Anton Nel with one of the new Taili machines at A&E Nel Plastics in Cape Town; the fact that the machines have a small footprint was important as there is not a lot of free space at the premises in Stikland

Taili machines at A&E ‘punch above their weight’

A&E NEL Plastics has recently installed a number of Taili small injection moulding machines and expressed satisfaction with the machines’ ability to “punch above their weight”.

“The Taili machines won’t stand back for any machine in the small size category, not even the top machines from Germany,” said Anton Nel of A&E, based in Stikland Industrial in Cape Town.

A&E Nel has been in operation since 1991, making it one of the longest established injection and blow moulding businesses in the Cape, and the history goes back even further with Anton’s father, Eric Nel, having been one of the early pioneers of plastics production in the region from the 1970s. Those origins are still evident, with a substantial number of moulds parked on shelves in the chock-a-block machine hall at the plant, which is one of the factors that made the purchase of smaller machines necessary.

The decision to buy the Taili machines, built in China and supplied locally by WD Hearn Machine Tools, was thus a logical step for A&E. It recently installed two units, 50 and 100-ton units, with the latter only slightly larger than the former.

The Taili units offer high performance for cost, said Anton. It appears that Taili did their homework during the Covid remission and made several specific developments to their machine systems. It appears that all the Chinese injection moulding machine makers did the same, if their performance at Chinaplas earlier this year is anything to go by. All the South African machine suppliers were impressed by the progress made by the Chinese manufacturers.

One of the main improvements is that the machine controls have been simplified. This is not necessarily a reaction to earlier injection technology, mainly as developed in the West, but rather that the Chinese electronics technicians have developed simpler means to set the machines up and adjust settings. The machine memory can accommodate settings for up to 100 moulds.

“It’s easier to set the machines up,” said Anton, which is an advantage as A&E is running a wide range of products and using a variety of materials, including polycarbonate and acetal.

Another plus is that the new machines allow for core pulling, which enables for larger, hollow products to be produced.


Creative solutions

As things stand, a bit of a Nel dynasty is emerging in Stikland: brother Etienne operates Tectrusion, a profile extrusion business, further along Tedric Ave and Eric junior, Anton’s son, is now in charge of sales and is designate GM at A&E, such is the legacy of Grandfather Eric Nel, who passed away in 2000. Anton has been running the company since. He and his team have made a business of finding creative solutions for blown and injection moulded items. One of its most recent developments is that of a solar powered pool cleaning device, which floats on the surface of swimming pools. The water circulates through a chlorinator suspended beneath the floating device. Development is nearly complete. In our last article on A&E, in 2011, the company had just introduced its ‘Lifebuoy’ lifesaver rescue hoop, now a common sight on beaches along the coast, so the company is comfortable in the floatation area.

A&E has its own toolroom but also works with another leading Cape toolmaker/moulder on certain projects.

  • A & E Nel Plastics: phone 021 945 1045