A home-grown operation with strong international ties, speciality chemicals provider Applied Casting Solutions has notched up more than four decades of experience in the local and international markets. Yet, it remains cognisant of the fact that continuous improvement and an intuitive understanding of local markets are the drivers behind the business’s sustainability. It remains firmly committed to keeping South Africa’s foundry operations on the cutting edge of global trends.
Applied Casting Solutions’ Business Director Paul Oliaro talks about the latest developments for the business, as well as its holistic approach to creating a quality end-to-end experience for its customers.
Firm foundations feed innovation and growth
“The combined resources and global footprints of our parent AECI Group and German partner and principle ASK Chemicals put us in a strong position from which to provide our customers with latest technology products and cost effective solutions to all casting requirements,” says Oliaro.
ASK is active in 24 countries across the globe and is arguably the leader in foundry technology globally. They have substantial R&D facilities, pilot foundries and employ experts in every field. Meanwhile the AECI Group is a JSE listed entity with revenue exceeding R14 billion.
ZMG mould coating provides a high quality finish and is particularly suited to high temperature casting processes
“The Group is rapidly expanding into Africa, Europe, the East and the Americas. Substantial global muscle, strong expertise in chemical manufacturing and trading in a wide range of applications together with a Level 4 BBBEE rating makes AECI a desirable partner and supplier to the foundry industry,” says Oliaro. “Meanwhile, we have further plans which are in the pipeline to fully localise the manufacture of ASK products here in South Africa.”
New investment means ‘business as usual’ is better than ever
An exciting shift of the business is the recent announcement that the company’s ASK shareholders – Ashland Inc. and Clariant AG have sold ASK Chemicals to investment funds affiliated with private equity firm, Rhône.
“The news that our principal, ASK Chemicals in Germany, is currently undergoing a change in ownership has not gone unnoticed in the market,” says Oliaro, who assures that this will have no negative effect on South African operations. “Applied Casting Solutions will continue as in the past, with all partners, products, services and solutions remaining unchanged. Our customers will still have access to the broadest portfolio of high-class foundry consumables from a single supplier.”
Applied Casting Solutions range of metallurgical products adds to the ability to offer a full basket of foundry products
“What is extremely exciting is that this newest investor, Rhône, has extensive experience investing in both the chemicals and foundry businesses and is eager to partner with us and support our development as equity holders,” says Oliaro. “This commitment to the development of strong, strategic partnerships is in line with Applied’s own philosophies, so we are looking forward to these synergies when the transaction concludes. This will be sometime in Q3 of 2014.”
Broader range, better reach
Between 2012 and 2013, Applied Casting Solutions identified and responded to the need for improved services and technical support in the South African market. Its dedicated team of experts in resin systems and metallurgical products has proven particularly valuable when it comes to customised formulations, which the business processes locally from bespoke laboratories at its Chloorkop and Durban facilities.
“The expansion of our consulting and technical services has been extremely well received, giving customers a definite edge over their competition,” says Oliaro. “It has also brought our business closer to our vision of becoming a complete one-stop-shop for foundry chemicals and metallurgical products.”
In the last 12 months the business has focussed on closing the gaps in its product range, with the most notable additions being a comprehensive range of metallurgical products and synthetic sands.
“Our Isocast synthetic sand is a brand new innovation, uniquely tailored for local conditions in ways that make it more affordable than competing products. It is also designed to lower risk, be more environmentally friendly and address certain cost issues in the market. This will be complemented by a new range of Isocast resins scheduled for release later this year,” says Oliaro.
A wide range of chaplets and vents is also available
“Again, these latest technologies are intended to keep our customers on the cutting edge of the industry. When added to our already extensive range of binder systems, coating systems, chaplets, vents, release agents and related ancillary products, these offerings complete an extensive basket of foundry products and makes Applied a true one-stop service provider.”
“One-stop-shop” does not mean “one-size-fits-all”
“Our customers really are unique, each with their own vision and objectives so a one-size-fits-all approach is never going to be an appropriate business model,” acknowledges Oliaro.
“We go out of our way to work with individual customers to meet the needs of their business, whether this is cost management, the need for innovation, staying ahead of the green curve or a combination thereof.”
Having such a diverse range and deep skill sets means that Applied Casting Solutions has the flexibility to make sure its solutions remain relevant and customer-centric.
Applied Casting Solutions are well established with a comprehensive range of high quality binders
“We tailor our formulations based on each customer’s requirements accommodating everything from the sand and binders used, to the work and strip times needed in their core and mould making processes,” says Oliaro. “We also get involved in the bigger picture, collaborating with many of our customers on creative solutions to industry challenges.”
Applied Casting Solutions uses its knowledge of market requirements to innovatively formulate binder systems and products, bundled with quality technical support services.
The current range includes:
Cold-box resin systems – Isocures, Ecocures, Isocasts and catalysts
Alkaline phenolic resins – Novaset resins and catalysts
Poly-urethane no-bake resin systems – Pepset resins and catalysts
Furan resin systems – Chemrez resins and catalysts
Chaplets, tie bars, ceramic washers, quick-pads and vents
Metallurgical products such as alloys, inoculants and deslagulents
Core coating systems – Miratec, Korolcote ZMG, spirits
Release agents – Zipslip range
Metal cleaners – Core Box Wash
If you are interested in finding out how Applied Casting Solutions can give your business the cutting edge, please contact them on TEL: 011 922 1701 or visit the website www.chemsystems.co.za.