Extended in-person event after pandemic-related postponement
The last ProPak in-person edition took place in 2019. Then, in 2020, due to Covid, an online edition took place. The 2021 edition was cancelled entirely and postponed to 2022. Finally, and with a new organiser in charge, Propak Asia 2022 took-off at Bitec Bangna in Bangkok from June 15-18, 2022. The exhibition space expanded from the previous 30,000 m2 to 40,000 m2 this time. To enhance visitor experience the organiser offered various attractions including accompanying seminars, international conferences, workshops, ‘Executive Talks’ by high-profile executives, live demonstrations and even cookery classes. PETplanet editor Michael Maruschke went along to investigate PET-relevant exhibits.
In general, Propak Asia is best considered as the exhibition of international brands. Visitors are drawn by its solid reputation rather than moving parts. However, Propak Asia’s focus has changed over the years. Gone are the days when the latest PET production equipment was on display. Food production and processing is now the dominant feature: automatic sausage peeling equipment running at unimaginably high spinning speeds has replaced traditional compression moulding machines.
Visitor numbers at Propak 2022 were high, with many flying in from South-East Asia, India and the Middle East. For exhibitors the decision to participate proved well justified. Particularly noticeable was the increased numbers of exhibitors (and visitors) from India, and correspondingly fewer from China, which obviously was not only due to travel restrictions.
One of the more eye-catching exhibition pieces was the Krones’ 3D Printer. The Ultimaker S5 3D printer can produce emergency parts on demand in just a few hours. Krones not only provides the 3D printer and filament materials, but also supports the customer in getting the part printed as soon as possible. The customer can log-in online into the Krones shop and get an overview of all available printable spare parts. The printing order can then be sent directly to the customer’s 3D printer and the printing can start.
Another company exhibiting machines was P&S Technology from Korea running the rotary type surface inspection system PS-21GP (non-crystallised preform inspection). The 3-wheel rotary system applies the company’s patent lenses (so-called hyper/tele-centric and pinhole lenses) and inspects the entire surface of the preform, including neck, and ejects all the bad preforms at a capacity of 200-1,000 ppm. Three different models are available for different output ranges.
Particularly busy was the stand of Mahatanee Industrial, a Thai manufacturer of preform moulds and lower-output PET stretch blow moulding machines. According to the company, the focus is to cover a wide range of different bottles that can be produced with the equipment, rather than simply on output. The seven different machine models are capable of blowing bottles between 30 ml and 20 l. In addition to machines and moulds, the company also supplies bottles, preforms and caps.
Caps and closures are the business of Mikasa. The Japanese company, with production facilities in Thailand, produces a wide range of sophisticated caps for basically any neck finish and for a variety of functions including heat resistance, easy-segregation and tamper prevention. In addition to the generic snap-on PET bottle finishes, the company offers PET bottles which replicate the finish of glass bottles and squeeze bottles which are suitable for a number of product options. At the exhibition Mikasa showcased their latest developments: The pull-open ring tamper evident FHC Flip Top Cap (LDPE, 6.8 g) is easy-to-segregate and particularly suitable for different edible oils and oil-based dressings. Another recently developed cap is dedicated to a popular Thai sauce: the so-called Ton Cap is a type of Nozzle Cap (PP/LDPE, 8,75 g) featuring a tamper evident band and a complete new design, that makes it particularly suitable for high viscosity liquids such as chili sauce, ketchup and the local spicy Thai Sriracha sauce.
Other exhibitors from the PET family included Sidel, Serac, Bericap, Thai converter TCK, the compressor manufacturers AF Compressors from Belgium and ABC Compressors from Spain and Indian preform mould maker Leo Precision Products.
The next ProPak Asia will take place June 14-17, 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand.