Caption: New corporate identity, revamped premises … Gary Seale, newly-appointed general manager, is overseeing the transformation of the old Plasticwrap into the new CTP flexibles.
And on this occasion it’s Gary Seale, recently-appointed as general manager, who greets us warmly, exuding excitement, optimism and fresh vitality.
As reported earlier this year (PPM Mar10, p35), strategic appointments included Gary Seale, Patricia Carstens and Aine Kloot. They’re now joined by three More key people – Leroy Matthyse (training specialist), Lindy Cranston (creative manager), and Tino de Goede (training specialist) – bringing additional
top-class prepress and flexographic printing skills to CTP flexibles.
Caption: The spanking new Fischer & Krecke FP-16-S eight-colour pressis already revolutionising production at CTP flexibles.
Gary is – quite understandably – jubilant at having attracted what he describes as ‘this phenomenal team’, which is complemented by additional key appointees: Chad de Langer as regional sales manager Cape, and Ilana Hall as financial manager. The rest of the onsite management team comprises Mark Odendaal, Christo Gresse, Scott Hayward, Kevin Fortune and Johan Grove. In addition, he’s elated to have been given a clear mandate by the Caxton & CTP directors to bring the business completely into the 21st century in order to compete in today’s ultra-sophisticated flexible packaging sector and to attract the cream of the blue-chip FMCG manufacturers to its customer list.
As part of this scheme, aside from the new corporate identity, the somewhat tired-looking premises are undergoing extensive renovations and further investments in capital equipment are on the drawing board.
‘Having invested more than R30-million in the latest upgrade – of which a major portion was the purchase of the new Fischer & Krecke FP-16-S eight-colour press – our shareholders have taken a leap of faith, and have decided to invest even further in the future of flexible packaging,’ adds Gary. ‘We’re busy ordering a new Titan slitter and, if all goes according to plan, our second F&K press is not far away. We’re also buying a cold-seal unit to allow us to convert chocolate slab packaging.’
In addition, the repro and prepress function is being brought in-house – under the watchful eyes of Patricia and Lindy.
‘The Macs have been purchased and a large-format printer is on its way. We have redesigned our repro studio and intend to be fully operational by the end of June, with in-house platemaking before the end of 2011,’ Gary explains. And this, he hints, is just the beginning.
Caption: Some of the team at CTP flexibles – Lindy Cranston (creative manager), Gary Seale (general manager), Emile Truter (Coates Brothers), Clinton Govindsamy, Leroy Matthyse (training specialist), Patricia Carstens (project manager), Rushion Julies, Vernon Viegeland (Coates Brothers), Tino De Goede (training specialist), Johan Swart.
F&K up and running
At the time of this visit, the new Fischer & Krecke FP-16-S press had been running for just five days, and Gary and his team were ecstatic!
The entire installation and commissioning of the new press had proved to be an exercise in faultless precision, Gary reports. ‘From day one to signing off the press, absolutely nothing went wrong. Installation took six weeks and was followed by an advanced three-week training course. It was amazing. When we switched her on, everything started the way it should. All the lights illuminated and not a single alarm sounded; start-up was faultless,’ Gary adds exultantly, adding high praise for the German technicians and the local team from Beswick Machinery.
Catpion: To prove the advanced capabilities of Fischer & Krecke’s smartGPS (Graphic Positioning System), what were formerly seven- and eight-colour jobs have been converted to four process colours plus white. The first pull shown here was achieved with minimal 4m waste. Proud of this achievement are Leroy Matthyse (training specialist), Patricia Carstens (project manager), Lindy Cranston (creative manager) and Tino de Goede (training specialist).
Project manager, Patricia Carstens, also has nothing but praise for the press’s capabilities, notably its smartGPS (Graphic Positioning System), its extra width and integrated slitting system that allow multiple designs to be printed simultaneously, its noiseless operation, it’s amazingly fast job changeover time, and much more.
‘The GPS significantly reduces start-up waste, both materials and energy use, as well as greatly reducing set-up times,’ explains Patricia happily. ‘We achieve spot-on register and impression within four metres.’
Caption: Terrance Rix, one of the smartGPS mounting technicians, is happy to show the ease of the mounting process.
This is because the GPS provides the correct print impression with the first ‘kiss’ of the plate to the substrate. In the past, operators had to print and then make adjustments while the press was running. Using the GPS, all parameters for register and impression are measured and downloaded to an RFID chip in the plate sleeve during plate mounting. Once sleeves are loaded, all data is transmitted immediately to the on-board computer – all while the machine is at a standstill.
Among its numerous features, this gearless flexo press offers direct drive to the totally glass-enclosed CI cylinder and uses sleeve technology for both printing plates and anilox rolls. It also incorporates a ‘retractable’ inter-colour dryer designed for maximum accessibility and offers automatic wash-up between jobs. It has been factory-fitted with an integral corona treatment system.
Caption: Within minutes, a new job is running effortlessly at 400m/min – difficult to believe when the press is running almost noiselessly!
Another key aspect of this installation is a BST Premius digital web inspection and print process management system, which integrates digital camera technology, 3Chip colour reproduction and an extra large field of view. This combination harnesses the full power of process management (defect detection, colour monitoring, etc), while offering operator functionality and ease of use.
Caption: Gary Seale explains that the RFID chip embedded in the sleeve contains all parameters for registration. Once sleeves are loaded, all data is transmitted immediately to the on-board computer.
Ink is another important part of this success recipe.
Once the decision was taken to purchase the Fischer & Krecke FP-16-S press CTP flexibles’ technical print manager, Kevin Fortune, undertook a number of trips to the F&K factory in Germany for pre-acceptance trials, with input on ink technology by Sun Chemical/Coates Brothers. These trials were enormously successful.
Since the subsequent installation and commissioning of the press at Ndabeni, further successful runs have continued using Sun Chemical/Coates inks, achieving the desired dot reproduction at high speeds, both at start-up and on production runs. Trial runs on high-spec jobs are being conducted for pre-approval by CTP customers as the focus is to drive home CTP flexibles’ commitment to quality.
Yet another significant part of the ongoing investment at CTP flexibles is the Prism MIS. The plant’s diverse product capabilities resulted in a complicated set of internal processes that created cumbersome administrative and accounting practices. The installation and implementation of the Prism system allows consolidation of work processes, while maintaining CTP flexibles’ ability to deal with customers’ requirements. ‘We’ve now installed the QuikView module, which has been integrated into the F&K,’ Gary explains. ‘This allows us to check all parameters even from remote locations.’
Diverse and sophisticated products
‘Without doubt, CTP flexibles is by far the most diverse site I’ve seen in my career in flexible packaging,’ Gary asserts, a comment he’s well qualified to make since his experience spans more than 15 years in the industry.
‘We produce everything here. We extrude high-density, low-density and linear low-density polyethylene films, and produce cast polypropylene films; and we manufacture a comprehensive range of sophisticated products – from laminations, multilayer films and shrink films to bags and pouches and shrink sleeves, and I have probably forgotten half of it. But most of all, besides the support I’m enjoying from the Caxton & CTP main board, my management and supervisory teams, the factory is a joy. The workforce is vibrant and charged, and with all this positiveness, how can CTP flexibles not become the best?’
Caption: The lift transports anilox rolls and sleeves from a newly-built mezzanine storage area to the press below.
Now that the operation has been through the pain of renovations, staff changes, removing obsolete equipment and installing the new press, the business is well set up, and poised for strong growth in a tough and competitive flexible packaging industry.
Ed’s note: CTP fexibles plans a ‘press-wetting’ function for suppliers and customers. Watch this space . . .