PHOTO:The investment in the new co-ex line is Pac-Rite’s biggest venture so far
PAC-RITE, the KZN printed film and bag making business, has expanded its capabilities with the recent commissioning of an impressive co-extrusion line.
What started in 1994 as a virtual A-to-Z packaging supply business but which gradually transformed into a film manufacturing, printing and bag-making operation, thus now has another arrow in its sheath with the ability to produce three-layer films.
The decision to move into the co-ex area was a natural progression for the Pac-Rite directors, Brian McCleary and Donovan Rayne, similar in essence to their decisions to start to extrude and then to print, which presented specific technology leaps. The Pac-Rite bosses embarked on a venture to Chinaplas in 2017 to investigate co-ex possibilities and at first located a machine which they considered ideal for their requirements, only to be cautioned when it became clear that most if not all the componentry was Chinese manufactured with Chinese signage – in other words, incomprehensible to the team at Mahogany Ridge. Fortuitously, Uday Shah of Vishva Exim of India happened to be on the scene just then and directed them to a potentially more suitable manufacturer whose machines used mainly German componentry, including dies, air-rings, nips, extruders and controls. McCleary and Rayne made an instant decision and the deal was concluded on the spot. The line (the manufacturer of which remains undisclosed) was shipped out and commissioned within months and is by now in smooth operation.
“The main goal was to produce better quality films for our printers,” said McCleary, summing up the initiative. Plastic film offers creative and intense colour print possibilities and there is intense rivalry in the print quality area between film convertors, with KZN being the leader in SA’s flexibles sector and hence the epi-centre of this on-going competition.
The transition to co-ex has also enabled Pac-Rite to participate in new markets and seen it grow its films and bags output.
Pac-Rite has been supported in this new initiative by West African Group, supplier of the ExxonMobil Exceed™ and Enable™ metallocene LLDPE grades used. A wide range of the Exxon LLDPE grades exists and provision of the most suitable formulations is vital for the success of the convertor.
Use of these materials has enabled Pac-Rite to down-gauge, quite substantially in fact, with 3-layer films which were previously being produced at over 100 micron and even 110µ now running at 70µ and achieving similar if not superior performance. According to McCleary, the line has allowed for a 30% improvement in overall performance in terms of output and quality.
Pac-Rite also has lamination ability, so it is now competitive in virtually all areas of the films and bags sector.