Plastic and Chemical Trading is proud to announce that our business and technical team has been thriving, despite the generally negative effect of COVID-19 on the economy. Our organisation believes in setting a standard of excellence that permeates across every level of our business, and our technical team has undoubtedly delivered an unrivalled level of dedication.
Where many global businesses are already facing cashflow challenges, our team have been hard at work throughout the country, offering our clients the continued service excellence they have come to expect. The team have maintained exceptional morale despite six members having tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. Khaya Sibisi, Service co-ordinator at Plastic and Chemical Trading, asserted that "things are going great!" The Plastic and Chemical Trading technical team have maintained an outstanding work ethic despite the six remaining team members making limited trips back home as a result of pandemic regulations. Our company has continued to do business as usual, without major retrenchments, as a result of the service team's continued dedication to ensuring work not only continues but is completed to the expected standard.
During their time in East London, the team has been stretched out of their comfort zones, receiving training, and being upskilled to meet new assignments. During the various levels of lockdown, we have received requests from several international businesses to partner in with them, providing support and assistance where their teams have been unable to travel. This international recognition speaks to the distinction and diligence of our team.
The management of Plastic and Chemical Trading would like to commend our technical team on their outstanding work to upskill and take on new business tasks while respecting all government-stipulated regulations for COVID-19. This has been a challenging situation, and the diligence of this exceptional group of employees has ensured that our business continues to thrive despite global duress.
As society moves into an era of prioritising environmental sustainability, eco-friendly packaging has begun to resonate with consumers. In traditional thermoforming, plastic is heated to pliable temperatures and turned into a specific shape through a moulding process, forming the desired product.
Paper (or cellulose) pulp thermoforming is offering new sustainable alternatives for packaging in a plastic averse market. Through the use of plant raw materials such as bamboo, sugarcane, reed, or wood, paper pulp can be used to create consumer and industrial grade commodities. An additional benefit is that the source products can also come from recycled materials. The fast-food industry stands to benefit significantly from the production of these food packaging materials. The resulting products of paper pulp thermoforming are microwave safe, to store frozen foods and for oven-baked foods.
The applications do not stop there, but Kiefel’s fibre thermoforming can also be used for the creation of industrial packaging and other consumer commodities. Moulded pulp packaging is widely used for electronic and household goods, automotive parts and even medical products. With endless applications and the generation of a more eco-friendly product, paper pulp moulding is a strong contender for product packaging.
There are many more benefits to utilising moulded pulp. The product created is environmentally friendly; being recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. Moulded pulp products are durable and often remain unaffected by temperature extremes. Companies can benefit from more stable raw material costs as raw materials rates are not volatile and also offers a lower price than most other protective materials. Your products have superior vibration cushioning and shock absorption, being stackable in a way that allows for savings in storage costs.
Above all, pulp products can offer all these benefits whilst being engineered and moulded to your custom specifications. If your business is looking to avoid the use of styrofoam and other petroleum-based packaging, paper pulp thermoforming is the customisable and environmentally friendly alternative you never knew you needed.
The KraussMaffei Group is once again on course for growth in 2017. Digital transformation, new technologies and services, and powerful momentum from China form the foundation for double-digit revenue growth. Technical advancements are paving the way to a successful future.
The KraussMaffei Group continues to grow. Orders and sales for 2017 (YTD, as of the end of August) have exceeded the record set in 2016 by up to 10 percent. Global megatrends such as digital transformation, urbanization and the more efficient use of resources deliver momentum for growth as these call for technical innovations in fields in which the global market leader for plastics processing machinery is traditionally strong. A further visible indicator for the company’s strong growth besides the financial figures is the development of the company’s employee base. The KraussMaffei Group’s employee base recently exceeded 5,000 employees for the first time. The company’s workforce has therefore grown by roughly 14 percent globally since it was taken over by the China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina).
As a specialist for injection molding, extrusion and reaction process machinery, the KraussMaffei Group delivers solutions across its segments for current challenges such as Industry 4.0. The company is unveiling MaXecution, a manufacturing execution system (MES) specially tailored to the needs of smaller injection molding enterprises. Data analysis tools and self-optimizing manufacturing systems (DataXplorer, APC plus) enhance the efficiency and availability of machines and production processes. In addition, a wide range of state-of-the-art lightweight construction processes, such as the new system for pultrusion processes (iPul), are available. Its presentation recently drew guests from the U.S., Asia and many European countries to Munich.
A leasing model for injection molding machines is having its premiere on the German market, addressing the desire for more flexibility within the machinery pool. This model is offered for standard machines up to 3,000 kN. Thus, customers will be able to rent production capacities for a defined period of time. At the end of the term the customer can either give back the machine or buy it. A success story is the all-electric injection molding machine PX. Since its launch one year ago, the PX has been met with significantly high interest particularly in Germany, the U.S. and China. Therefore production capacity for 2018 needs to be doubled.
The Chinese market is increasingly becoming the driver of growth for the KraussMaffei Group. CEO Dr. Frank Stieler confirms this trend: “China and other Asian markets will increasingly become more important for us in the future. Through our new owner ChemChina, we now have even better access to the market than ever before. That’s something we intend to build on.” On account of high demand, the plant in Haiyan has already doubled its production volume and expects to see an additional increase in 2018.
For further information and photos in print quality, visit: www.kraussmaffeigroup.com
The KraussMaffei product brand is internationally recognized for its groundbreaking, multitechnology system and process solutions for injection and reaction molding technology and factory automation. With its standalone, modular or standardized machinery and systems, and a wide, customizable service offering, KraussMaffei is a full-system partner for customers in many industry sectors. KraussMaffei bundles many decades of engineering expertise in plastics machinery and is headquartered in Munich, Germany. For more information: www.kraussmaffei.com
The KraussMaffei Group is among the world’s leading suppliers of machinery and systems for producing and processing plastics and rubber. Its products and services cover the whole spectrum of injection and reaction molding and extrusion technology, giving the company a unique position in the industry. The KraussMaffei Group is innovation-powered, supplying its products, processes and services as standard or custom solutions which deliver sustained added value along the customer’s value-adding chain. The company markets it’s offering under the KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Netstal brands to customers in the automotive, packaging, medical, construction, electrical, electronics and home appliance industries. Continuing a long tradition of engineering excellence, the international KraussMaffei Group currently employs around 5,000 people. With a global network of more than 30 subsidiaries and more than 10 production plants, supported by around 570 sales and service partners, the company is close to customers around the world. KraussMaffei has been headquartered in Munich since 1838. For more information: www.kraussmaffeigroup.com
Injection moulding may be one of the most popular and effective plastic manufacturing processes however it is not cheap. In these uncertain economic times manufacturers need to incorporate cost effective solutions into their operations to stay relevant.
In this two-part post, we look at some ways to ensure that cost effective injection moulding is a reality for your project.
When it comes to material selection the options are seemingly endless particularly with plastic however honing in on the function of the piece and what you hope to achieve can help you narrow down your options and select the right material for the job.
All injection moulding companies were not created equal so selecting the right partner for your project is critical, not only for project success but for the bottom line. Your injection moulding partner should have experience manufacturing the parts you’re looking to produce as well as demonstrated success in handling a project of your size.
Optimised mould design means producing as many parts as possible in a single shot and being able to eject the plastic product quickly and ready for the next shot without wasting movements. Every second in the injection moulding process translates into money so minimising the movements and mechanisms of moulding to as few and fast as possible is essential.
There are many secondary processes (such as custom inserts, labelling and painting to name a few) that are involved in producing a part from scratch. Time is money in injection moulding so, by employing better production management and combining all these processes into one robust process you cut time from your production process saving you money.
Producing as many parts as possible in one sitting will allow you to remain competitive because it spreads the setup cost out over more parts leaving you with a lower price per piece. This allows you to compete in a market where a product must be the best while also being affordable.
Optimised product design can help you save on material consumption. For example, using ribs and gussets to reinforce a product will save on material consumption, as well as ensuring that the product has uniform wall thickness that is neither too thin nor too thick. Making small adjustments like these to your design and processes will put you in a better position to offer plastic products at competitive prices without incurring any losses.
Plastic & Chemical Trading are renowned for their extensive knowledge in injection moulding. Their years of experience and international partnerships ensure that you get world class solutions you won’t find anywhere else in Southern Africa. Contact us for a solution today!
As the demands for product quality and compliance increase, so do the requirements for managing the entire product lifecycle. For many the spotlight is only ever on inspection at one point however modern quality standards demand that a container is continuously checked along all areas of a filling line.
The reality is that inspection systems fulfil a multitude of tasks in the modern filling plant. In this two-part post, we’ll look at the different areas of use and the inspection techniques used in each case with a line for processing returnable bottles as an example.
Operations that feature a filling line for returnables will have a system that offers ultrasonic measuring procedures to determine the height of the containers and to detect foreign objects in the crates. The exact inspection of incoming crates is necessary to avoid interference to the unpacking process and a high quota of foreign bottles on the bottle conveyors.
After the crate, has been unpacked it is examined to establish whether it can be used for the actual production. It must not be damaged or contain foreign objects and its colour and logo must correspond to the filled product. Today these three criteria are generally checked using cameras.
Not all the foreign containers can be rejected in the crate area because of the large assortment of bottles present at times. This means foreign bottles must be sorted during bottle transport. Generally, the most important element of the bottle sorting unit installed for this process is a camera system using an image processing technique which measures the shape of the bottle and compares it to the sample shape of the production bottle.
Empty bottle inspection is probably the most renowned process where the containers are subjected to various inspection procedures. The inspection technique used by the empty bottle inspector consists for the most part of cameras. The different areas of the bottles are generally photographed with CCD cameras and high-frequency and infrared measuring techniques. The checks that are done at this point include a base, sidewall, finish and residual liquid check.
Residual caustic solution in a bottle can present a danger to the consumer and therefore an additional residual liquid check is often installed directly before the filler as an extra safety precaution. A high-frequency measuring technique is also used here, a reliable method of identifying even the smallest amount of residual caustic solution in a bottle.
Different factors are checked during and directly after the filling process and samples taken from the production flow. The technique used for the fill level measurement depends very much on the product and container. In the simplest case a photocell suffices. A well-equipped filler management system also has an integrated sampling program so that the quality of the filled product can also be checked.
The bottle is given a final look-over after the labelling machine before it is packed in the crate. First the labels must be checked to ensure they are all present. This is generally carried out with a light scanner either in or after the labelling machine. A closure inspection can be carried out at this point instead of after the filler. A second fill level check is also often carried out at this point.
When it comes to beverage bottling Heuft is the world leader in quality inspection. Heuft offer quality inspection equipment that caters to a range of requirements. Through our partnership with Heuft, Plastic & Chemical Trading can provide South Africa with world class solutions.
Resources: Translation from a report published in the “Getränkeindustrie” journal – June 2002 edition https://heuft.com/en/actual-news/news-overview/news-archive/inspection-systems-in-the-filling-plant
With the growing implementation of robotics and automation into production lines, various manufacturing sectors are able to reduce costs, provide even more consistent quality products and improve profit margins.
For packaging lines in particular automation is a popular option especially since custom automation solutions now encompass every step of the production process and supply chain. In this two-part post we will look at four packaging automation mistakes to avoid.
Every manufacturing facility is unique and applying a “one size fits all” approach to an installation can be detrimental. It is essential to consider the needs of the facility if you want to see the benefits of automation.
To ensure that you install the best possible solution for your facility all stakeholders need to be included in the process. Meet with all people involved with the project so that you can get an understanding of where automation would be most beneficial.
The automation process is an ongoing one, therefore one cannot simply install a solution and walk away. Every area of the system needs to be rigorously tested to ensure that it is performing up to standard.
Maintenance checks should be conducted at regular intervals and to ensure that the system stays current software should be updated as and when required. Training is an essential part of ensuring your machines function optimally which is why official training should be conducted as new members join the team.
Don’t miss part two of our post where we look at two more packaging automation mistakes to avoid.
Plastic & Chemical Trading together with our international partners deliver world class automation solutions to South Africa. If you’re in the market for a plastic manufacturing solution that can stand the test of time, contact Plastic and Chemical trading today.
Tel +27 11 483-3015
Link to Plastixportal Listings :
Roger Cockram, a veteran in the South African plastics industry, founded Plastic & Chemical Trading in 1989. With more than 50 years of plastic industry experience under his belt Roger, with the help of his team, has created a business that provides more than just machines to its customers but a lifetime solution entrenched in a culture of exceptional customer service.
Q: Tell us about when you started Plastic & Chemical Trading. Was there a "eureka" moment that led you to establish a foothold in the industry?
A: I think the big moment for us was when KraussMaffei said they wanted someone to represent them in South Africa. This was the moment that allowed us to move away from the raw materials business which is what we were doing at the time, and focus our business entirely on machinery. This is exactly what we wanted and needed and entering into this partnership was a defining moment for us.
Q: What are some of the big changes you have seen since you got started in the industry as an individual and since your entry as a business?
A: It was a totally different way of doing things when I started. I think probably the most significant change was that, when I started the industry was filled with small companies run by dedicated people who really loved what they were doing and really were so excited about developing plastic things. As time has gone on those guys have matured and in many cases sold their companies, some of them have failed, but basically they're not there in the market or there are very few of them left. Today the plastics industry is a corporate type of industry where people are just doing what that company has been doing forever, which I think is a pity because it stifles growth and excitement in the industry so we don't have those excited people to deal with anymore.
Q: Plastic & Chemical Trading is a relatively small business in terms of size and some would say you all are like family. How important is family to your business?
A: I don't think the concept of family in the business is particularly important at this stage but what is important is to have a team that thinks the same way. Perhaps not necessarily the same way but in a way that is complimentary to each other.
Q: What are your customers asking of you, what are some of the greatest demands in the market right now and how are you positioned to respond to these?
A: Because the plastic industry is now the domain of the big corporates we have to approach our business in a way that speaks to their greatest concerns. A big corporate company needs some sort of security that whatever they're going to do won't backfire on them and we've got to be in a position to reassure them with the knowledge that whatever they've bought from us will work. So for us it's about the service that goes behind it.
Q: How do you work with your customers to get the best advantage out of their machines?
A: I think it's a question of what the team is doing and how the team is thinking. Today it's very important to have people who know the job that well that the customers can be supported. In other words, you've got to have a perfect service team whose primary focus is on meeting customer needs.
Q: What does Plastic & Chemical Trading's brand stand for in the local market?
A: Quite simply I think Plastic & Chemical Trading is seen as a company of integrity in the local market because that is the legacy we have worked so hard to achieve.
Q: What is your biggest achievement?
A: Our biggest achievement thus far would be ending up with the team we've got.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
A: What interests us is not really an emerging technology as such. Extrusion technologies are potentially a huge focus area for us. We see film extrusion as a growth area where we have no presence and we would probably look to expand in that direction.
Q: You've been in the plastics industry for 50 years, is there anything about this industry that continues to surprise you?
A: There really isn't anything about the plastics industry that surprises me today.
Q: What does your day entail?
A: I'm still relatively actively involved in the business. My day entails catching up with the wealth of stuff that comes across the desk in terms of emails. This involves keeping up with the technology in our industry as well as actively dealing with all the enquiries that come through on a daily basis. Once this is realised I deal with customers' projects which means studying the most cost effective way of achieving project success and producing relevant quotations. After this comes the follow up, mainly in the form of customer visits, to achieve a sale.
Q: How do you want to be remembered?
A: I'd like to be remembered as somebody whose word could always be believed. Someone who was reliable and trustworthy.
Link to Plastixportal Listings :
In addition to the PO systems, the order size includes multiple extruders for manufacturing corrugated PVC tubes, a few lines for manufacturing PVC pipes, as well as two double-strand systems for manufacturing U-PVC sewage pipes (for the diameter range from 63 to 160 mm). "The design of the double-strand lines features impressively low space requirements," Kessler explains. "With the combination of two KMD 108-36/R twin-screw extruders, we are offering the customer a custom solution that enables extremely space-saving, extremely high-performance and very energy-efficient production. It is an interesting solution when you need to produce standard pipes with large dimensions while also raising the profit margins somewhat," Kessler says. The system, which could be seen at K 2016 before being delivered to the customer, proves that customized concepts can be used to reduce production costs and increase overall equipment efficiency for the long term. Tubrica, one of the leading pipe producers in South America, has an annual production capacity of approximately 90,000 tonnes and mostly supplies customers in the South American market. Team of Tubrica and KraussMaffei Berstorff in front of the PVC double strand line that was shown at K 2016 before delivery to the customer
For further information, visit: www.tubrica.com www.kraussmaffeiberstorff.com/oeeplus
Press contact Annemarie Pabst Press officer of KraussMaffei Berstorff brand
Tel +27 11 483-3015
Link to Plastixportal Listings :
About the KraussMaffei Group
The KraussMaffei Group is among the world's leading suppliers of machinery and systems for producing and processing plastics and rubber. Its products and services cover the whole spectrum of injection and reaction molding and extrusion technology, giving the company a unique position in the industry. The KraussMaffei Group is innovation-powered, supplying its products, processes and services as standard or custom solutions which deliver sustained added value along the customer's value-adding chain. The company markets it's offering under the KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Netstal brands to customers in the automotive, packaging, medical, construction, electrical, electronics and home appliance industries. Continuing a long tradition of engineering excellence, the international KraussMaffei Group currently employs around 4,500 people. With a global network of more than 30 subsidiaries and more than 10 production plants, supported by around 570 sales and service partners, the company is close to customers around the world. KraussMaffei has been headquartered in Munich since 1838. For more information: www.kraussmaffeigroup.com
Plastic & Chemical Trading started as a small operation trading in plastics and chemicals, run from home by Roger Cockram. Benjamin Cockram, his son, worked at the company part-time selling raw materials from the boot of his car. In 1996 KraussMaffei, the largest German manufacturers of moulding machines, were looking for an agent and Roger and Benjamin met with them as a prospective father-and-son team. German industry has a legacy of dynamic family businesses. This was exactly what they were looking for and Plastic & Chemical Trading became the sole agents of KraussMaffei in the region, with Benjamin joining his father in the company full time.
Q: How has the market, and the company, changed over the last 20 years?
A: In the beginning, I literally got in my car and went to see everyone in the moulding industry to find out if we could sell them machines. It was a massive learning curve. There were a lot of established players in the market. Everyone already had a working relationship with the established suppliers, so why would they need us?
Learning how to differentiate yourself and position yourself as being valuable to customer was a very long, very slow and very difficult process. To make ends meet we decided to diversify. We became involved in other businesses, like material feeding systems and so on, which was also very slow. Then we branched into the PET business and sold blow moulders and eventually preform injection moulding.
That led us into the bottling industry and from there we were approached by Heuft Systemtechnik, which became the other pillar on which the company is built. Working with Heuft Systemtechnik opened the door to us dealing with really big companies, where there is a very high requirement for efficiency and a high requirement for effective service.
Q: What sets your business apart from the competition?
A: We offer a tailored solution focused on the niche products we supply; everything we do is very much focused on the customers; on what they do and what their needs are. It requires a high level of expertise in the actual interaction with the customers.
We have to have very high-level technicians to support the equipment. They also need to be able to communicate what they are doing to a wide range of people, from the factory floor all the way up to management. They have to translate the complex machine to them.
Effectively, our technicians and our sales staff all have to have a very close relationship with the customer. We feel it is important that they take responsibility for the customer’s experience of working with us. This personal approach is part of why we partnered with KraussMaffei and still plays a large part in the company culture.
Q: Tell us more about the company culture?
A: We are a small company and we are close. We are very informal and have a flat structure. We believe in respect for each other and for the customer. We have to respect the customer and also their principles what they stand for. We have to respect the engineering that has gone into the products that we sell.
It starts between us. Management has to earn the respect from the technicians and the team, and vice versa.
Q: Where do you see yourselves in five years’ time?
A: That is a good question. We have learned some difficult lessons in the past and as a result we are not targeting growth as a priority. What we do is quite niche, quite specialised. Instead, we try to maximise what relationship we have with our customers and look at add more value in their operations.
We would rather grow our employees’ skills set than the company. We want to develop our own staff, their competence and their ability to be more. We want to maximise the customer’s performance. Once we become a technical partner to our customers, we’ve got to remain relevant. That is the growth.
Q: What are the market trends at the moment?
A: There is a trend towards automation. We are quite interested in that and aim to be at the forefront of it. We support our customers to go from semi-manual to automated processes. It’s one thing to stay on top of what is new and trending but we must be able to also implement them.
Q: How do you achieve this?
A: In everything we do we make sure our team have all the necessary tools - not just hardware tools, but also software and so on. This includes the know how and the back-up.
For example, if we get involved in a robotics system we want the designer of the robotic system and our team to understand each other. They need to understand what services and what support we can deliver and we need to understand what they can give us. That involves training - sending people overseas to the manufacturer to learn so that we are sure that we will be able to support the product.
Q: How do you keep your staff motivated under the pressure of being on top all the time?
A: The learning is a motivator in itself because there is a sense of growing. People are growing in their knowledge about what they are capable of. They are growing personally, which is a fundamental part of feeling motivated. We want our employees to know that they are on a growth path. We grow together.
Q: Do you have a lot of competitors in the market place?
A: Yes, we do. If you go back to our history when we were selling injection-moulding machines in South Africa, which is a small market even when we first started in the nineties, there were thirty or forty machine suppliers competing for the business. They were all offering moulding machines, so how do you differentiate between yourself and that environment? It is fundamental to be a competent technical partner to your client.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business similar to yours?
A: You need to know what value you can add. You need to be able to make sure that you can deliver on your service offering and make sure that you are paid for it.
Q: You mentioned that you don’t want to expand the business exponentially, is there any reason for that?
A: We don’t want to expand away from what we know. We know our business, we know its strength and we know what works. We don’t want to lose the fundamental principles that make our business successful and allow us to deliver on our service offering. We don’t simply want to expand for expansion sake. If we do land up expanding, we want it to be an organic process.
Tel +27 11 483-3015
Link to Plastixportal Listings :