Local raw material and consumable supplier Mineral-Loy has expanded its technical sales department by appointing a further two project engineers, one a graduate from the University of Cape Town, and the other an intern from the University of Johannesburg. This brings the total to six in this department of the company. Mineral-Loy also has a chemical subsidiary that supplies product to a number of consumer related industries including toiletry, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, detergent and food.
“Just over three years ago we took a strategic decision to appoint graduates with a distinct technical background as project engineers within our sales departments. We had seen a trend within the foundries that there is an increasing demand for complete turnkey engineering solutions from the industry’s technology partners. This applies to both the capital equipment investment and the mineral and material suppliers,” explained Mineral-Loy’s Executive Director Rob Duff.
“To survive, foundries are looking to increase productivity, while at the same time reduce costs. Today, in the world of computers and software, especially in design and manufacturing software, there has been vast development. Therefore it’s no good having all this fancy equipment and casting process optimisation and simulation studies, if the raw materials and additives you use leave you with defects and you have to scrap the castings anyway,” continued Duff.
The Mineral-Loy technical team: Back: Brett Gait, Paul Nieuwoudt, Hans Joubert, Philip Steenkamp and Jaishal Naidu. Front: Lenned Kujoana, Stanley Booi and Samuel Moeti
“At the same time foundries are reducing their staff complement on the technical side and relying even more on suppliers to fill this void and provide them with assistance and solutions, whether it be improving their processes or recommending alternative material use.”
“When we appointed our first two graduates, Paul Nieuwoudt (BSc Chemical Engineering Honours, UCT) and Samuel Moeti (National Diploma in Engineering Metallurgy (Physical) (UJ), to join Technical Sales Manager Hans Joubert’s department little did we know that such would be the demand from the foundry industry that another three graduates would be added.”
“Joining the team this year are Lenned Kujoana, who holds a BSc Chemical Engineering degree from UCT and Stanley Booi, who holds a BTech Metallurgy diploma from UJ. Last year we appointed Philip Steenkamp, who holds a BSC Chemical Engineering, UCT.”
“In essence they are project and process engineers within the company. However the foundry department has evolved in this period and our young graduates are proving their worth. Mineral-Loy has become synonymous with supplying ferro-chrome manufactured by Samancor Chrome including chromite sand, medium and high carbon ferro-manganese and silico manganese, ferro silicon, nickel briquettes and powder from Impala Platinum, Sorelmetal high purity pig iron, and rutile and zircon sand produced by Richards Bay Minerals, and imported products that include inoculants and treatment alloys from FerroPem Europe, a range of copper, nickel and aluminium master alloys from KBM Affilips Europe, and ceramic filters and slag coagulant that are imported from the Far East.”
“Besides offering these traditional products, it has been the department’s brief to identify new products with a common goal of efficiencies and product quality in the casting process, so that a foundry is able to control the production process and variables in order to keep their customers, and make a profit.”
“We now offer a number of derivatives, sourced locally and internationally, as a result of the demand from industry. These products are filling a gap but require more input from our graduates. This includes inspection at source and educating the user on the technical aspects. As well as now being able to offer an alternative to our established clients, the development has opened up more doors for us in other industries, including steel manufacturing.”
“Today, the lack of skilled manufacturing employees is a major problem with fewer young people choosing manufacturing trades as a vocation. Indeed, the lean, technology-invested manufacturing facilities of today are dramatically different from the plants of the past. Even so, manufacturing continues to struggle at attracting talent.”
“It is encouraging that we have been able to attract these graduates, both for our company and the industry. Metalcasting has an eternal quality that fascinates those who make their careers in the science and the industry.”
For further details please contact Rob Duff at Mineral-Loy on TEL: 011 802 4050 or Sean Mackenzie at CIM on TEL: 011 708 1494 or visit www.mineral-loy.co.za