New player in stand-up pouch game

Kangopak is the name of the latest contestant for a share of the lucrative stand-up pouch market, reports Gill Loubser.

The flexible packaging market embraces all kinds of pouches, but the stand-up pouch is the most impressive driver, with constant gains in popularity, reflecting breakthroughs in material constructions, and the growing availability of reclosable zippers and various fitments, such as spouts, to enhance consumer convenience. All
these attributes allow stand-up pouches to be used for an ever-widening variety of applications.

Although the numbers are unclear, it seems that at least 100-million pre-made stand-up pouches are produced annually in South Africa, with Saflite (Astrapak) and Nampak Flexible holding the lion’s share of the market, but with other players including CLP, Foster Packaging, CTP Flexibles, Pouch Dynamics, Packaging World and Prac-Pak snapping at the heels of the ‘big guys’.

And now a new name can be added to the list.

Clive Schlachter, having spent four years out of the country, setting up factories in Kuwait and India, has established a brand-new stand-up pouch-making facility, called Kangopak, situated in Diep River, Cape Town.

In an earlier part of his career, Clive – an HR professional – was part of the dynamic team at Kohler Flexible Packaging in Pinetown, KZN, where he gained an understanding of the flexible packaging market.

Questioned about the rationale behind his new venture, Clive explains: ‘I spotted an opportunity in the stand-up pouch market, especially for the provision of short lead times and personalised customer service.

After a thorough feasibility study, I took the plunge last December by ordering a fully-automated, Chinese-built pouchmaker, and took premises in Diep River, Cape Town.

The machine – a GQ FSD 600SZL, rated at 10 000 pouches/hour – was delivered in May this year and June was the company’s first full month of trading.

And already the orders are rolling in. ‘We’ve secured lucrative ongoing orders from customers in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria,’ Clive reveals happily.

‘We’re focusing on producing plain stand-up pouches in all common sizes,’ he continues, ‘but we’re also producing flat pouches and two-side quad bags.’

Particularly exciting is the GQ’s double unwind station which, for example, allows the production of pouches with metallised backs and clear fronts. The machine also includes a zipper inserter, tear-nick, euro slot and rounded corner capabilities.

Also on the cards – in fact, due for delivery in September – is access to a fully-automatic spout insertion machine, that operates at speeds of 30 spouts/min.

On the material supply side, Clive purchases unprinted laminated substrates from Maverick Flexible, Colpak and Afripack Consumer Flexibles, and printed substrates from Flexo Process.

As a customer, Kangopak also has access to the Maverick Flexible’s state-of-the-art laboratory.

This enables OTR, flex stress, bond strength, COF and optical density testing to be carried out on raw materials.

‘At the moment we’re offering a very quick lead time, and this sets us apart from other pouch suppliers,’ Clive maintains. ‘Although we’re currently operating a single shift, we hope to move to two shifts quite soon,’ he adds.

‘We’re also working towards BRC accreditation.’