David Coetzer (second from right) is to head up the new ACD RotoFlo colour and additive masterbatch manufacturing venture Speciality Compounds. Here we see the new GM with his colleagues at the ACD Rotoflo group, including Brian, Andrew and Clive Robertson, Michael Boltau and Krzysztof Otrebski

Speciality Compounds, start-up by ACD Rotoflo due to enter market

ACD ROTOFLO is to build on expertise and momentum built up with its manufacture of roto moulding materials for the introduction of a new venture, Speciality Compounds, which is to manufacture and supply both masterbatches and pigments for the wider plastic industry.

ACD Rotoflo group CEO Clive Robertson said the startup company would supply the polyolefins and styrenics sectors with colour masterbatches as well as flame retardant, UV stabilizer and fluorescent additives, with all the compounding conducted at its existing premises in Kya Sand in Johannesburg.

Speciality Compounds takes off from a solid platform provided by ACD Rotoflo: the business entered the roto material supply market in 2012 with an output of 300 tons a month. It has steadily expanded since: the following year it moved to larger premises in Kya Sand (2 200m²) and then increased tonnages by 500 tons/month in each of 2014, 2017 and 2020 successively, to the point where it is now compounding and/or milling up to 2 500 tons/month. Factory space now stands at 4 400m² in three separate factories. During this period it also installed substantial on-site power generating capacity, including a generator capacity of 1340KVA and solar/hybrid power of 600kW/hr, meaning that it can now continue to operate almost fully off-grid if necessary.

It has also extended its supply, literally, to some very specific speciality grade roto materials too, including a high-impact soft-touch grade and an EVA soft-touch grade, materials that are not used widely in the roto market. Its success with the production of these small batches boosted confidence that the group possessed the ability to do this work successfully. Short production runs of materials can be tricky as batches need to be separated very specifically and coding, storage, transport and tracking need to be 100% guaranteed.

Considerable gathered experience exists among the staff at ACD Rotoflo, which will gradually transition to the new Speciality Compounds entity on-site, but it is CEO Robertson who has topped it all: he has put years of experience to work in developing the vision for the new business.

The man started out in the injection moulding sector at SA Moulded Plastics (a producer of telephones and telecom accessories), then did the same work at Sutherland Plastics, then joined the training division of the Plastics Federation (now Plastics|SA); then Plastamid (also a material supply operation), FHE Automotive Technologies, then Sasol Polymers, Polyimpex (Borealis), then Affirm Marketing, and then, penultimately, was at Lomotek Polymers. The last appointment was possibly the most galling as the parent company Lomold went belly-up, but not before siphoning off all the capital from the subsidiary. But as they say, defeat is just a step on the way to victory and Robertson put the experience of that setback to good use when he started a consulting business, CCR RotoConsult. Through working with like-minded entrepreneurs, Robertson managed to start ACD RotoFlo in April 2012.

Now the next step of the journey involves the creation of Speciality Compounds and, based on its successful support of customers around Southern Africa, it’s clear that the new business is starting with good fundamentals.

David Coetzer, who has been appointed as general manager of Speciality Compounds, brings with him the multiple skills set required to manage a startup business.