‘We’re always investing; it’s our philosophy for growth,’ states MD, Jan Riekert. ‘With our cutting-edge equipment, top-class premises and expert employees, we aim to continue growing our market position. We have loyal customers producing various food and non-food products – including maize, flour, sugar, tea, charcoal, pet food, animal feed, cement and chemicals – who rely on our packaging to safely transport, protect and market their valuable brands. It’s our responsibility to ensure that every product exceeds their expectations.’
A major turning point in Taurus’s fortunes came in 1981 when Sasko became a 50% partner in the business. This partnership spurred investment in two SO-bag machines to cope with extra production capacity. By 1988, however, Taurus had expanded into general sack production and, in 1989, Sasko’s shares were sold back to Taurus.
Investments continued and in 1995 a technologically-advanced bottomer was installed. From 1998, capex resumed with the purchase of several more SO-bag machines and an additional press, placing Taurus firmly at the forefront of Southern Africa’s printed paper-bag market.
In 2004, a R50-million milestone spend went into the company’s first fully-automated sack line and a Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) Astraflex six-colour printing press that can deliver printed paper at 480m/min. Four years later, a new-generation Triumph 3MR SO-bag machine was pushing production to record levels.
Further advances were the purchase of a Flexotecnica eight-colour press in 2009 and a second Triumph 3MR machine in 2010.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. In 2011, more slitting and rewinding machinery was introduced, and this year an impressive W&H tuber has been commissioned.
Equipped with a data-capturing system and preset sizes installed, it enables fast changeover times at the touch of a button. A special web tension control system enables Taurus to cope with the varying quality of substrates, enhancing throughput and improving product quality and consistency. With a maximum speed of 500 tubes/min, it’s among the most versatile machines of its kind, enabling flat and gusset tubes to be produced in a wide variety of sizes.
To complete a fully-automated line incorporating the new tuber, a state-of-the-art bottomer has now been ordered from W&H, scheduled for installation early next year.
‘Overall, we’ve invested well over R150-million in the last 15 years,’ declares Jan. ‘It’s money well spent. Our ultra-modern SO-bag department complies with HACCP standards and focuses on packaging for the retail food market. We already hold a strong position in the sack market and this division carries on growing; hence the need for a second automated line.’
This world-class manufacturing facility is ISO 9001:2008 certified and offers highly-engineered multilayer bag constructions such as OMS (open mouth sewn), SOS (self-opening sachets), PSV (pasted sleeve valve) and OMPB (open mouth pasted bottom).
Top quality paper supply is paramount and Taurus utilises local and imported grades, depending on customer preference. ‘Customer requirements and challenges vary, so it’s vitally important that we determine the formulations and structures that best suit their needs. Forward planning of warehouse reels and stock “on the water” is essential to meet lead times. It’s not something we can thumb-suck, so we have very strict procedures to ensure we maximise our deliveries,’ he continues. ‘This lean manufacturing philosophy extends to our entire production facility, where we use a specialised software tracking system to measure production speeds, machine downtime and waste levels.’
A dedicated ink kitchen, managed by Sun Chemical’s technicians, features a computerised Rexson ink-dispensing system to carefully manage ink stock, usage and waste. A colour spectrometer determines precise ink shades and consistency.
Quality control procedures and stock traceability records are expertly handled by Taurus’s in-house laboratory team, headed by quality control manager, Charles Naidoo. ‘Samples from each production run are precisely tested and results are recorded according to our ISO-standard quality management system,’ explains Charles. ‘Should we need to address a quality issue or be audited on a certain campaign, we can trace each bag back to its date of manufacture and the related raw material batch.’
MD Jan Riekert and his team at Taurus are currently working towards ISO 22000 certification, the globally-accepted certification standard for food safety. ‘Essentially, ISO 22000 ensures a permanent and effective system for process improvement, regulation and risk minimisation,’ Jan remarks.
‘We’ll continue to invest and take pride in the relationships we have developed with our many multinational and independent customers. From design to dispatch, uncompromised quality and service is what we always strive to deliver.’
Besides the impressive capital investments, the Taurus brand has also received a face-lift, with an eye-catching graphic that extends to its vehicle fleet.
‘We’ve recently refitted and revamped our delivery trucks to create a brand on the move within and beyond South Africa’s borders. The message is simple and takes our name into the market, indicating that if there’s a product to pack and a brand name to protect and enhance, we have the paper eco-friendly solution. It’s in line with our current capital projects and 2013 strategy,’ concludes Jan.