Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that virtual meetings are now the new norm. The ability to communicate, collaborate and get things done without having to be face to face might be one positive thing we all take away from this awful situation.
This is exactly what happened in Johannesburg, South Africa recently, when Everest Packaging Group was entering the final weeks of installation of Fosber’s new 2.5m C/Line corrugator at its new sheet feeder site, Everest Corrugated. The line was also equipped with Fosber’s Pro/Care intelligent on-line maintenance manager, which plans and schedules the required maintenance to be carried out remotely using Kiber Kit.
Everest Packaging Group is a collaboration between two leading sheet plants – Pride Pak Packaging (Pty) Ltd and Boxlee (Pty) Ltd. The two companies had grown significantly over the last few years and it was now looking like it was time to invest in a corrugator. Between them, they established a new facility that would act as their own group sheet feeding operation. Everest Corrugated was set up in 2019 with the primary objective of supplying the highest quality board to the two sheet plant businesses.
With containers arriving from Italy in readiness for a 45 day installation, the timing of the project could not have been more troublesome, thanks to the incremental lock-down around the world that rolled out during the first quarter of the year.
“We were reaching a stage where about 95% of the mechanical works had been completed, but only about 80% of the electrics,” explains Brian Seggar, Director of Everest Packaging Group. “That is when we got a call from the Fosber team to say they were having to recall their entire engineering team, due to the lock-down in Italy. I must admit, we were pretty concerned, as we were so close to finishing the installation with them and ultimately, I was running a very tight project that needed to get operating as quickly as possible. What transpired was truly a collaboration of like-minded individuals who would not accept defeat as an option.”
Thanks to team work and Kiber Kit’s multi-feature integrated cams and microphones, Everest team members were able to collaborate remotely with Fosber engineers to complete their work, sharing a virtual collaboration space where remote engineers were able to assist on-site workers and guide them. “Our Engineering Manager, Eugene Beytel and his colleague Russel Meyer have good experience with Fosber equipment, although not the latest technology,” says Seggar. “But we have a good in-house team and over a quarter of them had run a Fosber line before, so once we followed all the project phases, we were able to handle start-up of the line with the Fosber technicians looking upon us remotely.”
Seggar concludes, “We achieved start-up successfully, only one day behind the planned project time line. When I look back at the work we all undertook, it is nothing short of a miracle we were only one day late. The team work, project planning and the desire to get it right has resulted in a remarkable achievement for which we are hugely thankful to all those involved. It just shows, collaboration and a desire to succeed really can get you over any mountain in your way.”
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