A turn-key triumph

Pascal Aengenvoort (ROTOCON sales director), Anthea da Silva (RAM Labels’ head of operations), Thomas Veenstra (RAM Labels owner) and Jodene Martin (RAM Labels’ head of production)

FOR RAM Self-Adhesive Labels – a newly-established label and packaging expert situated in the industrial node of Blackheath, Cape Town – the decision to make ROTOCON its all-exclusive technology and equipment supplier was a no-brainer.

The business opened its doors in November 2022 when owner Thomas Veenstra decided to take the leap after nearly 20 years working in the corporate end of the label printing industry. With a background in manufacturing and sales, as well as an in-depth understanding of all the ins and outs of the labelling sector, Thomas aspired to offering customers a portfolio of reliable flexographic and digitally printed label and packaging solutions.

The dream became a reality in September 2022 when Thomas contacted ROTOCON sales director Pascal Aengenvoort to commission and equip his premises at Hi Park Business Complex in Saxenburg Road, Blackheath. A mere three months later and Thomas was raring to go with a factory floor gleaming with new ROTOCON tech. ‘We’re excited to partner with a renowned company like ROTOCON,’ comments Thomas. ‘Since that fateful call in September, Pascal and his team have held our hands and guided us every step of the way. It took only three months for us to be fully operational with a range of quality and reliable machines and consumables that allow us to do efficient business with our customers.’

RAM Labels’ mission is to be the number one pressure-sensitive label supplier to selected markets by supplying a cost-effective product of the highest quality. The company focuses predominantly on the beer and wine label industries.

Thomas has seen a significant shift in wine and beer label printing trends over the past decade. One of RAM Labels’ customers – a prominent craft beer brand – recently underwent a complete brand transformation with handcrafted paper labels and a more premium look and feel. ‘It’s a recurring trend at the moment,’ comments Thomas. ‘We see brands with fairly simple labels who are opting for technical intricacies, more varnishes, and to create additional textures. Most brand owners are seeking to develop a premium label design and finish without having to break the bank.’

He says 10 years ago, most wine brands would not have considered exploring expensive paper options for their labels. ‘We’ve seen an increasing number of brand owners willing to pay double to get that extra texture or thickness on the label. These days, brands not only want a foil, but are venturing into silk screening, embossing and all the bells and whistles of embellishment.’ Because of the competitive nature of overcrowded retail shelves, Thomas believes brand owners are becoming a lot more conscious about being ‘noticed’. ‘Even with traditional brands, we’ve seen the incorporation of fresh elements and embellishment features along with their conventional designs to remain relevant and appeal to certain demographic segments of the market.’

ECOLINE RFP flexo printing pressAccording to Thomas, ROTOCON’s range of equipment has helped RAM Labels achieve this goal. A ROTOCON ECOLINE RFP 350 flexographic press (with shrink-sleeve capability) was shipped in from Durban and currently enjoys pride of place on the factory floor. The RFP 350 is fitted with a LED-UV curing system for an improved energy footprint. ‘The LED-UV system is top of the range. It takes less time to reach the optimal temperature to cure inks, meaning less wastage and increased efficiency, allowing us to offer the best possible outcome for customers.’

An all-encompassing solution

For the wine industry, label printing is just the first stage in the production process. Offline activities such as print embellishment solutions are an integral and essential part of RAM’s operation. With a custom built ROTOCON Embellishment Finishing (REF) 350 machine, Thomas and his team are able to offer customers the most premium embellishment requirements. Thomas explains that most wineries are not interested in cutting corners, and won’t hesitate to pay more for a quality and premium finish to their labels. ‘With most other printers, embellishments like hot foiling, silk screening or embossing usually comprise of three different processes, which often means additional setup, wastage and cost to the customer. But our advantage with the REF 350 is that we’re able to offer all of those embellishment features in a single process with one setup. With the REF, customers can get everything they need on a label at a more competitive price.’

Another useful tool in RAM Labels’ artillery is the CHROME RSI 430 Slitting, Inspection and Rewinder System with a film package for unsupported film. Thomas only has praise for the RSI 430. ‘The accuracy of the machine’s quality checking capability as well as the speed at which it runs is simply excellent. What’s more, its efficient configuration makes the machine very user-friendly for the operator.’

In addition, RAM Labels also invested in the ECOLINE Pro Mount plate mounter. The 650-line camera reaches a 70 times amplification ratio – presenting clear, bright images that substantially improve plate mounting precision via a 482.6mm high-resolution display screen.

Thomas is also impressed with the build quality of the WINK flexible dies that ROTOCON supplies. ‘Having dies with such longevity and reliability means we can get the best from our machines, and conduct our business more sustainably.’

The support and assistance that ROTOCON has offered RAM Labels, according to Thomas, has been immeasurable. ‘This is more than just a supplier-customer relationship,’ he enthuses. ‘This is a true partnership. Not only does the team offer products of the highest built quality and spec, but it has technical know-how and qualified technicians to make anything happen. ROTOCON is no fly-by-night business!’ He believes ROTOCON’s technology has allowed the business to branch out its market offering and meet customers’ ever-evolving needs with greater adaptability and responsiveness.

Pascal adds that part of ROTOCON’s service offering is to incorporate technology that’s in line with modern developments in the label printing space. ‘With our vast international network and experience, we strive to stay ahead of the market, and keep a watchful eye on emerging trends, whether it’s with our machines or consumables like anilox rollers, varnishes or LED curing,’ he says. With an undeniable reputation for delivering superior after-sale services, Pascal mentions that ROTOCON customers benefit from the company’s appointed specialists capable of providing them with best practice advice on various finishing and embellishment options. Pascal refers to Jeremy Faria, ROTOCON’s technical and applications manager (often referred to as the ‘Machine Whisperer’) who has done some stellar work at RAM Labels consulting on various finishing applications. With a strong background in wine, Jeremy collaborates with customers to find effective and innovative solutions when it comes to label printing and finishing. (Ed note: A profile feature on Jeremy is planned for an upcoming column…)

Pascal and Thomas both dislike the phrase ‘one-stop-shop’, which they feel implicates that the business’s focus is divided. Instead, ROTOCON supplies a full-on label printing production line with all of the necessary equipment needed to fulfil any label printing and finishing requirement. ‘It’s a turn-key solution,’ says Thomas. ‘From day one, ROTOCON has supported us, not only in the reliable and quality equipment, but also with fast delivery of consumables and 24/7 technical support. At the click of a finger, you’re able to get hold of Pascal or any of the technical team. They’re just super responsive and go out of their way to address issues.

Thomas recalls the moment he first realised that service is ingrained in the fabric of ROTOCON’s operation. RAM’s RFP machine arrived in Cape Town close to the festive season to be assembled and installed. ‘Service technician Neil van der Westhuizen actually cancelled his planned trip and drove back to our premises to do the installation. If that’s not going above and beyond, then I don’t know what is. ROTOCON is the quintessential definition of commitment and dedication.’


Pascal Aengenvoort (ROTOCON sales director), Anthea da Silva (RAM Labels’ head of operations), Thomas Veenstra (RAM Labels owner) and Jodene Martin (RAM Labels’ head of production)

PDF of article»» as featured in PPM

Subscribe to our mailing list here.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!