Guangdong Fosber Intelligent Equipment Co Ltd – Fosber Asia – is reporting growing orders for its new Pro/Line corrugator, which has been specifically designed for the fast growing Asian market and is fully manufactured at the company’s Foshan plant in GuangdongProvince, South China, to comply with local ML standards.
Fosber Asia’s domestic customer footprint has grown steadily since launching the Pro/Line in China two years ago. Among customers recently installing a Pro/Line corrugator is Dongguan Hsinpu Paper Co Ltd, which is located in Dongguan City, one of Guangdong Province’s leading export manufacturing centres.
Dongguan Hsinpu has installed a 2.8m Pro/Line to replace two old 1.8m corrugators as part of plans to increase the company’s production efficiency and sheet output.
“Our Pro/Line corrugator’s performance is very good. The quality of our new corrugator is better than that of local equipment suppliers,” commented Dongguan Hsinpu’s Chief Executive Officer, Zhang Xin Xiong. “We rigorously test our board using ECT and BCT testing equipment and the board is flat and superior to board being produced by some of our competitors in the region.”
Dongguan Hsinpu had considered other European corrugators, Zhang noted, but chose the Pro/Line for its operator friendly features, easy handling and quick order change. The fact that Fosber Asia’s plant is located conveniently nearby in Foshan City, about a three hour drive away, also influenced the purchase decision.
“The technical support we receive from Fosber Asia is very good. We are happy with their technical service and the training they provide our operators,” Zhang said. “Our operators are progressing well, considering they had been previously running manual machines. The transition to automated machinery has been easier than expected, thanks to the support of Fosber Asia. They have sent many technical people to provide us with on-site operator training and technical support.”
Dongguan Hsinpu has chosen the 300m per min Pro/Line model for its greater productivity. “We chose the 300 variation because we felt that a 250m per min model would not be able to meet our requirements,” Zhang said. “We commissioned the machine on 30th June, 2019. We started it up and were averaging 150m per min quickly – and by the end of 2019 we were averaging 200m per min. Our target in the short term is to run the line at over 210m per min average, moving up to in excess of 220m per min by the summer.”
The new machine is currently producing over 13 million sqm per month. Zhang noted the eventual production target for the Pro/Line is 18 to 20 million sqm a month, once the machine reaches its target line speed.
Dongguan Hsinpu is part of a paper and packaging group controlled by Zhang, which includes a nearby sheet plant, Dongguan New Horse Products Ltd and a corrugated board plant, Jiangxi Xingsheng Packaging Colour Printing Co Ltd, which is located in Jiangxi Province. Established in 1997 as a sheet plant, the Dongguan-based group expanded into corrugated sheet production in 1999 setting up its first sheet feeder and later established Dongguan Hsinpu in 2011 at its present factory site. Converting is now handled by Dongguan New Horse Products.
Dongguan Hsinpu occupies a 65,000 sqm site with covered buildings totalling 35,000 sqm in area. In addition to the newly installed Pro/Line, Dongguan Hsinpu operates a 2.5m Taiwanese corrugator at an average line speed of 180m per min. Using its two corrugators, Dongguan Hsinpu currently produces 25 million sqm of corrugated board per month. Singlewall board accounts for about 70% of production and doublewall board 30%.
According to Zhang, the company plans to produce a combined total of 30 million sqm monthly once the Pro/Line reaches its eventual line speed target. “Previously with three corrugators, our total capacity was up to 1 million sqm per day, now with our new Pro/Line our capacity is 1.2 million sqm per day,” Zhang said. “Since we installed the three original corrugators in 2011 and 2012, we have seen a solid growth in sheet orders as China’s economy has grown every year. We chose the Pro/Line because of the quality of the machine and its speed is faster than competitors,” he continued. “Also, we can save costs as we need fewer operators for the two lines.”
In addition to the Pro/Line’s faster running speed and improved sheet quality, installing the 2.8m corrugator allows Dongguan Hsinpu to use wider paper rolls. “With our two 1.8m corrugators, we used nine different paper roll widths from 1m to 1.5m,” Zhang explained. “Now we can run paper from 1.5m to 2.8m on the new machine. We prefer the wider rolls, as we get more output from the machine on an open hour basis.”
In addition to increasing Dongguan Hsinpu’s production efficiency and sheet output, the Pro/Line is popular with the operators due to its ease of operation and improved operator safety features compared with older manual corrugators.
“Our work force is quite stable. It’s important to guarantee staff stability in your factory, so our salary level and working conditions are a little higher than other companies around here,” Zhang said. “Our working environment is good. Our factory is cleaner than others’ and our canteen facilities are excellent. The Pro/Line and our other equipment have more automation and safety features – and operators are more willing to operate such machines.”
Dongguan Hsinpu recently sound-proofed its two corrugating lines to further improve the factory working environment. “We have installed sound proofing for the Pro/Line as operators are working there for seven to eight hours a day,” Zhang explained. “We have also sound proofed the old corrugating line which is next door to our Pro/Line – it’s still not common to have sound proofing in China. The sound proofing for the Pro/Line reduces the operating noise from 120 decibels to about 80 decibels.”
Fast and efficient handling of small orders is another feature of the Pro/Line that attracted Dongguan Hsinpu. The company supplies 95% of its corrugated sheet production to a large number of independent converters that are located within a 100km radius of its plant.
“We estimate that there are over 1,000 converting companies in the Dongguan area,” Zhang said. “All our customers are quite small converting companies; each customer uses about 30,000 sqm a day. Most of our orders are small – we supply about 5% of our sheets to Dongguan New Horse Products converting plant and the rest of the sheets to about 400 to 500 independent converters. Customers in China demand multiple short orders. It’s one of the reasons we bought the Pro/Line. We needed a line that could make quick order changes,” added Zhang.
Installing the Fosber Asia Pro/Line is opening new business opportunities for Dongguan Hsinpu, which will supply more sheets to nearby group member, Dongguan New Horse Products Ltd. Established in 2005, Dongguan New Horse is equipped with six flexo printing and converting lines, handling about 1.5 million sqm of sheets per month.
“We plan to buy three high speed converting lines in 2020 – we are choosing the supplier now,” Zhang said. “We will install two machines at first and then add the third line later. These new machines will increase our converting capacity by about 10% to 20%.”
Expanding Dongguan New Horse’s box converting capacity is aimed partly at providing Dongguan Hsinpu with longer single order production runs. “We want to install more printing and converting machines to increase the average sqm size of each sheet order,” Zhang said. “We want to increase the reliability and stability of our box production. The increase in corrugated sheet production from our new Pro/Line will need to be matched by an increase in our own converting capacity.”
Although Dongguan Hsinpu is expanding production in Guangdong, Zhang noted the current trend in China for simple manufacturing to move out of Guangdong to lower cost provinces and overseas production locations including Vietnam and Cambodia.
“Manufacturing businesses and the corrugated market are moving from Guangdong to Jiangxi and other less developed provinces as land for factories is cheaper,” Zhang said. “We will continue to grow and we are also considering buying companies in other provinces and countries.”
In fact, Dongguan Hsinpu’s first investment outside Guangdong was in Jiangxi Province in 2019, where the company acquired Jiangxi Xingsheng Packaging Colour Printing Co Ltd (SISENS), a well invested business. It runs two corrugators, along with a Roland litho printing line and a four colour Mitsubishi EVOL flexo folder gluer.
Zhang concludes, “We plan to expand our corrugating and converting business – I’m optimistic, because I believe that the big corrugators have a good future. The addition of the Pro/Line is a great move for us.”