The Flint Group has opened its new packaging inks facility in Westmead, KuazuluNatal in SouthAfrica. The 12,000 square meter automated ink production facility and technical laboratory is located near Durban on the Eastern side of South Africa and is well positioned to support key customers in the region and throughout Africa.
The transition to the new manufacturing facility started in late 2018. As of January 2019, the operation is fully functioning and supporting packaging inks customers with solvent-based products without disruption. By the end of 2019, water-based production will be operational at this same site. Along with the manufacture of finished inks for supply to the Durban market, Flint Group’s facility in Westmead produces bases for supply to its blending sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London.
Upal Roy, managing director Flint Group India and South Africa, says, “Flint Group, who acquired Continental Printing Inks and Eagle Ink Systems in 2015, has been a leading supplier of inks to the South African market for more than 20 years. Due to current and anticipated volume increases in this key region, we recognised the need for a larger and more sophisticated manufacturing facility. This additional investment not only solidifies Flint Group’s dedication to the market in South Africa, but also confirms our promise to grow together with our customers in this emerging market.”
Bob Allan-Reynolds, general manager Flint Group Africa, states, “It was clear that we were outgrowing our current manufacturing facility and in late 2017 we started to explore the region for a suitable location. We acquired a plant in Westmead and started the process of customising it to meet our requirements. This was a fantastic way to modernise our operations and deliver consistent and high quality products to our customers. As an added bonus, the new location is conveniently located close to the harbour in Durban which provides easy access to incoming raw materials.”
Flint Group’s new facility in Westmead houses the latest and most modern, automated, manufacturing equipment and a state of the art testing laboratory – making this one of the most advanced Flint Group facilities in the world. Bob Allan-Reynolds describes, “Operators can now feed in product recipes electronically and the production unit’s five automated heads can dispense products consistently, adhering to product specification. This investment has increased the facility’s bulk production from a historical average of one ton per batch to four or five tons per batch.
“This automated system has the added benefit of preventing the inclusion of any foreign materials, substances or contaminants into the mixing system, thereby ensuring a higher level of purity and ink consistency.”
Flint Group is committed to the health and safety of its employees and the wellbeing of the regions surrounding its manufacturing facilities. The new facility in Westmead complies with the company’s strict HSE policies. Francois Morton, Flint Group’s Health and Safety Manager in South Africa explains, “We are happy to announce that the new facility is fully compliant and adheres to best in class standards and directives. Because this is a solvent manufacturing facility, we had to ensure that all electric and electronic components were in accordance with global directives.”
Flint Group hosted a grand opening event in early April where more than 60 customers from 34 companies were in attendance along with more than 30 key suppliers and members of the trade press. Upal Roy states, “We were delighted to host a grand opening event where we could project our strong commitment to the South African market and show our guests the full facility, its automated capabilities, the technical laboratory, and the dedicated staff of experts who support our customers each day.
“It was a proud moment for Flint Group. Customers witnessed the high level of automation used in producing ink for their press runs proving that we have invested in an incredibly safe, world-class, manufacturing facility which has the ability to consistently produce first-rate inks.”