The Weidenhammer Packaging Group, Europe’s leading supplier of composite cans, composite drums and plastic containers, has launched a new composite can production operations in the Russian city of Vladimir near Moscow. Composite cans for the Russian market will initially be produced on one production line. Customers include international food companies as well as local market leaders. The production facility is operated as part of a joint venture with Greiner Packaging Russia. Vladimir is the first Weidenhammer plant in Russia and the company’s twelfth production facility worldwide.
The production of composite cans was launched in Vladimir in October 2009 with a main focus on customers in the food and consumer goods industries. "We are very pleased that, amid the economic crisis, production operations got off to a smooth start," said Ralf Weidenhammer, CEO of the Weidenhammer Packaging Group. "We have been active in Russia for five years and the opening of a production site there will help us serve our customers even better."
The growing purchasing power and positive consumer climate make Russia an attractive growth market for the packaging industry. Weidenhammer customers in Russia include Mars and other multinational food manufacturing groups along with Nastyusha, the Russian market leader for flour, and Novaprodukt. Weidenhammer also produces composite cans for cappuccino specialties and instant beverages in Vladimir, which is 150 km north-east of Moscow and thus located in the city’s economic catchment area. Shaker dispensers and packaging for M&M brand candies (Mars) are also manufactured on the new production line.
"Composite cans are not standard packaging in Russia. We need to start building the market in many areas," says Oliver Wolff, Weidenhammer Packaging Group Regional Director, South America & Eastern Europe. "But the sales potential for our packaging is high. Convenience products are in high demand, and since the new plant opened in October 2009, we have seen a growing interest in our composite cans on the customer side."
Weidenhammer operates the new production facility in a joint venture established in 2008 with Greiner Packaging Russia, which has been manufacturing at the Vladimir site for six years. The company primarily makes molded plastic packaging and K3 packaging (plastic paperboard combination) for the food industry. The two companies each hold 50 percent of the new composite can production facility. Greiner Packaging Russia provides the infrastructure along with extensive market expertise. Weidenhammer contributes the technological know-how and expertise in the production of composite cans. The company also brings a number of customers into the joint venture. For both partners, this arrangement serves as an ideal basis for further expansion.
In the initial phase of plant construction, an assembly line for sealed cans and shaker dispensers was installed. This line is used to produce composite cans in various formats, including the Weidenhammer 73, 83, and 99 millimeter cans with heights ranging from 70 to 240 millimeters. "The assembly line is currently operating in one shift," says Wolff. "But we assume that, like our other plants, we will be moving to two shifts as the order volume increases."