From sand to cigarettes
The UAE-headquartered BMJ Industries has exponential growth rates, a focus on investment to maintain the excellence of its products and owns a record-breaking Primary Department: its complete new Garbuio Combi-PMD was set up in only eight months.
BMJ serves various countries across the globe and is best known for its cigarette brands Oscar, Mac, Napoli, Super Grand, Galaxy and A&B, which are produced in a wide range of sizes as well as in various flavors. Over the last few years, the tobacco manufacturer has recorded an impressive increase in volume and has experienced double-digit annual percentage growth.
The brain behind BMJ’s success is Founder and Chairman Ahmad Bkairat. "Quality begins with the sourcing and selection of the right ingredients," says Bkairat. "As a company, we prove that our standards match all the levels set by our industry competitors as well as those expected by our customers." Having its own Primary fits in well with Bkairats strategy: "Running our own Primary Department has given us independence, efficiency, flexibility, and saves costs."
Investing in the future
BMJ’s investment philosophy targets sourcing industry-renowned machinery manufacturers to build ultra-modern, highly automated equipment. Today, around 70 percent of BMJ’s cigarette- and tube-making equipment comes from Hauni or Decouflé. "Hauni technology is perceived as very valuable by customers – we appreciate the maximized machine availability and short delivery times, the optimization of costs and investment opportunities, the increased machine operability, as well as the highly improved supply chain and excellent availability of spare parts," says Bkairat.
Choosing Garbuio as a partner for the construction of a Primary that is able to match the high standard of its Secondary Department has proven to be a logical step. "Since the board considers the best market equipment and post-sales support as fundamental to our success, we invested in Hauni Garbuio systems – which has resulted in benefits in the production of tobacco and volume-related cost savings as well as improvements to quality," states Alan Milligan, CEO of BMJ’s Primary Department.
For Garbuio, setting up BMJ’s new leaf processing department from scratch was nothing short of a record-breaking achievement. When the company started building the 15,000-square-metre building intended to house the Primary on 16 February 2016, there was nothing but a sandy desert, giving the term "greenfield factory" a whole new meaning. The equipment was installed on 6 June and the first tobacco was run on 28 October 2016. "We couldn’t have achieved this without Garbuio," says Milligan. "They exactly understood our requirements, coordinated their activities with us and responded quickly to our requests. In addition, they provided a fantastic pre-installation service."
We are the first company in the region whose supply meets multinational standards
CEO of BMJ's Primary Department
High processing efficiency
Today, BMJ operates one of only three Primaries in the UAE and the only one fully equipped by Garbuio. The cigarette manufacturer has decided in favor of a completely new Combi-PMD, which combines the advantages of a traditional cut rag line with those of a stem line. It is a perfect match for the company’s requirements, since BMJ runs no mentholated tobacco in its Primary, but only adds flavor in the form of capsules in the filter. "The Garbuio system is very flexible, which is important for us because we use batches," says the Primary’s CEO. The line, running with high reliability, has a lamina throughput of 4,000 kg per hour and a stem throughput of 1,200 kg per hour.
BMJ currently produces an average of 1,300,000 kg of cut rag tobacco per month based on two shifts within 26 days a month – the initial target was 750,000 kg per month within the same number of operational days per month. In line with the company’s quest for highest-quality products, the Combi-PMD enables BMJ’s Primary Department to provide precision tobacco preparation and casing adaptations that help retain uniformity, create unique blends and minimize waste.
The company is already planning further investments in its production sites. "Our goal is to create a long-term, sustainable future for our business," concludes Bkairat, "which we aim to achieve by maximizing the key brand properties, by letting even value brands in the international market benefit from the best quality, to value brands for the international market, and by investing in vertical integration to increase cost efficiency and production security. There is no doubt that we will collaborate with Garbuio again in the future."