As ProPak Asia 2017 celebrated 25 years Scandinavia had relatively strong presence there, with Tetra Pak and a Denmark Pavilion of companies in the Processing Tech Asia exhibition, as well as Swedish brand Ecolean participating in a ‘Let’s Drive Your Innovation’ seminar within Food Innovation Asia Conference 2017.
Denmark (pavilion organised by Confederation of Danish Industry) and Tetra Pak presented significant and many established solutions and innovations at this huge (25% increase in size) international packaging and processing event for Asia held at Bitec in Bangkok on 21-24 June.
Propak Asia is undoubtedly a good platform to reach out for both big companies and SME’s, where extra attention is now also there thanks to Thailand driving its Industry 4.0 ambition in order to meet the need for expanded industrial capabilities.
Søren Falck, International Market Adviser at Danish Industry for Asia commented: “Why Propak is so interesting is that it reaches a lot of countries, it’s a hub exhibition. So it’s a good way to get contacts in different countries and when we did Propak Asia last year some companies got Vietnamese contacts. Then when we did Propak Vietnam, so it gives them an impression on what markets that are interesting and can then follow up. I would say, without doubt, the most interesting countries are Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand in terms of purchasing power, Vietnam is up-and-coming but our recent visits there points to that there are clients able to buy European standard solutions.”
Previously, he said, Vietnam prospects were interested but didn’t have the funding, or the cash, to buy Danish products and solutions, or needed some sort of external funding. “So we can see a switch there now. And Thailand is for this sector tremendously interesting as it has such a big food production. Also Malaysia with its coconuts and palm oil industries, and having the purchasing power to buy the more expensive equipment that Europe usually offers.”
“Next year, 2018, we will do Propak China, Vietnam and Thailand. There is definitely a larger focus on Asia from Danish companies now.”
“Propak Asia is also a good platform for the SMEs because maybe they don’t have time to go travel every month to Asia, but that they are present at major exhibitions in the area each year shows to the customers that they want to do business in Asia.”
Søren Falck said that Danish Industry has a really large group of small and mid-sized companies and for those it’s a fairly big task to be part of an exhibition. At Propak in Bangkok some of them can meet customers all the way from China and Japan.
SiccaDania is one such industrial equipment supplier, founded only back in March 2015 (and already employing 60) but based on established Danish, so called, separation technology.
Displaying the ‘Small Scale Spray Dryer’ Christine Holt told ScandAsia that they are establishing themselves globally, and have, in Asia, opened offices in Shanghai and Singapore.
“We develop all the technology and do engineering and design in Denmark and then use workshops globally, considering where the plant is going to be because some plants are so big they have to be built on site.”
The spray dryer exhibited at Propak is their smallest one.
In Southeast Asia they so far have a project in Sri Lanka for milk, a protein plant in Thailand and a coffee plant in Vietnam.
Evita Rosdahl, CEO of Jeros attended to promote their utensil washers, tray cleaners and crate washers for the food industry, as well as the retail branch. The products of Jeros are based on more than 50 year’s of experience and know-how, from a company characterized by focusing on high quality and customized solutions.
“The solution has changed over the years, also from the customer side of view. But the basic is still what we started up with, but also the demand from the customer side is also increasing. They are looking very much at the logistics. We can provide them with an accessory that brings down the washing down-time in general but also secures safe handling of items.”
This is combined with the secureness of the hygiene because the machine, versus a human being, can achieve precisely the same result every time.
Attending Propak (second time for Jeros) also gives insights into the market by talking to visitors.
“We are very satisfied with the exhibition that also shows us what level in general the market are at the moment.”
Evita was also looking for a local partner: “We need to go with someone who is in the market to take care of customers, with after sales service and also to make the customer feel comfortable. A machine like this has a long lifetime and you can only keep that level if you have also a good spare part delivery. That is prolonging the brand name, because it is also about good service.”
Dairy Tech was another company in attendance that is much more established in Thailand. With a long tradition as a total solution engineering company in the dairy industry owner/CEO Allan Jensen is now out to target the coconut industry.
“In Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and in Thailand the production of Desiccated Coconut Powder is getting more and more costly. They can’t make ends meet so they need value added products, which we provide solutions for. We can make 3-4 products out of the kernel where there is a higher value return of the product,” said Allan.
“One of the things I have discovered over the years is that the equipment used by the dairy industry fits very well into the coconut sector.”
“That is a very big growth market in all these countries,” he added.
“Then, we still also have the milk market where organic milk will be the next big thing, no doubt about it. If they could control it, they would all like to make that, but how do you control the farmers, that they don’s use any fertiliser and all these things? That’s the big thing… We are working together with somebody in Vietnam on such a project.”
This represents adjusting businesses’ way of thinking to achieve new business success, and find solutions from existing and new methods and solutions.
Innovation can be the game-changer at the heart of this, and often a crucial survival option amidst fierce competition.
Ecolean, a Swedish producer of lightweight packaging solutions for distribution of liquid food, highlighted this in the ‘Packaging Innovation: Productivity, Efficiency and Eco-friendly’ presentation, by Tanan Sodsangsuk Country Manager, Thailand for Ecolean SE Asia.
With a fundamental focus on innovation Ecolean offers a new packaging format that can strengthen brands to stand out both in terms of product and packaging, now with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, aside in China.
Tetra Pak also held presentations in the form of their ‘Knowledge Sharing Seminars’ with industry experts’ insights on their innovative products, solutions, and food processing that helps their customers innovate and grow their businesses.
The Swedish world-leader in food processing and packaging solutions showcased their processing solutions as well as automation and service solutions.
Ashish Dahiya, Cluster Leader Marketing, Portfolio & Category Management said: ”We are trying to better showcase and communicate our capabilities outside our core areas – dairy and beverages – for which customers know us best. So on the food processing side we are also active in ice cream and prepared food categories. We want to showcase what we have done in Europe and in the U.S and are now bringing those solutions also into Asean.”
He said that they aimed at visitors taking with them knowledge about Tetra Pak’s end-to-end solutions that they are currently alone in offering; all the way from raw material reception, to processing, filling, packaging and distribution of palletised goods.
“And we want to showcase the experts we have not only in the market but at Tetra Pak, so customers get the opportunity to talk to and hear from those from our centre of expertise in Sweden.”
One of their experts flown in from Sweden, Anders Andrén, Product Manager Plant Integration and Automation, also presented something new; namely the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) solution ‘Tetra Pak Plant Master’. This is their next-generation automation and info solution, which allows customers to control end-to-end operations.
Anders said that this system also positions their unique functionality based on food production know-how to the industry. “There are many MES systems suppliers but only Tetra Pak bases it on food production needs linked to food safety, product quality and traceability demand on top of the traditional KPIs, reporting etc. and making it available for the total operation, e.g. processing, packaging, ware-housing etc.
“That gives us a unique position and that’s why we are here; we want to bring this to our customers and make it clear to them that we are a supplier that are investing and providing these solutions to the food industry.”
“Now, with Industry 4.0, it’s about connecting all the dots together to have data available at all points; both in the operation, linking the fact that you get modern equipment that comes with connectivity, industrial IoT. And as you are digitalising more and more of your manual reporting and analytics of the food and beverage industry – all of this we merge together into Tetra Pak’s Plant Master, linking it to the capital equipment supply – through plant automation.”
“What is most interesting is that you do not replace the existing plant automation, as that is typically very costly. You can implement our MES system on top, and get the data management layer, the information layer, that in many cases is missing.”
“It’s also enabling a lot our new service offers as well, which is very much built on cloud-based systems, data availability and remote support operation, and all the things you need within connectivity and data management becomes a link to that as well, which is also a part of industry 4.0.”