June/July 2015

June/July 2015


Africa’s not for sissies!

We may have problems, but it’s what we do about them that matters

AFRICA’S not for sissies, but you really have to be on your game to achieve a good outcome for your associates and employees – and then you need a good shot of luck too!

Take the current power crisis, which is hitting convertors hard. A two-hour outage takes on average a further two hours to get the machines running again. That’s one of the problems of dealing with molten material, although glass and metal manufacturing probably have similar challenges. Taking four hours out of day can be very disruptive, and there have been weeks this year when daily outages would have set some convertors back by as much as 20 or more hours.

But you think that’s bad? In Nigeria it’s even worse. The country is now rated as a larger economy than South Africa and in numbers of people it certainly is (they apparently have about 180 million people, which is a lot), but ALL industry there uses generators. That’s because the supply of electricity has become so erratic that they have no choice. Recently they could not get fuel either, so the generators stood idle too. We contacted two SA businessmen, in our industry, who are working in Nigeria. They were surprised that we were worried for them; in fact, they seemed quite relaxed about the problem, and the consensus seemed to be ‘It’ll come right soon’.

But the situation is even more difficult: although Nigeria has major oil reserves and is a big exporter of crude, it imports most of its fuel because its refineries cannot process the material. Suddenly it’s not looking that bad over here, and having a relatively well developed fuel industry is something to appreciate.

It’s not that we are happy to have any of these problems; it’s what we do about it that matters. Quite a number of converters have taken the step and purchased their own generators. The systems offer the advantage that they kick-in at the start of an outage is less than 20 seconds. And it’s possible to reduce kick-in to only a few seconds. Although installing your own generator is expensive, it certainly is freeing up those who have taken the step.


Power crisis or not, the show goes on

Power crisis or not, business goes on and this issue of the magazine shares some of the current success stories in our industry. There’s definitely a buzz over at Buzz Trading in Johannesburg. The company started just 11 years ago with a single machine and a single product. Today it has expanded to the point where it runs close to 30 injection moulding machines, including several large machines of over 1000 tons capacity, and operates from its own 8000m² premises in Germiston).

Purple Line Plastics, the Cape Town-based blow moulding business, has installed a two-cavity, two-stage stretch blow moulding machine from Yosion of China, the first of its kind in South Africa.

The first Bottle-2-Bottle recycling plant in Africa, with an investment of R75-million and the capability to produce resin that will be suitable for the carbonated drink sector, was officially opened on 11 May. The plant, installed by Extrupet, is the first on the continent to use a Coca-Cola approved technology for carbonated soft drink bottles, enabling the closure of the loop in the biggest sector in the beverage market.

Astrapak’s restructuring process will see the organisation shed the last six of its PET and Flexibles businesses and ‘transform’ into a unified organisation of just nine manufacturing entities, specialising in the moulding and forming of rigid plastic packaging)

ARMSA’S Rotation 2015 conference on 20 and 21 May at The Blades Conference Centre in Pretoria, Gauteng, had as its theme ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Rotomoulding,’ but it was the presentations about pricing and outsourcing that, arguably, attracted most attention from the 80-plus delegates.