QuaLabels invests in Bobst gravure press

Ethiopian converter aims to become a world-class packaging company.

Ethiopian converter QuaLabels has acquired a Bobst shaftless gravure printing press to expand its business and deliver world-class labels and packaging to local and global brand owners in the beer, soft drinks, snacks, personal care and home care markets.

One of the Ethiopian market leaders in beer labels, QuaLabels, was founded in 2016 by chairman and CEO Brook Worku. Committed to high quality and great customer service, the company operates a modern, food-certified plant in Legettafo, 10 miles north of Addis Ababa.

Serving customers including Coca-Cola, Heineken, PepsiCo and Unilever, it specializes in primary and secondary packaging mainly for the food and beverage, detergent and confectionery markets. 

The company’s dedication was recently recognized by the MEA Markets publication at the African Excellence Awards 2023, where it was named Leading Packaging & Printing Services Provider – Central Ethiopia.

‘We have worked very hard over the past seven years and established a great reputation for exceptional quality, while building customer confidence, having consistently and constantly honored our commitments, without any excuses,’ said Worku. ‘Beyond this, our reputation is also based on the positive impact we are making in the local communities through building schools for children.’

The decision to boost QuaLabels’ printing department with new gravure technology was made several years ago. The company started to investigate the market opportunities during a visit in Europe in 2018, where it became acquainted with Bobst. After an initial meeting, Worku decided that a Bobst gravure printing press for flexible materials would be the right choice for his company.

‘We are a dynamic company with strong ambitions, focused on long-term success, so we need to make investment decisions that offer sustainable growth with reliable support systems,’ commented Worku. ‘It was evident that Bobst is the market leader with decades of experience in gravure printing. The current discussions about our expansion plans with new Bobst machines is a true testimony of a satisfied customer.’

The shaftless gravure printing press has been designed specifically with sleeve print cylinders for fast and efficient operation. The press also features very precise web tension control, high-performance dual technology dryers, and Registron register control. As standard, it is fitted with the TAPS fully automatic pre-register function, which makes setup as simple as pressing a button.

These sophisticated technologies enable QuaLabels to produce both short and long runs on a wide range of materials with less waste.

‘We are highly satisfied with the service we receive from Bobst,’ added Worku. ‘The team makes regular visits, supporting us with machine cleaning and scheduled maintenance to maximize productivity. The operators are also very happy, having been trained well on the new press.’

With the new gravure printing press in place, QuaLabels is well-equipped to ramp up production to capture a larger share of the market. Furthermore, there are additional investments in new machinery planned for the next couple of years.

‘Putting the Bobst gravure press into operation means we are in the perfect position to accelerate our output with new high-quality solutions that meet our customers’ needs and comply with all legal requirements,’ stated Worku. ‘Our motto is “Packaging at its Best”, and we are using the power of our new investment to live up to that as we continue to expand into new markets.’

Speaking on behalf of Bobst, Angelo Cavallo, technology sales manager, GRV&LAM, at Bobst, commented: ‘We are very proud to partner with QuaLabels, which is a very progressive and dedicated company. I have personally worked closely with the team and seen how the new Bobst gravure press has taken the business to the next level, both in terms of quality, types of applications, and productivity, allowing it to dream big.’