Incorporating Primolitos, Portion Control Packers, PrimoPlas and PrimoChem, and operating from a modern 8 000m2 facility, in Wadeville, Johannesburg, Primo Holdings counts among the largest local producers and packers of powdered food products and liquid condiments for the food service and retail sectors.
Both HACCP and ISO accredited, Primo Holdings distributes products within South Africa and SADC countries, as well as exporting to Europe.
Until the beginning of 2011, plastic bottles and closures for food packaging were sourced from local manufacturers. However, although of good quality, the ranges weren’t always ideal. ‘I had a definite idea of what plastic packaging I wanted, which I wasn’t getting. Consequently, I started looking for more suitable products, from both an aesthetic and price perspective,’ Roberto explains.
Passionate about growing his business and adamant about finding the right packaging, Roberto began to investigate the possibility of manufacturing his own bottles and closures. After lengthy investigations and consultations with Maritime Marketing, he began putting ideas into action, and in early 2011 purchased several specialised machines designed specifically to meet his requirements, including a Magic UE-L5/D blow moulder equipped with a Piovan blender, three Engel injection blow moulders (4550/600T; 2050/400T; and 750/150T), each fitted with Piovan blenders, and the latest-generation Piovan central material feeding system.
Specialising in precision blow moulding and injection moulding machinery, Maritime Marketing’s Patrick Bracke (Engel and Piovan specialist) and Joe Spohr (Magic equipment expert, and part of the Maritime Seecor joint venture) have provided Primo Holdings with an enviable equipment line-up that’s able to generate custom-made two- and five-litre PP and high-clarity PP bottles, as well as a large assortment of closures.
Top technology for original designs
Installed in March, the Magic blow moulder produces HDPE and PP bottles in multiple cavities, with five-litres currently the largest size. The machine can also be adapted to include a multilayer extrusion system to produce higher-quality bottles with enhanced shelf-life, something Roberto hopes to implement soon.
Primo’s Magic system is the first large hybrid machine in Southern Africa with an all-electric shuttle motion for extremely fast and accurate cycle times at very low energy requirements. According to Joe Spohr, the Magic blow moulder’s performance has already created a lasting impression – so much so that Roberto is already considerning an all-electric machine for his next installation!
‘Showcased at K2010 in Düsseldorf, the Engel injection moulders are unique because of the tiebarless concept that enables Primo Holdings to run large moulds in comparatively smaller machines, thanks to the large platen surface,’ confirms Patrick Bracke. ‘The Engel DUO two-platen machine that Roberto has chosen is a compact, high-performance machine that’s ideal for bucket manufacturing. Additionally, the state-of-the-art Piovan material blenders and feeding systems are reliable, accurate and user-friendly and respected by the world’s leading plastics packaging manufacturers,’ Patrick adds.
Roberto has chosen to move away from HDPE, preferring to use ultra-high clarified PP because of its look and feel and its recycling qualities. All bottle, closure and label designs are created in-house, with bottles for the food service sector crafted in family ranges, each designed with a roomy handle for easy carriage, and a large label area.
‘By producing our own bottles and closures we can ensure a constant supply,’ comments Roberto. ‘Production runs on our own cost terms and this, combined with steady stock, makes our operation more efficient.’
Roberto has certainly been impressed by the exceptional service provided by Patrick, Joe and the technicians at Maritime Marketing. In a short period his operators have built a good rapport with each representative and have completed comprehensive training on every machine station.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Roberto is preparing for the imminent launch of Primo Holdings’ signature sauces into the retail sector, supplying nationwide to Spar, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro, and others. Naturally, he’s planning to produce the bottles for this range and is confident that his latest installations will provide high-quality packaging to make a sparkling impression in-store.
Roberto’s not stopping there, though. From 2012, he plans to diversify even further and is confident that Engel, Magic and Piovan technology will assist in propelling the company to exciting new heights.