MALAYSIA July 2019
 
UNITED CAPS all set for regional expansion with its innovative caps & closures
 
This year UNITED CAPS celebrated its 80th anniversary, and it is also the year when it officiates its Malaysian plant near Kulim, its first plant in Asia, which is now fully operational since June 2019.
An interview with Sebastien Hottlet unveiled interesting insights on UNITED CAPS for the Southeast Asian market.

Capacity Expansion & New Product in the pipeline
As of present, the Malaysian plant has an initial annual production capacity of 80 million caps with 80% of the production for closures relating to milk (infant nutrition) products, However Sebastien added that, “We’ve designed our Kulim plant in anticipation of growth. So, we’ll be adding capacity, up to 300 million closures. Our main focus is currently on infant formula products, with a full range from scoops, over snap caps to sophisticated hinge caps.”
In the pipeline will be the launch of a new innovative cap/closure within the infant nutrition category in the later part of 2019. “We’re really excited about bringing this new product to the market,” said Sebastien.
Perhaps UNITED CAPS greatest competive advantage is its ability to offer comprehensive portfolio of beverage closures, as well as create non-standard closures to help customers differentiate their products on the shelf. Sebastien mentioned of one close collaboration with its customer which results in the production of its ‘easy to grip’ Wattwiller closure.

Sustainable Closures
Apart from offering innovative, functional and yet aesthetically-appealing caps and closures, UNITED CAPS has also gone one step ahead by also introducing sustainable ‘GREENER’ closures using plant-based materials.
There is a worldwide movement in favour of sustainable business practices and UNITED CAPS is one of the companies that support such a movement as sea pollution from plastic straws, PET bottles and plastic caps contributed 2/3 of the world’s sea pollution particularly in ASEAN countries like Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
UNITED CAPS range of greener closures are made from plant-based rather than petroleum-based plastics, and they are developed from sugarcane which absorbs CO2 and helps to reduce harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Sebastien said, “ The demand for sustainable closures is emerging in the ASEAN region. At the very heart of what we do as a family-owned business is the recognition that closures must meet today’s needs without compromising the future. Rates of adoption and indeed legislation may vary from region to region but overall, the direction and goal is towards sustainability.”

Bespoke vs Standard Offerings
Presently, UNITED CAPS business globally is divided equally (50:50) between bespoke and standard products. Sebastien claims that the ratio will also remain the same in ASEAN as “we have the same types of customers in ASEAN and wider APAC, as those that we have in other parts of the world. They comprise of mid-range to top premium brands, so the packaging solutions sought reflect the needs of their geographical markets. Our ability to RELATE to those needs with individual designs is often a reason they seek out partnerships.”
UNITED CAPS is also a company that emphasises on offering quality closures rather than just quantity (cost-efficiency) to its customers, as such some of its customers are willing to pay a premium for the quality and the services offered by UNITED CAPS. In the words of Sebastien, “We create closures that perform both in the hand and in the plant. In piratical terms, that means the creation of end to end solutions backed by industry leading technical assistance. In addition, having a local R&D support in Malaysia is a key differentiator for us.”

Future prospect in ASEAN
When asked what will UNITED CAPS foresee its Asian (Malaysian) business will be like 10 years from now, Sebastien said, “We see ASEAN as a key region for the future and we anticipate strong partnerships leading to good growth.” UNITED CAPS does not discount the possibility of expanding and opening more plants in other countries in Asia. “As we did in Europe, we follow our close-to-you strategy worldwide. That’s not just a figurative saying or slogan, it’s a Mission. So, whenever our customers request us to be close to them, we will investigate the possibilities,” added Sebastien.

UNITED CAPS vs Others
Sebastien concluded the interview by saying that the major difference between UNITED CAPS and the other caps/closure manufacturers is that “For 80 years, UNITED CAPS has been a visionary international pioneer in the packaging industry. We support Total Packaging Solutions with the help of superior innovation, differentiated design, pioneering use of technology and exceptional services.”

In a separate development, UNITED CAPS was also recently honoured with an IMDA award for Best Technical Achievement: Holographic Closure Technologies, for a holographic in-mold label jointly developed with MORPHOTONIX, a high-tech brand protection company.
This innovative security closures received rave reviews during the ProPak Asia 2019 in June due to its unmatched anti-counterfeiting performance coupled with its attractive appearance. For more information, click HERE
 
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