‘The initial space allocation was sold out months in advance and to meet demand we expanded into a second hall,’ he relates. ‘The enthusiasm from exhibitors has been overwhelming and, by the close of the show, 41% had already signed for Propak Cape 2017.’
Alongside the 240 exhibition stands, a comprehensive programme of workshops and free-to-attend seminars was provided by the Institute of Packaging South Africa (IPSA) and Plastics|SA.
Acepak struts its stuff
With hundreds of its locally-produced machines operating at blue-chip consumer goods manufacturers throughout Africa and Europe, Acepak ranks among the biggest names when it comes to technology, quality, reliability and competitive pricing.
‘We certainly made a big impression at the show with our top-quality end-of-line machinery and our complementary services and equipment,’ comments Acepak director, Justin Tomsett. ‘While many equipment suppliers are importing complete turnkey solutions at huge cost, we’re supplying locally-manufactured systems at a fraction of the price, including shrink wrappers, case packers and palletisers linked to conveyors for loose product and full pallets,’ he adds. ‘We partner these with filling, capping, unscrambling equipment and robotic palletising from other leading manufacturers to provide a total end-of-line system, with our own highly-experienced programming staff on hand to integrate the machines and get line control and communications operating efficiently. By keeping as much ancillary work as possible in-house we control the cost of installation and tailor each project to specific needs.’
Although it’s inevitable that there will always be a level of imported content in a turnkey project, it’s Justin’s contention that providing proudly South African tried-and-trusted components to link it all together helps local producers to manage costs and avoid importing cheap alternatives that ultimately don’t last.
‘Our winning philosophy – compact and ergonomic design; simple and reliable mechanics; and cutting-edge control technology – applies to each machine we produce, right from our entry-level series to crème de la crème turnkey projects, and much of our success rests on good, old-fashioned customer service and solid relationships,’ adds Justin. ‘Furthermore, we choose equipment partners who maintain the highest manufacturing standards and work ethics.’
Each machine sold by Acepak, whether it’s one station or an entire line, is sold with a 100% quality and service guarantee.
‘Each machine should be a long-term investment, giving reliable service for ten years or longer,’ Justin promises. ‘And, by providing a dedicated service network in the major centres, we provide customers with a consistent maintenance programme, plus ongoing advice and support regarding productivity and future expansion investments.’
Traditional values and technical know-how
Paul Clark and the Adex Plastics & Machinery team, accompanied by international principals, CMD and C&C Flexo, fielded a steady flow of technical questions and sales enquiries from local and African visitors.
Being put through its paces during the show was the compact CMD 864 global bag machine and winder. Designed for retail and industrial applications, this nifty crowd-pleaser features continuous motion sealing and a convenient bag-on-a -roll configuration. ‘Economical, fast and simple to use, the 864 was extremely well received by visitors eager to get into the refuse bag market or upgrade to a fully-automated operation,’ remarks Tim Lewis, VP of CMD.
Excellent quality leads were also received by C&C Flexo’s Luigi and Nicoletta Carraro. ‘By attending the show we helped Paul and his team to reconfirm our company name and long-standing family presence and passion,’ relates Nicoletta. ‘During the last few years, we’ve experienced a Carint “rebirth”, with several new buyers and returning customers. We recognise that our industry partners appreciate traditional values, advanced technology and a reliable and transparent supplier, and they get both with the C&C Flexo and Adex families,’ she adds.
‘In the last three years, our relationship has blossomed because of our partnership approach coupled with unparalleled service and technical know-how. This is reflected in the positive sales we’re achieving in southern Africa with our range of top-grade gearless flexo sleeve machines and retrofitting services.’
A garbage bag is a garbage bag – or is it?
When it comes to garbage bags, the choice grows ever wider. Not many years ago, the only option was a roll of perforated bags, and then interleaved bags joined the line-up.
Today, however, there’s an almost mind-boggling diversity of styles, including bags with gussets, with star bottoms, with draw tapes and with clever tie-tie features accomplished with a sine wave cutting pattern. The sizes, shapes and designs seem almost limitless, as are the materials from which they’re made.
Coping with production of this abundance of bag shapes and styles can be tricky, but at Propak Cape the Advanced Packaging Technology/Hudson-Sharp alliance was promoting a line of continuous-motion rotary bottom-weld/twin-seal bag-making machines that can be used to meet all these design criteria, and more.
Joining Advanced Packaging Technology’s Gary Kieswetter on the stand was Johan Mertens, Hudson-Sharp’s Belgium-based area sales manager, visiting South Africa to attend Propak Cape.
‘We’re now seeing the next wave of speciality garbage bags, for which there’s ever-increasing demand,’ Johan remarked. ‘While the market for wicketed bags is fairly saturated, we can now offer machines for producing a variety of garbage bags – with different shapes and different profiles.’
On offer is reliable and efficient production with easy maintenance and fast product changeover times, thanks to a number of different machine widths as and an array of machine options – just some of which include rotary sine wave cutting, production of draw-tape bags on a roll, or separation and folding to produce individually folded and stacked bottom or mixed weld bags.
Some such bags are on sale in local supermarkets, but are imported. Now it’s time for South African converters to climb on the bandwagon.
These Hudson-Sharp bag-making machines are the answer, as they’re suitable for a wide variety of bottom-weld and twin-seal applications including trash bags and liners, industrial bags/sacks, all sorts of kitchen bin and dustbin bags.
Of particular relevance says Gary Kieswetter is the continuous motion that allows throughput speeds up to 180m/min. ‘Compared to intermittent sealing machines, continuous rotary technology is particularly advantageous for inline applications with an extruder,’ he explains. ‘Important too is the ability to cope with gauge variation, particularly as South Africa has moved to 100% recycled materials for garbage bag production.’
‘This really is the solution to the needs of plastics converters in South Africa requiring total flexibility in bag production, particularly allowing them to compete with imported garbage bags with special features,’ sums up Johan Mertens.
Esko’s prepress software and die-less cutting
Significant news from the Esko Artwork contingent included the arrival in South Africa of Peter Hargreaves, who has been transferred here from the UK as sales account manager for South Africa.
Now domiciled in Somerset West, Peter is very excited to be here and to be working alongside Esko’s resellers and their numerous customers.
‘The welcome I have received has been very warm,’ he remarks with a happy smile.
Asked to name differences between the South African and European markets, he confirms there’re actually pretty similar! ‘Printers have large volumes of work to handle in very limited time, and spend a great deal of time checking for potentially costly errors before a job gets on to the press,’ he replies. ‘There’s also a shortage of skilled staff making it extremely difficult to cope when key staff members are away on leave or are sick, or are away for training.’
Answers to such problems can be found in the use of tools within the Esko software portfolio – shown at Propak on the stand of Bob Cork Agencies – tools that enable printers to complete work in less time.
‘However,’ Peter insists, ‘it’s the introduction of the Esko workflow in Automation Engine (AE) that really gives a productivity boost by freeing up skilled staff to get on with more “added-value” tasks, such as liaising with customers or with the printing team.
‘If designers/brand owners can present their work in a specific way, errors are minimised and work can move through the system far quicker,’ he continues.
‘In addition, by working with the print teams, prepress/repro specialists can reduce the number of colours used which means printers can save money on ink while improving press up-time. We can help the packaging supply chain to reduce costs and introduce profit, and many of our global customers are happy to share their experiences with local printers.’
Apart from the software line-up on the Bob Cork Agencies stand, a crowd puller on the nearby GSW stand was a Kongsberg XP die-less cutting and creasing table, operating with Esko Artwork’s award-winning i-cut Suite pre-production software, designed especially for handling a combination of corrugated board and other rigid or roll materials used in POP products and displays.
Also available in this series is the XP Auto that’s loaded with functions to boost productivity and guarantee reliable operation. It permits fully digital workflow for POP displays and packaging and is said to offer wider design parameters compared to conventional die-cutting.
‘Propak proved highly beneficial for several of our customers who had technology upgrades in mind. Seeing the Kongsberg and Esko i-cut Suite in production mode provided the assurances they were looking for,’ remarks Esko’s applications specialist, Wouter Gheysels.
Expertise in flexo printing and packaging
Surprise news on the Ceramic Anilox Engravers (CAE) stand was the announcement of a partnership with Mamata Extrusion Systems.
‘In line with our objective to become a strategic, multi-service provider in the flexographic and flexible packaging fields, we’re now proudly selling Mamata’s world-class three-layer blown film lines in southern Africa,’ explained CAE’s technical director, Paul Rich. ‘By combining our local industry expertise and the strength of our international brands, we’re on course to deliver the best service and advice across Africa.’
Joining the CAE team was Bhaven Parmar, who offered visitors in-depth information on the Mamata technology, plus other international partners, Paulo Belloccino from Grafikontrol, who showcased the breakthrough Color Lab inline spectrophotometer system, plus 100% web detection and inspection systems, and first-time Propak attendee Alessandro Galli from IST, who presented solvent and water recovery units and advanced anilox, plate and parts cleaning equipment.
And on a second CAE stand, Stefano Squarcina and Tony Rich outlined Uteco’s exciting developments in high-end flexographic and gravure printing, and laminating technology.
Other show highlights included demonstrations of CAE’s signature eCell anilox transfer technology, plus its latest ceramic gravure capabilities and prepress ventures into direct laser engraved sleeves.
Armor Africa début: a roaring success
Following the opening of its ribbon manufacturing plant – the first in South Africa – Armor Africa, a subsidiary of the worldwide frontrunner in thermal transfer technology, took the opportunity to launch its brands at Propak Cape.
According to Andrew Fosbrook, MD of Armor Africa, the début was a roaring success. ‘Prospective customers discussed industry challenges, including the lack of local supply and inferior quality thermal transfer labels, resulting in high returns and failures in the supply chain,’ he remarks. ‘Many were excited to see a new entrant who can deliver quality at reasonable prices and guarantee supply with fast turnaround times. We’re very clear about our marketing strategy. As the first true designer and manufacturer of inked films to provide thermal transfer ribbon slitting facilities in Africa, we’re targeting the southern African markets through our partnerships with printer manufacturers and value-added resellers, rather than end-users.’
According to Roland Pinz, general manager, it’s rewarding to bring one of the widest range of thermal transfer ribbons to the African market, along with a recognised global brand that’s synonymous with high-quality standards. ‘Visitors were impressed with our diverse range, which includes thermal transfer ribbons and niche applications for barcodes, logos, use-by dates and batch numbers on labels, or printing directly on to flexible packaging and fabrics in manufacturing, logistics and distribution operations,’ he reports.
Logistics and supply chain revolution
Zetes made a lasting impression with its striking, interactive stand, showcasing Dock Door Control, ZetesMedea and ZetesAtlas suites that are set to revolutionise logistics, warehousing and packaging operations.
Dock Door Control automates the end-of-line pallet loading control process, providing precision speed and a correct loading system, backed up by visual proof of the shipment and its condition. According to Karin Parker, executive head of sales and marketing at Zetes, it’s aimed at helping businesses avoid costly incorrect shipments and fraudulent claims for damages.
‘We’ve studied the way companies run their logistics and supply chain processes, and believe they need to prioritise the requirement for traceability and legal compliance, and design their supply chain accordingly. This is where Zetes systems play a huge role,’ she adds. ‘Our logistics execution suite, ZetesMedea, controls warehouse processes from goods receipt to goods issued, enabling cost-effective, efficient process optimisation for error-free logistics management. Dock Door Control provides automatic control of the loading process by using cameras installed at the entry or exit doors to detect and analyse product or pallet labels instantly as goods are loaded or transferred.’
Planting digital seeds in an analogue industry
‘The show was really great for us with plenty of good-quality visitors,’ says an enthusiastic Sean Greer of Midcomp.
He reports that visitors showed genuine interest in the latest technologies on show on the Midcomp stand, and were keen to learn how these technologies could add value to their businesses, to set them apart from competitors.
‘We achieved our main objectives,’ Sean remarks, ‘of planting digital technology seeds in a traditionally analogue industry. We started mutually-beneficial dialogues and learnt a lot about what customers in the packaging industry need and what makes them tick.’
Showcased was the HP Scitex FB700, the Zund G3 and the ZDC (Zund Design Centre), an equipment configuration that is great for rapid prototyping to provide potential customers with working samples in under ten minutes, while they waits in reception. ‘This surely beats handing over a printed piece of paper and a hand-cut box and asking customers to imagine the paper on the box!’ quips Sean.
‘Based on positive response from visitors, this show was a great investment for us and we look forward to being part of it again in the future.’