In the same year, Britepak Trading opened its doors for business and, while some ‘institutions’ may have crumbled since, it remains stronger than ever, providing world-class, award-winning folding carton packaging and printed leaflets for a host of local and international pharmaceutical, healthcare and cosmetics manufacturers.
‘From the start, we opted out of supplying the high-volume packaging sector, preferring to focus on value-added products. This required strict production controls and procedures and much was invested to get the right technologies in place,’ remarks MD, John Latter.
‘Business swiftly grew and we established ourselves as a leading supplier, gaining the necessary credentials to meet strict requirements governing healthcare and allied products.’
By 2005, Britepak was ready to elevate to the next level. JSE-listed Transpaco stepped in and provided the capital required to facilitate fresh equipment purchases and property expansion. With the purchase of Britepak, Transpaco also secured the technical skills and know-how it was looking for in the folding carton packaging sector, creating a multi-faceted operation second-to-none.
Ownership by Transpaco offered Britepak long-term financial stability and, since joining the group, there’s been a flurry of investments in all departments aimed at extending its premium-quality capabilities and skills base.
Attention to detail
The prepress department, where design and platemaking takes place, is pretty much CtP these days, with a Heidelberg Suprasetter handling swift plate production. Job tracking is managed using the latest MIS system and, in line with government and pharmaceutical regulations, Britepak ensures the most stringent document control and approved manufacturing procedures. Obsolete material is methodically destroyed and a comprehensive archiving and storage system is in place.
These strict practices roll over to the print shop where each job is segregated to avoid cross-contamination or confusion. All sheeting is conducted in-house and top-quality printing is completed on a bank of Heidelberg and KBA offset litho presses, complemented by off-line UV varnishing.
Efficiency is the name of the game in the finishing department where several Bobst Autoplatens and Fuego folder-gluers with multi-gun overhead extrusion glue-application systems and barcode readers constantly buzz with activity.
To complete the line-up, Britepak utilises package insert folding machines, with multiple fold options and barcode reading devices.
Investing for future growth
In November 2011, Britepak recorded an African first with the installation of a five-line AccuBraille rotary embossing system and high-speed Bobst folder-gluer, purchased from long-time supply partner, Beswick Machinery (PPM January 12, p53).
The first such unit of its kind in South Africa, it’s providing an encouraging ROI, daily improving output.
So says sales director, Nick Swan. ‘By employing the AccuBraille in-line on the folder-gluer we can accurately emboss any one of the four sides on a carton at high-speed without instability. A specially-fitted glue detection device ejects non-conforming cartons without disrupting production,’ he adds. ‘Overall, performance has been exceptional. Providing a consistent glue application means we produce cartons that run smoothly on manufacturers’ high-speed automated packing lines.’
Although Braille embossing may be in its infancy in South Africa (although EU legislation regulates the use of Braille on packaging, in South Africa it’s still voluntary), Nick is confident that AccuBraille will soon be part of the daily production process. ‘We’ve carried out trials with leading pharmaceutical and healthcare brand houses and expect some to bear fruit soon,’ he reports enthusiastically. ‘Additionally, once South Africa falls in line with EU legislation, we’ll be prepared and ready to handle all Braille requirements.’
Renewing and expanding
In the meantime, the Britepak team isn’t resting on its laurels. For starters, the folding department has recently taken charge of high-speed Herzog & Heymann machines. ‘We’ve replaced several older machines with faster, versatile models that allow us to perform more complex folds, which in turn is less labour intensive,’ asserts John Latter. ‘Besides equipment changes, we’ve just completed a comprehensive rebranding exercise. Our delivery trucks sport our bold logo and marketing and advertising material now reflects our refreshed image. Production wise, we’re carrying on with what we do best and expanding our export activities in Africa. In a constantly-evolving marketplace we need to box clever and I’m confident that we’ll continue to grow our already sterling reputation based on our professional approach and world-class production systems,’ concludes John.
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