Since 1998, co-owners Anthony van Niekerk, Phil Johnson and Brian Jensen have nurtured relationships with packaging converters and brand owners based on an unswerving quality and service commitment.
Operating from 18 000m2 premises in Spartan, Johannesburg, theirs is essentially a story of exponential growth.
‘Since day one, it has been our mission to provide the most comprehensive masterbatch and pigment ranges to enable any brand to realise its full potential,’ remarks an enthusiastic Anthony. ‘We’re customer and product focused and our success comes from our passion for colour and a thorough understanding of the marketplace and changing trends. By constantly improving our systems and service we can offer converters a reliable, quality and cost efficient way of adding colour and/or performance enhancers to their products.’
Leading the way
A significant portion of MBSA’s customers manufacture food packaging and need to adhere to strict health and safety regulations. As a result, MBSA has achieved the highest qualifications to meet industry requirements.
‘MBSA is the first and only masterbatch manufacturer in South Africa to be accredited with ISO 22000:2005 for food safety,’ continues Anthony. ‘We value our role in the supply chain and accept our responsibility to provide products that are safe and suitable for their intended use.’
MBSA uses a tightly-controlled and constantly-updated Restrictive Substance List and all masterbatch grades used in products destined for direct food contact adhere to European Commission (EC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The accreditation process was stringent but, says Anthony, most measured procedures already existed at MBSA. ‘Completing the project has taken a team effort and we’re fortunate to have the best people in the industry working towards a common goal. Achieving this accreditation gives down-the-line assurance to converters and brand owners and provides transparent proof that we’re doing what we promise.’
As well as the food safety qualification, MBSA is the only masterbatch manufacturer to hold ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18000:2007 certificates. ‘From quality management, to greener plastic solutions and occupational health and safety, we’ve maintained a constant path of self-regulation,’ Anthony explains. ‘Our core belief lies at the heart of this achievement that we shall have absolutely no negative impact on any resource whatsoever.’
Masterbatch and pigment production is notoriously a messy business, yet MBSA’s neat factory dispels this notion.
‘The factory incorporates modern extruders and associated processing equipment, with a production capacity second to none in South Africa,’ Anthony claims. Machinery is continually upgraded to produce a higher-quality product in industry-beating time.
Masterbatch is offered in two ways: as polymer specific, with formulations available in the most common thermoplastics such as PP, HDPE, LDPE and LLDPE, as well as PET, PVC, acrylics, ABS and HIPS; or universal that’s compatible with a broad range of polymer bases.
Converters are advised on the most suitable masterbatch for the intended application and offered easy, reliable and cost-efficient ways of adding colour and/or performance enhancers, such as anti-static, UV/light stabilisers, processing aid, anti-fog, anti-oxidants, flame-retardant, anti-block and slip additives.
Dry blends or pigments are also supplied. Pigments, in powdered form, go through the same processes of colour matching and mixing but are not put through MBSA’s extruders.
An impressive on-site laboratory is equipped with product-testing equipment as well as a bank of small scale injection moulders, film blowers and other machinery used to replicate converting processes. ‘We’re competent in all processes and procedures and guarantee product performance through a stringent quality-testing programme,’ explains Anthony. ‘Because we’re operating in an industry with strict regulations, batch traceability is critical. Production samples are collated, carefully recorded and individually stored in a climate-controlled sample library. We also keep a directory of standard colours to facilitate selection of commonly-used shades.’
At MBSA, a long-term objective is to minimise the environmental impact of its activities and products. ‘As well as upholding our ISO 14000:2004 commitments, we operate an on-site recycling centre for production waste. We’re also the agent for Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology, an innovative range of safe, effective and permanent additives for the control of harmful bacteria,’ continues Anthony. ‘It’s imperative that we evolve with our customers and advise them on changes in industry regulations and product specifications. Investment in production processes must be supported by investments in the right people, and our close-knit team has the necessary experience and the highest qualifications in science, chemistry, engineering and finance. Understanding our customers’ processes and daily challenges is imperative. We can assist their operating efficiencies through our masterbatch formulations and this forms part of our service philosophy.’
Anthony concludes: ‘Although our products are created using a scientific process, the art is in developing the right formula to launch an exclusive, unforgettable brand identity. We’re intensely proud of the fact that “we’ve earned our colours” where it really matters.’
[Ed’s note: A reflection of the passion at MBSA is the company’s new advertising campaign that incorporates colourful artwork by South African artists, including Neil Pauw of The Parlotones. Neil made use of actual masterbatch pellets in the creation of his piece entitled ‘GoldFish’ featured on this month’s front cover.]
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