Since those somewhat scary days, our triumphs have been undiminished, indeed have reached a pinnicale as we’ve consistently raised the bar and taken the South African trade publishing genre to new heights (well that’s what we’re repeatedly told so I guess it must be true!).
But Susi and I could never have attained these heights without a huge amount of assistance. In the early days, Emma (as deputy editor, marketing assistant, database manager, production assistant, and much more) and Banie (our inspired and inspiring design guru) were both splendid, uncomplainingly working long hours and unhesitatingly throwing in their lot with ours.
I shall never forget the joy with which Susi and I accepted Banie’s stunning design concepts, allowing us to launch a world-class magazine that stood head and shoulders above anything else on the local scene. Since presenting those initial designs in 2006, Banie has constantly reviewed and polished our editorial and marketing templates and meticulously upheld our corporate identity. He’s been responsible for the dazzling designs of no fewer than 56 front covers and the many special features and supplements published by PPM over the past five years.
The fifth member of that initial band of stalwarts was Chrissie who enthusiastically donned the circulation manager’s mantle.
Another key crew-member, who initially helped us on a freelance basis but formalised her position as a permanent staff member in early 2009, was Mari.
In fact, it was Emma and Mari who devised and customised our circulation software back in September 2006 when we started building our database. This we compiled from customer lists supplied by key advertisers and from membership lists supplied by friendly trade and professional associations, and, of course, adding in our numerous industry chums.
It should be mentioned here that, aside from editorial excellence, matchless design, strong industry-wide relationships and an amazingly cohesive team, this comprehensive and finely-tuned database has been a prime factor in PPM’s stellar success.
Designed by Mari, its development and maintenance was then taken over by Chrissie, who entry-by-painstaking-entry created PPM’s unparalleled list of qualified readers, representing the cream of the packaging and printing industry crop. Since then, Chrissie has taken the circulation job a stage further by managing our production schedules and liaising with our printers, CTP Book Printers, who also do a sterling job, adding significant value to our finished product.
Mari, too, has moved on – now playing a key role as office/financial manager. Thanks to her tight management – not to mention gratifyingly prompt payments by the majority of our advertisers – cash flow is not an issue in our little business!
Carla – the other half of our design team – also played the freelance game for a year or so before joining the permanent force in 2009. Carla provides much-needed back-up for Banie, and good-naturedly copes with the pressure of handling the layout and repro of an enormous (and ever-growing) number of pages in each issue. Page count has averaged 114 since inception.
Glywnnis and Karen were two further additions to our line-up in 2009.
Back in 2003, during our previous lives at National Publishing, Susi and I were sad to wave goodbye to Glywnnis when she was lured by the siren call of the Caribbean to embark on a yacht charter project. So when she returned from her sailing adventures in early 2009, at a time when our new venture was swiftly expanding, we were delighted to offer her a position as our Cape-based business manager – and now she’s handling ad sales in KZN as well. The upward graph of our advertising revenue is a testament to Glywnnis’s hard work and determination.
Then in August 2009, our editorial team was strengthened when Karen deserted UPM Raflatac (sorry guys!) to join us as our Gauteng-based assistant editor.
Creating editorial excellence
Talking of editors, another key success factor is the undisputed world-class standard of PPM’s editorial content. It’s the professionalism and dedication of the editorial team that has created a magazine that’s read avidly from cover to cover by our 4 000-plus readers and then passed around their organisations to an average of six more people – this is not simply our claim, it’s a fact confirmed time and time again by our readers. (We also enjoy a growing number of readers of our online magazine – yet another success story.)
Assuredly, this isn’t a magazine consisting of irrelevant press releases published without any consideration or knowledge of their context. It’s a professional publication where two words guide editorial policy – ‘context’ and ‘relevance’. It’s a magazine whose editors are in constant communication with all links in the supply chain, and closely involved in all relevant trade associations, crafting original articles specifically aimed at readers’ precise interests.
In broad terms, in addition to editorial direction and management, I take responsibility for Print Matters, while Emma holds a multifaceted editorial position as production editor and Cape editor, with specific responsibility for FMCG Pack, and Karen, as Gauteng-based deputy editor, has added KZN to her territory and is in charge of Converting Matters.
However, with so much activity in the printing and packaging industries, both at home and abroad, these lines are often blurred and our responsibilities are necessarily interchangeable from both a subject-matter and geographical point of view.
Flexibility is the name of this game!
Two other people, not strictly on the payroll, who have given five years’ unswerving loyalty are Clive Glover and Allan Upham, the former unfailingly producing his fascinating retail packaging commentary each month and the latter providing sound advice to keep our finances on a firm footing!
Special correspondents back in 2006 and 2007 were Deryk Champkins (KZN), Susan Unsworth (Gauteng) and Pauline Covell (Europe). In 2007, they were joined by Brenda Neall as a contributing editor. Since then Brenda has gone on to establish her highly-acclaimed online newsletter FOODStuff (now celebrating its third anniversary) but, happily for us, she remains a regular contributor to these pages. Latterly, we have appointed additional overseas correspondents, Des King and Nick Coombes.
Back to our permanent staff, our latest recruit is Kira, who joined us just a year ago to handle advertising-related administration and is fast learning every aspect of the game.
It is a truly impressive line-up for a five-year old magazine!
But this isn’t just about us and the undoubted success of our enterprise – it’s equally about the many supportive people, companies and associations that have themselves clocked up considerable achievements. The following pages provide a snapshot of just a few of the myriad events that have shaped the printing and packaging industry during the last five years.
Revolution and evolution
With the constant (indeed gathering) pace of transformation, it’s proved something of a challenge to chronicle the myriad events that have shaped South Africa’s printing and packaging sectors over the five years since PPM’s launch.
Among the larger packaging converters – Nampak, Astrapak, Consol, Afripack, Polyoak and Mondi, for example – almost nothing is as it was five years ago.
At Nampak’s Sandton headquarters, it was a case of ‘all change’ when we said some farewells – first to Neil Cumming who retired as MD in 2008 and then to John Bortolan who retired in 2009 and was replaced by Andrew Marshall as Nampak’s new CEO.
During this period, Consol returned firmly to its glass roots – forsaking its involvement in flexible packaging and rigid plastics packaging, with Plastform, for instance, going to Astrapak.
Then there was Astrapak’s acquisition of Alex White, and the subsequent sale of Astrapak Flexibles to Afripack, giving rise to an entirely new entity called Afripack Consumer Flexibles. Also noteworthy was the rebranding of the Universal Print Group – now Uniprint – and its subsequent merger with Hirt & Carter. Polyoak was also in the news with a successful bid for Huhtamaki’s thin-wall injection-moulding business.
Industry personalities who retired during the period included Terry Kane (former CEO of Alex White) and Ray Crewe-Brown (founder of Astrapak). The latter, however, soon reinvented himself as the chairman of Mondipak Plastics, which leads us neatly to the most recent news – the demerger of Mpact Packaging from the Mondi stable.
During this period, too, we’ve seen changes at PIFSA with the retirement of long-standing CEO, Chris Sykes, replaced by Patrick Lacy, and the more recent retirement of Erich Kuhl (who, happily, remains on board as FTASA’s executive secretary).
On the printing machinery supply side, too, we’ve seen any number of transformations – an entirely revamped management structure at Heidelberg, for instance, and the establishment of manroland’s dedicated South African subsidiary.
Local representatives of international names have also remained prominent on our news pages – for instance, Antalis, Kemtek, Ipex Machinery, Beswick Machinery, SArepco and CSM, to mention just a few.
Just one change among ink suppliers was Coates’ name change to Sun Chemical; another transformation was Treofan’s becoming Fima Films.
On the regulatory front, we’ve watched the whole sad saga of the MAPPP SETA; the long-winded promulgation of new labelling laws (eventually to become law next March); and the introduction of the Waste Act and PACSA’s sterling efforts (spearheaded by Andrew Marthinusen) in writing an industry waste plan.
Looking down the chain to the packaging users, there have also been noteworthy developments among major brand owners and retailers – just two examples being Kraft’s global takeover of Cadbury and Walmart’s entry into South Africa that’s turned the retail environment into a battle ground.
According to food industry guru, Brenda Neall, the most notable food packaging developments over the last five years have related to dairy products – for instance the introduction of ESL milk by Woodlands and Clover, the introduction of UHT milk in plastic bottles by Homsek and Woolies – both developments (among many others) described by Brenda in PPM’s pages.
On a more general level, not only has the recessionary climate of the last couple of years forever altered consumers’ buying habits, it has also resulted – as recorded in our pages – in significant growth of SMEs as the bigger corporates have downsized and the victims of retrenchments have decided to ‘go it alone’. Interestingly, too, we’ve seen a gratifying escalation of the number of women engaged in entrepreneurial printing and packaging operations. We’ve also seen thorny topics such as global warming and carbon footprints coming to the fore in deliberations about every aspect of printing and packaging operations.
These few examples merely scratch the surface of the revolutions and evolutions recorded in PPM’s pages over the past five years, but on the following pages I’ve included a few ‘then and now’ amplifications.
Then and now: South African excellence
Stuck though we are on the bottom tip of Africa, there’s no doubt that we can boast a printing and converting industry that’s on a par with anything found in more developed parts of the world. To underline this contention, here’s a handful of excerpts from our early issues, complemented by current updates.
The front cover story for PPM’s launch issue was Ultrapack’s celebration of its 25th anniversary. And now the company, in a new guise, features again! There was, however, one significant change between these two front covers – in the interim, Ultrapack has been reinvented and is now known as Lapack.
Although at inception the fledgling company was called Lapack, it went on to operate under two other names – Ultrapack and Crystal Power – until it was officially renamed Lapack in 2009.
But whatever its name, this highly-competitive, technology-driven company continued to operate as a hands-on family business – owned by the Smith family – and entered a new era of excellence.
As reported earlier this year, a wealth of expertise and modern technology are Lapack’s cornerstones for the design and production of world-class packaging for top-name brands in the food, beverage, cosmetics, personal care, pharmaceutical and home care sectors.
If you ask CEO, Eric Smith, what makes the company unique, he replies that it’s ‘people and technology’.
Backed by his company’s proven track record and sterling reputation for innovation, world-class products and award-winning service – as recognised by blue chip customers such as Revlon, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive – Eric certainly knows what he’s talking about!
It’s all about a ‘can-do’ approach and personal service with a ‘partnership’ attitude and attention to detail. ‘Value-for-money packaging at non-negotiable quality standards, delivered on time – that’s what Lapack is all about,’ Eric declares. ‘We appreciate that every customer is different and strive to exceed expectations in terms of quality, design, cost-effectiveness and just-in-time delivery.’
Venk-Pac leads flexible packaging advances
Venk-Pac was another company that featured in our first issue.
At that stage, the irrepressible Ricky Naidoo, a staunch supporter of PPM, was highlighting the threat of imported packaging and maintaining that, thanks to his ongoing investments, Venk-Pac’s international-quality packaging could compete with anything in the world.
And he’s certainly spent plenty of money in the last five years to ensure that his argument holds true and that his operation remains at the leading edge.
At the time of that initial article, Ricky had invested in a solventless laminator – a Comexi Nexus One – to produce flexible packaging constructions from standard and metallised films to lightweight paper and aluminium foil, meeting global trends towards solventless lamination, primarily to reduce odour and to meet legislative requirements for food packaging.
In 2008, we published a company profile celebrating Venk-Pac’s tenth birthday and cataloguing Ricky’s ongoing investments in the latest printing and converting technology.
Two years later, we reported on yet further capital outlay, fulfilling a remarkable shopping list that included a Kirion three-layer blown film line, a Windmöller & Hölscher Miraflex gearless press and a Pelican Soloslit 3 Plus slitter rewinder.
And earlier this year, Ricky (pictured below) was pleased to confirm that a new Comexi Nexus Dual laminator had been commissioned and was poised to add value and unparalleled quality to Venk-Pac’s operation.
Nampak Flexible’s business excellence journey
Another feature article in the launch issue described Nampak Flexible’s in-pack promotional devices, available as stand-alone products in small quantities.
Noting that brand owners seeking in-pack promotions had previously been compelled to procure the complete package from a single source, limiting choice and requiring large minimum orders, Nampak Flexible claimed to be the first converter in Africa to present this customised solution.
In 2006, Nampak Flexible was reporting considerable success with these products, as reaffirmed within a company profile published as a supplement to PPM’s August 2007 issue. At that stage, Nampak Flexible had been through a revamp, as a result of which it was ‘sharply focused and ready to fly’, to quote MD, Robin Moore.
Two years later I was invited to visit Nampak Flexible’s Pinetown (KZN) plant to witness the official commissioning of a Windmöller & Hölscher Primaflex CM eight-colour flexographic press to complement the operation’s line-up of gravure presses.
Against the operation’s rich history of serving the longer-run gravure-printed flexible packaging market, that move to flexo printing was significant as it underlined Nampak Flexible’s commitment to meeting demand for shorter runs and being able to offer customers a choice between gravure and flexo printing.
More recently, we highlighted Nampak Flexible’s Capable Integrated Business Planning accreditation after a stringent audit by Oliver Wight. This was the first business in South Africa to achieve this accreditation to the latest sixth, edition standard – and one of a select few worldwide. As a result, Nampak Flexible claims shortened lead times, inventory reductions and improved customer service.
Ferroprint’s labelling excellence
We were extremely proud to produce – as a special supplement to our inaugural edition – a profile on Ferroprint, then a little past its quarter-century mark. Since then, we have equally proudly produced a follow-up profile to celebrate Ferroprint’s 30th anniversary.
When Denis and Eve Ferrow launched their ticket printing enterprise in Durban in 1979, could they possibly have imagined that it would grow into today’s mega business? Over the next three decades Ferroprint became Africa’s largest converter of self-adhesive labels, and also established an operation in China. It really has been a success story of note.
Today, with an impressive line-up of ten Nilpeter presses, including the latest in servo-driven technology, Ferroprint’s core focus continues to be on providing the best quality and latest techniques in label construction to meet market trends and evolving needs. This is exemplified by the news in this issue (see page 101) of the company’s latest product – the Ferro-Form – a label that can provide a whopping 64 pages of additional detail, in the space of a standard label.
Among the many advertisers in Ferroprint’s corporate profile in the launch issue were Nilpeter, Avery Dennison, UPM Raflatac, Select Ink, Synchron, Kemtek and SArepco – all companies that epitomise the strong support that local printers and converters can expect from their equipment and consumables suppliers.
Gidue changes perceptions
We’ve also enjoyed enormous support from Bruce Allen and the team at Ipex Machinery, and their impressive band of overseas principals, including companies of the calibre of Windmöller & Hölscher, Gidue, Flexo Wash and Prati.
In our launch issue, the topic of UV offset complementing digital workflow for the production of self-adhesive labels, flexible packaging and cartons came under the spotlight in an article by Federico d’Annunzio, head of Gidue in Italy, who explained that his company’s Xpannd press was changing perceptions.
‘Let’s dispel the idea that UV flexo and UV offset differ because of quality,’ he argued. ‘Flexography can achieve very high quality; the difference is in the ease with which results are obtained. UV flexo has only recently reached standards that offset has boasted for decades. The traditional excellence of mature UV offset technology has in fact evolved standards that are now the “common language” of the graphics industry. Inks, plates, prepress and substrates are standardised thanks to established requirements worldwide.’
Five years later, at this year’s Labelexpo in Brussels, Gidue previewed its new Offset Cube print unit, a compact, automated, movable offset print unit, featuring its new Mini-Cassette, offering costs comparable to offset print sleeves, short delivery times, easy handling and storage, and high print quality. The modules on show unveiled the ‘total platform’ concept of the new Xpannd M7, due to be launched in 2012, for short-run production of sophisticated multi-process combination labels.
And at an even more recent seminar – staged alongside the FTASA awards in Johannesburg – Federico introduced delegates to Gidue’s Digital Flexo concept as launched to the narrow-web flexo industry in Brussels. (Watch for more on this topic in our report on the FTASA seminar and Print Excellence Awards in the next issue.)
Numerous Mark Andy purchases
‘Time flies. I remember having discussions with my partners about advertising in the first edition of your new mag. Personally, I’m very glad that we’ve worked together for the last five years, and now equally happy to support this anniversary edition.’
Those are the kind words from SArepco’s Paul Bouwer, who’s a never-ending source of fascinating labelling and narrow web stories as he installs yet one Mark Andy press after another, not to mention Rotoflex rewinders and other labelling and narrow-web kit.
In our Festive Issue 2006 (our second edition), we reported a multimillion rand investment at Universal Print Group (since renamed Uniprint) that included a Mark Andy ProGlide Comco nine-colour press. This was the first of its kind in Southern Africa, setting a benchmark in the region and putting Uniprint firmly at the cutting edge in its focus on producing specialised labelling and packaging products.
Other Mark Andy installations are too numerous to include in this brief review but, arguably, the most significant was South Africa’s first Performance P7 series press at First Impression Labels (FIL).
With their strong emphasis on leading-edge technology, it wasn’t surprising to learn that FIL’s owners Sandra and Vaughan Cumming were the first in this country to realise its breath-taking potential.
In this issue alone, we include news of two further Mark Andy purchases – a 2200 XL series press at Self Seal Labels in East London (see page 90) and a 2200 at SA Labels in Durban (page 92).
‘Old boys’ . . . and one old girl at S&G
Among congratulatory ads in the first edition was one from our good friends at Shave & Gibson. Like most of the companies featured in these pages, S&G has played a pivotal role in our lives over many decades, not least over the last five years.
Despite a move to new premises and the many structural and business developments catalogued in the special 30th anniversary supplement published earlier this year, S&G has not lost sight of its heritage nor neglected to acknowledge the legacy on which South Africa’s proud packaging industry is based. ‘Our future is built on our foundations, and our foundations are the past,’ acknowledges the ever-ebullient Simon Downes.
Just one occasion that bears another mention here was the first of what Simon dubs the ‘Old Boys’ Day’ (among which, it appears, I’m the honorary old girl!). ‘Even though some of our visitors were S&G’s competitors in the good old days, they were also friends – people we liked, trusted and respected,’ Simon explains.
What a wealth of industry knowledge and wisdom was included in that gathering; and what a fun day it was. Present were Deryk Champkins (retired MD, S&G), Martin Frizelle (retired sales director, S&G), Mervin Rawlings (retired factory director, S&G), Arthur Dickson (retired commercial director, S&G), Ian Vowles (retired national marketing manager, Nampak Cartons & Labels), Derek Tomlinson (retired general manager, Printpak Natal), Frank Gibson (retired MD, Kohler Carton & Print, Pinetown), Ian Munro (retired sales director, Kohler/Nampak Flexible, Pinetown).
Others invited but unable to attend were Alan Hay (S&G), Ian Beswick (Beswick Machinery), Costa Savides (Kohler/Nampak Flexible), and Clive Ormond (Nampak C&L).
Simon and his management team – Dave King, Martin Conway, Bill Furniss, Jim Short and Jason Staats – were on hand to conduct guests around the plant, to answer questions, and to ensure traditional S&G hospitality.
Afripack leaps from sacks to consumer flexibles
Another much-valued supporter who placed an advertisement in our first edition was Arnold Vermaak of Afripack … and how Afripack has changed over the last five years!
For its first 70 years, the company’s focus was on multiwall paper sacks but in 2001 Afripack moved decisively into the reel-to-reel (R2R) business, investing heavily to ensure a world-class facility for the flexographic printing of coated and uncoated materials used in the production of ream wrap and other packaging applications.
In another strategic move in 2007, Afripack signed an agency agreement with Mondi Coating Zeltweg in Austria, an international producer of extrusion-coated and laminated packaging materials, which took the company firmly into the consumer market.
In 2008, when PPM proudly published a corporate profile to mark Afripack’s 75th anniversary, it was cresting the waves. While multiwall paper sacks had historically constituted its backbone, there had been growing emphasis on Afripack’s burgeoning R2R business that was enjoying unprecedented growth. ‘Overall, 2008 was an exceptional year for Afripack,’ reported a smiling Arnold at that time.
Then in 2009 he had even more to smile about, as a new star was born with Afripack’s acquisition of Astrapak’s Flexibles division and the launch of Afripack Consumer Flexibles (ACF). This move saw Arnold’s taking over the reins as group CEO and the appointment of James Hynd as CEO of the ACF business unit.
Consupaq’s a winner all the way . . .
Apart from enjoying the success of award-winning crystal cosmetic jars and vitamin packs in the 2005 Gold Pack Awards, the team at Consupaq were enjoying the fruits of their decision to investigate the specialised plastic tube market, as reflected in PPM’s second issue.
Having identified a market lacking in innovation, they adapted European tube manufacturing methods to suit the local market. The plan was to ensure best-of-class production techniques, to meet the short-run, fragmented supply situation demanded by South African cosmetics, pharmaceutical and personal care marketers. Today the dedication has clearly paid off and Consupaq boasts a blue-chip customer list.
In 2005, Astrapak had acquired 60% interest in Consupaq and promptly invested R20-million in specialised tube plant and equipment. Then three years later, Astrapak purchased the remaining 40% of the business from its founders, Sean and Renée Kirkham, and Robin Rigney (previously sales director) was appointed MD.
To bring the story full circle, in this year’s Gold Pack Awards, Consupaq took a gold medal and ‘best in category’ award for its beautiful oval-shaped tubes for Woolworths (see page 34).
Quality prepress thanks to Daetwyler
In the prepress area, an article in our launch issue described the establishment of Ithunga Prepress in Verulam (KZN) to serve the needs of the gravure prepress market. When it came to equipment the newly-fledged business chose an impressive line-up of Daetwyler equipment.
This included an entire plating and engraving line – including a Polishmaster, a horizontal chrome bath, a copper and chrome Finishmaster, and a Gravostar engraving machine.
The Daetwyler team – from the executives at the company’s Swiss headquarters to local MD, Werner Hämmig – have given us strong encouragement and loyal backing, including regular advertising support from day one. Indeed, since that launch issue I have been the company’s guest at drupa 2008 and have twice visited its European operations, gleaning a great deal of first-hand knowledge about gravure prepress equipment, doctor blades, and many other Daetwyler products.
Beswick, Bobst – a lasting partnership
Strong supporters throughout our five-year history have been the father-and-son duo, Ian and Bruce Beswick, and their major overseas principals, with Bobst being a prime example.
Needless to say, Beswick Machinery was represented by an ad in our first edition!
A feature article in that issue described Bobst’s entry into the world of JDF (job definition format) for packaging printing operations, as the concept of JDF began to take hold for packaging as it had already done for commercial printing.
Thanks to Bobst’s Web Open Data Solution, we reported, it was possible to connect all machines within a packaging printing plant, and we presented a case study specifically aimed at printers of pharmaceutical packaging.
But that’s merely one aspect of Bobst’s technology. Since that first issue, this magazine has bristled with articles describing Bobst equipment – bearing such well-respected trade names as Asitrade, Fischer & Krecke, Schiavi and Rotomec – installed at local packaging printing and converting plants, for the production of folding cartons, corrugated boxes and flexible packaging.
Other significant news during the period was the Management Buy Out of Atlas Converting Equipment from Bobst in 2010. To launch the new business on a global platform, the companies shared exhibition space at K 2010 in Düsseldorf, enabling Atlas to display its new corporate identity for the first time alongside its former parent company. It was also a reflection of the amicable approach of both companies throughout the negotiations and the transition period which followed.
Now independent of Bobst, Atlas and Titan slitters continue to be popular in South Africa, where they’re marketed by Beswick Machinery. In this issue (see page 72), we report on the launch of a new Titan slitter at the ICE exhibition in Munich; and – sneak preview – we plan to unveil more news of CTP Flexibles’ latest investments in Titan slitters in our New Year issue.
The sun sinks on Coates . . . and rises again
Close co-operation has been the hallmark of our friendly association with the team at Coates Brothers (now Sun Chemical South Africa), who placed a congratulatory advert in our launch issue.
In that issue a feature article described Wetflex technology, a printing process designed to improve print quality and efficiency for flexible packaging that used new-generation energy curable ink technology developed and patented by Sun Chemical.
Then, in 2007, South African packaging and label printers – and brand owners, too – started to hear a lot more about Solaris (a line-up of inks and coatings from Sun Chemical, designed specifically for narrow-web printers) thanks to the establishment of a dedicated narrow-web division at Coates.
In 2009 came the news of Stan Rogow’s retirement as MD and his passing the baton to the latest in an illustrious line of MDs – John Bisset.
Then earlier this year – 11 years after its absorption into the global Sun Chemical and DIC empire – came news of Coates Brothers’ complete rebranding as Sun Chemical South Africa.
Moving Siegwerk on to its centenary
Following a distinguished career with the Kohler group, and – with Nampak’s acquisition of Kohler – as MD of Disaki Tubes, Peter Davies was appointed MD of Siegwerk South Africa in 2006.
An interview with Peter in PPM’s inaugural edition underlined his plans to take the company forward – and that’s precisely what he has done in the last five years.
Peter has loyally backed this magazine and over the years we’ve been equally pleased to report on his company’s many positive developments, the latest of which was the recent celebration of Siegwerk’s 100th birthday with a ‘family day’ held at the company’s premises in Germiston (Gauteng), especially staged to thank employees for their loyal service, trust and support (see page 60).
‘As part of an international world-leading independent ink manufacturer, our local Siegwerkers are passionate about developing ink solutions in conjunction with our customers,’ explains Peter. ‘Tradition, proximity and reliability are our core values,’ he adds.
Here at PPM, we can relate to those values.
Hi-Tech’s colours of success
Among early stories in PPM was a review of Hi-Tech Inks’ successes, winning a host of local and international awards that underscored its mission to be Africa’s leading manufacturer of quality printing inks, while enriching and empowering all stakeholders in the pursuit of printing excellence.
History relates that Hi-Tech Inks was part of Speed Bird Investment Holdings – a group that traces its origins back to 1968 when Allan Peters, Glenn Peters and Alfred McCreadie identified a gap in the market for decorative coatings. Some 40-plus years later, Speed Bird had diversified to include the production of paints, inks, colorants, liquid dispersions, masterbatches and dry powder pigments – with the focus predominantly on supplying colour in one format or another. The Hi-Tech Inks component was established in the late 1980s when Graham Palmer brought his company into the group.
However, it all changed in 2010 when independence from Speed Bird provided an opportunity for a fresh strategy and corporate identity, and a spanking-new 3 700m2 ink production facility in Durban. In addition, ownership was broadened when staff members were offered shares in the new company.
Maintaining high standards, especially in the face of tough challenges, is something well understood by the team at Hi-Tech Inks. Despite the fire in March 2008 that devastated the Durban factory, they barely closed for business. Ever resourceful, it was soon ‘business as usual’ and plans were swiftly established for the larger, more modern facility.
The company has featured consistently in these pages throughout PPM’s five-year existence and in this current issue makes an appearance as a valued sponsor of the Gold Pack Awards (see page 36).
Rototec unites Apple Die and RotoControl
In our second issue, breaking news was the establishment of Apple Die South Africa under the auspices of TEC (The Engraving Company) in Cape Town. The next chapter in that story occurred in 2009, with the establishment of a JV between Michael Aengenvoort and TEC’s Antron Hendricks, and the formation of a new company called Rototec.
Rototec had two aims – to continue under-licence production of Apple Die’s magnetic flexible dies as an adjunct to TEC’s traditional business of producing solid rotary cutting dies for the narrow-web label printing sector; and to act as the local distributor for RotoControl, a company launched in Germany by Michael’s son, Marco, to produce high-speed inspection, cutting and rewinding finishing machines for the labelling industry – sales of which have grown by leaps and bounds in South Africa.
Michael Aengenvoort and Antron Hendricks (pictured above) comment: ‘Rototec was established to bring together our two very successful operations with more than 30 years’ experience in precision engraving, die sinking and finishing machine technology. We’re now approaching our third thriving year of operation and still hold to our initial commitment to supply customers with tooling and finishing machines of uncompromising quality, unbeatable value and dependability, plus great customer service.’
Too many to mention . . .
Among the long list of advertisers in PPM’s first issue were WH Rosenmeyer, RAP Products International and Pyrotec … with all of whose proprietors we’ve enjoyed exceptionally cordial relations over many, many years – stretching back long before the launch of PPM.
We mentioned in that first edition that Steven Lyons had recently taken over WH Rosemeyer & Co from its founder and long-standing owner, Wally Rosenmeyer (and that marked the end of another era). At that time, Steven was busy expanding the company’s reach through innovative new product lines.
Andrea Protti of Rap Products International was the subject of one of our several personality profiles in that first issue, stating, among other things, that it was his company’s strategy to remain innovative in achieving exciting products. He’s certainly done that and Rap Products International has several times been among winners of Gold Pack Awards for its innovative packaging – not least this year.
Another personality profile in that first issue was Rowan Beattie of Pyrotec an industry friendship that dates back to 1979 when I first became aware of Label Processes (his father’s business). As the company grew, Rowan had become involved in sales of self-adhesive stationery labels (the famous Tower brand). Eventually, Rowan and his brother, Evan, combined the two companies (Label Processes and Tower Label) into Synchron in 1982; and in 1989, when the next generation of both families joined the company, the two arms were separated into Synchron (distribution) and Pyrotec (self-adhesive labels). Evan took ownership of Synchron and Rowan took control of Pyrotec, where he’s been ever since. Synchron was later purchased by Alan Gillett and is another company with which we’ve enjoyed a warm relationship. Synchron recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, but you’ll have to wait for our New Year Issue to read the full story!
And, no, we haven’t forgotten other valued advertisers who bravely placed advertisement in our first edition and have been loyal supporters ever since – companies such as Sappi Kraft, Heidelberg, Goldpack, AGQPE and BMI.
We can never adequately express our sincere and lasting appreciation for the faith placed in our new venture by these staunch industry friends but our repayment will be to go on serving the printing and packaging sectors for many years to come, creating essential reading – as our slogan so neatly puts it!
I could write a book describing our numerous forays into foreign climes, trips that are very much a part of our endeavour to keep readers continually updated on global developments in printing and packaging technology.
Indeed over the past five years, this magazine has contained numerous reports about overseas exhibitions and press conferences to which we’ve been invited – with drupa, interpack and K in Düsseldorf being the ‘biggies’ but others such as Ipex in Birmingham and Labelexpo in Brussels also counting among our favourite shows.
Playing our part in industry associations
IPSA, PACSA, FTASA, PIFSA, PCA, SAAFoST – those are among the acronyms bandied about in our office because we interact closely with these industry bodies, which adds immeasurably to our position as the country’s only authoritative supplier of lucid and technically-accurate information for the printing and packaging industries.
Let’s first take the Institute of Packaging (SA) (IPSA for short) for which PPM has official journal status. As recorded in the 40th anniversary feature published with our August 2010 issue, I have the honour of being the longest-standing member of IPSA’s national executive, having served on that committee since 1979 and having completed a term as national chairman in 1998/99.
Apart from my long involvement, both Susi and Emma have fulfilled roles on regional committees for the last four years, with Susi as chairman of the Northern Region and Emma as vice chairman of the Western Cape Region for the last two. Karen, too, is currently a member of the Northern Region committee. I believe this situation, not to mention our ongoing sponsorship of the Gold Pack Awards and the Student Gold Pack Awards, aptly underlines our dedication to the Institute and its sterling efforts in the field of ongoing education of packaging professionals.
Another event worth mentioning was the WPO’s 40th anniversary, celebrated in grand style at Cape Town’s Gold of Africa Museum in 2008, hosted by IPSA’s Western Cape Region. The WPO (World Packaging Organisation) is a global federation of national and regional packaging institutes, of which IPSA is a proud component. It was an uplifting moment in 2005 when Keith Pearson was elected WPO president – a first for the African continent – a position he has splendidly fulfilled ever since.
PPM is also the official journal for PIFSA (Printing Industries Federation) and FTASA (Flexographic Technical Association), bringing us closely into contact with those two bodies, not least with the FTASA’s Print Excellence Awards programme where we are a dedicated sponsor.
We also act in an unofficial way as a mouthpiece for PACSA (the Packaging Council), on whose board I have long and proudly served as a director, much enjoying interaction with the captains of the packaging industry, and greatly appreciating the valuable work achieved on behalf of the entire packaging chain, particularly when it comes to efforts to protect our industry’s vulnerable underbelly from ill-conceived legislation.
Another close relationship is with the PCA (Printing Craftsman’s Association). The motto of this 88-year-old Cape-based organisation is ‘sharing knowledge’, and membership consists primarily of printers and related suppliers.
And, although this magazine does not extend its coverage to the science and technology of food processing, we nonetheless enjoy extremely cordial relationships with members of SAAFoST’s Cape Branch committee and its national Council members, one manifestation of which was our publishing the exhibition catalogue for last year’s IUFoST World Food Congress held at the CTICC.
[Ed’s note: I apologise if I have omitted anything that you, dear readers, deem to be more pertinent topics for this five-year feature. Please let me know – I’ll happily correct my lapses in the next issue. Meantime, I have forced myself to remember that this is a feature article, not a book! That will follow when I retire one day!]
Women at work
THE Institute of Packaging (SA) was formed in 1970 and in its entire 40-plus-year history has elected only one national chairman of the ‘fairer sex’ (I can’t remember her name offhand, but you’ll know who I mean – the bossy editor of a well-known packaging magazine!). In that time, we’ve also seen one female national vice-chairman, fellow Capetonian, Rosalie Duke.
When it comes to IPSA’s Regions, Rosalie Duke in the Western Cape and Crystal Edwards in the Eastern Cape were the first to break through the glass ceiling as regional chairmen. More recently they’ve been joined by a handful of other female chairmen – Ingrid Schoeman, Cindy Parry and Susi Moore. In addition, Vanessa von Holt is now very ably heading up the Student Gold Pack Awards programme. Well done, girls! You’re providing sterling examples for others to follow.
Despite an indication that, at last, women are taking some upward steps in IPSA’s hierarchy (which is, after all, our industry’s prime educational and networking body), why do you suppose it has taken so long? And why do you think so few women have made it to the very top of the packaging industry pile in South Africa?
This paucity of women in the top echelons of the packaging industry is also reflected in the recipients of the Packaging Council’s Packaging Achiever award … in two decades of existence only two females have ever received this prestigious accolade … myself and the late (and still much missed) Di van Breda.
Take a look at the executive teams of our major packaging companies and you’ll spot an underlying cause for this situation. Women are still conspicuous by their absence at these boardroom tables.
Meanwhile, this team of female entrepreneurs has been frantically busy again, as you’ll see when you start paging through this 126-page issue. As usual, Karen, Emma and I have clocked up hundreds of hours and travelled thousands of kilometres, interviewed dozens of people and attended innumerable functions in order to compile a hefty number of articles. And we’re not alone in our efforts, which would be still-born if Susi and Glywnnis weren’t drumming up advertising revenue to allow us to present you with all this information. Thanks also to Banie Stafford (our sole non-female!) and Carla Lawrence for their great designs and layouts; to Chrissie for keeping the database superbly up-to-date; and to Mari and Kira for keeping our finances and admin in apple-pie order.
It really is a case of women at work in this enterprise!