WITH 13 of the 19 gold, silver and bronze awards available in six categories (in the four main packaging groups, glass, metal, paper & board and plastics), plastics entries took well over half the awards at the IPSA Gold Pack Awards in October – and capped that with the IPSA Gold Pack Trophy for 2013 too.
That was one of the most obvious positives for the industry over the past year, and there were certainly numerous positive developments besides during the period – a time when trading conditions have been tough in virtually all sectors. Here we reflect on some of the highs, as well as the lows, of 2013.
Top showing by packaging convertors
So, obviously, our first highlight of the year is the exceptional Gold Pack performance by the plastics packaging sector overall. The Astrapak group, which is in the process of a major rationalisation process, surprised by its outstanding success in the Gold Pack programme, where it took four gold awards, showing that even during difficult phases, businesses that are well structured can produce the goods. The Astra companies JJ Precision, Marcom and Plastop KZN all got gold, and JJ was also a co-winner of the overall Gold Pack trophy.
There were top performances as well from the Polyoak and Nampak groups as well as other independent manufacturers. The standard of containers and films, and particularly the high quality of print and labels, has helped this sector gain market share. In the process, several significant innovations have been introduced too.
Agreed, plastics do offer more creative and variation opportunities than rival materials at present, but you still have to make it happen. The result was testament to the exceptionally high standards prevailing in the local plastics packaging manufacturing sector.
Statistics show that packaging now accounts for a higher percentage of total tonnage converted in South Africa, up to 55% from an estimated 50% over the past few years. That result is partly due to the fact that the technical moulding sector has not progressed as rapidly, but you can’t take the shine off the very impressive performance by the packaging manufacturers.
Next on our short list of highlights for the year are the design competitions presented by the professional associations. ARMSA (Association of Rotational Moulders of Southern Africa), PETCO (PET Recycling Company); PISA (Plastics Institute of Southern Africa) and SAPRO (Plastic Recyclers Organisation) and others presented competitions which attracted enthusiastic responses from students around the country. Plastics