Bradley Bate, Managing Director of Alliance Machinery

As the pressure builds on the commercial print market, more and more printers are looking for a means to change and develop their product portfolio. The printing industry is globally one of the largest sectors of industry. In South Africa it is one of the top ve industrial activities in terms of its contribution to GDP. What this means is that a failure in this industry can have very far-reaching implications.

The result has been consolidation, smaller printing companies – and some not so small – have succumbed to the pressure and been swallowed into larger companies through mergers, acquisitions and others have even closed altogether. There are however still opportunities for success and one glimmer of hope is certainly Packaging. This is the one sector of the printing industry that seems relatively stable and many commercial printers are recognising that they can easily adapt their existing production environment to produce printed packaging.

There is one small drawback, the cost of the additional equipment printers will require to be able to enter the packaging arena has traditionally been prohibitive. Some companies have tried cheap options – usually with less than satisfactory results. The equipment they purchase is often outdated or comes from unknown and sometimes unreliable suppliers. In addition, there is little to no quali ed local back-up or support once the machine is installed and commissioned.

In April of 2012, printers were given an excellent entry level option with the establishment of Alliance Machinery, supplying and servicing a range of solutions capable of high-end production but at very competitive prices. More important is the fact that the machines come with the necessary back-up and support. In addition, clients can take comfort in the fact that the machinery is manufactured by companies owned by the Bobst Group, undoubtedly the world’s leading equipment supplier to the packaging industry.

Alliance Machinery was formed with the aim of supplying the printing and packaging industry with high quality and reliable entry level solutions at very affordable prices but with all the technical service and support necessary. Using the services of an established technical team fully versed in the installation, commissioning, repair and support of high-end packaging manufacturing equipment, Alliance has quickly developed a reputation for providing quality technology with top-notch back-up.

Alliance Machinery is the sub-Saharan distributor of the Brausse range of die-cutters and folder-gluers for solid board packaging manufacture. They are also the distributors in the same region for the Eterna range of die-cutters and folder-gluers for the corrugated and uted board packaging market. Today both of these companies are owned by the Bobst Group. Brausse also manufacture hot-foil stamping machines. This option allows printers to bring a previously outsourced service in-house, thereby improving quality assurance and increasing ef ciency.

Alliance has already achieved an encouraging level of acceptance with the Brausse and Eterna product ranges with ten orders having been placed in a little over a year. More important has been the encouraging repeat business from clients who are more than satis ed with both the equipment and the after-sales service they have received.

Said Bradley Bate, ‘I am thrilled at the fact that there has been such a positive response to our range of solutions. What is most gratifying is that many of our clients have accepted the quality of the equipment on the assurances we have given them and that some of them have actually opted for second installations based on the success of the rst. I would like to thank those clients who have put their faith in us and look forward to further developing our installed base.’

The product range at Alliance is not limited to entry-level packaging solutions. The entire product range at Alliance Machinery is aimed at helping commercial printers become more ef cient and competitive, whether that means that they move into packaging and nishing or simply increase the ef ciency on existing jobs. For those printers who want to stay true to their base but increase their product offering, Alliance can offer them the equipment for their fi nishing requirements.

Converting and Print Finishing solutions from Alliance Machinery

For many printers, specifying a printing press with inline coating, whether UV or aqueous was either unnecessary or too costly. However, market requirements have changed and most jobs now require coating of some form or another. Alliance can now offer printers an of ine coating unit allowing them full exibility whether for long-run jobs or for digitally-printed short-run work.

Another area where printers can realise cost savings is in paper handling. Most sheetfed presses are speci ed for handling stacks of sheets, whereas it is cheaper and more cost-effective to purchase paper in reel form. A sheeter can offer printers the ability to save money while increasing throughput.

In addition to the highly productive diecutters in their portfolio, Alliance Machinery also offer a full range of ancillary equipment for diemaking and packaging converting such as rule benders, lipper cutters, rule bridgers, matrix cutters, nick grinders, waste strippers and more.

Said Bate, ‘We have assembled a comprehensive product range in order to be able to offer printers the type of equipment they need to meet their requirements, whether they are considering the move to packaging or not. We have travelled extensively whilst compiling this extensive range and guarantee our clients that they are receiving top quality equipment with the assurance of local and highlyquali fied technical back-up.

‘Our goal with the entire range of equipment we supply is to offer printers products with the shortest possible return on investment. Ultimately, this means that they can continue to grow their businesses, which is good for their companies and their staff but of course having successful customers also impacts positively on our future success as well.’

While the majority of the sales to date have been in South Africa, the aim is to bring the extensive product range to sub-Saharan Africa. Said Bate, ‘Our principles overseas see South Africa as a stepping stone into the African continent, however they do not have the expertise or the ability to service this market from their home bases and this is why they have entrusted us with the task. We believe that our range of products offer just the right price and performance for these markets and the proximity to South Africa will de nitely be a huge bene t to prospective buyers in this region.’

With its extensive range of equipment and the skilled and quali ed technical back-up at its disposal, Alliance Machinery and Brausse are set to take the African market by storm.