Guangzhou, China – Demand for insulated panels in China is growing at between 15 and 20%/year according to Frank Zhang, managing director Bradbury Machinery.
China's cold chain gives Bradbury heart
Speaking at PUChina 2019, Zhang said demand for panels used in cold stores was particularly strong. 'Demand has bee growing over the past couple of years in China. We recently delivered our first line built here, that can producer PUR, PIR and mineral wool panels.'
The line was the first produced at the Bradbury plant in North Shanghai. Bradbury had worked with PUMA for several years and when the opportunity came to buy the firm Bradbury took it up. The American company is global in scope and its main business is in metal coil shaping;
His company supplies the larger cold-store operators with a nation-wide business focus. 'The cold chain is growing,' said Zhang, 'it is a big country and needs a big cold-chain.'
There are plenty of opportunities to supply new panel machines and to retrofit old machines. The retrofitting opportunity comes from the impending phase out of 141-b as a blowing agent in 2020. Pentane will replace it. 'This is an opportunity,' he said.
'The market is very competitive with local and international players,' Zhang said.
He continued that is why his firm targets the companies which build cold stores for large, national players in chilled distribution. These top tier distributors need to have a nationally reliable network. A national plan is driving the growth to increase capacity away from the East Coast, which is largely saturated into the west of China.
Away from cold stores, Zhang explained that there is an export market in polyurethane and PIR insulated metal panels. These are made in China and sold to countries such as Vietnam. 'this involves sea freight, and is expensive,' he said. 'Demand is there but there is no need for a supplier to buy a machine,' he added.