The Resende plant, which is part of the company's Sonoco Phoenix business unit, will serve as Sonoco's centre for export to world markets as well as supplying the Brazilian market, the fourth largest packaging market in the world.
"Sonoco's expansion in Brazil is part of a global growth initiative to leverage Sonoco Phoenix's easy-open closure technology," said Sonoco consumer products senior vice president Charles Sullivan. "Sonoco's investment in Brazil allows the company to increase production capacity to meet growing consumer demand for closures throughout the world."
Paul McClure, business development manager for Sonoco Phoenix McClure claims that Brazilian food companies will benefit from the easy-open closure technology. "Sonoco Phoenix's closures withstand the high temperatures required for processing many foods<" he said. "Our expertise in coating and special manufacturing techniques greatly reduces the risk of corrosion inside and outside of the package. These benefits allow food processors to improve their filling and sealing processes."
It is only in recent years that there has been a substantial increase in their use for food cans. When the ring pull was introduced in the late 1950s, the concept had an immediate impact on the development of the beverage can. But despite the success of the concept, the canned food industry was slow to benefit from the advantages of the easy open end.
Nonetheless, the food packaging industry is making up for lost time. Sonoco is just one of a number of packaging firms moving into this lucrative corner of the market.
"After the steel easy opening end made its première in the market for pet food cans in the early 1990s, it was quickly adopted throughout the whole food market,"said Luxembourg-based Arcelor Packaging's food project leader Barbara Martin.
Sonoco believes that the Brazilian market present a relatively untapped opportunity. "Brazil offers many opportunities for growth, since there is no comparable steel easy-open closure technology available," said McClure.
Initially, the plant is operating with three manufacturing lines that produce 300 diameter easy-open closures suitable for a wide range of canned processed foods, including meats, seafood, vegetables, tomato products, dairy products and pet food. Sonoco plans to add additional manufacturing lines in the near future.
Sonoco Phoenix is the business unit of Sonoco. It manufactures steel, aluminium and peelable membrane easy-open closures for metal, plastic and composite containers. Sonoco Phoenix was created in 2001 when Sonoco purchased Phoenix Packaging, which was founded in 1993. Sonoco Phoenix operates seven manufacturing facilities in the United States and Brazil.