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Crabtree supports Kenya-based packaging company with bespoke metal decorating technology

22 February 2019

Global metal decorating and coating equipment pioneer, Crabtree, has experienced more export success with the design, supply and installation of a bespoke metal decorating machine for Kenya-based Metal Crowns.

Metals and plastics packaging company Metal Crowns, which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a further manufacturing facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, commissioned Crabtree to provide a bespoke machine that would enable it to reduce labour costs and increase output.

Crabtree has been designing and manufacturing metal decorating and coating machines and components from its site in Gateshead, UK for 50 years. It has a strong track record of exporting its machines and undertaking projects for businesses world-wide and has provided metal decorating technology in more than 90 countries spanning Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Metal Crowns, which was founded in 1978, is a leading manufacturer of crown corks to the beverage industry and works with international brands such as Coca-Cola and Heineken. The company was seeking a solution that would improve time efficiencies and maintain quality in its metal decorating operations.

Crabtree’s consulting engineers and design team worked closely with Metal Crowns to create a solution that was in line with its end-product requirements, formats and infrastructure. Metal Crowns was also able to select which machine functions to automate based on its specific requirements.

Crabtree developed a user-friendly hybrid machine, in both cure and automated operation. A 3-colour FastReady press was commissioned with conventional and UV cure, along with an inline varnish and coating unit. And from an operational perspective, several CNC functions were removed that would not be required by Metal Crowns during operation.

Crabtree designs, manufactures, builds and tests each machine at its own facility before dismantling, shipping and installing at client site. This ensures 100 per cent quality assurance and a client demonstration before the machine leaves. This ultimately allows Crabtree to provide one of the quickest installation and start-up periods in the market, with confidence.

Prior to delivery, General Manager Printing at Metal Crowns, Michael Hart, visited Crabtree’s Gateshead facility to sign off the machine and witness a demonstration of its capabilities. The new machine was able to demonstrate an actual production speed of 6,000 sheets per hour and a reduction in time taken to set the machine at changeover.

Michael Hart, General Manager Printing, Metal Crowns said: “We are delighted with the level of service and attention to detail provided by the Crabtree team. I’m hugely satisfied with the company’s ability to really listen to what we need and to design a solution that meets our requirements.

“For us, efficiency is the number one priority, so we tasked Crabtree with providing a machine that could deliver certain efficiencies in speed, accuracy and shorten the time to set the designs – this is exactly what they have delivered.
“We have worked on a number of successful projects with Crabtree and as such they have been a preferred supplier of ours for the last 30 years. This is largely down to the quality and reliability of their product and the great relationship we have developed with them.”


Alan Rutter, Senior Director, Crabtree added: “It has been great working with Metal Crowns to develop their capability. In particular, liaising directly with Michael to specify a machine that ticks all the boxes.

“We take on all kinds of projects here at Crabtree, centred around the clients’ wants, needs, skillset and infrastructure to name but a few. Versatility and approachability are common place as we look into projects with the Technical Team, in a bid to offer a solution for all potential clients, be it start-up or established, specifics or general. We’re proud of our open-minded flexible approach, and we’re striving to offer more, as we want to be the solution, not the option.”

As a pioneer in the manufacture of metal decorating and coating equipment, and with a heritage stretching back more than five decades, Crabtree has a unique understanding of the metal decorating industry and applies this to product innovation and problem solving.

Its services include manufacturing and supplying components, upgrading machinery to give customers additional capabilities, servicing, maintenance, repairs and consultancy.

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