Case histories


WILLOWTON makes major investment with SIPA in South Africa to bring oil bottle production in-house

Willowton Group, a leading FMCG business, and major African oilseed processor has turned to SIPA to help it bring production of bottles for its edible oils in-house. SIPA has installed five new SFL linear stretch-blow molding systems at Willowton’s plant in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. “Willowton has been procuring bottles externally for some 20 years, but last year it took the decision to produce them itself, and it chose SIPA as its technology partner,” says Giovanni de Rosa, SIPA South Africa General Manager. Willowton has taken delivery of two SFL6/4 units, two SFL6/6’s, and one SFL6/8 EVO. They are now making bottles in various sizes, ranging from 375, 500, and 750mL on the SFL 6/8 EVO, through 2L on the SFL 6/6, to 4 and 5L on the SFL 6/4.

Outputs range from 4400 bottles/h on the SFL 6/4 up to 14,000 bottles/h on the SFL 6/8 EVO. Says Shoaib Moosa, Chief Commercial Officer & Director at Willowton: “The SFL is the right platform for us to meet the quick change-over requirements on our filling lines. The machines are all easy to run, and the costs of maintenance are low. They also give us the flexibility to produce a wide range of containers in terms of size, complexity and shape.” Next year, Willowton Group will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The family-owned business was founded in Pietermaritzburg by DH Moosa together with his brothers and sons in 1970. Since then, it has grown to become one of Africa’s leading edible oil processors, as well as one of the leading competitors in the South African FMCG market.

The group operates across South Africa with manufacturing facilities not only in its home town of Willowton, Pietermaritzburg but also in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It has manufacturing operations in Zambia and Zimbabwe as well, and has aspirations to further extend its reach to customers throughout Africa. Willowton’s product range stretches well beyond edible oils, into margarines and spreads, beauty, toilet and laundry soaps, candles, baking and industrial fats, as well as maize meal, rice, and sugar. It has its own distribution company, Willowton Logistics. Key to the group’s success are the sound foundations of service excellence, continued investment in technology and human resources and the hands-on involvement of the directors in the day-to-day running of the business. Willowton puts a very strong emphasis on safety and hygiene.

The oil and margarine manufacturing facility in Pietermaritzburg operates the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Food Safety Management System, an internationally accepted food quality and safety management system that ensures that products are hygienic and safe for public consumption; it has also attained British Retail Consortium (BRC) accreditation, which is essential for securing contracts with companies supplying food products to major UK supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.