The company said the line was currently being used to produce 30mm x 60mm screw caps for the wine industry, Nampak said it was capable of at least doubling the firm’s capacity.
Machinery for the R14m (€1.3m) line was supplied by Swiss giant PackSys Global (PSG) and German company Alfons Haar, and it works by pressing flat sheet aluminium into 30mm x 60 mm caps.
Derek Coleman, manufacturing director at Nampak Closures Epping, claimed that the new line was the “fastest known” 30mm x 60mm line worldwide.
Able to produce up to 700 closures per minute at full capacity, it would “drastically” increase the firm’s speed to market, Coleman added.
Customer speed key
Barry Erasmus, sales and marketing director, Nampak Closures Epping, said that in a “hugely competitive” South African wine market speed – the line’s major benefit – was crucial to clients.
Within a market where demand could prove unpredictable, he said it could be difficult for customers – these include Distell, DGB, Accolade SA, Robertson’s Winery – to provide accurate order forecasts at an early stage.
Customers were not always able to order caps as early as they liked, but still demanded short lead times and a fast turnaround.
“It is this responsiveness, speed and added capacity that Nampak Closures intends to further improve upon with the new line,” Erasmus said.
Emerging market focus
Nampak Closures’ clients include South African wine brand owners that produce products for both the national market and for export sale.
Announcing its 2011 financial results audited for the year ending September 30, the wider Nampak group – one of Africa’s largest packaging manufacturer’s with a turnover of RM 15,800 or €1.46bn ) – revealed that 20 per cent of its operations were loss-making.
As part of a focus on “core operations and emerging markets” (notably South African growth and the rest of Africa), this led to a round of disposals this year that included Interpak, Disaki and L&CP businesses (within the South Africa Paper and Flexibles Sector) and the Tubs plastics business.
However, glossing its acquisition of the remaining 50 per cent (R938m share) of Nampak Wiegand Glass on October 1, the firm identified glass as its “core business and a growth market”, despite a decline in sales of South African wine closures during the year due to reduced bottle exports.