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Cannon sustains exponential growth of polyurethane equipment business in region

Italian family-owned equipment supplier has been doing business in Asia since the 1980s through agents and brokers, but now operates through Cannon Far East

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm

Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports

Asia has emerged as the fastest growth market for Cannon – the world-leading specialist in polyurethane and reactive polymer technologies and equipment.

A diversified group with an expansive global footprint, Cannon has adopted a localised management approach to establish a trusted legacy across geographically vast and culturally diverse Asia. Propelled by its operations in China, Cannon has achieved exponential sales in the region, which accounted for 26 per cent of its turnover last year.

“To be competitive, you have to be local,” says Wong Lee Meng, managing director of Cannon Far East. “The whole concept is to be near the customer in order to make Cannon’s global expertise available where it is needed the most.”

The Italian family-owned equipment supplier has been doing business in Asia since the 1980s through agents and brokers, but now operates through Cannon Far East.

Strategically located in Singapore, the wholly owned subsidiary handles sales and marketing of all Cannon products in the region and provides prompt technical support to local industries. With guidance from its head office, Cannon Far East can localise and modify equipment to suit customers’ application and cost requirements.

Cannon Far East subsequently set up offices in mainland China, with six locations, and in Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. In 2004, it strengthened its presence in China with the establishment of Zhongshan Shinnon Machinery. With its dedication to cost-effective production with good quality and design, Shinnon has become one of the strongest manufacturing bases of Cannon.

Aside from making polyurethane machinery for the Chinese market, Shinnon-manufactured equipment has been exported and installed in modern production lines in the United States, Europe, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Russia, South Africa and Mexico.

Following the opening of units in South Korea, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, Cannon plans to further expand its reach into Asia. It is looking into carving a presence in emerging markets such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines.

Over the years, Cannon has diversified into synergistic fields to cater to more industrial sectors. Cannon supplies equipment for thermoforming and composites, energy production and industrial water treatments, aluminium die-casting and industrial electronic controls. Its offerings range from standard general-purpose models to tailor-made versions designed to meet specific technical requirements and production processes.

“Cannon is a diversified group serving many sectors,” Wong says. “If business is down in one sector, another one compensates. This is a key strength and the foundation of the company’s sustainability.”

In recent years, Cannon has seen significant sales growth in the refrigerator and automobile sectors in the Far East as the population becomes more affluent. It is also showing solid performance in the green energy industry with global concerns centred on energy savings and emission reduction.

Steadfast to its goal of promoting sustainable industrial activities, Cannon continues to improve its proven machines and incorporate cutting-edge ideas and powerful new technologies hatched at its research and department sites in Italy, Britain, Japan and the US.

Highlighting its pursuit of true innovation are newly developed mixing heads such as the JL and SR models, which bring important operational advantages including a more laminar flow for higher output to cater to bigger injection volume, particularly for bigger refrigerators and home appliances, and new processes for polyurethane processing.

Cannon is also very active in high-pressure resin transfer moulding processes for the production of carbon fibre parts mainly for the automotive sector. A big plant has been installed in China to make carbon fibre parts for the local automotive sector with additional lines planned. Cannon is also introducing recycled carbon fibre technology to the market.

“Our business has always revolved around what is good for the environment,” Wong says. “We will continue to use our expertise to develop technologies and solutions that support low environmental impact operations.”