AS usual, Shave & Gibson (S&G) is bucking the trend. In concert with many other packaging converters, the Durban-based producer of folding cartons has bravely kept going, manufacturing the packaging needed to ensure ongoing deliveries of essential food products during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Having conducted a risk assessment, S&G’s approach to the pandemic was to institute stringent safety measures to protect its operations, customers and staff, and, as CEO Simon Downes quips, ‘Keep calm and carry on!’
‘However,’ he notes, ‘before the latest downgrading and collapse of our currency, and the stranglehold on our economy caused by the extended lockdown, we had placed significant orders for new plant, with the aim of improving production quality and throughput, and service levels.’
Following last year’s extensive factory reorganisation designed to improve material flow – including the creation of a separate Sheeting Department and a new Die-Cutting Hall – the equipment, currently being installed and commissioned, includes a Bobst Visioncut 145 PER die-cutting systems, a Heiber & Schroeder window patching machine, a Focusight Technology proofing system, and Solarco box-making technology.
When the purchase decision was taken, S&G was experiencing a serious bottleneck in die-cutting. Although volumes have obviously diminished during the lockdown, the need for efficiency remains and the Visioncut’s ability to produce stripped blanks at high speed will be increasingly appreciated as volumes return to normal.
‘The support of the local Beswick Machinery team has been immense considering Bobst technicians were unable to travel from Switzerland to install this machine,’ Simon notes.
Windowed cartons are an important niche market in the carton industry, and increased volumes are evident. For some years, S&G has had capacity constraints in this field and an investment decision was made in favour of a Heiber & Schroder window patching machine. Installation has been difficult under Covid-19 restrictions, but, once again, with help from Beswick Machinery personnel and some online tuition, it’s up and running.
At the same time, the purchase of an automated quality inspection system from Focusight Technology was approved. Some cartons in S&G’s portfolio require extra vigilance with regard to the smallest of defects, traditionally requiring time-consuming hand sorting. However, the use of the latest high-speed camera technology from Focusight Technology solves the problem. The machine has arrived in the Finishing Hall, and local agent, Alliance Machinery, is training staff in its operation – taking S&G ever closer to its goal of producing superior quality cartons.
Ed’s note: Don’t miss the July issue of PPM, where this story will be more fully unveiled!