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Advanced glass coating technology comes to South Africa

The team at Bottle Printers is proud of the emphasis placed on providing a variety of distinctive decoration designs, coupled with exceptional service and advice.

With two thriving production sites in Gauteng – a plastic bottle printing plant in Midrand  and a glass printing and coating operation in Bramley View – pad printing, screen printing, foiling, sleeving and glass frosting is carried out by a highly-experienced and dedicated workforce, some of whom have been with the company since its inception in 1991(PPM Oct11, p26).

Standard and customised screens, pads and tooling are crafted in-house and quality control forms part of the daily routine. Additionally, in line with sustainability objectives, Bottle Printers operates two recycling stations to reduce waste. 

The Bottle Printers’ team has carved an impressive niche in the local cosmetics, fragrance, personal care and beverage packaging arenas by monitoring market trends and creating value-added opportunities for prominent brand owners. Investing in value-adding technologies has been critical and recently completed is the commissioning of a European-built electrostatic glass colour coating plant.

‘The new plant marks a significant turning point,’ comments Sean Schlebusch, manager of the Bramley View site. ‘Our customers previously had to import coated bottles, which meant placing forward orders for minimum quantities. This didn’t suit everyone and we realised we needed to provide a trusted local glass decoration service that offered more consistency and flexibility.’

Automated artistry

The impressive machine, which stretches nearly the length of the production hall, is billed as ‘the most modern machine of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa’.

Custom-built to Bottle Printers’ specifications, it took six months to prepare and just three weeks to be assembled at its new home.

Now fully operational, the plant produces multicolour specialised and standard etch finishes by using an electrostatic disc system to produce microfine coating particles. These particles are precipitated and attracted to the surface of the glass using electrostatic voltage and the charge on the coating particles is dissipated through the glass leaving neutral particles on the surface.

This advanced coating technology provides Bottle Printers with the flexibility to handle complex shapes and textures with more efficiency than conventional spray applications and it’s a fully-enclosed system with a clean working environment. Depending on bottle size and type, up to 2 500 units can be run through the entire process in one hour in multilayer or single-layer applications.

‘Using water-based polyurethane paints we can provide a full spectrum of colours in frosted, solid and translucent designs, as well as UV protection and vignetting if required,’ comments Sean. ‘Such applications will appeal to local cosmetics and beverage companies looking for innovative and eye-catching bottle designs. Besides handling high-volume production, we can also offer smaller quantity runs of exclusive colours and designs for start-up companies.’

In addition to the coating plant, Bottle Printers has acquired the services of Pierre Scholtz, a local authority on professional glass coating. ‘Pierre has a wealth of knowledge and understands glass coating technology inside out. His expertise has helped us to establish a solid team that’s professionally trained and managed, giving us maximum output with minimum downtime and waste,’ remarks Sean. ‘The glass coating plant has provided us with huge potential for growth and we’re already making positive inroads.’

Bottle Printers of South Africa
+27 (0)11 443 7656


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