AROUND THE GLOBE 02/2014

MPACT CALLS ON SIPA SKILLS FOR COST-EFFECTIVE PET PREFORM MOLD REFURBISHMENT

One of southern Africa’s largest plastics and paper packaging businesses has been investing in SIPA mold-making technology and expertise. Mpact, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, and with 22 manufacturing sites across Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, as well as its home country, already relies on SIPA SFL 4/4 linear stretch-blow molding machines for the production of PET hot-fill bottles—Mpact is in fact the only company in South Africa making this type of container. But in recent months the company has been benefitting from SIPA’s leading position in PET preform mold production and refurbishment as well.

Mpact called on SIPA to refurbish some existing molds that had originally been supplied by a competitor of SIPA’s. SIPA was given five molds to work on, with several set objectives. Work done, Mpact is now benefitting from some highly cost-effective upgrades.

The first job was relatively straightforward, involving the refurbishment of a 72-cavity cold half. SIPA put in new cavities, lips, and locking rings. The other jobs, however, called on much more of SIPA’s expertise in mold making.
On the first of these, Mpact called for a complete change of use of a 144-cavity mold. This involved new injection stacks, a new take-out plate, and the installation of SIPA’s “Air Pick”, a preform handling device with an integrated system for cooling the inner and outer walls of the preform at the same time to reduce cycle time and increase part quality.

The mold was used to make preforms for 500-mL bottles for a major soft drinks producer. Mpact’s aim was to have it converted to production of preforms for bottles in a format new to South Africa, still for the same customer). These preforms incorporate special lightweight bases, which SIPA calls “Smart Base”.

The final job involved refurbishment of three hot halves for molds with 48, 72 and 144 cavities, and which involved shipping the hot halves from Johannesburg to SIPA’s mold-making operation in Vittorio Veneto, Italy.
Other mold makers, when they carry out maintenance operations after a certain number of cycles, tend to change all the internal components as a matter of course. SIPA takes a more analytical approach: it opens the hot half and evaluates which components need changing, and which don’t. For the components that it decides do not need replacing, SIPA provides a guarantee on their reliability. The overall cost of carrying out the refurbishment this way is less, with the customer obviously participating in the saving.

Mpact has 32 operating sites, 22 of which are manufacturing operations, and employs close to 4000 people. Apart from its operations in PET preforms and bottles, it is a market leader in southern Africa in corrugated packaging, recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard, and recovered paper collection, and it also produces non-PET bottles, jars, and closures, polystyrene trays, and plastics crates and jumbo bins.
Mpact’s plastics business manufactures a range of products for the food, beverage, personal care, homecare, pharmaceutical, agricultural and retail markets, primarily in South Africa.