25 Aug 2006
Well Held(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 09,2006)
Millton Industrial Ltd
|Millton Industrial Ltd offers tin-plate containers that are highly functional at least and highly attractive at their most elegant best|
A tin box could be considered a rather mundane thing, but this is certainly not the case with those manufactured by Millton Industrial Ltd. The firm's containers are highly functional at the very least, and likely to display the works of renowned artists at their most elegant best.
Managing director Eliza Chan, who has more than 20 years of experience producing tin boxes and containers, says she decided to set up on her own in 1997.
"Fortunately," she recalls, "we received a sizeable order from a firm in South Africa almost immediately after we started. That helped us get off the mark quite smartly."
Today, South Africa still figures among its prime export destinations. "The original buyer in South Africa was Beacons, which is famous for liquorice allsorts," Chan reveals, adding that another client is Mactavish with its line of butterscotch.
"We also fabricate tin boxes for well-known Belgian chocolate makers, for an Australian biscuit maker, and for a UK chocolates manufacturer," says Chan. "These are high-end containers and so we often use an embossing process that is attractive and eye catching."
Many of these outer box designs come from overseas. "We receive some splendidly attractive creations because our clients usually engage highly-reputable professionals," Chan says. "For example, one client purchased a series of pictures from a well-known Australian artist to illustrate a set of classic confectionery boxes."
While high-end confectionery and biscuit boxes clearly lead the line, Millton also offers tin boxes for premium items that might hold anything from toys to bars of soap. "For example, we have trays, figured tins and food-grade lunch boxes," says Chan, noting that Millton also manufactures smart-looking tin boxes for wristwatches, complete with sponge linings.
"We also have a line of candles, each with its own tin container. We make our own candles using various fragrant waxes, particularly for the North American market, and the containers are entirely seamless to prevent any leakage of hot wax," she adds.
Tin plate is the main raw material, but Chan says prices have soared over the years and are presently at an all-time high. "We purchase tin plate directly from Japan, and it is excellent material for all sorts of containers, from musical boxes to vacuum flasks and tool boxes to wall plates and message boards using magnetic stickers."
Millton manufactures according to customers' designs. "It is all OEM work," says Chan. "We have a department to look after the artwork and the colour separations, but we do not run a printing operation. Printing on tin plate is a specialised process and requires the skills of a dedicated printing firm."
However, the company does have a proof-printing line. "From a set of colour separations, we can economically produce about 10 boxes as samples for the customer's reference," Chan describes.
Production takes place at Millton's three-storey, 6,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland that has warehousing and dormitories for a workforce of 200-500 workers.
"We recently received orders for galvanised steel ice buckets, and have set up a special production line for them," Chan reveals, adding that Millton also provides a packaging service for finished products.
Major markets are Australia, Europe and the US. "Europe is the better market," says Chan, "because it seems they buy and consume a lot of biscuits, chocolate and confectionery. Also, European buyers usually want higher-end tins and are more concerned about the quality than the price."
The managing director says Millton is dedicated to prompt deliveries, good pricing and maintaining consistently high standards of quality. "We work hard, and we respect the needs of our clients just as they respect our efforts."
It certainly seems that Millton Industries has all the best business opportunities well-covered.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Millton Industrial Ltd