Caption: Bringing new vitality to Plasticwrap are Gary Seal (new business development executive), Mark Odendaal (production manager), Patricia Carstens (project manager), Kevin Fortune (technical print manager), Adrian Parenzee (operations director), Nathan Fortuin (sales director) and Aine Kloot (regional sales manager, Durban). Missing from the photograph is commercial director, James Nevay.
Now almost four decades later, Plasticwrap prides itself on its advanced technology, the outstanding quality of its flexographic printing, and the exceptional variety of its products. In fact, when it comes to flexible packaging formats, it’s easier – as sales director Nathan Fortuin remarks – to list the products not made at Plasticwrap rather than those that are! He admits this might sound glib, but nonetheless it’s entirely true.
Situated within Caxton-CTP’s extensive printing complex in Ndabeni, Cape Town, Plasticwrap extrudes high-density, low-density and linear low-density polyethylene films, and produces cast polypropylene films, converting these and other more specialised polymers into a comprehensive range of sophisticated products – from laminations, multilayer films and shrink films to superbly decorated bags and pouches and shrink sleeves.
The company has remained below the radar for the past few years. In fact, it was last in the news in 2004, with three significant investments – a Dopag remote dispensing system for its laminators, a JM Heaford Viper microdot mounter/proofer, and a brand-new Schiavi gearless press. The Dopag Vario-Mix system, installed by Resin Processing Solutions, and the Viper mounter/proofer have proved immensely successful. Sadly, the Schiavi press, which operated in exemplary fashion for five years, was destroyed by fire in 2008.
Now it’s time for a raised profile, for there’s plenty to shout about.
Caption: The imminent installation of a new Fischer & Krecke FP-16-S-8 eight-colour press, complete with its award-winning smartGPS (Graphic Positioning System), is set to revolutionise production at Plasticwrap in Cape Town.
R30-million upgrade, new staff, new vitality
Which leads to the latest news – a R30-million factory upgrade, which includes the purchase of a new Fischer & Krecke press. This investment is accompanied by an influx of new staff, and a renewed vitality among the team.
‘We’re currently undergoing a dynamic mindset change, and getting our factory up to the next level,’ explains Mark Williams, MD.
Mark has many years’ experience in the flexible packaging industry and joined the company in 2005.
He’s supported by an enviably strong management team of Nathan Fortuin, sales director; Adrian Parenzee, operations director; and James Nevay, commercial director, in charge of all logistics, administrative and financial functions.
Recent key appointments include Gary Seale, Patricia Carstens and Aine Kloot, all of whom have joined Plasticwrap from Cape Wrappers/Afripack Consumer Flexibles.
Gary (new business development executive) and Aine (Durban-based regional sales manager) are boosting Plasticwrap’s sales efforts, while Patricia (project manager) brings strong knowledge of flexographic printing to the origination department. The management team is completed by Mark Odendaal, production manager.
These team members are particularly proud of Plasticwrap’s recently-revised mission statement, which is ‘to produce quality flexible packaging efficiently and at the right time, to the specifications and quantities specified by the sales and marketing department and our clients’.
That word ‘clients’ is important in this mission statement, explains Nathan Fortuin. ‘We don’t merely look on them as customers, but rather as long-term clients,’ he asserts.
Such long-term relationships, he proudly relates, include companies such as Leonard Dingler, Appletiser, Ceres and Jungle Oats (Tiger), all of which have been buying packaging from Plasticwrap for 20 to 30 years. ‘We have built our business around these relationships,’ Nathan adds. ‘And the same is true for our suppliers. We greatly rely on the ongoing support and advice of our valued suppliers, particularly Beswick Machinery and Coates Brothers.’
Continuous improvement in flexible packaging aesthetics and performance is an everyday occurrence at Plasticwrap. As Nathan puts it: ‘Innovation is driven by our customers’ requirements for eye-catching and efficient packaging,’ and he demonstrates this point with some stunning new packaging with a matt (almost paper-like) effect produced for Kimberly Clark’s New Freedom range.
‘The packaging revamp for New Freedom was not without months of development,’ explains Nathan Fortuin. ‘And, as always, it was a balancing act between form versus function. This level of development success is only possible when client and supplier work hand-in-hand to achieve a mutual goal,’ he adds.
It’s this focus on continuous improvement and innovation that’s behind Plasticwrap’s ongoing technical achievements in the constantly developing sphere of flexible packaging technology.
Back in 2000, CTP Packaging acquired Multifoil and Metpak in Cape Town – a move that strengthened Plasticwrap’s diversity with an influx of equipment into the Ndabeni factory. At the same time, the operation underwent extensive renovation and expansion to accommodate the new machinery.
Since then, the plant has seen continual enhancements.
As a result, Plasticwrap now boasts up-to-the-minute extrusion, coextrusion and cast film lines, as well as multicolour flexographic printing presses, leading-edge laminating and slitting technology, and the latest sleeving equipment. When it comes to finishing, there’s a battery of bag- and pouch-makers, including wicketters and machines to insert zippers and resealable tapes.
Now the winds of change are again sweeping through the plant with the imminent arrival of the new Fischer & Krecke FP-16-S-8 eight-colour press, complete with its award-winning smartGPS (Graphic Positioning System), supplied by local agent, Beswick Machinery.
This gearless machine features direct drive to the CI cylinder and uses sleeve technology for both printing plates and anilox. It also incorporates a ‘retractable’ inter-colour dryer design for maximum accessibility, as well as an advanced operator control system.
Importantly, the new press will be equipped with CO2 suppression to ensure no possibility of another fire, which, as Bruce Beswick of Beswick Machinery points out, is generally caused by a combination of flammable solvents and highly static substrates.
Once the purchase decision was taken (see sidebar), Plasticwrap’s technical print manager, Kevin Fortune, undertook a number of trips to Germany for pre-acceptance trials at F&K’s factory, with input on ink technology by Sun Chemical/Coates Brothers. These trials, Kevin reports, were an enormous success, and at the time of writing the press is being dismantled and containerised for delivery in early April.
There’s much excitement and anticipation, especially about the benefits of the smartGPS system, which is seen as a vital part of this investment.
‘The GPS will significantly reduce start-up waste, both materials and energy use, as well as greatly reducing set-up times,’ explains Kevin, happily showing off a trial sheet with spot-on register and impression obtained within 30m.
Key to this phenomenon is that the GPS provides the correct print impression with the first ‘kiss’ of the plate to the substrate. In the past, operators first 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 this is achieved while the machine is at a standstill.
‘We’re confident we will soon see the benefits of the system’s very advanced technology,’ comments Mark Williams.
He particularly remarks on the excellent training provided by F&K. Not only did Kevin and his team of operators receive extensive on-press training in Germany, but F&K technicians, along with the team from Beswick Machinery, will spend a further three weeks training on-site once the press is installed and commissioned.
‘This new press will give us added confidence in our sales efforts,’ Mark adds.
Yet another significant part of the ongoing investment at Plasticwrap is the installation of the Prism MIS. This system has been rolled out throughout the CTP Packaging group.
‘Our diverse product capabilities have resulted in a diverse set of internal processes that created cumbersome administrative and accounting practices,’ Mark explains. The installation and implementation of the Prism system is allowing a consolidation of work processes, while maintaining Plasticwrap’s ability to deal with the requirements of each client and each product.
‘We now have everything going for us,’ Mark concludes happily. ‘These latest investments will uplift all our capabilities . . . everything will be done faster and we can take on extra work while enabling us to offer our customers, new and old, shorter lead times; “gravure-quality” print; shorter order runs; and cost savings thanks to improved efficiency.’
Ed’s note: Watch for a full report in a future issue of P&PM, once the F&K press has been installed and commissioned.
Choosing the press
WHEN the Plasticwrap and Beswick teams travelled to Schiavi (Italy) and Fischer & Krecke (Germany) for print trials, Plasticwrap submitted reels of its most difficult substrate and plates of its most challenging print layout for print trials. Neither manufacturer was allowed to set the job prior to the South Africans’ arrival and final plates were mounted in their presence.
First stop was Schiavi, where the press performed very well. ‘The Italian operators did a good job,’ reports Bruce Beswick. ‘They produced “saleable” print within a short time, which was considered to be very acceptable for any modern gearless CI press.
‘We were impressed with the machine and happy with the results,’ he adds.
Two days later the same test was conducted under exactly the same conditions at F&K and, to quote Bruce, the results were ‘simply astonishing’.
‘Comparatively speaking (and remember the results at Schiavi were very good!), the F&K achieved the same result 72% faster and with 96% less waste using the smartGPS. Seeing the results compared in this fashion, it quickly became evident that the revolutionary smartGPS would have a massively positive impact on the future of the business.’
Prism Analytics simplifies access to key production indicators
HAVING management information and production data in Prism WIN has enabled Plasticwrap to take advantage of Prism Analytics for the company’s specific business analytical needs.
‘The ability to create dashboards specific to Plasticwrap is key to the way Plasticwrap provides analytical information required by its customers,’ explains Kirtesh Jagjivan of Prism Business Solutions South Africa. ‘Prism Analytics provides this data in a quick clean format,’ he adds.
‘We’re developing dashboards for all areas of the business from production to QC and HR, to deliver precise information when and where it’s needed.’
According to Kirtesh, the Prism MIS package has been adapted for the various departments at Plasticwrap – from extrusion right through to converted products.
‘The system is customisable, allowing Plasticwrap to apply their fundamentals and best business practices to the system,’ he adds.
About CTP Packaging
THE CTP Packaging group (a subsidiary of Caxton CTP Limited) was founded in 2002 to supply a diverse range of packaging to meet the ever-changing requirements of a dynamic industry.
The CTP Packaging group now consists of CTP Packaging, CTP Gravure, Thuthuka Packaging, SA Litho and Plasticwrap.
CTP Limited is recognised as one of the largest publishers and printers of books, magazines, newspapers, commercial print and packaging in South Africa. The group employs approximately 5 500 employees throughout South Africa.