AFRICA was a turbulent continent in 1964. The winds of change were blowing through Africa and, to pick just three events among dozens, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved, there was an assassination attempt on President Nkrumah in Ghana and a revolution overthrew the Sultan of Zanzibar, just one month after independence. It was also the year that the Beatles were invited to the Queen’s birthday party as well as finding fame and fortune on the other side of the Atlantic, and some clever doctors worked out that smoking could prove hazardous to health!

Meanwhile in the relative calm of South Africa, a small company was established in Johannesburg called Ipex Engineering, which has now proudly clocked up 45 years of sterling service to the South African printing and packaging market.

Caption: Back in 1978, the partners decided to invest in their own building in Johannesburg, which remains the site of the Ipex Machinery’s head office today. Right: One of the workshops established in the 1970s. Far right: In 1986, Reinhold Brüssow (Ipex Engineering’s founder) handed the reins to Chris Boshoff, who took the company forward through the turbulent 1980s and 1990s and into the new millennium, retiring in 2004.

Founded in 1964 by Reinhold Brüssow, Ipex Engineering’s initial focus was on servicing printing and related machinery, but was gradually built into a successful and respected business, supplying capital equipment to South Africa’s burgeoning printing industry. As the business grew and established a name in the industry, Reinhold Brüssow sought financial backing in order to expand its horizons into the supply of machinery. This he found in Messrs Louis and Julius Kruger, who had previously owned EJ Kruger Stationery. The Krugers joined Ipex in 1970 and this partnership took the company to the next level. Representation of companies such as ECH Will, Kolbus, Sakurai, Komori, Color Metal, FTP and Minami quickly followed.

National expansion

With a well-established reputation for honest and ethical business practices driving growth, and with offices bursting at the seams, investment was made in a building in 1978 which remains the site of the Ipex head office today. As growth continued, the need arose for a sales office in Cape Town and this was established in the early 1980s.

In 1983 Brian Allen (father of today’s MD, Bruce Allen) joined Ipex in the Cape Town office where he, together with Stephen Wood, established and built the Komori brand in Cape Town while continuing to service the well-established Kolbus and Drent-Goebel brands in this region. A Durban office was the next logical step, as Gordon Hodgson found himself spending more and more time selling ‘from the boot of his car’ and the Ipex office in Durban was opened in 1984, headed by Brian Moore who focused on the scholastic stationery and converting markets in Natal.

Into the new millennium

As all business is dynamic, change is inevitable and Ipex has experienced many changes in its 45-year history. ‘In 1986, Mr Brüssow – or Oom Reinhold as he was affectionately known – stepped down as MD and handed the reins over to Chris Boshoff who took the company forward through the turbulent 1980s and 1990s and into the new millennium,’ explains Bruce Allen, today’s MD.

As a result of illness, Chris stepped down as MD in 2004 and Brian Allen took over for a period of two years before his retirement in 2006.

Today the company is owned by the Kruger and Allen families and Bruce Allen (now in his 20th year with the company) heads the company. Bruce and his partners are understandably proud of the company’s history and the strong position it holds, especially the number of blue-chip principals that Ipex Machinery has garnered over the years.

Blue-chip international agencies

Undoubtedly, Ipex Machinery is recognised as a leading company in its field. It’s a name proudly and inextricably linked with international suppliers of technologically-advanced equipment for the printing, packaging and converting sectors.

When the company was founded back in 1964, the business environment in South Africa was very different. Those were the dark days of apartheid and international isolation and South Africa was in survival mode ... it was the year that South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games and the year that Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment; but gradually the scene shifted and over the years, especially since the 1990s, Ipex Machinery has added a number of important agencies to its armoury which fit into the various market segments served by Ipex.

The company has a strong footprint in the flexible packaging and converting sector, high-speed bookbinding and finishing sector, self-adhesive labels and digital finishing sectors.

Brands of the stature of  Kolbus, Windmöller & Hölscher, Gidue, Ashe, BST, Prati, Flexowash, ECH Will, Kugler-Womako, Morgana, Gammerler, Steinemann, Pemco SHM and Baldwin – to name but a few – speak volumes to the bloodline of  Ipex Machinery.

‘Today,’ comments group MD, Bruce Allen, ‘we continue to build and manage these suppliers’ brands throughout Southern Africa, as well as providing technical service and support to users of this equipment.’ It is, Bruce maintains, the company’s one-to-one customer relationships, uncompromised service, extensive product and industry knowledge, and an emphasis on ethical business practices that have allowed Ipex Machinery to establish itself as a leading supplier in the Southern African media market.

A true thoroughbred!


TOWARDS the end of 2008, the showroom at Ipex Machinery’s Johannesburg headquarters was abuzz with activity, when more than 50 visitors were treated to a display of machines for the self-adhesive label industry.

Flagship machines on display included a Gidue S-Combat 370 eight-colour UV flexo press, complemented by a Prati Jupiter label doctoring machine, a Flexowash Handy anilox cleaning unit and a Flexowash parts washing machine.

Caption: Ipex directors – Bruce Allen, Louis Kruger junior and Louis Kruger senior.

Ipex Machinery MD, Bruce Allen, emphasises that he and his team are committed to growing their footprint in the label sector and have created a factory-like environment in their showroom in which label printers can put these leading brand products to the test.


 Caption: An enormous attraction at drupa 2008 was the Miraflex press on the Windmöller & Hölscher stand. Seen here are Peter Steinbeck (W&H director of sales and marketing) with directors from Ipex Machinery (W&H’s South African representatives) – Dries Kruger, Bruce Allen and Louis Kruger.

So confident is German machine manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) of continued growth in the local flexible packaging market that in 2008 the company strengthened its position by appointing Simon Pollock as area sales manager for Southern Africa.

Simon, a well known figure in the flexible packaging industry, boasts many years’ experience in the operation, sales and support of extrusion, printing and bag making machinery.

Based in Durban, where he works from the offices of Ipex Machinery (W&H agent in South Africa), Simon is responsible for all W&H products, including blown and cast film extrusion lines, flexographic and gravure printing machines, finishing machines, sack, bag and carrier bag making machines, FFS packaging systems, and converting equipment for woven plastic materials.

Fastest sack line in Africa

Afripack, Durban, boasts two automated Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) sack lines. Among key elements of the most recent installation (2008) are a W&H AM 8115 tuber, pictured here, with an output of 350 tubes/min, and an AD 8320 bottomer that turns out 330 sacks/min. The tuber and the bottomer are linked with an automated material flow and sack storage system, the W&H Transystem. W&H is undoubtedly the industry benchmark and, while there are around 30 similar lines in operation worldwide, this is the first in the southern hemisphere.


AT last year’s PrintExpo in Johannesburg, there was intense activity on the Ipex Machinery stand, where several overseas principals were represented.
Visitors from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Ghana and Namibia made PrintExpo 2009 a truly African event.


Caption: Busy fielding enquiries on the Ipex Machinery stand at PrintExpo 2009 were Simon Pollock (Windmöller & Hölscher South Africa), Rob Dicks, Bruce Allen, Matthew Godbold (Ashe Converting, UK), Richard Carter and Graham Spence.


Ipex Machinery’s Bruce Allen reports tremendous success at the show, with sales recorded to customers throughout Southern Africa for the Morgana range of digital finishing machines. UK company, Ashe Converting, represented by Ipex since drupa 2008, displayed a Diamond S2 machine which was sold during the show to a local customer. This machine, reports Ashe Converting’s Matthew Godbold, visiting from the UK, sparked considerable interest among paper and plastic converters. 

Another important company on show on the Ipex stand was Windmöller & Hölscher, which has long been represented by Ipex Machinery but now operates a dedicated South African office, managed by Simon Pollock.

BST and Schober products also drew considerable attention.


 Caption: Lee Barnard and Teresa Adinolfi of Track & Trace Labels are proud of their new Gidue eight-colour S-Combat press, which is propelling them to new levels of excellence in full-colour label printing. They also invested in a Prati Vega FN-330 die-cutting machine and turret rewinder to help meet demand for blank labels. With them here is Farhad Evans who handles Ipex Machinery’s sales of self-adhesive printing and converting equipment.


 Caption: A Pemco SHM1450 DR sheeter was recently installed at Nampak Cartons & Labels’ Cape Town plant. The sheeter delivers precise yet cost-effective board and paper sheeting for the plant’s litho presses. The company invested in this high-speed Pemco SHM sheeter to improve efficiency and quality and to reduce waste during the board and paper sheeting process.



TYPICAL of the close relationships that Ipex Machinery maintains with its principals is that with Prati. Chiara Prati, Prati’s sales director, is very pleased with the partnership: ‘Bruce Allen’s wide experience and knowledge of the market makes him a valuable partner for us,’ she comments.

Caption: Chiara Prati is proud of her company’s four-year partnership with Ipex Machinery

‘We’re proud of our four-year partnership with Ipex Machinery. It has been instrumental in communicating Prati’s range of rewinding, inspection, slitting, matrix stripping and overprinting machines to the South-African market. Thanks to Ipex Machinery’s activity, we signed a contract for a VEGAplus Booklet LF330 with VR Print at Labelexpo 2009. Bruce and his team demonstrated to VR Print the robust quality of the system and the innovative design for booklet production, in comparison with other systems.’

Caption: A Prati booklet maker in action.

In fact, 19 machines were sold at the show where visitors were excited about innovations in label control on the PH330 Pharma-Check system (in co-operation with Nikka), delivering the high productivity demanded by the pharmaceutical sector. Also on show was the Jupiter TC450 which meets needs of label printers for a robust machine that can process all type of label materials and filmic substrates.


Caption: At last year’s Labelexpo were Frederik Massyn of GM Graphics, with Bruce Allen and Mette Laursen, area sales manager for Flexowash, responsible for the South African market.


 Caption: At drupa 2008, Bruce Allen (right) met up with Percy Dengler and Wolfgang Kuster of BST. Ipex Machinery has represents BST for wide-wide flexible packaging applications.

Apart from Prati, at Labelexpo 2009, Bruce Allen was able to further cement already-strong relationships with Ipex Machinery’s principals, both old and new, including Ashe Converting, Gidue, Flexowash and BST.


Making a come-back at Labelexpo 2009 was Federico d’Annunzio of Nuova Gidue. ‘Reaction was far beyond our expectations,’ he comments. ‘The climate was truly optimistic for the industry and for Nuova Gidue and we saw our customers’ pride in our being there!’ Thanks to this positive response, Nuova Gidue sold three machines at the show and has since started many new projects, one being an Xpannd multiprocess offset-flexo press for high added-value labels.

One happy customer is Cape Town-based flexible packaging company, Colpak, which swept the board with the quality of its shrink sleeves and flexible packaging in the 2009 FTASA Print Excellence Awards, largely thanks to the company’s investment in the technical benefits offered by Gidue’s UV printing technology.

 Caption: With sponsor Bruce Allen representing Ipex Machinery/Gidue (second from left) are members of the winning Colpak team – Keith Bergset, Bob Jones, Rico Roodman and Steven Broekhuyzen.



ASHE Converting’s Matthew Godbold is another among Ipex Machinery’s highly satisfied principals.

Caption: In 2007, a Sapphire slitter rewinder was installed at Cape Wrappers in Paarl. Since then, Ipex has taken over the agency for Ashe Converting in South Africa, with the result that four more Ashe slitters have found favour among South Africa’s flexible packaging converters, including those at ITB, Corequip, City Packaging and DLC Pack (the latter now, like Cape Wrappers, part of Afripack Consumer Flexibles).

Caption: At drupa 2008 Matthew Godbold of Ashe Converting Equipment was proud to show off the Sapphire S2, a technologically-advanced slitter for processing flexible packaging at speeds up to 700m/min. Also on show for converters of high-quality labels was the Opal2 label inspection slitter with die-cutting facilities, as well as an entry-level machine, the Onyx all-electric duplex slitter rewinder that particularly suits developing markets and accommodates web widths of 1 300 to 1 600mm with a maximum speed of 300m/min.

‘We would like to congratulate Ipex Machinery for its 45 years’ service to the industry,’ Matthew comments. ‘We’re proud to have a successful relationship with the team at Ipex, and look forward to working with them for the foreseeable future.’


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