MANUFACTURING: Big New Player In Plastics Recycling
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THERE is a new force at play in the local plastics recycling market that goes by the name of Syncorp, the Epping-based company that is emerging as one of the leading players in this sector with an investment of close R35 million in infrastructure.
Remarkably, the Syncorp name has so far been relatively little known. But this is soon to change dramatically as the group ramps up production of its mainly polypropylene and high density polyethylene granules for the local and export markets.
The run-up to this success story firstly needs some closer attention. It starts in 2004, when Theo Willemse, originally from the Netherlands, started an injection moulding operation along with a silent investor with an initial capital investment of some R9 million. Two years later, Tommy Barbe, also from the Netherlands, joined the organisation as sales director.
Business flourished, but they soon spotted an opportunity in the recycling industry which they intended to exploit with gusto. “Most recycling companies in South Africa are years behind in mastering the plastics recycling methodology found in developed countries. Much of this is the result of the lack of knowledge and investment in modern capital equipment”, says Willemse, who is acting as the managing director of Syncorp.
In July last year BLW Recycling Industries, the company formed to turn this opportunity to account, set to work with an investment of R26 million, operating from 5 000 sq m premises in Epping.
Victor Nash, formerly from Alnet, joined the company in April 2009 as operations director and is heading up the factory and operations initiative in his new capacity. Together, these three men make up the management team.
With both operating companies now going under the banner of Syncorp Group – Syncorp Injection Moulding and Syncorp Recycling – they are starting to hit full stride.
The young Epping recycling plant has been designed and equipped to produce 50 tons of PP and HDPE granules a day (working with well-trained staff and state-of-the-art technology, 24/7) so that monthly production will clock in at 1 500 tons of highly sought-after products, making it one of the leading producers of recycled plastic in Africa.
Currently the recycling operation is turning over R40 million (projected at an annual basis), but this figure will reach as much as R120 million when at full production, which is estimated to be at around July next year, Willemse says.
More importantly, the products are of the highest quality. “We are proud to have been awarded the sought-after REACH accreditation, an achievement granted only to a select few in the industry”.
“Such accreditation, the latest in European manufacturing, trading standard and legislation, not only allows us to manufacture and supply in Southern Africa, but also allows us to expand our operation across various European and other Western countries, providing world-class recycled plastic granules”.
“Frankly, we don’t see current local recyclers as competition as we can guarantee not only the quality of our product, but also that we are able to supply in the required quantities, which are important considerations for users”, Willemse says.
Syncorp’s granules are manufactured from top-class industrial waste and come in a variety of colours. In addition the company also provides technical data sheets along with its products, which also include technical support.
In addition to equipment like agglomorators, shredders and so on, Syncorp also boasts a fully equipped laboratory and recently acquired a new state of the art dry-washing MAS plant allowing for the effortless management of recyclable plastic thanks to the process of dry, hot air separating dirt and removing odours from the actual plastic. All the dirt and other polluted materials are collected in a silo-like container to be disposed off.
The system is highly eco- friendly and uses almost no water. The installation of the largest multifunctional Gravimetric Dosing Unit in Africa, allowing for the addition of multiple additives in conjunction with the extruder’s throughput, ensures an accurate high quality homogenous product and is testimony to Syncorp’s already impressive capacity.
All of this goes to establish a much cleaner carbon footprint, an aspect that is increasingly required locally and on the export markets.
At Syncorp Injection Moulding the outlook is favourable too. Its modern moulding machine produces a 10 litre conical bucket every six seconds. Such technology enables it to manufacture disposable, multi-purpose plastic buckets at competitive rates for some of the largest names in the retail world. It ensures the longevity of cut flowers by eliminating bacterial infection and, in return, allow for less wastage. The buckets are, of course, entirely produced using Syncorp’s own recycled polypropylene.
All in all, it seems the team Willemse, Barbe and Nash is striking all the right notes in their sound business.
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