- January 01, 2000, Stanley Sacharow, Contributing Editor
Dixie Toga's flexible division—Itap Bemis—settles into a new home with top-flight equipment producing both gravure and flexo products.
With a brand new, state-of-the-art plant in Londrina, Brazil, about 300 miles west of Sao Paulo, Itap Bemis Ltda. is Latin America's leading and most sophisticated flexible packaging converter.
Itap Bemis ($185 million) is an integral division of the huge Dixie Toga Group ($500 million). Walter Schalka, Dixie Toga's CEO, told Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER during an exclusive visit, "We continue to grow to meet the demands of South America's expanding consumer base." Schalka, a recent graduate of Harvard's program for company executives, added, "Our multinational company base constantly is expanding based on the newly acquired interest in strategic supply chain management."
Dixie Toga is divided into three basic operating divisions: rigids, flexibles, and cartons and labels. The company began operating in 1935 when Jose Tscherkassky arrived in Brazil from Ukraine via Germany. An expert in printing, Tscherkassky started a firm dealing in the production of artistic paper, labels, and wrappers.
Rapidly expanding under the directorship of Dr. Mario Haberfeld, Dixie Toga started rotogravure printing (1950), ink manufacturing (1954), laminating (1960), clay coating (1964), metallizing (1975), and eventually the manufacturing of extruded laminates for products such as coffee, baked goods, and confections.
Dixie Toga is presently a public company, listed on the Sao Paulo Exchange, with an executive board comprised of Dr. Haberfeld's two sons, Sergio and Roberto, and Roberto Klabin, a member of the pioneering Brazilian paper manufacturing family.
In a privately printed book commemorating Dixie Toga's 50th anniversary (1985), Manuel Vieira, then president of ABRE, the Brazilian Assn. of Packaging and a former Unilever executive, wrote, "Toga is not only a national example of organization and quality in packaging, but also has a sound name in the international market, including the United States."
Focusing on Flexibles
The rigid division, located in Votorantim (S.P.) and Natal (R.N.), contains the most modern extruders, thermoformers, and printers and produces plastic packaging for margarine, drinks, ice cream, and food service applications. The carton/label division, located in Dutra (S.P.) and Curitiba (Parana), manufactures detergent boxes and produces more than two billion labels monthly, making the division one of the largest label producers worldwide.
But the crown jewel in Dixie Toga is Itap Bemis, a joint venture between Bemis (US), the largest flex-pack converter in the US, and Dixie Toga. Bemis holds 33% of the company.
Presently consisting of four units located in Jaguare and Dutra (near Sao Paulo), and Cambe and Londrina (west of Sao Paulo), Itap Bemis plans to consolidate all of its operations during the first half of 2000 in the company's brand new, three-building facility in Londrina. Of Dixie Toga's 3,200 employees, about 800 are located in Itap Bemis.
Rotogravure presses in Londrina (two presently are being transferred from Sao Paulo) include two Rotomec nine-color presses and two Schiavi (Bobst Group Inc.) presses, a nine- and a ten-color model. Other equipment includes a Rotomec solventless laminator, two wax coaters, and three metallizers (one Leybold and two General Vacuum). Completing the rotogravure facility are 11 slitters (5 from Uteco, 4 from Kampf, and 2 from Titan).
One Rotomec press and the two Schiavi presses are capable of in-line lamination, which is used to manufacture printed, solvent-based laminates for biscuits, snacks, chocolates, soaps, and cold seal, double-wall coffee packaging. Laminating capabilities also include oriented polypropylene varnish application and heat seal application.
A fire in December 1942 that almost destroyed the entire company left Dixie Toga extremely safety-conscious. As a result, the new Londrina facility has been designed so that each printing press is contained in a fireproof compartment.
Constructions include cookie and cracker laminates for Nestle and Danone, such as (biaxially oriented polypropylene) BOPP/ink/adhesive/metallized BOPP; PET/ink/adhesive/metallized low-density polyethylene; and BOPP/ink/adhesive/BOPP/adhesive/pearl BOPP/adhesive/metallized BOPP. Also: wax lamination in soap wrappers and chewing gum packaging (Lux, Palmolive).
Flexo and Extrusion Capabilities
The flexographic facility, housed in a separate building on the Londrina "campus," contains three flexo presses from Windmoeller & Hoelscher. Two are eight-color models with in-line lamination, and a third offers eight-color capability plus two additional rotogravure stations.
Luiz Brito, Itap Bemis's managing director, explains, "There is considerable interaction between our rotogravure and flexographic units depending on customer requirements. He adds proudly, "When we fully consolidate all of our flex-pack operations in Londrina, the facility will be one of the best in the world."
Also part of the flexo facility are three laminators (supplied by Schiavi and W&H); a Galileo metallizer; two Kampf slitters and one Titan slitter; and two bagmaking machines for pet food, diapers, and bread.
Extrusion capabilities are found at both the Londrina facility and in Cambe, where the firm produces printed flexo and gravure material for meat, fish, cheese, dairy, and pasta applications. Most of Itap Bemis's high-barrier films are manufactured in Cambe, where Bemis (Curwood) films imported from the US are converted.
There are 15 extruders in all between Londrina and Cambe, including three Barmag coextruders producing ethylene vinyl alcohol, nylon, and PE composites. There are, in addition, six extruders from Reifenhauser, one from Kiefel, two from W&H, and three from another company. Eight bagmaking machines are in operation in the two locations.
The association between Dixie Toga and Itap Bemis has increased Dixie Toga's internal coextrusion capabilities. There appears to be substantial growth potential for the firm in the high-barrier film market for a variety of products. Representative constructions made at Cambe include PET/ink/adhesive/coextruded polyamide and surlyn/Bynel/PA+EVOH/LDPE/surlyn.
A fully equipped, state-of-the-art laboratory in Londrina serves the entire operation and features four gas chromatographs; two spectrophotometers; four Mocons for testing oxygen and moisture vapor transmission rates; and a great deal of additional testing equipment. The prepress department, which serves both flexo and gravure operations, has Macintosh, Barco, and Daetwyler equipment. The department includes room to store an estimated 5,400 rotogravure cylinders and capabilities in electromechanical engraving, flexo plate preparation, and color separation.
Cartons & Labels & Service
Dixie Toga's carton and label division is located near the international Sao Paulo airport at the side of President Dutra Highway. It is on the border of the municipalities of Sao Paulo and Guarulhos. Built in the late 1970s, the facility's labels are used by firms such as Brahma, Unilever, Kaiser (beer), Nestle, Texaco, and Danone. Most of the labels produced are paper, although about 10% utilize metallized paper from Dixie Toga's own metallizers.
The Dutra operation prides itself on its production and quality, but division director Nelson Fazenda also talks about another area. "Our customer service and partnership is perhaps unparalleled in the label industry."
He explains that Dixie Toga places personnel (who remain on Dixie Toga's payroll) in the plants of certain high-volume customers to aid in the production of their material. At present, the company has personnel in the Brahma and Kaiser bottling plants, both high-volume label users.
Label production consists of three rotogravure presses, two sheeters, one laminating and lacquering machine, and four die-cutting label lines. Carton production equipment includes two Bobst Lemanic machines. There is also one Arpeco eight-color flexo press as well as hot foil and UV (ultraviolet) equipment to further enhance carton production.
The company's material suppliers are a diverse group from both the Americas and Europe. BOPP is secured from Votocel, Vitorel, and Inteplast; PET from Hoescht and DuPont; aluminum foil from CBA and Alcoa; and nylon from Mazaferro. Major ink suppliers include Sun Chemical and Sicpa, and adhesives are obtained from Liofol (Henkel).
Staking Out a Territory
Dixie Toga presently tends to concentrate on the Latin American market. Previous efforts to form joint ventures with US firms have been terminated in a major effort to become the Latin American supplier to user firms. The major export markets are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, and the Andean nations. Plans are underway now to enter the growing Latin American pharmaceutical market with both flex-packs and printed cartons.
Dixie Toga has grown to become one of the world's outstanding packaging suppliers. As a leader in South America, the company has integrated close customer contact with optimum operational efficiency. Well managed and highly organized, the firm appears to be in an excellent position for continued growth and success.
About Brazil: An Impressive Recovery
Brazil (pop. 159 million) is Latin America's largest nation and the tenth largest economy in the world. It has made an outstanding recovery since the currency (the Real) was floated in January 1999. the nation, which occupies nearly half of South America and is the fifth most populous country in the world, is the economic giant of the continent. It still depends heavily on agriculture and is an important cattle producer.
The country's vast mineral wealth includes some of the finest iron resources in the world. The vast Amazonian forest was devastated during the 1980s, but the government now has devised a developmental guide for reforestation.
Brazil never ceases to impress the world in its ability to cope with new challenges and problems. Foreign exchange policy has allowed new levels of liberation, yet inflation has been kept under control and interest rates have been reduced steadily. The nation has an ongoing consolidation process and is characterized by a mammoth privatization program.
While still in a recovery period, Brazil remains South America's finest long-term investment opportunity.
Rotomec America, Hartford, CT; 860/953-3504; 800/428-0292; valmet-converting.com
Bobst Group Inc., Roseland, NJ; 973/226-8000; bobstgroup.com
Leybold Technologies Inc., Enfield, CT; 860/741-2267; fax: 860/741-0267.
General Vacuum Equipment, Charlotte, NC; 704/887-2970; fax: 704/319-3206.
Uteco SpA, Verona, Italy; +39 45-617-4555; fax: +39 45-615-0855.
Kampf GmbH & Co., Muhlen, Germany; +49 226-281-0; fax: +49 226-281-208.
Titan Converting Equipment, Cumming, GA; 770/781-5291; fax: 770/781-5273.
Windmoeller & Hoelscher, Lengerich, Germany; +49 5481-14-0; fax: +49 5481-14-2649.
Galileo Vacuum Systems Inc., East Granby, CT; 860/653-5911; fax: 860/653-6540.
Barmag AG, Lennep, Germany; +49 2191-67-0; fax: +49 2191-67-1204.
Reifenhauser GmbH & Co., Troisdorf, Germany; +49 (0) 2241/4810; fax: +49 (0) 2241/408778.
Kiefel Inc., Wrentham, MA; 508/384-1200; fax: 508/384-1288.
Mocon/Modern Controls, Minneapolis, MN; 612/493-6370; fax: 612/493-6358.
Barco Graphics, Vandalia, OH; 937/454-1721; fax: 937/454-1522.
Max Daetwyler, Huntersville, NC; 704/875-1200; daetwyler.com
Arpeco Ltd., Cheshire, U.K.; +44 (0) 161-406-8330; fax: +44 (0) 161-406-8331.
Votocel Films Flexiveis Ltda., Votorantim, Brazil; +55 15-242-9804; fax: +55 15-242-9991.
Vitorel-Koppol, Maua, Brazil; +55 11-4977-7241; fax: +55 11-4977-7251.
Inteplast Corp., Livingston, NJ; 973/994-8000; fax: 973/716-7298.
Hoechst Diafoil/Mitsubishi PET Films LLC, Greer, SC; ph: 864/879-5000; fax: 864/879-5006.
DuPont Brazil, Barunri, Brazil; +55 11-421-8754; dupont.com
CBA Companhia Brazileira de Aluminio, Sao Paulo, Brazil; +55-11-224-7000.
Alcoa, Pittsburgh, PA; 412/553-4545.
Mazaferro Fibras Sinteticas Ltda, Sao Paulo, Brazil; +55 746-7585; fax: +55 746-6783.
Sun Chemical Corp., Fort Lee, NJ; 201/224-4600; sunchemical.com
Sicpa S.A., Prilly, Switzerland; +41 (21) 627-5555; fax: +41 (21) 627-5727.
Henkel S.A., Sao Paulo, Brazil; +55 11-829-8111; fax: +55 11-829-7270.