The Supercombi laminator from Nordmeccanica can bond virtually any film, with most structures being 3-layer, joining any substrate (usually printed polyester, LLDPE or paper) to a nylon or other barrier mid-layer and linear inner layer. Here we see setter Joshua Perunal, CEO Dean Gianni and production director Chris Burnard with the new line, which was commissioned in July

Packaging World increases print capacity

PACKAGING World of Durban has shown impressive 0-100 acceleration in the print area since its decision to start printing in mid-2017 – and we’re talking here about speeds not often seen in the industry to date. It has since commissioned an additional laminator and two printers and has another printer on the water. Each of these projects has involved considerable capex and ramp-up processes.

It all started quite simply for Packaging World when it entered the market in 1995 as a packaging supply business first operating from makeshift premises adjacent to now-CEO Dean Gianni’s home, from where it slowly built up its customer base. Growth was consistent and the business later moved to larger premises in Pinetown. Gianni and his team were receiving requests to print on the bags they were supplying. With ‘supply’ being the operative word, there was no turning back once it decided to offer printed film as an add-on to its bag-making business. It commissioned its first printer, a Windmöller & Hölscher Miraflex line in early 2018.

Packaging World does not extrude its own films (and doesn’t wish to) and had previously contracted out the print work for its bagmakers. This was not an efficient long-term solution, as it extended turnaround times and added to costs. If not supplied directly form the printer, film went from the film manufacturer to the printer and only then arrived at Packaging World for bag-making, or direct to customer, which was a complicated arrangement and which the company was not able to control efficiently.

The decision to print set in motion a tiger which Gianni and his team have since been hanging on to, but the maverick CEO likes it this way. From his considerable experience as a print broker, dating back prior to the set-up of Packaging World, Gianni is not one for delaying decisions unnecessarily (with the advantage of not having a board of directors to report to for approval). The speed with which the team is operating appears to have proved attractive for its customers, who range from Tier 1 brand companies and retailers to smaller regional food, beverage and goods manufacturers. Demand has ramped up nicely, necessitating the additional plant.

Its next expansion after the introduction of the Miraflex press in 2018 was the purchase in 2019 of the Soma printer from Cibapac, along with a laminator and slitter, when that business still operated from the Cape. The Czech-built ‘Optima2’ Soma system was reputed to be one of the most sophisticated printers in Southern Africa, printing an 820mm web width and capable of printing both sides of the web at high speeds.

The additional plant enabled Packaging World to significantly expand its print offering, to the point where it outgrew its premises in Young Road, Pinetown, necessitating a move to larger premises on Hillclimb in nearby Westmead. The additional space has created opportunity for further plant introduction, including a second laminator from Nordmeccanica of Italy and two additional printers, a second Soma as well as a second W&H line.

Part of the logic for Packaging World’s print expansion is to print wider web widths, of over 1m wide, which the new equipment will enable it to do and which will considerably speed up turnaround times.