The 2017 Alumni included 27 delegates from 10 different countries who visited 10 factories in 7 cities across China in a busy 10 days before heading to Hawaii for some much needed down time (only one day) before joining the ARM / ARMA Joint Forum. Mario Perez, one of this year’s participants from Columbia said “I learned a lot and enjoyed the trip. The Rototour group was wonderful and very friendly.”
As usual the tour began with an optional add on, which is a mixture of tourism and factory visits around Beijing. Two of China’s major attractions are there, so it was a great way to start and delegates enjoyed the craziness of a tour through Tiananmen Square, with its huge picture of Chairman Mao, the stunning and very large Forbidden City, a traditional Peking Duck Dinner and the following day a tour of the Great Wall of China. I still have a picture of the first delegation in Tiananmen Square that is one of my favourite moments of 20 years in the moulding industry. Even in 2017 a group of Europeans is still an unusual enough opportunity for local Chinese people to snap a photo of themselves with one or all of the tour.
The first moulder on the program was Lang Fang Quan Zhen Automobile Fittings Co., Ltd, which was founded in 1997. The Auto parts factory covers an area of 66000m2, their rotational molding factory covers an area of 80000m2 and they have more than 400 employees. Their leading products are for sun visors, roof, carpet, sound insulation products, SMC, GMT heavy products and injection molding and rotational molding products. The company manufactures foamed containers, a specialisation for many Chinese rotomoulders as well as septic systems and water retention systems.
The tour is both an opportunity and a challenge for the factories that choose to host. One of this year’s delegates to China has also been a host factory and has seen the benefits of both sides. Tim Leed and Steve Kyval of Melbourne Rotomould believe it’s a good investment. Steve says “This was our second Rototour, and we are again looking forward to working these fresh insights into our business over the next 12 months.”
The group’s first flight from Beijing to Shanghai was, quite typically for China, delayed and subject to traffic woes but eventually the full delegation settled in for the rest of the tour together. The next factory, situated several hours out of Shanghai is one of the world’s largest rotoliners. Santi specialises in chemical preservative rotomolding equipment. The company has advanced production equipment and technology, mainly in modified polyethylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, ethylene – tetrafluoroethylene copolymer, polyolefin (PO), polyphenylene sulfide and polypropylene as raw materials. Production of all rotational molding anti-corrosion chemical equipment, chemical preservative steel liner rotomolding equipment, non-standard steel liner rotational molding, manufacturing chemical preservative three series, in over 100 varieties. This company also transports machinery dockside and rotolines containers beside the ships on which they will be storing chemicals!
Shanghai, on China’s central coast, is the country’s biggest city and a global financial hub. Its heart is the Bund, a famed waterfront promenade lined with colonial-era buildings. Much of China’s rotomoulding industry is based around Shanghai’s wider region and while in the city ARMA partnered with RPC-CPPIA, the Chinese association for their conference, at which several of the Rototour delegates presented. The afternoon was followed by a joint dinner, which allowed Chinese and international moulders to get together and share the experience and their knowledge.
The following day the group visited Shanghai Chunxu Mould Industrial Co., Ltd. One of the biggest mold suppliers and rotomolded products professional manufacturers and exporters in China. Their product range includes aluminium moulds used to mold playground toys for export and custom-design moulds for other rotomolding plants in China. They also make Air-blower shells, shipping cases, tool cases, petrol tanks, flower planters, water tanks, and many other things. The tour visited this factory in 2005 and the quality, expertise and communication has improved markedly.
The next visit was to Cixi Deshun Container Co.,Ltd founded in 1999, which produces plastic products and moulds. They employ around 200 staff working in the plant and are one of the most advanced mould manufacturers in China, regularly working with international clients.
The Cixi area, south of Shanghai is the main hub for the Chinese rotomoulding sector, also plants are scattered across the country. Dafeng Plastics & Metals Industry Co., Ltd is specialized in developing and producing both rotomolded and blow molded products. They have introduced advanced international techniques, special equipment and plastic material for rotational molding. The company’s newly developed rotationally molded products include cases, motorcycle fuel tank series, lampshades and flowerpots & leisure products.
KSC, rotomoulders from Kazakhstan are regular participants for Rototour but because they also have local manufacturing in China, they were precluded from joining this year. Happily for the group, they hosted an amazing dinner. They turned their factory into a restaurant for the night, included a full fireworks show, private entertainment, flowing drinks and fun.
At Ningbo Kuer Plastic Technology Co., Ltd. also known as Cool Kayak, while still recovering from the night before, the group found out that they have been manufacturing high quality rotationally molded kayaks since 2012. Their 5000 square ft factory is located in Ningbo and all of their products are manufactured in this location. They recycle all of the off cuts and use this in the molding of their seats and small parts. They also package all their boats in biodegradable bags. They have recently upgraded all of their ovens to ensure high efficiency.
The tour travelled to Wenling, a city further south by China’s high speed train. A very comfortable ride, which was lucky, given that one of the group had a fall and had to continue the rest of the tour in a wheel chair.
Wenling Rising Sun Rotomolding Technology Co.,Ltd is located in Wenling City, in the southeast coast of Zhejiang Province. The company is specialised in the production of rotational moulding machines and moulds and have a long list of international clients. In fact during the tour, one of the group signed to confirm their purchase, another had a private visit to discuss their new machine and we found out that the company now has customers in almost every area of the world. They were amazing hosts and very helpful in helping us manage some of the challenges in dealing with Chinese customs.
While in the Wenling area, we also visited Zhejiang Feiyou Kangti Amusement Facilities Co.,Ltd. A modern company which features production, sales and R&D. They are specialized in manufacturing all kinds of playgrounds and entertainment equipment of various sizes. The plant is very professional with a huge range of components to manage, producing high quality parts for the local market and export. During this visit and others delegates and factories often share knowledge on everything from specific moulding issues and problems to production systems and safety solutions.
And the business that tours foster continue long after. Daniel Wos, owner of Polyworld in Australia said “I have attended many Rototours, and I can honestly say that there was not one that was a waste of time. I can always bring back some changes and improvements to my organisation, and in meeting with so many people, they have given me limitless opportunities for potential business or future improvements. Through our Research and Development, we are working on the poly lining of steel vessels – we have had many failures and successes, but the visit to Santi in China gave me a completely different approach to this technology. After the tour, I contacted Mr Feng Guo and Paul Lam and we are working on a close cooperation on a potential joint venture. Now we are in a process of market opportunity research prior to commitment to a JV in China. Without having attended Rototour (and all the travel discomfort) this opportunity would never have presented itself – so you will continue to see me on many of these tours in the future.”
The last internal flight of the tour took the group to Guangdong, one of the largest cities in China, still moving south towards Hong Kong. Here we visited Dong Guan Malish Cleaning Equipment Co., Ltd, a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of quality brush, extruded plastics, molded plastics and specialty products which are marketed throughout the word. Dong Guan Malish, is a USA based moulder who has established local moulding in China for export to regions such as Japan, Korea, Singapore, United States, Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Delegates here were able to see some fascinating new types of manufacture most had never seen before.
The last visit of the tour was to another local moulder in Guangdong, the Guangdong Adlo Group Co., Ltd. which was founded in 1981, and is a largescale Non-Government enterprise consisting of several subsidiary companies, involved in research, manufacture and trade. The group covers an area of 150, 000 m2 and employees over 1, 000 personnel. Their rotationally molded products include motorcycle rear box & helmets, barbecue grills & Barbecue tools, traffic & road products such as road barriers, traffic indication lights, garbage bins & flowerpots.
After an informative, exhausting, astonishing week and a half, most of the tour group prepared for the overnight journey to the ARM / ARMA Joint event in Hawaii, which is highlighted in this issue already. Like the tour, the joint event was an opportunity for moulders from around the world to network and share information, skills & expertise. New Zealand rotomoulder Jim Jackson says of the tour “I learnt a lot and now have a much broader insight into the rotomoulding process in China. ARMA delivered a very well organised adventure considering all the challenges faced on the journey. “