ECOLINE RFP goes island hopping

Sachin Sukhlal (ROTOCON technical sales manager), Serge Pigeot (managing director of Simp’Ex) and Mikel Cerveaux (Simp’Ex production manager).

EVEN in the small island country of Mauritius, the power of the ECOLINE has a far-reaching footprint. Owner of local label printer Simp’Ex, Serge Pigeot, simply cannot get enough of his brand-new ECOLINE RFP and claims it has doubled his production capacity.

Based in Port Louis, Mauritius, label printing business Simp’Ex has maintained a long-standing relationship with ROTOCON group CEO Michael Aengenvoort and director Patrick Aengenvoort that stretch back more than a decade.

The partnership between Simp’Ex and ROTOCON was done in small steps. Several years ago, company owner Serge Pigeot approached the leading print technology supplier to query about a slitter-rewinder machine that was advertised for sale. ‘The first slitter-rewinder machine I bought from Michael was shipped out of Germany to Mauritius when Michael still ran his operation from there,’ Serge comments. He has since purchased a second slitter-rewinder machine and has done a lot of business with ROTOCON on the tooling and consumables side.

But it wasn’t until earlier this year, that Serge decided to take the leap and purchase a brand-new ECOLINE RFP (ROTOCON Flexographic Press). Apart from the tooling and consumables, Serge says he spoke to Patrick about ROTOCON’s range of presses from time to time. ‘I reached a point in my business where I desperately required a new printing unit. At the time, I was thinking about purchasing a pre-owned press on the South African market.’ Patrick then introduced Serge to the ECOLINE range. They started talking more actively on WhatsApp about various technical specifications and information. ‘And before you know it, Bob’s your uncle, I bit the bullet and bought a brand-new ECOLINE RFP for the business,’ Serge enthuses.

It dawned on Serge that instead of looking around for an expensive pre-owned press that would probably not fulfil all their needs, he had to make the decision to buy a new ECOLINE from ROTOCON.

‘I know the Aengenvoorts,’ he adds, ‘and their competency in engineering.’ When Serge heard that the ECOLINE was designed by ROTOCON and manufactured at their factory in China to make it more affordable and cost-efficient, he and his production manager, Mikel Cerveaux, hopped onto the next plane to Shanghai to see if the proof of the pudding was in the eating. Serge used this opportunity to immerse himself in every aspect of the press, and make sure everything was in order. ‘Sometimes, you buy a machine only to find that there’s a feature missing, or something’s not set up correctly. This was not the case with the ECOLINE. Everything proved to be perfect, and in tip-top shape.’

According to Serge, the ECOLINE was bought with the idea in mind to discharge the other press units on his factory floor from the basic work. ‘However, we were so impressed with the ECOLINE, it ended up taking pride of place at Simp’Ex and is now being used for the bulk of the work we receive. It has proven to be better than all the other machines on our floor.’ For Simp’Ex, the ECOLINE proved to be a brilliant investment. Although it went slightly over the original budget, says Serge, it was well worth it. ‘It was still affordable, all things considering, and it justifies moving from a basic second-hand machine to a very well-built, well-equipped and advanced press like the ECOLINE.’

One feature on the ECOLINE that motivated Serge’s purchase decision was the press’ waste stripping and matrix rewinding of complex label shapes, which Serge originally thought of having custom-built locally for his other machines. ‘This feature is running perfectly on the ECOLINE,’ he remarks. It’s clear that the ECOLINE will be the new star of the show at Simp’Ex’s operations in Mauritius. From what we’ve experienced with the press since being installed in June, it’s been running like a dream.’

With a population of 1.3-million, Mauritius is a small island country off the East Coast of Africa with only a handful of label printers operating here. Simp’Ex enjoys the lion’s share of the label printing business, especially in providing sealed and coated labels for the tea and tea bag industries. There are three major tea producers in Mauritius and Simp’Ex is responsible for producing roughly 70 to 80% of each producers’ tea bag labels. Tea is an emerging market in Mauritius. Last year, the annual turnover of the tea industry in Mauritius was around $5.5-million and contributed to the livelihood of more than 1 500 families. ‘We have a captive market in the local tea industry,’ states Serge, ‘which makes up a significant portion of our business. It’s a lot of square metres of labels to process and print, and the ECOLINE will help tremendously with getting this done at high speed.’

Serge appreciates the fact that ROTOCON is such a tight-knit family business who are understanding towards their customers’ needs. ‘Should any issue arise, there’s always an Aengenvoort or ROTOCON staff member available to listen and find solutions quickly.’ He was also impressed with the speed of the press’ delivery as well as the efficient installation done by ROTOCON’s technicians. ‘With ROTOCON, we’ve always had a pleasant and positive experience. They know that our business is their business, and they go out of their way to make sure we don’t experience any downtime. Whatever they say or do, it’s always on target.’

This ECOLINE RFP came equipped with a UV/LED curing system. ‘This has also proven to be a real cost-saver,’ says Serge. ‘Since installing this machine, we’ve seen our production capacity – as well as our quality level – double.’

Featured image:

Sachin Sukhlal (ROTOCON technical sales manager), Serge Pigeot (managing director of Simp’Ex) and Mikel Cerveaux (Simp’Ex production manager).

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