In the year since PPM reported that Weightron, a southern African provider of labelling services and industrial weighing equipment, invested in two ECOLINE machines from ROTOCON – an RSI 340 slitter rewinder and an eight-colour RFP 340 UV LED flexo press – the company’s square meterage of labels produced has increased from around 250 000 to 600 000.
Third-generation co-owner Ashay Sewpersadh explains that his family started by supplying labels to the scaling industry 32 years ago. ‘We have progressed from my father operating a flexo press in his garage in Lenasia to a team of 68 in a 5 000m2 facility,’ he states. ‘The first secret to our success has been working precisely and specifically to deliver consistent quality excellence to customers. The second is that we are such a close-knit family and always look out for each other. This has allowed us to survive Covid-19 and our competitive landscape and build a solid foundation for everyone, which will ensure that our good brand never dies and that this family business is structured to be passed on from generation to generation.’
Ashay explains that he first met ROTOCON’s Johannesburg-based director, Patrick Aengenvoort, four years ago and developed such a good relationship with him that he can phone him at any time of the day to discuss an issue, no matter how big or small it is. ‘The partnership aspect is what resonated with me beyond Patrick and his technical team’s professionalism, sound business advice and excellent service levels.’
‘It has enabled Weighton to grow beyond ordering flexible dies from ROTOCON to investing in the ECOLINE range of machinery that balances high quality with affordability. When we were in the market for a flexo press, Patrick and I chatted about the RPF 340’s capabilities and benefits, including 14 printing units that are designed for optimal ink transfer and pressure adjustment for crisp printing in high line counts text, linework, solids, adhesives and varnishes,’ he continues.
Although the RFP 340 represented quite a jump in flexo technology for the operators, service technician Sachin Sukhlal spent a lot of time at Weightron’s facility training the team members to ensure that they were fully integrated with running the new printing and finishing processes and systems confidently. ‘This increased knowledge sharing with the operators also opens a space for them to run digital presses in the future. Furthermore, upskilling and creating new opportunities for them is a great motivator in terms of their enthusiasm and optimism levels in the workplace,’ Ashay notes.
He believes that the RPF 340 is a state-of-the-art, simple-to-use press that doesn’t require many configuration changes. ‘It has enabled us to get jobs out quicker and increase our output volumes without any teething problems.’
The use of its UV LED ink curing system has also helped Weightron save around 20% in terms of electricity expenditure. Additionally, he states that customers benefit because the press uses less ink and packaging material because its technological advancements ensure lower wastage levels.
Ashay also points out that all the bells and whistles of the RFP multi-substrate flexo press have opened new opportunities for Weightron in terms of pharmaceutical and food industry labelling with multinational customers and increased its national footprint among customers. Food industry grade label output levels have, for instance, increased by 45 to 50%.
He explains that Weightron has invested in a complementary ECOLINE Pro Mount platemounter and a Pro Clean ultrasonic anilox roller cleaner – which efficiently and quickly removes all types of inks and dirt from any line count anilox cells – from ROTOCON because of the quality assurances and peace of mind of the after-sales service and support that comes from dealing with this one equipment supplier. ‘We knew that these investments would enable us to improve our efficiency levels and optimise our operations and that we have the support of ROTOCON’s technicians, who are capable of servicing any of the equipment brands in our facility.’
These investments and their associated market growth have helped create five more jobs on the warehouse floor as well as in the manufacturing, DPI and graphics departments.
Ashay reveals that Weightron will explore other formats beyond flexible packaging and labels, such as corrugated cartons, only once the team has mastered the printing of unique and specialised labelling systems. ‘Our goal for the next five years is to double our production capabilities and strive to become the biggest labelling company in Africa,’ he remarks.
Patrick adds that it is an honour to work with such a fast-growing family-based business that has placed its trust in the partnership and is passionate about producing top-quality labels, maintaining its equipment and getting the best from its investments.