPack 2009

The Weidenhammer Packaging Group, Europe’s leading manufacturer of composite cans, drums and plastic containers, sees no need to change its course in the face of the economic crisis. In fact, the corporate group is as well-positioned and stable as ever at FachPack 2009. Hall 5, Stand 5-345 is the showplace for the full range of Weidenhammer packaging solutions, including custom designed composite cans for snacks, instant beverages and other special product groups, or attractively labeled packages for sausage products and ice cream. The innovative PermaSafe package designed for processed foods promises to become a top seller. The first product packed in PermaSafe will be launched on the market in October.

"Economic crises have never really been a problem for our business," says Ralf Weidenhammer, CEO of the Weidenhammer Packaging Group (WPG). "As long as you have the right products and concepts in place before the crisis starts – and you remain faithful to them when the market winds blow cold."

Europe’s market leader in the composite can segment is exhibiting for the third time at FachPack. And this makes good sense as core markets in Europe, particularly in Germany, have continued to gain importance in recent months. "While the emerging markets in Eastern Europe have experienced major slumps in some areas over the past few months, markets in the Euro zone have remained stable with Germany at the forefront," Ralf Weidenhammer explains. "As expected, the first half of the year went very well for us and we are confident that we will achieve our targets again this year."

Custom packaging solutions for the retail trade FachPack serves as a good market barometer for the Weidenhammer Group. "FachPack is this year’s top trade show. Nuremberg is where we meet with our customers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This is where we present new concepts and product innovations, and discuss potential follow-up projects," says Weidenhammer.

Food packaging is one of the main aspects of the Weidenhammer presence at FachPack 2009. "In the composite can segment, we are continuing our focus on solutions for snacks and instant beverages," explains Rolf Regelmann, WPG executive in charge of sales. "We have years of expertise in this field and see important growth opportunities in the future." Along with the SnackCan, Weidenhammer’s packaging solution for stacked chips, the company is presenting composite cans for salted peanuts and other nut products as well as new packaging solutions for sweet snacks and caramels. "We are moving further into a product segment that has been dominated by tinplate and flexible packages."

Weidenhammer products for instant beverages on display at FachPack include composite cans for coffee and cocoa drinks as well as packaging solutions for highly sensitive products like granulated teas for infants. "The composite can has the advantages in all of these product groups," Regelmann explains. "Weidenhammer cans offer high stability and excellent sealing properties. They are ideal marketing tools with a powerful shelf presence and significant differentiation potential. And they offer consumers maximum convenience thanks to features like resealability." These added benefits for consumers are enhanced by special closure systems, caps and shaker top solutions.

"The trend toward custom-designed packaging solutions with added benefits continues," confirms Ralf Weidenhammer. "Weidenhammer is the market and technology leader, which is why we invest heavily each year in research and development." According to Weidenhammer, the company has survived the financial crisis over the past year thanks to its consistent aim at new markets and customers. "We are the specialists for attractively

labeled, high-stability convenience packaging in Europe – in both carton and plastic segments," Weidenhammer comments. "We have a uniform corporate strategy with a clear objective: solid, healthy growth in cooperation with our customers. The fact that we don’t take unnecessary risks helps us stay on course despite difficult conditions."

First product in PermaSafe launched The same approach is also used by Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging (WPP). Founded in 2005, the subsidiary based in Zwenkau near Leipzig generated a profit in 2008 – one year earlier than anticipated. With its clear focus on attractively labeled plastic packaging based on in-mold labeling (IML) technology, Weidenhammer managed to establish itself in a new market for the group, gradually develop additional market segments and gain new customers.

WPP introduced an innovative plastic package for pasteurized and sterilized food products at FachPack 2007. "The interest in PermaSafe was very strong from the very beginning. We received a number of requests after FachPack 2007 ended and launched the first projects in early 2008," explains Andreas Rothschink, Sales Director at Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging. Just in time for FachPack 2009, the first product packed in PermaSafe will appear on supermarket shelves in mid-October when the first three varieties of Müller’s sausage specialties usher in the "reinvention of the tin can."

FachPack 2009 is where WPP is presenting its complete portfolio of plastic packaging for gourmet salads, fish, dairy products, mustards and other perishable semi-solid products, plus elaborate IML packaging for meat, sausage products or ice cream. "This is another area in which we closely follow our guidelines," explains Rothschink. "Working in close cooperation with our customers, we design each of our packages for a specific product."

With twelve production sites, around 970 employees and projected annual sales of GBP190 million in 2009, the Weidenhammer Packaging Group is one of the world’s two leading suppliers of composite cans, composite drums, luxury tubes and plastic containers. Established in Hockenheim, Germany, in 1955, the family-owned enterprise has evolved over the last 50 years to become a market and technology leader in its market segment. Weidenhammer customers include international brand product manufacturers Unilever-Bestfoods, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and BAT.

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