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Armor opens in Canada

Armor’s Canada expansion also eliminates cross border delays, duties, tariffs and currency risk, as well providing an in-house manufactured complete range of thermal transfer ribbon

Armor Group brings its full range, including the inkanto brand of thermal transfer ribbons, to Canada with a new slitting and sales facility in Mississauga, Ontario

Worldwide thermal transfer ribbon manufacturer Armor has expanded into Canada, bringing customers in the region service and support.

Armor’s Canada expansion also eliminates cross border delays, duties, tariffs and currency risk, as well providing an in-house manufactured complete range of thermal transfer ribbon.

Armor has been investing heavily in recent years, not only in regional expansion, but also in R&D, service, infrastructure, production capacity and personnel. With 17 sales and logistics sites across the globe, Armor has facilities coming on line this year in Colombia and Turkey and the supplier is planning further expansion in east Africa.

Armor has invested €50 million from 2014 to 2016, including in the inauguration of facilities in Mexico, South Africa and India, the company says.

Chris Walker, Armor USA VP and general manager, says: ‘There’s a spirit of investment for the brand all throughout the globe. We are following our customer’s requests to bring the complete Armor range, service, support and quality closer to their needs.’

That spirit recently led Armor to Canada.

While talks for bringing a thermal transfer ribbon sales and slitting facility for its thermal transfer ribbons to Canada began late 2015, the facility, located in Mississauga, Ontario, officially opened in June 2017.

Armor Canada has several high-speed slitting machines, employs 20 people and is capable of producing more than 20,000 rolls daily. Field technical support and quality control are also provided from the facility and ISO certification is underway.

The Canadian location will primarily serve Canadian customers and a handful of American clients. Armor says it is the first thermal transfer manufacturer to be located in Canada.

Armor is hoping that its Canadian site will mirror the success the company has had in other regions.

Growth

Globally, Armor has been averaging 10 percent growth over the past 10 years, the company reports. The company’s investment and expansion blitz began in 2008, at the height of a global economic recession.

Walker says: ‘We had a choice then: to either delocalize local production, or invest in productivity. We chose at that time to invest in productivity. At a time when nobody was investing in technology, Armor reinforced its commitment to investment in production, sales, expansion and product development. We continue to invest in people, infrastructure, production capacity and always in new products.’

Armor’s global facility strategy is built largely on a hub and spoke method, where coating locations manage the raw material, then supply to their network of conversion locations to produce ribbons for the regions.

Globally, the thermal transfer ribbon market is a multi-billion sqm market and is growing at single digit rates annually. Wax thermal transfer makes up about 60 percent of the entire global market.

As for Canada, the thermal transfer market makes up about 10 percent of the North American market, and is growing at a similar pace to the US – around three percent  per year.

‘We feel very good about the steps we’re taking and we know what’s happening in the market,’ said Tim Maher, director of sales for Armor North America. ‘If you look at the capacity here, we could service half the Canadian market. We have big plans, and we’re going after them.’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chelsea McDougall is North America editor for Labels & Labeling.

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