APRIL / MAY 2017

APRIL / MAY 2017


‘Value add’ from SA’s compounders

ADDING value to a product or service has become quite a slick sales pitch and increasingly popular these days, but it’s not always easy to achieve. One area where we do see this happening in, quite unexpectedly, is that of material compounding – and even recycling.

Compounding is not a spectacular business and doesn’t have the excitement that goes with product development. Maybe read that again, manufacturing plastic products IS EXCITING. Well, it certainly is if your business has progressed to the point where you can operate high efficiency machinery and moulds. Most citizens I meet don’t have a clue how blow or injection moulding works, let alone extrusion and the many other processes that we are familiar with. For those in the know, however, watching a fast cycling machine in operation is a sight to behold and even experienced industry veterans enjoy watching top machinery in action.

By contrast compounders and recyclers don’t really get the same kick out of watching their machinery, one’s hardly going to get excited watching pellets being produced. But, err, maybe these guys are lifting their game? That certainly is the impression we are getting. After the exit of Plastamid and then Lomotek Polymers from the local compounding scene over the past few years, change began to take place and a number of small compounders set up, mainly in the Gauteng market.

And with the increased consumption of recycled materials, some of the recyclers began to virtually compound too, as the ‘upcycling’ recycler MyPlas has done in the Western Cape as it ‘tailors’ recycled materials to specific applications.

With convertors increasingly needing to blend additives or fillers into materials to achieve specific performance criteria, it’s not always easy to dose or blend via the hopper – which is where the compounders come in. This issue we report about developments by a number of compounders, including Continental Compounding in Durban; Davro Compounding in Durban and Bagman in East London. Besides preparing the material you require, these companies possess the skills required to produce application-specific material grades. Quite a lot of lab work is involved. Several other compounders are gearing up too and we hope to report about them in due course. For some high-spec materials it has even been necessary to ship or, terrifyingly, fly material in, whereas dealing with a compounder near your manufacturing unit is more practical and attractive.

It’s a noticeable trend in the regional market and these compounders are becoming increasingly busy – and even getting into exports. Their service can certainly add value to your operation.


Martin Wells