Hitting perfect 21

After 21 years in the South African market, Coastal Labels evolved into Sullwald Printing Solutions as it grew way beyond serving just the coastal regions and just label clients. Piotr Wnuk from Labels & Labeling reports

Sullwald Printing Solutions is a family-owned and run company offering high-quality adhesive and non-adhesive packaging for a wide variety of industries, including wine, premium spirits, beer, and FMCG. The company currently operates several flexo and digital presses to print self-adhesive, peel, and reveal labels, flexible packaging, as well as various marketing materials, boxes, tags, cardboard sleeves, printed tissue, and even wax paper.

From building to printing

The company was acquired by Marius Sullwald 21 years ago after he migrated to the Western Cape, having sold three businesses in Phalaborwa in Limpopo. The new owner, previously active in the construction industry, has recognized the immense potential of the printing sector. This career change also offered him the opportunity to spend more time with his family, which he relocated to Cape Town.

‘I was young and ambitious,’ says Sullwald, ‘but I felt I was losing out on family life and needed a complete change, so I sold my businesses and relocated to the Cape, where I was fortunate to find Coastal Labels up for sale.’

‘When I think about where we started, I can’t believe where we are at now. I’m so proud of what Marius has achieved over the years and how we’ve all helped to make Sullwald Printing Solutions a success,’ adds Sullwald’s wife Salome, who joined the company to manage the finance department.

Sullwald had a particular mission. He wanted to develop the company built on the importance of individual service and quality standards to help his customers grow their brands and add value to their products. He also wanted to contribute to the future by creating job opportunities and mentoring options for the next generation.

Just four years after taking over, the company’s original premises in Parow were moved to bigger production facilities in Brackenfell to enable growth and accommodate an increase in staff from 17 to nearly 60.

Anniversary celebrations

The success of Coastal Labels continued with substantial growth over the last two decades. The company quickly expanded its geographical reach beyond the coastal regions and increased its production capacities to more than supplying self-adhesive labels. Therefore, during the recent 21st-anniversary event, Marius Sullwald announced the new company name.

‘The name change to Sullwald Printing Solutions perfectly reflects how the company has grown and that relationships and printing solutions are at the core of the business,’ he says. ‘The Coastal Labels name was no longer fitting for the company as coastal is specific to a certain region and labels a particular service. Our capability has grown beyond self-adhesive label printing and serving the coastal regions.’

According to Marius, placing his surname in the new company name underlines ethical values and the fact that it’s a family-owned company; printing denotes the diverse services and solutions emphasize that the team offers more than just products.

‘The industry is changing,’ adds Marius. ‘And we need to change along with it. It took me two months to convince myself to use our family name. But being a family business, it made perfect sense. In an attempt to diversify our portfolio, we felt the timing was right for a change. Our journey’s been an interesting but ethical one, and we’re proud to bear the name of Sullwald Printing Solutions.’

At the event, Marius and his team introduced suppliers, clients, and media members to Sullwald’s new range of printing equipment: the Screen Truepress L350UV+ Series and EcoLine RDF 330, both supplied by Rotocon. Marius took attendees on a comprehensive tour of the business, explaining the intricacies of each machine in detail.

Entering the world of digital printing

According to Marius, digital label printing is a relatively new concept in South Africa, but the demand is growing. Modern printing businesses should have a healthy balance of flexo and digital printing equipment to diversify their label offering. ‘We’ve noticed a rising trend among wine businesses who require shorter runs with more variants and tailor-made labels. Inkjet printing is the future,’ confirms Marius.

The next stop on his factory tour was the Truepress Jet L350UV+ series, which Marius especially values for consistency, flexibility, and ease of use, calling it a necessary addition.

‘The amazing aspect of this machine is that it’s instantaneous,’ he says. ‘You simply press the button, and the ink literally jets directly onto the paper. No plates, no cleaning, no setup. It’s a simple, turn-key solution that consistently produces high-quality labels. Digital printing not only enables us to make beautiful, intricate labels but offers a cost-effective option for smaller runs. The press has provided us with a competitive edge by supplying customers with premium labels in quick turnaround times.’

‘The Truepress Jet L350UV+ series offers improved color reproduction and superior scalability, enabling it to meet an even wider variety of market needs,’ adds Rotocon Group’s CEO Michael Aengenvoort. ‘Another huge benefit is that there are no consumables. The ink is injected directly onto the substrate. The machine’s seamless plug-and-play process makes it easy for wineries to reproduce a label with updated information the following year.’

Marius mentions that it doesn’t matter how much information needs to be included on the label because the Truepress can handle as many different versions and variations as necessary. ‘It’s already bringing unrivaled levels of functionality to our operation,’ he claims. ‘It’s providing a tremendous boost to our competitive edge in the market for self-adhesive wine labels and has considerably expanded the range of labels we can print.’

The perfect finish

With two printing stations, the newly installed EcoLine RDF 330 is a digitally printed label converting and finishing system chosen by Sullwald to expand its label embellishments offering and produce innovative, unique labels more efficiently.

‘From cold-foiling and lamination/delamination to flexo-varnishing modules, a UV dryer system, full- and semi-rotary die-cutting, and a slitting unit, this machine has it all. It allows us the freedom to produce bespoke label solutions to meet any client requirements, no matter how detailed or intricate,’ continues Marius. ‘This is our second RDF finishing system as the first machine purchased two years ago could no longer keep up with the workload.’

According to Marius, this investment will also help expand the company’s packaging and marketing material offerings to include flexible formats, and marketing materials. ‘Before the onset of Covid-19, we decided to venture into these markets and realized that another finishing press will accommodate the growing need for these services and help expand our customer base.’

According to Marius, investments take strategic planning, and he has always run the business conservatively. ‘Rotocon’s after-sales service and spare parts availability have made the decision-making process easier. It helps that we’re in the same area as the Cape Town team as we know the technicians are quick to respond whenever we need their assistance,’ he says.

Together we can do so much

Asked for the secret of his success, Marius quickly and firmly mentions teamwork. He is backed by a strong and growing team sharing his passion for the industry.

The production team is backed up by a strong sales team. ‘For some companies, the sales team might not seem as important, but we’ve noticed having a big sales team benefits the business. Our customers are of paramount importance, and we give them the best possible service and quality so that their products stand out on-shelf.’

Marius and Salome are involved in the business and are proud of what they’ve achieved since migrating to the Cape. In 2020, their son, Heinrich, finished his studies and joined the company as a systems administrator. ‘Heinrich joined at a tough time as the pandemic changed the industry within a few months, but he has learned a lot,’ states Marius.

When discussing future endeavors, Marius points out that broadening the product and services portfolio and investing in another building fits into the company’s growth strategy. ‘I’ve always run the company conservatively because it’s more important to keep the doors open and think about the whole team rather than making more profit,’ he concludes.

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