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RAKO invests to expand portfolio

Things are moving on apace at RAKO – both internationally and locally. Gill Loubser relates the latest news from this go-ahead group

AS ALWAYS, a visit to RAKO Tamperseal’s Capricorn Park (Cape Town) site reveals news of fresh round of investments, and a smiling Uwe Bögl reporting yet another exciting year, and announcing considerably increased sales volumes for 2016 – over 30% up on the previous year’s figures.

But the story is much broader than just the South African operation – a new label industry powerhouse is being heralded abroad with the amalgamation of three regional champions – Germany’s RAKO and X-label groups and Brazil’s Baumgarten. This newly- established entity, which circumvents the world from Latin America through Europe to Asia and Africa, is built on the impressive track records of the three merging groups, already commanding strong positions within and beyond their home markets. Together, they operate 30 production sites across the globe, with more than 3 000 employees and over 2 000 customers, exceeding a turnover of $500-million/year.

Fernando Gabel of Baumgarten. Against that international backdrop, at RAKO Tamperseal in Cape Town business is brisk, even in today’s tough market; and investments in new technology are ongoing. ‘Our growth rate at RAKO Tamperseal,’ says Uwe, ‘is among the highest in the worldwide RAKO group.’

Second Gallus press

Two years ago, PPM witnessed the installation of a brand-new Gallus ECS 340 – the much-publicised ‘granite press’ – and Uwe has nothing but praise for its performance. ‘It has proved to be a truly remarkable press,’ he confirms. ‘Importantly,’ he adds, ‘it’s capable of converting a range of supported substrates including paper, PE and PP films, as well as unsupported PP, PET, PVC and laminated films, particularly significant given our position as the Western Cape’s only converter of self-adhesive labels, wraparound labels and shrink sleeves under one roof.’

Now this has been joined by a second Gallus press to meet ever-surging demand for shrink sleeves – a sector of the business that’s risen to account for some 50% of turnover. This second eight-colour Gallus ECS 340 is also designed for self-adhesive labels and shrink sleeve production and offers market-leading set-up efficiency. Further enhancing shrink sleeve production – and part of the current round of capital expenditure – is a new high-speed cutting machine from HCI Converting Equipment and a new high speed seaming machine from Faust Maschinenbau.

‘Thanks to these additions, we’re pumping out shrink sleeves in ever increasing numbers,’ says Uwe. Last year (PPM Sept 2015), RAKO Tamperseal introduced innovative technologies to further improve options available to label buyers – firstly, ground-breaking work to bring the concept of high-opacity flexographic printing to South Africa and secondly, the addition of metallic foiling, holographic foiling and pearlescent varnishing for shrink sleeves.

With the latest investment in state-of-the-art converting equipment, sleeves can now also be fitted with sequential numbering/coding and/or with hologram stripes as security features to protect brands from counterfeiting.

Uwe remarked that such developments, representing either cost savings, top level refinement of tamper-proofing customers’ brands are part of his company’s ‘growth strategy’.

Digital business grows

More news is the installation of a second HP Indigo press and ever-stronger move into digital printing technology, as run lengths continue to diminish, and demand for print quality, consistency and brand diversification grows.

Joining an existing HP Indigo WS4050, the latest HP Indigo is the WS6800 that delivers high productivity for labels and flexible packaging jobs.

In this, the local business has taken a leaf out of its holding company’s book! As reported last year (PPM June 2016), the German group purchased two HP Indigo 20000 and nine HP Indigo WS6800 digital presses, making it the largest labels and packaging deal in HP Indigo history.

The HP Indigo WS6800 is the flagship model of the Indigo WS6000 series, and features the latest Color Automation Package, a best-in-class colour-matching system that uses an inline spectrophotometer to match brand colours. With its liquid Electroink technology it’s able to match litho and gravure printing quality, delivering high-resolution images and perfect registration. ‘We can match brand colours using up to seven ink stations and offer a colour gamut reaching up to 97% of Pantone colors,’ Uwe remarks.Other features include a fade-resistant ink set, shrink sleeve inks with higher slip and inline priming for enhanced media versatility, opening up the market for flexible packaging for pouches and form-fill-seal bags. RAKO Tamperseal can now offer contract digital printing for short-run flexible packaging to other local flexible packaging converters.

‘With HP’s Mosaic software, manufacturing individual, personalised labels, shrink sleeves and pouches has become a reality, and we recently produced unique labels for a well-known local brand. This has made our press among South Africa’s busiest HP Indigo presses,’ quips Uwe.

He sums up: ‘These significant investments in printing and finishing technology and ongoing staff training are factors that help us to open new doors, not only in the Western Cape and South Africa but further afield. We now have customers throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and we’ll continue to grow our business by providing a more complete and competitive portfolio of products.’

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