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Presstec – a phoenix arises

Following the dissolution of Rototec, Gill Loubser reports on the rebirth of the Hendricks family business and its fresh brand identity as Presstec.

Cognizance of a new name – Presstec – is beginning to settle in the minds of the country’s narrow-web fraternity. The launch of the Presstec brand marks a fresh beginning for the Hendricks family and, say the brothers, it’s destined to become the ‘distributor of choice’ for South Africa’s narrow-web industry.

As chronicled last year (A family affair: PPM Festive Issue 2012, p24), the Hendricks family business was founded in 1972 by Roderick Hendricks and, following his death in 1997, continued by his sons – Antron, Grant, Linton and Byron. The business, then known as TEC (The Engraving Company), became acknowledged as a reliable supplier of tooling to the narrow-web sector.

It was the supply of solid rotary tools to the printing industry that sparked research into flexible dies, eventually leading to the establishment in 2006 of Apple Die South Africa, in conjunction with Apple Die in the US.

After a brief spell trading as Rototec – a joint venture with the Aengenvoort family that has now been dissolved – a new company Presstec has been formed as a vehicle to continue the company’s proven excellence as a tooling partner and to focus on further exciting developments, not least local representation of two Italian machinery suppliers, Omet and Cartes, Swedish company Grafotronic and Spanish company Vela.

Tooling at work

When it comes to tooling, the family’s background since 1972 provides an impressive 30-year pedigree. ‘With this experience behind us, there’s no doubt that we’re the industry leader when it comes to precision engraving and die sinking,’ comments Antron Hendricks. ‘Our line-up includes print cylinders, anvil rollers, magnetic cylinders, removable blade cutters, sprocket punch cutting dies, flexible cutting dies and gears.’

But it doesn’t end there. ‘Our vision is to be the industry partner of choice – from prepress to finished goods – by providing uncompromised service excellence and quality in everything we do,’ Antron declares.

To attain this goal, four key divisions have been established:

•  Presstec Tooling, encompassing the products mentioned above;
•  Presstec Machines, housing the Omet, Cartes, Grafotronic and Vela brands, plus Wastech label trim waste collection systems;
•  Presstec Consumables, supplying products such as cushion mount tape, doctor blades and customised PET ink trays that allow quick changes between printing jobs; and
•  Presstec Finance, backed by a large financial group, providing tailor-made financial solutions geared towards big ticket items such as printing and inspection equipment.

‘With these four divisions, plus our well-established Cape Town headquarters, satellite sales and service operations in Johannesburg – and another soon to be established in Durban – there’s no doubt we count as the distributor of choice for South Africa’s narrow-web industry,’ Antron adds.

Bringing flexible magnetic dies to Africa

Considerably enhancing the traditional focus on tooling, the establishment of Apple Die South Africa in 2006, to produce flexible dies locally, was hailed as a breakthrough. The move brought a number of advantages, not least shortening lead times and countering the vagaries of currency fluctuations for imported dies.

Since then, the market had moved on apace, with flexible dies inexorably taking market share from rotary dies. As their benefits became increasingly apparent, particularly in the face of ever-shorter run lengths, the South African market closely shadowed global growth trends, a success that spurred further investment by the US partners to enhance local production efficiencies and coincidentally to manufacture coated, hardened dies.

Today, Apple Die is able to supply South African printers with flexible dies on a 24-hour basis.

But it’s not only the Hendricks brothers who smile about this ongoing success story. So, too, do their customers. As they’ve gained a better understanding of the benefits of flexible magnetic dies, especially reduced lead times and more competitive prices, label printers have increasingly been lured away from conventional rotary dies.

Omet’s award-winning excellence

Complementing this traditional focus on tooling has been the acquisition of important agencies – notably Omet, Cartes, Grafotronic and Vela – to supply label converting and finishing equipment.

Like the Hendricks family, Omet has a long and impressive history.

As recorded earlier this year (PPM Feb 2013, p24), 2013 marks Omet’s 50th anniversary, and celebrations have been ongoing, not only at the Lecco headquarters in Italy but at several shows and in various forums around the world. And in this month’s preview of Labelexpo Europe, we report on Omet’s plans to stage further 50th anniversary celebrations in Brussels (see page 46).

Since Omet began designing and manufacturing printing and converting machines for the narrow- and mid-web industry back in 1963, it has developed a presence on five continents, with 28 agents and distributors in 40 countries.

Omet presses are characterised by strong product and process innovation, as well as reliability, quality, flexibility, ease of management, print quality, productivity, inline operation and waste reduction.

Machines in the Varyflex and XFlex ranges are designed in a modular and versatile format that’s easily assembled to fulfil specific needs.

The company has received many accolades acknowledging this excellence. For instance, in 2007, a Varyflex featuring ten print units, two inline die-cutting stations and the ability to interchange flexographic units with rotogravure or silkscreen units anywhere in the sequence was dubbed ‘the best printing machine for the tobacco industry’. The same year Omet won an Award for Excellence among Italian enterprises based on criteria such as innovation and investments in patents and human capital.

At Labelexpo Europe 2007, Omet’s Angelo Bartesaghi was among six finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award in that year’s Label Industry Global Awards.

Also in 2007, an Omet customer in Asia, Hubei Three Golden Gorges Printing, won Gold in the AFTA (Asian Flexographic Technical Association) Print Awards for cigarette packaging printed on an inline VaryFlex.

The following year, Omet went on to receive the FTA Innovation Award in the US recognising the excellence of the X-Flex line; and at Labelexpo Americas 2010, Omet again shone in the Label Industry Global Awards, this time taking the prize for Continuous Innovation.

Cartes comes to Cape Town

Presstec’s second Italian principal, Cartes, boasts a proud 43-year history since the first production of a label press in 1970. Today the company’s 6 000m2 facility in Moglia employs a team of skilled workers and has enjoyed sales successes of some 4 000 machines to 80 countries, underlining its focus  on quality, innovation, mechanical strength and precision.

In fact, two recent events occurred almost simultaneously – the relaunch of the Hendricks family business as Presstec and the sale of South Africa’s first Cartes finishing machine and its installation at Coastal Labels, as reported last month (PPM July 2013, p57).

The prime focus at Cartes is to find innovative technical solutions for the label market, and to produce machines that incorporate all the finishing steps inline – hot stamping, silkscreen printing, flatbed die-cutting, embossing and varnishing.

Adding further versatility to this line up is Cartes’ exclusive laser system for die-cutting. Since the development and commercialisation of this laser technology some 13 years ago, Cartes has sold more than 200 laser die-cutting machines in 41 countries.

As with Omet, this company is showing its latest models at Labelexpo Europe (see page 45).

Shrink sleeve finishing

Moving from these two Italian companies to the Spanish connection, Vela has an equally impressive background.

Founded in 1973 by Ramón Vela, the initial focus was on fabricating specialised plastic welding machines. Today, however, this company manufactures finishing machines for flexible packaging and labelling production, providing cutting, sheeting and perforation equipment.

One such machine is a rotary cutting machine with a magnetic roller system for the in-mould and sleeve label market. Another is a stretch sleeve forming machine that produces spooled polyethylene stretch sleeves with or without pre-cutting.

Swedish-Polish family values

The fourth agency is Swedish company Graftronic founded by Per-Åke Wasberger in 1971 to supply specialised finishing equipment – incorporating rewinding, inspection and die-cutting – for the narrow-web industry.

In 2004 Grafotronic formed a partnership with Poland’s Lesko Engineering.

Grafotronic’s entry-level slitter rewinder offers a variety of inspection systems, including manual with strobe, video or 100% inspection. With its web guide and tension system, combined with quick stop and easy-to-use splice table, the Grafotronic SR slitter-rewinder is highly productive. The company’s semi-automatic turret rewinder provides almost non-stop production and thanks to a servo option runs all types of substrates from mono film to cartonboard.

The Grafotronic converting line is a modular machine that suits high-volume production of labels. Each module is servo driven and works independently. Additional units are easily added for producing different products and the complete line is controlled by a steering system including a 10” movable touch screen.


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