The new two-piece spice grinder from Shaft Technical Mouldings and Mpact Plastics Atlantis won the Gold Pack Trophy for 2017. The new design places the grinder teeth within the closure with slots in the container neck acting as a sieve for the ground spice. Shaft also won gold in the Food and Substrates categories
THE plastics industry did well again at the IPSA Gold Pack Awards, with Shaft Technical Mouldings of Cape Town taking the overall Gold Pack Trophy for 2017 for its new two-piece spice grinder.
Plastics convertors took gold in a number of the categories, with RPC-Astrapak (Consupaq, Durban) getting gold in Health, Beauty & Household for its decorated tube which included a clear window and foiling; Dairypack (part of Polyoak, nationally) for its ‘Green’ milk containers for Woolworths in the Sustainability category, containers that include about 30% renewable polymer; Tropic Plastics of Durban for its printed shrink film for the packaging of the Castle Light ‘18-pack’; and Goldpack (also Durban) for its ‘Kwik Lok’ closure with label (an added-value feature for bread bag type tags).
For Shaft it was a fantastic night as it also took the golds in the food and substrates (rigid plastics) categories. The substrates category was the only area where rival materials did not compete, and Tropic came up trumps here too by picking up a second gold in flexible packaging category.
Shaft’s Howard Stasin had never attended the Gold Pack Awards events, which have been running for over two decades, and may have wondered why he had been invited.
Stasin has for long had a reputation for coming up with novel solutions and the Gold Pack judges must have recognised that.
Up till now, plastic spice grinders have involved a four-piece design, with the fixed teeth, moving teeth, a bottle, and the fourth part being the dust cap. The pre-assembled components of the fixed teeth, the moving teeth and the dust cap, would be supplied to the spice packer who would make the final assembly with the bottle after filling. The grinder components have been moulded in acetal or acrylic, material which are known to be have good hardness and impact resistance.
Stasin looked at the existing designs, and realised that the fixed teeth could be moulded directly into the bottle mouth during the injection phase of the blow moulding process. So he came up with a design where the teeth are part of the bottle, with the teeth being formed during the injection moulding of the preform. This completely eliminated the need to mould and assemble the fixed teeth as a separate component.
The physical properties of PET being fairly similar to POM and PMMA, so there was no reason why the grinder parts could not be produced from it.
Although Shaft wanted to work with an local mould maker, the tool was eventually manufactured in China. The injection blow mould for the container was manufactured in Japan by Nissei ASB, the machine supplier at Mpact Plastics.
Stasin had to drive the project from the outset and, as Shaft is not involved in blow moulding or injection-blow moulding (necessary here in order to produce the teeth), sought participants. A number of convertors declined the offer, but Mpact Plastics accepted the challenge and received the accolade as a joint winner of the Gold Pack trophy.
The Western Cape has for some years now been a leader in spice grinder production, but for Stasin this is no surprise, adding that “we’ve been on the spice route since the 1500s, when the first explorers sailed around the Cape and traded with India and the Far East and transported all sorts of spices back to Europe”.
Shaft shared the award with Mpact Plastics Atlantis, which injection-blow moulded the container.
The industry has had a good record in the Gold Pack programme of late, with Bowler Plastics taking the overall title in 2015 for its digitally printed tubes, and in 2013 the trophy was shared between tool manufacturer Spec Tool & Die and JJ Precision, the RPC-Astrapak group injection company for their closure for Robertson’s Spice’s new spice container cap for Unilever South Africa.
Ironically, plastic entries came up short in the Beverage category this year, picking up no awards in a category where it has mostly done very well.
The sponsors of the awards programme were Specialised Exhibitions, Sappi, Nampak, RPC Astrapak, Polyoak Packaging, Packaging & Print Media, Paper Manufacturers Association and PackagingSA.