The agreement was announced at Interpack 2017 in Dűsseldorf, Germany, (May 4-10) where Hans-Joachim Boekstegers, CEO, Multivac, talked about opening a €20m ($22m) factory in Bulgaria, its subsidiary in the Dominican Republic, and expanding its processing portfolio.
The first phase of the 20,000m² Multivac Bulgaria Production facility on Industrial Zone Bozhurishte will be completed in August.
According to Dr Ralph Wiechers, chief economist, VDMA (the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association), China remained the world's largest machine manufacturer in 2016 with a turnover of €964bn and US held second place with €335bn.
Among the top 10 largest machine manufacturers, Japan (4th) showed strong growth with an increase in sales by 11% to €238bn, while Great Britain (9th) recorded a decline in sales (minus 9% to €38bn). Changes in the exchange rates had a considerable effect on these results. While the value of the Yen rose by about 12% last year, the British pound lost about 11%.
The three large economic blocks showed no shift last year. Asia remained the largest region by a clear margin (equivalent to €1,395bn, the year before: €1,390bn). More than half of the total global machine turnover was generated there. Trailing by a considerable margin, Europe came in second (minus 1% to €722bn), ahead of North America (minus 5% to €360bn).
The site will comprise production of parts, components for packaging machines, manufacturing, a warehouse, logistics and a training center.
Multivac will also develop a center for shared IT services, strategic sourcing and an R&D division.
“We are continuing to systematically invest in the expansion of our services and production capacity,” said Boekstegers.
“The latest members of our Group are subsidiaries in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, Thailand and Uzbekistan. We have also built a Sales and Service Hub in Charlotte, US.”
Multivac reported sales of €952m in 2016, a 7.1% increase on the previous year. The German part of the Group achieved a turnover of €395m in 2016, an increase of 7.0% on 2015.
Recent investments include a Logistics Center and office at the Group's headquarters, a factory in the US, the production site in Bulgaria and a production hall in Austria.
Boekstegers said the company now plans to further invest in machinery and equipment at its existing locations, to increase its capacity.
For example, Multivac acquired a share of TVI Produktion und Entwicklung this year that makes meat portioning and processing equipment.
As part of their joint expansion plans, it will invest in a production facility and offices in Bruckmühl, due to open at the end of the year.
The strategic alliance with Meyn Food Processing Technology and Cabinplant will focus on poultry processing, and projects and lines for ready meals, fish and meat.
Products highlighted at Interpack included the G700 traysealer for ready meals and convenience products, a thermoforming packaging line for producing portion packs with individual pack formats and various batch sizes, and a thermoforming packaging for sliced products.
It also debuted its X-line, a new generation of thermoforming packaging machines, with complete digitalization, sensor system and interaction with the Multivac Cloud for a more consistent pack quality and a higher level of process speed.
X-line features include Multivac Pack Pilot; Multi Sensor Control; HMI 3 Multi-Touch user interface; and X-tools for shorter evacuation times and higher cycle outputs. For example, the X-tools can be designed with a narrower edge trim width. This means film trim is reduced by up to 30%.
All the die elements are coded and can be identified by the thermoforming packaging machine. When a die is correctly installed, the machine parameterizes itself automatically, increasing operating reliability particularly for machines with frequent format changes.
According to VDMA, global machine sales dropped by 1% €2,530bn in 2016. But the result was strongly influenced by exchange rate effects.
Last year, Germany maintained its position as the third-largest machine producer with a nominal turnover of €262bn, which amounted to around 10% of worldwide machine sales.
“Despite the current political challenges and uncertainties such as the effects of terrorism on the world economy, the impact of Brexit and the developments in Turkey those at Multivac look optimistically towards the future,” said Boekstegers.
“In 2017, we are reckoning on turnover growth of around 10%.
“Currently, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the US and France are good markets for us.”