In 2020, the world was hit with an aluminum can shortage spurred in part by the closing of restaurants and breweries. Instead of getting a beer at the bar off the tap, or a soda from the fountain at the diner, consumers began buying these beverages in bulk at grocery stores. Furthermore, as people become more informed about plastic’s environmental impact, shoppers are increasingly choosing to buy drinks in cans instead of bottles. In turn, many beverage manufacturers shifted a lot of their product into cans in a short time period, which has put a strain on the aluminum can supply chain. Several aluminum can manufacturers are responding to the new market quickly, opening facilities to meet this ever-growing demand.
Ohio’s New Can and End Plant
Ardagh Group recently completed the purchase of a facility in Huron, Ohio, that it will convert into a manufacturing plant for the production of infinitely recyclable beverage cans and ends. Ardagh’s Huron facility will initially consist of three can production lines, together with ends capacity, and will generate approximately 200 jobs. The facility will produce beverage cans in multiple sizes for a variety of categories, including sparkling water, soft drinks, teas and alcoholic beverages. Output from the Huron plant is already secured through long-term customer agreements. The facility will begin production in late 2021.
“This project forms part of Ardagh’s business growth investment program and is being undertaken to meet fast-growing demand as consumers increasingly recognize the environmental and quality advantages of beverage cans,” said Claude Marbach, CEO, Ardagh Metal – Beverage North America. “Our products deliver high recycled content rates, which support customer sustainability targets and contribute to a circular economy. With ideal filling, distribution, and retail display economics, beverage cans help build businesses as well. This latest expansion is indicative of Ardagh’s consistent commitment to supporting customer growth.”
Ball Responds to Demand
Ball Corporation plans to build a new aluminum end manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The facility is scheduled to begin production in early-2022 and expand over multiple years to create approximately 200 manufacturing jobs. The facility will supply infinitely recyclable, lightweight aluminum ends to regional and national customers for growing beverage categories and brands. Ball plans to expand the facility over multiple years through the installation of additional end modules.
Ball chose Bowling Green for its new facility to supply robust Midwestern aluminum beverage packaging growth. The site will also benefit from the city’s proximity to main distribution routes and existing supply chain partners, the regional labor base, and the cooperation of state, regional, and local officials. Infinitely recyclable and economically valuable, Ball’s aluminum ends, cans, bottles, and cups enable a truly circular economy in which materials can be and actually are used again and again.
The company also intends to begin construction on a new aluminum can plant near Pilsen, Czechia, in spring 2021. The development, in the West of Czech Republic, will expand Ball’s output in the region to meet the growing demand from consumers who want sustainable and recyclable beverage packaging. The €170 million facility plans to employ up to 200 people and launch operations in October 2022.
The new factory, with two production lines, will occupy a site of more than 100,000 m2 in Pilsen Digital Park, which provides room for further expansion when required. Its construction is to be divided into two phases. The first phase will create around 150 new jobs. The second phase will raise the total to some 200 professional jobs in engineering and support roles.
“We plan to install sophisticated automated equipment at the facility, leveraging the latest modern technologies to minimize environmental impacts, and strengthened by our recent commitment to 100% renewable energy to cover our operations in Europe,” said Gerhard Mayer, VP, Operations, Ball Beverage Packaging EMEA.
Crown Holdings Invests in Two New Plants
Crown Holdings Inc. is investing in two new beverage can plants in Henry Country, Virginia, and Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. The state-of-the-art plant in Virginia will supply beverage cans to the serve a variety of categories, including sparkling water, energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, teas, functional beverages, hard seltzers, beer, and cocktails. The plant’s geographic location expands Crown’s North American supply network to address the growing market for standard and specialty beverage cans.
The company’s subsidiary Crown Embalagens S.A., plans to build its sixth beverage can plant in Brazil. The new two-line facility will produce two-piece aluminum cans in multiple sizes and have annual capacity of 2.4 billion cans when fully operational. The first line is expected to begin production in the second quarter of 2022, followed by the second line in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“Brazil is an important growth market for us and our partner, Évora S.A. This expansion will help meet the country’s increased demand for beverage cans and demonstrates Crown’s continuing commitment to grow with our customers,” said Djalma Novaes, president of Crown’s Americas Division. “The aluminum beverage can is perfect for the Brazilian market; it is recyclable and sustainable, is shipped easily, and most efficiently preserves the quality of the beverage product for the ultimate consumer.”