A follow-up visit to the factory in Montague Gardens, Cape Town, reveals further investments as the company gears itself up to meet the challenge of coping with the stringent demands of an increasingly sophisticated flexographic printing fraternity.
Since inception in 1996, Africa Stereos has grown steadily to become a major supplier of flexographic printing plates, primarily to the corrugated industry, but increasingly moving into the fields of roll-label, shrink label and flexible packaging.
Underlining the company’s strong position in the corrugated sector at this year’s FTASA Print Excellence Awards (see brochure inserted in this issue), Africa Stereos was named as the supplier of the plates for Mondipak Epping’s award-winning Shibbes corrugated box.
‘We’ve always been known for high-quality production, and high-quality service to our customers, but now we have made further investments in a brand new AV Flexologic Flatmount mounting system. We’re also busy refurbishing a Bieffebi mounter. This means we can offer corrugated printers the best of both worlds – either flat mounting or in-the-round mounting,’ remarks MD, Sean Drake.
Caption: Taking silver in the FTASA Print Excellence Awards was this Shibbes corrugated box, printed by Mondipak Epping, with plates supplied by Africa Stereos.
Using the Flatmount system, plates up to 2 800 x 1 700mm are mounted on a flat table which has a number of features to simplify the mounting process. For instance, a high magnification camera provides a digital read-out of the exact position of the plate.
The Bieffebi mounting and proofing machine also uses a sophisticated camera-based image mounting system for mounting flexo plates on to cylinders or sleeves in perfect register.
These latest investments ideally complement the CtP system installed a couple of years ago. Sean and his team are delighted that they bought a system capable of producing plates up to 1 270mm wide, as this size not only works well for wide-web flexible packaging but ideally suits the corrugated industry as well.
‘In fact,’ Sean reveals, ‘the spin-off for corrugated work has been amazing, and possibly even more exciting than flexible packaging, because we can now offer stunning high-quality graphics on corrugated boxes. We’re taking repro to a new level for corrugated print for upmarket secondary packaging.’
And, in view of the strong move towards retail-ready packaging, this ability becomes increasingly important.
Rounding out the services offered by Africa Stereos is a well-equipped design department, allowing customers a one-stop shop for graphic design, repro, digital imaging, proofing and platemaking.
And serving customers in Gauteng is no problem as the company maintains a sales office in Johannesburg where, says Sean, business is as brisk as it is in Cape Town.
In South Africa’s ever-changing and highly-demanding flexographic industry, Africa Stereos is undoubtedly up there with the frontrunners in its commitment to keeping pace with advances in technology and probing the limits of current concepts, striving to provide the best possible service and quality products.
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