Kuwait’s Caesar Pac has grown fast over the past nine years, despite having to squeeze a full sized corrugator and seven converting lines into a space no bigger than the average supermarket. Now, with two new plants planned, and extra Bobst equipment already on its way, the company says it is perfectly placed to continue its phenomenal growth.
While Caesar Pac’s location in Kuwait’s Free Trade Zone is commercially advantageous, the lack of available land for expansion has made every meter of space precious. Currently, the plant’s seven converting machines run very close to its 2.2 meter corrugator, with little space for work in progress between them. “We have just over three thousand square meters here, and this is the biggest problem for our production,” says Tamar Hozayen, General Manager of Caesar Pac. “There is only three or four meters between our corrugator and some of our converting lines, and we have almost no room for work in progress. It means we have to be very efficient and we must get the maximum productivity from every machine.” While Caesar Pac has recently gained approval from the Kuwaiti authorities for a new 10,000 square meter factory, albeit outside the Free Trade Zone, the company must continue to add capacity to its existing plant until the new site is ready. This involves continuing to maximize the production possible from every machine footprint. The latest investment to do so is a new Bobst Mastercut due to go into production this month. “We selected the Mastercut as a flat-bed diecutter because we have experience with the 160-Vision. We don’t have enough space in our factory and, especially in Kuwait, it is very expensive to buy a piece of land. That’s why we chose to have triple productivity on the same space as a 160-Vision.” Three times the production. At 1700x1300mm, the format of the Mastercut is designed to optimize blank layout for the most common sizes of modern boxes. With speeds reaching 7,500 sheets per hour, the performance of the Mastercut is further increased by its built-in Power Register system. One of the new generation of Bobst dynamic register system, Power Register is a non-sheet edge contact system which takes in the incoming sheet. Using printed marks, or the print on the sheet, as a reference the system brings the sheet into perfect cut-to-print register even at maximum speed. Along with delivering high accuracy in die-cutting, the Power Register system also reduces stops in production by up to 70%, thanks to the feedback it gives to the machine in-feed and to the absence of physical lays. This lack of stops, combined with its high running speed, is why the Mastercut will deliver three times as many ‘sheets on the floor’ as Caesar Pac’s three year old Bobst SPO 160-Vision. Installing the Bobst Mastercut in the space currently occupied by a lower performing rotary diecutter will allow Caesar Pac to reconfigure its five-color Bobst Flexo-Vision print line for high speed high graphics, so tapping further into this growing market within the Middle East. Having bought the Flexo Vision three years ago to break into one new market, Mr. Hozayen has been so impressed by the quality of the graphics possible on the press that he now wants to push high graphics further. “Naoufel Ghezal from Bobst Group’s Africa and Middle East office advised us that if we took its diecutting offline we would have the space to add extra print units to the Flexo-Vision, and we could also add Duo-Technik hot air driers and electro-static sheet cleaners. It would mean that we could run high quality graphics faster, print on coated papers, and add varnishes.” In line with this advice, an additional Flexo-Vision print unit and Duo-Technik equipment will be installed at Caesar Pac this month, while a Bobst Mastercut will replace the company’s in-line SPO 160-Vision. Running off-line, the Bobst Flexo-Vision can produce at 5,500 sheets per hour and, with short changeovers and simple setting, total productivity is high and waste low. The independent drives on the Flexo-Vision mean that print length can be adjusted for each unit, while longitudinal correction of register is carried out using a motorized system. With the extra print unit making six on the machine, Caesar Pac will be able to run CMYK, a custom color, and varnish. The Duo-Technik electro static sheet cleaner establishes a corona field which polarizes the dust particles on the board surface. These are lifted off the board by being attracted to twin 15,000 volt electrodes, before being removed by an exhaust unit. The Duo-Technik hot air drier system consists of interim driers after each printing unit and a final dryer after the last printing unit, all delivering a constant air volume and air speed that will allow the Bobst Flexo-Vision to run at maximum speed even on high graphics work and on coated papers. Mr. Hozayen says that the support and advice he and his team get from Bobst Group is very important to them, especially when running a three shift operation “I always say that a good company will show itself after you buy their machine. We have a very good relationship with Bobst Africa and Middle East in Tunis. They give us very good support and advice that helps our business. Also we have a service contract with them and that means we don’t have to worry about our machines running well and we only have one place to call if we have a problem.” High graphics market. Established less than ten years ago, Caesar Pac has shown exceptional sales growth, both within the Kuwaiti market and in neighboring countries. “We started with a micro-corrugator, a Martin 1224, and a Bobst flat-bed diecutter,” explains Mr. Hozayen. “We were supplying only Kuwait, mostly with beverage trays and food packaging. Four years after starting Caesar Pac we were number one in the Kuwait market. Then we bought the Bobst Flexo 160-Vision and a Martin DRO 1628 NT to be able to print CMYK, because we were going for a different market and our competitors then became companies in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries.” Mr. Hozayen says that this target market was one where flexo printed corrugated packaging could replace litho-laminates and pre-print. “We used to have a laminator to put offset printed sheets onto corrugated to get the quality of print our customers wanted. But the problem with lamination is that it is really very expensive, plus it is very slow in production, which makes the cost high for the customer. When Bobst started producing machines that could print high graphics we knew that the market was going this way. You have to follow the technology from the leaders in the market. With the Martin DRO and Bobst Flexo we were able to compete against companies in other countries that were using litho-lamination or pre-print” Caesar Pac now supplies the whole range of corrugated packaging, from regular RSC’s, through standard and high graphics die-cut products, to crashlocks and four and six corner boxes. Exporting to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Gulf, Caesar Pac is now also a major exporter to Iraq, as Mr. Hozayen explains. “When the market opened up after the war we started to export to customers in the South of Iraq. Now we are supplying about 65% of all the corrugated packaging imported by them.” Before the global financial crisis the company was expanding sales at around twenty percent per year, and while this has dropped slightly, Mr. Hozayen says that Caesar Pac is still continuing the upward trend. “Now our sales in a month are the same as we would make in half a year when we first started.” He puts the company’s ability to get, and keep, the customers needed to create this growth as being down to three things. “I can summarize why customers come to us. It’s because of our delivery on time, the quality of our products, and our service to our customers. It has been like that since we began.” While Caesar Pac has the ISO9001 quality standard accreditation one would expect, unusually for a corrugated plant it has also recently achieved the ISO 14001 environmental standard. “Our company philosophy is to be responsible to our community, and also that we don’t have to damage the environment to do our work,” says Mr. Hozayen. “Reducing the effect on the environment of what we do is important to us and it is also something that is encouraged in Kuwait, perhaps more here than in other parts of the world.” Martin productivity Alongside his Bobst equipment, Mr. Hozayen has three Martin lines including a 1224, a 618 Miniline FFG, and the latest, a DRO 1628 NT. This latter machine was again purchased to maximize productivity per square meter of the plant, and to deliver the higher quality print customers in the region are demanding. “The productivity we get from the Martin DRO 1628 NT is three times what we would get from a machine designed in the Far East. I don’t have space for three machines but, if I did, I would still buy the DRO because by having just one machine I am reducing the cost of labor three times. “ With its Martin direct drive feeder, fixed height vacuum transfer, and independently driven print units, the DRO delivers exceptionally high print quality with tight register that can be adjusted on the fly. The machine’s closed inking circuit maintains ink viscosity, ensuring that high quality graphics stay that way over the whole length of the run. Powerful electronic supervisor systems makes setting and operating the DRO easy, while its bundle stacker system delivers higher productivity when running die-cut multi-outs. On the FFG front, Caesar Pac’s Martin 618 Miniline uses direct drive technology similar to the DRO. Highly automated, the 618 delivers up to 26,000 boxes an hour and at Caesar Pac has been fitted with Martin’s new Top Counter Ejector for the high speed delivery of die-cut products. Able to run gloss paper at high speeds, the 618 can run boxes as small as 190x385mm, making it very versatile. Mr. Hozayen says that along with the productivity of the Martin lines, their cost of production is lower. “You can buy cheaper machines, but the running costs of them are very high. You have low speed on the machines, too many spare parts needed, and you get quality rejections from the customers, you do not get any of this with Martin machines.” Improved logistics. With the Martin and Bobst lines delivering as much productivity as could be expected from the space available at the current Caesar Pac site, Mr. Hozayen is delighted to finally have the opportunity to expand his operation. The company’s new site will be more than three times the size of the premises currently occupied by Caesar Pac and will house all its converting equipment. Mr. Hozayen says the new site will allow for improved workflows and logistics. “We will keep the corrugator here on the Free Zone site and will specialize in board making here. The new site will specialize in converting and, because it is outside the Free Zone, it will mean there will be fewer restrictions on getting products in and out. It will make delivering to customers easier.” The new Caesar Pac premises will also house die and printing plate making and the company plans to install a new laser printing plate making unit which will deliver further improvements in quality on high graphics jobs. But the company’s expansion aims don’t stop here, with plans in place for a facility in Egypt to tap into one of the biggest markets in the region. The company intends to move some of the equipment currently in Kuwait, including the Bobst SPO 160-Vision diecutter currently in-line with its Flexo-Vision press, to a new site in Egypt. Here it will establish itself using the same unique mix of high quality and high service levels it has been successful with in Kuwait. “We will test the market like this and then we will expand once we have established ourselves,” says Mr. Hozayen. Mr. Hozayen believes firmly in utilizing new technology to the benefit of both his customers and to Caesar Pac. Along with the company’s Bobst and Martin equipment, Caesar Pac has recently installed new production and management software suites from CTI and Abaca respectively. “Since we got these two systems it has made a huge difference to our delivery times and service. It’s also reduced the number of people needed to manage our production. We always follow new technology that suits our market and will benefit our customers. Just like with this software, we believe by having Bobst and Martin equipment in our plant we have the best technology we can and we get the most productivity we can.” June 2010