Korean Connection

April 2006 (Download Article As PDF)

While most machinery produced in Korea is for the domestic market, several South Korean machinery suppliers are looking to increase exports to fast expanding markets such as China and India whereprice competitiveness can be the key to clinching sales, says David Hayes.

Production and consumption of corrugated in South Korea has grown throughout most of the past three decades, mirroring the country's rapid industrialisation and economic growth progress. Greater demand for high quality protective packaging has been one of the major factors boosting the use of corrugated board for domestic and export packaging. South Korea's converting machinery manufacturers have benefited from this growing demand for high quality protective packaging. While most machinery produced in Korea is for the domestic market, several South Korean machinery suppliers are looking to increase exports to fast expanding markets such as China and India where price competitiveness can be the key to clinching sales.

One such supplier, looking to develop overseas sales, is Young Shin Machinery Co Ltd, a leading South Korean manufacturer of die-cutters for corrugated and cartonboard. Established in 1980 as Young Machine Industry Co, the company's first product was the handfed clamshell platen. Over the years, various other machines were developed -including the YT-1020 automatic flatbed die-cutter. By 1990 Young Shin had begun exporting its die-cutters to Japan and Southeast Asia, followed over the next 10 years with exports to China, India, Europe and more recently to the United States.

The Revotec 1040S and 1060SR are the company's latest generation hi-speed automatic die-cutters and are suitable for cutting most grades of material. Substrates as thin as 80gsm paper up to 3mm solid board are handled easily, along with corrugated board up to B flute and a wide range of plastic materials. The versatility of the Revotec 1040S and 1060SR also makes them suitable for print finishers. The 1060SR is also ideal for carton makers as the machine incorporates a grip edge removal system for 100 per cent stripping. Heating systems can also be incorporated to assist the cutting of plastics.

Exported to various European and Asian countries, the Revotec 1040S has also been well received in South Korea since its launch in 2003. "This is the newest model among our product range,"" commented Managing Director, Kae-Taik Lee. Weighing 17 tons and designed to produce a maximum of 7,500 sheets per hour, the Revotec 1040S handles a maximum sheet size of 1040 x 700mm and a minimum sheet size of 440 x340mm. Lee noted that the model is designed with a minimum gripper margin of 8mm while the cutting pressure is 250 tons. The machine can cope with sheets from 0.1mm to 1.5mm or B-flute corrugated (4mm in thickness). Features include an exact register side lay with sensors and micro regulator, while an automatic oil lubricator and automatic greasing device ensures simple maintenance. The feeder system is complemented by chase turnover and centre line for quick order change.

Domestic sales in Korea are important -both in terms of revenue as well as allowing the company to monitor its machinery performance at close hand. "We have a 70 per cent share of the domestic market and we are still selling significant numbers of machines to Korean customers," Lee commented. Different markets have different requirements. Not all converters require the latest machinery and so, the company recently started to sell the older YT1040NCS (1040 x 70mm) die-cutter in China where its lower price tag is useful. “We think the Chinese market will be a huge market for us -it's growing so fast," Lee said. "Chinese customers want to buy good quality machines at reasonable prices so the YT 1040NCS is perfect for the Chinese market."

Young Shin Machinery's factory is located in the city of Taegu in the centre of the Korean Peninsular. The company produces about 100 die-cutters (all types) each year. In the UK and 11 countries of Europe, Young Shin die-cutters are marketed by Crosland VK Ltd of Manchester. "Young Shin make only die-cutters and we sell only die-cutters - it's a strategic alliance," comments Steve Waterhouse, Group Sales Director of Crosland VK Ltd that produces its own range of hand fed die-cutters for sale worldwide.

In addition to marketing Young Shin's machines in Europe, the business partnership involves the transfer of technical information. Mr Waterhouse explains, "We have 30 people with 20 years experience each in every machine aspect, so we get involved in R&D with Young Shin - it's a technology exchange and we are the only foreign company giving them such technical assistance."

"Our input includes health and safety so the machines comply with European regulations such as guarding and trip centres, and to make access to moving parts of machines less accessible," Mr Waterhouse continues. "We have also provided advice on fine tuning —from a machine operator's point of view - including the setting up of side lays to make printed register work more accurate. This is particularly important for the point of sale sector where we have sold 30 machines in the UK alone."

2M MACHINE

Crosland is currently co-operating with Young Shin to develop a two metre width version of the YT-1700SII, a fully automatic platen used for corrugated and point of sale. This model is specifically for the conversion of large sheet sizes (1200mm x 1700mm). All board grades can be handled, from micro flute up to 11mm double wall board.

The YT-1700SII feeder has a powerful lead edge suction unit, which allows it to handle warped sheets. The machine incorporates full stripping capabilities, including grip edge removal system. The batch delivery conveyor can be raised and lowered, giving the option for standard batch delivery or directly onto a pallet. Young Shin’s semi-automatic platens are available in six sizes from the 1300mm width YT-SA1300 up to the 2.5 metre width YT-SA2500 which handles sheet sizes from 950 x 1300mm up to 1700 x 2500mm.

The 2.1 metre YT-SA2100 model is one of the company's most popular machines in Europe. There is a wide range of options for these semi-automatics, such as heater systems, batch delivery, grip edge removal and high pile delivery. The company's latest innovation is a feeder that can be fitted to any semi automatic platen allowing some jobs to be fed fully automatically.

Platen Exports

Meanwhile, Crosland is looking at opportunities to expand export sales of its own hand fed platens. Assembled in Manchester, these hand fed platens incorporate machinery castings produced to order in China by a company in Shanghai. While the company intends to continue producing hand fed platens in the UK, it is looking at the possibility of producing machines in India for the local market.

"We are looking at India because of the steel foundries there for castings. Perhaps hand fed machines could be made under licence,"" Mr Waterhouse said. "The UK is a very mature market for hand fed platens, the growth areas are India, Africa and China where labour is cheap. India produces die-cutters but they are not so good. Also, Crosland has intellectual property patents."

Refurbished machines also form an important part of the hand fed platen die- cutter market. "Customers come back when they decide to upgrade their machines. About eight out of 10 contracts for new machines involve part exchange, Mr Waterhouse remarked. "We refurbish and sell hand fed platen die-cutters through 14 agents worldwide. South Africa and Poland are major markets for refurbished equipment, but we have also sold machines to the Ukraine. The refurbished market is 50 per cent of our total sales - and if a machine is fully refurbished by us then everything is put right - it's as good as buying new."

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