This is a typical success story of some good luck, hard work and an overriding desire to succeed. From the arrival of the founder from India in the early 1900s and entry into the solid board packaging industry after a stint as a typesetter on Mahatma Gandhi’s‘ Indian Opinion’ newspaper, to the second generation starting up a commercial printing press business to the third generation travelling to the UK to buy a corrugator in the 1970s as they looked to get into corrugated. With the arrival of the fourth generation— the current management — in the 1990s, this is a wonderful story of determination, entrepreneurial risk-taking and expansion.
Corruseal Corrugated is the result of hundreds of years of packaging experience from four generations of the Mehta family. Through a process of many transformations from the original Seal Packaging to the current corrugated specialist, the company has grown into a truly world-class manufacturer and supplier of a wide range of products servicing a broad base of customers in all sectors of the economy. Having started out making solid board boxes for local shoe makers, Corruseal has now grown to become one of the largest packaging groups in South Africa, holding around 15% of the market.
Corruseal Group has 11 sites across the country with approximately 1,900 employees today. These sites include a paper mill with three paper machines (making mainly recycled containerboard), four high volume corrugator plants, three sheet plants/value added plants, a high volume food can plant and some recycling collection centres. Continuing investment now makes them one of the largest corrugated packaging producers in South Africa. The Group serves the industrial, FMCG, automotive as well agricultural sectors.
“It became apparent over the last five years or so that we needed to build a new factory to handle the growth in our business,” explains Rajiv Mehta, Joint CEO and co-owner of Corruseal Group.“Having analysed the geographic footprint of our customer base and looking to enhance service throughout the territory, we decided to build a new factory in Western Cape. The new factory is part of a long term vision of having a substantial presence in the main agricultural and industrial areas of the country.”
Completed in May 2018, the new site houses a 28,000 sqm, state of the art factory. “This has been a significant investment for us, but we are confident that we have chosen the right mix of equipment and systems to ensure the plant is a jewel in our crown,” confirms Mr Mehta. “The total investment for the project has been about R450 million(approximately €30 million).”
Now fully operational, the site employs 164 people, many of whom have been trained by the company, with the help of its equipment suppliers. Key shift supervisors and team leaders have been loaned from other plants within the group, to ensure skill sets could be adopted quickly.
Being a full corrugated board plant with high speed converting lines, some machines run two eight hour shifts per day, five days a week, while others run three eight hour shifts, seven days a week.
At the heart of the new plant is the corrugator. The new machine, which is a 2.5m Fosber S/Line, has an operating speed of 350m per min and is producing a wide range of board grades, thanks to the Smart single facer, which is a high speed, quick flute change, cassette machine. The new line can produce a range of flute profiles, as well as combinations of double wall. For consistent supply of starch for the corrugator, the company chose a CHC starch kitchen.
In addition to the state-of-the-art corrugator, the company has installed two four colour Mitsubishi EVOL flexo folder gluers (pictured above), with robotic pre-feeders, Signode bundle strappers in-line and Dücker Corrpal palletising units. For high quality flexo post print, they opted fora four colour Göpfert Evolution HBL rotary die-cutter (pictured below). Flat bed die-cutting is undertaken on a Bobst Mastercut. Ensuring a smooth transfer of board from the corrugator to the WIP and then to each converting line is a Dücker materials handling system, complete with pallet inserter and Signode end of line pallet presses.
“Corruseal has a long history of working with Fosber, dating back to 1997,” explains Mr Mehta.“We were the first to install a full Fosber corrugator in South Africa back in 2005. In more recent times, we worked closely with Fosber when we commenced an upgrade of the dry-ends of two corrugators – one in our Gauteng plant and the second corrugator in our KwaZulu Natal facility.”
“There is no doubt that the success of these upgrades, as well as the level of after sales support from the dedicated Fosber team reinforced our confidence in the equipment and technology supplied by them,” says Roland Cook, Regional General Manager, Corruseal Group. “This led to the decision to purchase the new state-of-the-art corrugator with full process control. But it wasn’t just the machine and the support that was important to us. We were really impressed with the new Pro/Care system that Fosber launched recently. For us, this was a critical part of our decision making process.”
Mr Cook continues, “The growing relationship with Fosber was given a further boost by the appointment of local agents, Bobsa, who assisted with the logistics throughout the installation period and continue support through regular follow ups. It has been a good start-up of the corrugator for sure.”
“This has been a challenging project, but we are delighted that we were able to start-up on the scheduled date,” concludes Mr Mehta. “All the suppliers worked hard to ensure we were on target and we have been happy with the start-up phase. The board quality has been very good right from the start and the technical support from our suppliers and their partners proves we were right with our choices of machines. It has been a good experience to date.”