AUSTRALIA – Can-do manufacturer, Orora Beverage has invested US$80 million (A$110m) to establish a new aluminium can manufacturing line at its Dandenong facility in Australia’s southeast state of Victoria.

The new canning line was flagged off, sighting the emerging demand for the company’s 200ml boutique-sized aluminium cans for soft drinks, kombucha and alcohol.

Orora Beverage President, Simon Bromell, asserted: “The cans business has been growing strongly and hence the investments that we have made.

“Some of that growth clearly comes from sustainability cues of cans relative to plastic. Some of it comes from consumer preference which is particularly craft beer playing a strong role.”

According to the president, Orora Beverage’s 200ml aluminium cans seem to drive smaller customers who want to launch new brands with their flagship products.

Orora received an unspecified amount from the State Government and added its capacity to invest about A$110 million in the Dandenong expansion and revamp its Ballarat ends unit.

The expansion created 18 new jobs, primarily in Dandenong, where Orora already employs 250 people.

The Industry and Innovation and Manufacturing Sovereignty Minister Ben Carroll and Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams toured the plant on 23 August and witnessed the mechanical and chemical treatment of metal, which is cured into can shape at a rate of 300 cans per minute.

The cans are recyclable and decorated using an eight-colour paint machine. They are then dried, washed, checked, and stacked in towers before being shipped to customers for filling.

The new wastewater treatment plant, which has been operational since January, was also showcased during the visit. It enables Orora to recycle 50% of its water for washing.

Carroll said: “We are backing companies like Orora to expand, become more innovative and create jobs because we are Australia’s advanced manufacturing state.”

“It is wonderful to see this important supply chain for our manufacturing sovereignty. It shows you why food and fiber are such an important part of the manufacturing story in Victoria.”

Last month, Orora announced that its Dandenong production facility will boast direct-to-can digital printing capabilities from next year as it invests in Velox Digital printing solutions.

The new digital printing division of the beverage packaging supply company will be known as Helio by Orora and its services are expected to be available by the third quarter of 2024.

Orora said in a media statement that digital printing will “complement and capitalize” on Dandenong’s new US$80 million multi-size canning line that was fully installed in June.

Orora’s announcement follows East Coast Canning becoming the first to offer direct-to-can digital printing in Australia when they spent US$5 million bringing the German-made Hinterkopf D240.2 digital printer into the country early last year.

The mobile canning company received a US$1 million Federal Government Modern Manufacturing Fund grant to assist with its purchase.

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