The Algerian corrugated board market is growing at 6% year on year. Loyal to BOBST equipment, Maghreb Emballage is led by Abdsamad Mered and is experiencing even faster growth supported by the technological innovation of its BOBST machines and its know-how.
Maghreb Emballage and the corrugated board market in modern Algeria share a history. It is a story of exemplary loyalty dating back nearly 50 years between two companies on both sides of the Mediterranean: BOBST (formerly Martin) in Lyon, France, and Maghreb Emballage in Oran, Algeria.
The current CEO of the Algerian company, Abdsamad Mered, explained his company's development. The company was created in 1948 by a family from Oran of Spanish origin. At the time, the group was still manufacturing wooden barrels. Olive oil, one of the agri-food resources of the region, needed to be transported and shipped. Less than ten years later, the company began to develop an interest in corrugated board, importing boards and transforming them into boxes using a Martin/BOBST folder-gluer. In 1969, the company's founding family, the Follanas, sold control of the company to seven partners including Ahmed Mered, the father of the current CEO.
The company continued its development by making its own corrugated board, in particular using a Spanish corrugating machine which at the time had a speed of 30 m/min., then printing it with a 2-color printing press, before folding and stapling it with a Rapidex machine. A 2-color Martin 151 printing press was brought into the company in 1974. Abdsamad Mered joined the company in 1991 before becoming its manager at his father's side.
Investment at the service of development
Abdsamad Mered explained: “In 1999, the company obtained a BOBST Martin FFG 1224 combined machine: this was a 3-color flexo machine with on-line folder-gluer. This enabled us to make huge progress.”
In 2001 Maghreb Emballage purchased a BHS corrugating machine. With its 300 m/min., it again changed the profile of the company which had to process and sell larger quantities of boxes in order to meet growing demand.
“We had to face a triple challenge,” explains Abdsamad Mered. “A technological leap in which we had to be trained, but also a qualitative and quantitative challenge. We had to get to grips with the new machine and also cope with fierce competition up to 2006.” Following this, Maghreb Emballage continued investment.
“We bought a BOBST FFG 618. It enabled us to make such a leap forward that it changed the company's economy and accelerated its development. With the BOBST FFG 618, we bought Formula 1 performance to corrugated board: 26,000 boxes/hour! Just imagine it!”
The FFG 618 runs with micro-grooving and double-wall corrugated board. Everything has been designed to optimize time throughout production. The feeder offers exceptional performance, the top flexo printing has the Rapidset system which allows for anticipated print plate changes while the machine is running, the rotary die cutter with bottom cutter-creaser is fast, precise, and enables highly complex blanks to be made for the boxes, the slotting unit with 4 pairs of shafts is equipped with independent drive like the folder-gluer and the friction-free counter-top ejector is designed to receive folded or flat boxes. Because of these innovative features, Mr Mered's Formula 1 analogy is easy to understand.
In 2009, the BHS received a second module to make double-wall corrugated board. The founders also began arranging succession, leading to an overhaul of the shareholding arrangement which lasted until 2015. The capital structure stabilized as the Mereds now controlled 80% of the business.
“Once the shareholding changes were settled, we resumed investments in order to maintain our technological progress,” explains Abdsamad Mered. “Our market extends over a radius of over 1,000 km and our customers order from 50 to 100,000 boxes! Each customer is entitled to the highest individualized service. You can’t put a price on customer satisfaction.”
It has to be said that the Algerian market is booming as is the company with an annual growth of over 10%.
Meeting all customer requests
In 2016 Maghreb Emballage purchased a BOBST FFG 8.20 Discovery, which enables it to produce up to 18,000 4-color boxes per hour with a maximum sheet width of 2180 mm and a maximum thickness of 8 mm. The direct-drive feed-belt is reliable and precise for all types of board, from light to double wall. Top flexo printing permits a concurrent Rapidset control change. The slotting unit has a double profile of creasers which change automatically depending on the type of board, with direct-drive flap cutting that extends the glue flap with no operator intervention. On the cutting side, the Posilock® system enables form changeover in just two minutes. This quick operation is appreciated by Maghreb Emballage’s customers in the food industry (pasta and biscuits) and detergent packaging industry.
Maghreb Emballage offers a wide range of products, boxes, trays, tray containers, wrap-around cases, etc. The company has also diversified into ceramic packaging and can supply corrugated board belts for ceramic tiles, up to 200,000 packages a day! To broaden its supply, Maghreb Emballage has also invested in a BOBST DRO 1628 NT Rapidset rotary die cutter. This 5-color machine enables operation at floor level with better ergonomics, easy access to the flexo print modules, and quick control changeovers, leading to high productivity. Moreover, the Posilock® blank form quick-change system enables maximum efficiency with change-overs in just two minutes. Through innovations, packet formation and stacking are very quick at 11,000 sheets per hour with sheets up to 2,800 mm. Abdsamad Mered is pleased that he has invested regularly in BOBST machines. Maintenance is mainly done internally by factory personnel with support and remote maintenance from BOBST. A great future and continued success lie ahead for Maghreb Emballage and BOBST.