SAM-A invests to supply changing market demands
From its foundation in 1969 as producer of paper backed foil using a wet lamination machine, Korean based SAM-A has become one of Asia’s leading specialists in aluminium processing. The following year saw the company enter a joint venture with Toyo Aluminium of Japan, which coincided with the installation of its first high speed, wide width milling machine. The 1970s witnessed rapid growth and diversification, with the added capability of producing aluminium paste, a move into foil converting, and the installation of a second milling line.
To cater for this growth and create a more secure financial base, SAM-A floated on the Korean Stock Exchange in 1980 and was upgraded to the top list in ’82, shortly before installing its third milling line. And, it was at this point that the company first became acquainted with Vetaphone corona technology. Renowned as the inventors of corona and pioneers of surface treatment, Vetaphone fitted a 1000mm corona discharge unit to one of SAM-A’s laminators in 1984 – and it is still in full running order today.
Speaking for SAM-A, Facilities Technical Team Manager at the Poseung plant, Mr Donghwa Nam, said: “The long working life of our first Vetaphone unit speaks volumes for its quality and reliability. When we subsequently looked at further investment in corona, our market research convinced us that Vetaphone quality was the best fit for our investment strategy here.” SAM-A now has six of the Danish manufacturer’s corona systems, all bar the first one being 1500mm wide, with the most recent installed in 2016.
Drawing praise for Vetaphone’s functionality, Mr Nam explained that the ease with which the units can be cleaned and maintained is as much appreciated by the machine operators as the consistent quality of surface treatment the systems provide. “It doesn’t matter what substrate we are running, the performance and quality never wavers,” he added. “We have an ongoing programme of equipment renovation here and are looking to develop new high-tech products for the global markets. Key to this is securing the best technology and assessing the capability of all suppliers. We work only with proven companies that have a track record of sustained success, and are proud to list Vetaphone among our trusted manufacturers.”
The 1990s brought KSA 9002 and ISO 9002 certification to SAM-A, along with the fourth high speed milling line and a significant move into the export markets of the USA and Canada, which now account for 40 -50% of all products sold outside Korea. Other key export markets include those of Germany and Italy. Since the millennium, the company has added further international certifications (KSA 9001:2001 and ISO 9001:2001 in 2003, and KSA 14001:2004 and ISO 14001:2004 in 2005) as well as completing the construction of its 15,000sq/m plant in Poseung, which now employs 300 staff, a number soon to grow to 400. It also added a fifth milling line, and the result is that annual group sales now top $130m.
Capable of milling aluminium strip that produces foil from 0.0045mm to 0.2mm and thicker, SAM-A offers soft or hard temper and bright and dull side without pinholes to customer specifications. The aluminium foil is converted for a variety of packaging materials and uses, and is easy to print, emboss, and laminate with both paper and film. Markets supplied include tobacco, dairy, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, electrical, insulation, textile, household goods, and food and beverage.
With such a wide range of applications, it is little wonder that demand for SAM-A products continues to grow.