Although acquired in 2014 Boxmore has just completed the integration of Concorde Plastics. When this company fell to the liquidator’s hammer in April 2014, Boxmore stepped in to keep the business running, and in August purchased the business outright from the liquidator, thus inheriting a plastics container manufacturer with a solid history in supplying pharmaceutical/medical and pathological products.
As David Drew, Boxmore’s group commercial director explains, the first task was to regain lost market share, and then to use this investment as a stepping stone for diversification into a new yet related market. It’s another piece in the jigsaw puzzle being carefully assembled by Boxmore.
‘We split Concorde’s traditional business into two sections,’ David continues. ‘The manufacture of pharmaceutical and medical products has been integrated into our Isando plant, where similar injection moulding and extrusion blow moulding technology is in operation; and the production of pathological products has been brought to our Samrand plastic closures plant.’
For the pharmaceutical sector, Boxmore’s line-up now includes an impressive range of wide-necked securitainers manufactured in high-gloss PP in an array of sizes. With their highly-effective sealing systems, these containers are ideal for moisture-sensitive tablets, capsules and powders. An important added-value feature is the ability to supply in-mould labelled securitainers for longer runs.
On the pathology front, the list includes petri dishes, test tubes and specimen containers.
In acquiring Concorde Plastics, Boxmore inherited what David describes as the ‘Rolls Royce of injection moulding systems’. This is an Engel e-motion 280 machine, an all-electric injection moulding machine that has now been relocated to the Samrand plastics closures plant and into a specially-constructed cleanroom environment where it’s efficiently churning out petri dishes (lids and bases) at around 5 000/hour.
As these lids and bases exit the injection mould, they’re assembled, stacked and packed in a Hekuma automatic system. Here, utmost priority goes to handling the parts with care to prevent scratches and to ensure total cleanliness (see Complex cleanroom solution on page 75).
Moulded in PS, these immaculate-quality, high-clarity petri dishes can also be supplied gamma radiated when absolute sterility is required.
‘As there are currently only two suppliers of petri dishes in South Africa, we believe imported product accounts for a considerable portion of the market,’ David notes. ‘However, this advanced facility now gives us the capacity to supply South Africa’s entire requirements for petri dishes and to export to other African countries. We’re also helping our country’s drive to replace costly imports.’
Synergies in force
Any initial sense of surprise at hearing that Boxmore has branched into speciality plastics for the pharmaceutical and pathological sector is soon dispelled, as David Drew points out the considerable market synergies in force.
‘A key link in the chain is our already strong position in the pharmaceutical market in terms of the supply of MCC-approved closures for syrups,’ he relates. ‘In addition some beverage manufacturers are major users of petri dishes in their quality control laboratories … So now they can place simultaneous orders for preforms and petri dishes!’ he smilingly quips.
The Samrand plant already counts among the best-designed closures manufacturing sites in the world. With its primary technology being rotary compression moulding, the plant operates under positive air pressure within a totally hygienic environment. From raw material intake, through production to packing in corrugated cartons, plastic closures are untouched by human hand.
It was an easy step, therefore, to incorporate the cleanroom facility for the production of pathological products. The plant is already ISO 22 000 accredited but will now extend this to the new processes.