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June 2021

Robots in the foundry

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News

June 2021

DZanetech turns one

The beginning of July 2021 will mark the one-year anniversary of DZanetech. This is a remarkable achievement considering the turmoil that the world has been through over the last 16 months. The establishment of DZanetech was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic and bravely, the shareholders of the company decided to continue with their business plan and as a result the company has now reached its first milestone of many more to come.

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Grinding Media South Africa makes major investment in melt shop revitalisation to reduce environmental impact

Company converts from electric arc furnace melting to induction furnace melting to reduce emissions to achieve environmental compliance, achieve quality improvements, reduce direct costs and enhance its safety incident awareness accordance.

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Casting and Machining Services invests in new Belec In-Spect spark OES

“After using the same instrument for 26 years we were due for a new machine especially as our instrument was not going to be repairable in the near future. The machine had served us well but there comes a time when you know you have to invest in a new instrument. Obviously today’s machines will have many more features,” said Justin Stevens of Casting and Machining Services.

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B&R Metrology add 3D printers to portfolio

With more than 23 years’ experience in CNC manufacturing, B&R Metrology Solutions does not need to be introduced to the field of validation, verification of predefined standards, traceability, accuracy, reliability and precision, which are all elements of metrology and defined as the scientific study of measurement that establishes a common understanding of units that are crucial in linking human activities.

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Viking Foundry achieves ISO 9001:2015 accreditation

“It might have taken us four years to be certified ISO 9001:2015 through SABS and it has been a long road but once you see that certificate framed and ready to display you feel very proud of the company and all of those that helped achieve the significant milestone in the company’s history,” said Greg Estman, Operations Director at Viking Foundry.

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Continuous improvement a mantra at Atlantis Foundries

Like so many industries around the world, the local manufacturing sector came to a standstill in March 2020 when national lockdowns were implemented around the world. Quite simply, the world cannot be as it is, especially during a pandemic, without manufacturing, and so it didn’t take long for COVID-19 safety standards to be implemented and foundries like Atlantis Foundries were able to resume production.

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Inductotherm introduces some firsts into Grinding Media South Africa’s new induction melting plant

One of the main suppliers for Grinding Media South Africa’s (GMSA) new induction furnace melting plant Inductotherm, represented in South Africa by Cerefco, has introduced a number of firsts for the South African metal melting industry while installing three 10 ton Inductotherm coreless induction furnaces.

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Aircure installation boosts Grinding Media SA’s environmental ambitions

Aircure offers a range of locally produced options aimed at helping companies manage air-quality problems. Removing up to 80% of the total dust or ash prior to the final filter system, will result in overall total efficiency as well as huge savings on maintenance and consumables.

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J-Tec Engineering makes major contribution to Grinding Media South Africa’s new induction melting plant

Normally behind any project involving construction and or installation of equipment there are always those that help drive it and make sure that project happens. In the case of Grinding Media South Africa’s (GMSA) recently completed new induction melting plant, that contractor was J-Tec Engineering.

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Are job losses in the metal industry set to continue?

Minimum wage increases in the metal industry have become prohibitively high. Year upon year of awarding above-inflation increases has led to a situation where minimum wage rates, especially amongst lesser-skilled employees, have been pushed to a level where the value that an unskilled labourer is able to add to his or her employer no longer matches his or her wage rate.

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Steel industry mulls drastic action to save the industry

Various players in the beleaguered steel industry came together for a round table discussion on 19 May 2021 to discuss the challenges being faced in the industry. Convened by Duferco MD, Ludovico Sanges, the round table laid bare the frustrations felt by the participants as their industry faces catastrophe thanks to uncompetitive practices by Arcelor Mittal South Africa (AMSA) and a government driven by ideology more than the pragmatism needed to restore this pivotal industry.

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Sandvik Group acquires Kwatani

In a joint announcement, Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions and Kwatani have confirmed that an agreement has been signed for the multi-national Sandvik Group to acquire the shares of the African OEM of custom-engineered vibrating equipment. The transaction is expected to be finalised around the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

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GE cuts costs by 35% in move from casting to 3D printing technology

Sister technology companies GE Aviation and GE Additive have begun 3D printing four new gas turbine engine parts for the very first time. Citing costs and time to market as primary factors in the decision, GE Aviation is making the switch from investment casting to metal additive manufacturing, despite already having a set of established casting moulds for the bleed air adapter caps.

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SRAM prototypes AI optimised, 3D printed bicycle crankarm

Chicago-based bicycle component manufacturer SRAM teamed up with design software giant Autodesk to reimagine the humble bicycle crankarm, a part that’s been relatively unchanged since bicycles were first made. Yet, it didn’t take the engineers at SRAM long to realise how artificial intelligence coupled with advanced manufacturing could revolutionise bicycle design one small part at a time.

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April 2021

Thermally-efficient crucible technology: Fundamentals, modelling and applications for energy savings

Multivariate mathematical models were created to simulate crucibles being used in aluminium foundry applications with detailed materials characterisation data as inputs. The aim was to investigate the effects of crucible geometry and materials properties changes on the overall energy efficiency of the furnace toward melting and holding metal.

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New beginnings as Steloy Foundries opens for business

New owners want to emphasise that there is no link with liquidated company Steloy Castings. It is well-known in industry that Bronkhorstspruit, Mpumalanga based foundry Steloy Castings was liquidated just over four years, reportedly owing between R120 and R130 million, having been in business for over 30 years. The aftermath of the company’s closure left many suppliers and employees angry and many unanswered questions.

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Endeco Omega Sinto secures first West African export order destined for Ghana

“Last year Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo turned a sod for the construction of Ghana’s first modern foundry and machining center, which will produce agriculture processing machines and equipment, farming implements and spare parts for the maintenance and repairs of this equipment,” said Roy Dias, Managing Director of Endeco Omega Sinto.

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Steel Best Manufacturing Services emerges from liquidation of Zealous assets

It has been announced that Steel Best Manufacturing Services, a 100% owned subsidiary of the Steel Best Group, has acquired all the assets of the recently liquidated Steel Best Automotive Pty Ltd, a company that was appointed in May 2016 to facilitate the rehabilitation of the Springs-based aluminium foundry operations of Zealous Automotive and Zealous Pressure Castings, which at the time was in business rescue.

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Tribute to Garth Edward Robins – Founder of G.E Patterns & Foundry cc

Garth began his foundry career in 1974 and he worked for a few different patternshops, including those run by Graham Wolmer and EC Edwards, as an apprentice before qualifying. Garth also worked for Joshua Door and a pump company and eventually decided to open up his own patternshop at home. His love of woodworking played an integral role in him becoming a patternmaker.

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Unemployed Foundry Manager turns artistic skill into a reality

“The past year was challenging and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic not only impacted my life but millions of people around the world. My wife and I had to close our business like thousands of others.” These are the words of Anton Combrink who has had 27 years of experience in the South African foundry industry working in two large industrial foundries for nearly half of those years before being employed at a functional art foundry for 12 years as foundry foreman and then production manager.

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First phase of melting strategy completed at Thomas Foundry

For melt shops using induction equipment optimising melting cost-per-ton starts with minimising kW and kVA demand. However, to minimise exposure to the high-power rates, these melt shops should optimise operating and maintenance practices and evaluate the equipment and generator systems in use, so they too are being optimised. Environmental impact and use of energy and materials are relevant topics in companies wanting to achieve energy savings and enhance environmental performance.

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SEIFSA takes a stand – long overdue says Gerhard Papenfus

“Since the introduction of import duties to protect AMSA in 2015, NEASA (National Employers’ Association of South Africa) has been campaigning tirelessly in an attempt to have these duties lifted,” Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the (NEASA). “SEIFSA have now joined the chorus of almost the entire steel downstream in calling for the lifting of the duties – six years too late.”

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United Heavy Industries to develop metallurgical laboratory

The new integrated steel plant will include multiple primary melting units, secondary refining units for the niched steel segment, continuous casting machines and hi-tech rolling mills. In an effort to take the study of properties of metal beyond theory, diversified South African-based industrial corporation United Heavy Industries is to set up a metallurgical laboratory at its plant in Mandeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

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Naamsa announces name change

Naamsa has confirmed that it will no longer use the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa in its naming conventions because the Association now represents a wider community of stakeholders across the automotive value chain. Naamsa is the industry representative that actively and responsibly represents, promotes, advances and protect the interests of local manufacturers and assemblers of passenger, light and heavy commercial vehicles, as well as major importers and distributors of new vehicles in South Africa.

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Localisation is essential to transform South Africa’s automotive sector

The South African automotive industry needs to create 485 new businesses in Tier 2 automotive products by 2035. Localisation, the process whereby an increased percentage of the parts and costs of a motor vehicle are either assembled or manufactured in South Africa rather than imported, represents a significant opportunity to transform the automotive sector, while facilitating the entry of BEE participants in its supply chain.

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CSIR launches new centre to support 21st century industries in South Africa

South Africa’s photonics industry is set to benefit from the state-of-the-art Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) that was unveiled at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Friday, 5 March 2021. The facility will enhance the development of photonics-based products, specifically the prototype-development phase, to test the market for acceptance of the planned product in the country.

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MRA seeks clarity on scrap metal changes

Through an independent international trade advisory company Xikhovha Advisory (XA) the Metal Recycling Association (MRA) is trying to seek clarity on the implementation of the export tax on scrap metal. After thorough research of all relevant documentation pertaining to the implementation of the Tax, no information could be found regarding the implementation strategy of SARS. We then contacted the relevant people at SARS.

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Scientific & Precision Solutions thriving as it nears one-year anniversary

A one-stop supplier of instruments, equipment and consumables for all your metals, minerals and material testing requirements as well as a solutions provider for your laboratory. In little more than two months, the 15th May will mark the one-year anniversary of the formation of Scientific & Precision Solutions (Pty) Ltd (SPS). SPS has continued to provide the same range of equipment as before and continued to service and warrant all products previously provided.

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African Buffalo makes a mark on South African Mint’s Big Five range

The South African (SA) Mint, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank, has released two new coin ranges for this year, including the highly-anticipated Big Five African Buffalo coin. Introduced in 2019, the Elephant, Lion, Rhinoceros and the Leopard have already been issued as part of the Big Five coin series. However, with the addition of the Buffalo, coin collectors keenly waiting to complete their Big Five range now have the opportunity to do so.

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Churchill’s plaque goes missing in Durban

The plaque outside the Durban Post Office, commemorating the speech given by the former British prime minister Winston Churchill when he was a war correspondent in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal has gone missing. Owner of Durban Walking Tours Alison Chadwick said she was in central Durban recently and noticed the plaque had gone. President of the South African National Society (SANS), Robert King, said: “This was a part of Durban history and is very sad for Durban and South Africa.”

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February 2021

A full range of primary, secondary and thermal reclamation equipment ranging up to 30TPH – Endeco Omega Sinto

Sand reclamation has become a necessity in no-bake operations, particularly given the current challenges regarding the cost and availability of new sand. Foundries can no longer afford to operate with new sand alone and most are exploring how best to economically integrate sand reclamation systems into their processes.

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Are South African industrial trade policies being done by stealth? Why are they happening behind closed doors?

Just like the steel and chrome ore industries, the South African government has implemented a 15% duty without consultation on aluminium sheet products – gazetted on 31st December 2020. Protecting your own turf and moving away from free trade, especially China, is a global trend but not necessarily the correct one.

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Troubled blast-furnaces: AMSA unable to supply

In one of the latest newsletters from NEASAs Chief Executive it states that: “On 8 January 2021, AMSA stated that ‘with all three blast-furnaces fully operational’ they will be able to supply the South African market and beyond.” “However, during the course of the week of 18 January, one blast-furnace ceased production (as a result of a fire), a second one is unstable (being ‘erratic’ and with reduced production) and the third one is not being operated at full capacity.”

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Mineral Zone moves into new office and factory warehousing facility

Mineral Zone, a specialist supply partner servicing the metallurgical and mining sectors in South Africa and internationally with a range of metals and minerals, ore and services has recently moved into its own warehouse and office factory that is distinctly tinged with a modern stylish design – a space that combines contemporary aesthetics with industrial charm.

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Exports drive Knights Foundry to invest in a new Endeco Omega Sinto moulding line

The acquisition and growth of a new customer in the US has hastened Knights Foundry’s decision to reorganise its foundry, invest in a new moulding line and upgrade its furnace department. “We have been through various upgrades, investments in new equipment and expansions over the years,” noted Cobus van der Walt, one of several family members that work for the company.

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Macsteel’s founder Eric Samson passes away

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of the founder and majority shareholder of the Macsteel Group, Eric Samson. The board and entire management of Macsteel Group are deeply saddened by his passing.” In this tribute, Macsteel Global chairperson Mick Davis reflects on the life and contribution of Eric Samson, who he describes as softly spoken, compassionate and generous.

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South Africa’s proposed tax on chrome ore exports criticised. It could be an industry game changer but on the other hand it could earn government R5 billion in taxes

Foundry, chemical and refractory grades dragged into purported 30% to 40% figure – which could yield billions in tax revenue for the South African government – despite the beneficiation on these grades having already taken place.

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New South African proposed chrome tax: What does this mean for YOU?

“The South African government has proposed an export tax on chrome ore designed to support domestic ferrochrome production and the local chrome value chain,” noted Quintin Kieser, Co-Founder SwapX. “While most people never see or interact with chrome in their daily lives (apart from the shiny bits on their cars, bikes, or kitchen appliances), it is significantly important for stainless steel markets and South Africa has the world’s majority of this commodity.”

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Price Preference System: Only scraps are left for the metal recyclers

Conflicting views on what the enforced price discount on scrap metal has had. There are conflicting views on what the enforced price discount on scrap metal has had on the industries in the metals value chain, though it is clear that more support is needed for the scrap metal processing industry writes Ruan Jooste in her article in the Daily Maverick that has been adapted from a blog written by Donald Mackay of XA International Trade Advisors.

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(Yet another) update to the trade policy directive on the export of scrap metal

PPS has been extended to the end of July 2021. Between the Minister of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and ITAC (International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa) various proposed amendments to the PPS (Price Preference System) for scrap metal have been published. Key issues to note in the various proposed amendments are contained herein.

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Toyota reveals the new passenger model Corolla Cross to be built in Durban

Toyota South Africa Motors has invested R2.43 billion in the project that will generate around R 2.85 billion a year in local component purchases. Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) is pleased to announce that it will be manufacturing and selling the brand-new Corolla Cross in South Africa in the fourth quarter of the year. The model reveal was made by TSAM President and CEO Andrew Kirby at the annual State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) address.

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December 2020

ABP Induction has developed the OCN furnace system for the application of the low-pressure pouring process in steel pouring

ABP Induction, a pioneer in the field of low-pressure pouring, has developed the OCN furnace system for the application of the low-pressure pouring process in steel pouring. The OCN furnace system developed for this process is so far the only system for the low-pressure pouring of steel castings, which has proven itself in industrial practice in continuous operation.

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Insimbi builds its presence in the non-ferrous industry

Insimbi Alloy Supplies, now in its 50th year of existence, has been associated with the foundry industry for the majority of that time and with the non-ferrous industry an equal amount of time, supplying master alloys to the aluminium industry, notably titanium-boron aluminium and strontium aluminium, and many other products such as specialty metals, alloys, metal-based chemicals and powders.

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Amended export control guidelines on the exportation of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap

Proposed amendments of the Price Preference System (PPS): Notice 532 of 2020 in the Government Gazette. On 02 October the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) published the “Amended Export Control Guidelines on the Exportation of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Waste and Scrap”, which came into effect on the day.

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Scrap metal exports: Price Preference System vs export duty tax

The intentions and rationale behind the proposed introduction of an export tax on scrap metal may be contradictory to the greater wellbeing of the scrap metal sector say some. Much debate is taking place at the moment on the subject of scrap metal exports. The requirement of local foundries and mini mills must be balanced with opportunities for scrap merchants to export some levels of scrap.

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ArcelorMittal opposes export tax on scrap metal

In a National Treasury report it is noted that export taxes on scrap metals are used in a few countries, and especially amongst a few of the large BRICS countries. According to the most recent update in the OECD’s inventory of export restrictions on industrial raw materials, 32 countries have applied some form of export restriction on scrap metal (15 out of these countries make use of an export tax on scrap metal). In terms of ferrous scrap, 14 countries impose an export tax which is as high as 40%.

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New laboratory proving to be a positive initiative for Insimbi Group

The brand new unit has emerged as a service that symbolises know-how for the foundry, chemical and metal related industries. The onset of the global pandemic saw countries across the globe searching for vital testing resources to identify and combat the spread of COVID-19. This continues today as the world tries to fast-track the research and the implementation of a vaccine.

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Metso divests its operations in Vereeniging

This follows Metso’s decision to close the Isithebe foundry last year. The company had previously closed its brass foundry in Vereeniging. Mining OEM specialist Metso, which merged with Outotec in 2019, will discontinue its pumps, spare parts, consumables and repair services facility. It will divest the fabrication, machining and assembly operations and close or rearrange the rest of the operations.

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Pentagon Resources aiming high

Primary raw material distribution company Pentagon Resources has successfully negotiated the first six years of its existence to now be in a position whereby their clients in the foundry, steel mill, refractory, electroplating, galvanising and mining industries regard them as first choice suppliers. “In today’s business environment, your competitive edge is no longer just your product or people, but your services and processes too,” explained Joshua van Flymen, founder of Pentagon Resources.

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KwaZulu-Natal automotive supplier park to be operational from 2021

Multibillion-rand plans to develop areas south of Durban, including the development of an automotive supplier park special economic zone (SEZ) to attract Japanese and other investors and a R4 billion logistics park, are expected to revive the region and create hundreds of jobs.The plans include the possible manufacturing of the first hybrid vehicle by Toyota South Africa in Durban next year and the development of a locally branded vehicle.

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Weir Minerals South Africa is now 25.1% black-owned

Medu Capital, a local private equity firm has taken a 25.1% stake in the local subsidiary of mineral solutions provider Weir Minerals Africa in a broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) deal. It has emerged that an empowerment transaction for minerals solution provider Weir Minerals Africa, the company’s South African operation, Weir Minerals South Africa (Pty) Ltd, took place in May 2020. The local operation is now 25.1% owned by black empowerment partner Medu Capital.

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AMSA loses bid for 120% safeguard duties

NEASA – the National Employers Association of South Africa – have had a long running campaign to highlight what they think are issues that are hurting the local steel processing industry – the downstream industry players. ‘The effect of the toxic combination of Import Duties and AMSA’s inability to supply’ are the main topics that NEASA have been concerned with. “We have been notified that the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has decided to recommend that AMSA’s request in this regard must not be adhered to,” said CEO Gerhard Papenfus.

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R4.3 billion committed by automotive component suppliers to establish operations in Tshwane

More than R4.3 billion is to be invested in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) by 12 Ford suppliers and related services companies that have committed to establishing operations in the SEZ, according to Moneyweb. Ford’s executive director of government affairs for Africa, Dhiren Vanmali, confirmed this, adding that another 10 Ford suppliers and related services companies are showing keen interest in establishing operations in the SEZ.

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New chrome mine owner plans to target the foundry sand and chemical concentrate markets

The new owner of a chrome mine in North West province that was placed on care and maintenance following the COVID-19 lockdown, plans to grow production in a phased, sustainable manner that will ultimately lead to the creation of more than 1 000 jobs, Mining Weekly reports. The international privately owned Clover Alloys South Africa, which has bought control of the Rustenburg chrome mine previously owned by specialty chemicals company Lanxess, is targeting the foundry sand and chemical concentrate markets.

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NFTN webinar reveals shortfalls in South African foundry industry

The National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN) recently completed a survey of all South African foundries to evaluate the industry status quo and level of environmental compliance in the sub sector. Although the COVID-19 lockdown delayed the presentation of the results of phase one report and the planned feedback to the sector, the NFTN, in conjunction with the CSIR, hosted a webinar on the 3rd November 2020 to present the outcomes of the industry survey. 60 participants registered to attend the seminar and eventually 45 attended.

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October 2020

50 years of achievement at Insimbi Alloy Supplies

Insimbi Alloy Supplies has undergone significant change since its beginnings in 1970. These developments have resulted in a much larger and more diversified group of companies than the founding members could ever have imagined 50 years ago. Insimbi Alloy Supplies has emerged as the name of the division that includes the products and roots from the original company.

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Atlantis Foundries – 40 years of history

Atlantis Foundries has evolved over the years, originating from Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE), an engine machining and assembly plant that was built in the late 1970s. The brand ‘ADE’ died away, but the company was purchased by Daimler/Mercedes-Benz in 1999, and has continued to cast cylinder blocks for heavy-duty trucks ever since.

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Ultrafine Vacuum Impregnators acquire Casting Material Company and its vacuum impregnation services

Vacuum impregnation seals porosity without changing the castings’ dimensional or functional characteristics. This means manufacturers can use parts that would otherwise have been scrapped. It is a simple method and is approved by OEMs for a variety of components.

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Celebrating the life of Thomas Wiese

It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce the passing of Thomas Wiese (56) in August 2020. Thomas was well-known to most of us in the foundry industry, especially to those on the aluminium side. Born in 1964 in Düsseldorf, Germany, Thomas started his career in the foundry and related industries in 1984 when he joined Austrian company Rath AG, a specialist manufacturer of refractories.

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Industry study shines a light on the challenges facing foundries

The National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN) recently completed a survey of all South African foundries to evaluate the industry status quo and level of environmental compliance in the sub sector. The study, conducted by researchers from the Environmental Services unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), aims to provide an informed and up-to-date overview of the foundry industry in South Africa.

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Dispelling untruths about the historic standstill agreement

South African Engineers and Founders Association (SAEFA) Executive Director Gordon Angus writes: “Many of you will have seen propaganda sent out by SEIFSA referring to the adoption of their agreement with the trade unions. It’s unfortunate (although not surprising), that SEIFSA is once again being extremely liberal with the truth in this circular. SEIFSA and the trade unions proposed that their agreement be formally adopted as an agreement of the MEIBC. [But] this did not happen.”

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Vexila wins four-year Eskom contract

Vexila has announced that the company has been awarded a tender for the procurement of designing, manufacturing, testing and supplying of high-voltage composite insulators for Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. This tender will run for a period of four years. Vexila is the only manufacturer of high voltage composite insulators in Africa. The high-voltage composite insulators are long rods and line posts between 220kV and 400kV for Eskom’s transmission division.

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Rondebosch Fountain replication update

The iconic Rondebosch Fountain has returned to Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. Construction workers have installed a new replica of the original fountain on the corner of Belmont and Main Road, five years after it was destroyed, and dogs are already lapping from the fresh water. The restoration of the Rondebosch Fountain was undertaken by Heritage Castings.

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ArcelorMittal restarts Blast Furnace C at Vanderbijlpark Works

Africa’s biggest primary steel producer, which is majority-owned by Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA MT.LU, ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has said in a SENS announcement that the company has decided to restart Blast Furnace C at its Vanderbijlpark Works operations since steel demand has progressively recovered in the last two months. This follows after the company had put the furnace and its Vereeniging Electric Arc Furnace on idle in July 2020 amid low demand.

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DataProphet raises US$6 million funding

South African startup DataProphet, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help manufacturers autonomise their operations, is to focus on expansion in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) following its US$6 million Series A funding round. The company felt securing more capital was important for the company in order to realise its international growth ambitions.

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Transport Minister after illegal scrap metal dealers

Government has developed an integrated plan, incorporating all law enforcement and prosecution authorities, to police and secure the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s rail infrastructure. After months of talk, they are finally here, the bumped-up security detail being put in place to protect the infrastructure and trains of South Africa’s railways. There will be at least 3 100 of them in identified hotspots, according to reports.

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Death of my Super Potjie number 12

A potjie – traditionally a three legged cast iron pot but frequently a flat bottomed one too – is manufactured of cast iron. A heavy lid is needed to create a slight pressure cooker effect inside the pot but you could actually use a normal pot as well. These pots become like a spouse, and sometimes more important, to many South African men and should last a lifetime. It was therefore distressing to receive the following message via the Castings SA website. “The best kitchen item I have bought in my life shows a crack of about 50% of the length of the potjie.”

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Record production at Hillside smelter despite increased loadshedding

The unlocking of the potential and stability across operations benefited the energy-intensive business. South32’s energy-intensive Hillside aluminium smelter in Richards Bay delivered a record production performance despite unprecedented loadshedding over the past financial year. The global diversified miner reported that saleable production from the smelter increased by three kilotons (kt) to produce a record 718kt in the financial year to end-June 2020.

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Foseco uses novel video links to make their products more visible

Click on the links to take you to a short video on new products: Feedex NF1 sleeves, Semco FD coatings and Kalpur feeder sleeves. In this age of the COVID-19 pandemic and the “wired world” that we live in, people have had to be creative and find solutions to communicate and to continue with life as though there were no restrictions placed on us by governments worldwide.

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August 2020

PMT vs CMOS The paradigm shift in metal analyser detector technologies

The photomultiplier tube (PMT) used in some metal analysers, for high-end applications, is one of the few vacuum tube technologies still manufactured for industrial use. However, an analyser based on PMTs suffers from inherent shortcomings. For example, it’s sharply limited in the number of elements it can detect. And its design makes it difficult or sometimes impossible to add new elements.

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Dycer Engineering and Foundry graduates

Any organisation that is faced with the need to change things wrestles with the questions of what to change and how to sustain that change. What to change will obviously vary from company to company and industry to industry. Often, the answer to this question is presented to us by external forces. For example, changes in products will typically be dictated by customers.

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NFTN supports Gauteng Foundry Training Centre

The Gauteng Foundry Training Centre (GFTC) was officially launched and opened in September 2013. The foundry industry in South Africa had for years been envious of what a number of its international counterparts were offered by their industry bodies in terms of training and research. The South African Institute of Foundrymen (SAIF) and its members had explored numerous options but there was always a financial constraint.

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Atlantis Foundries welcomes Pieter du Plessis back to the helm as CEO

The Head of the Daimler Truck engine plant in Mannheim, southwest Germany, Andreas Moch, made the announcement in a recent statement issued to employees. He confirmed that after rounds of productive negotiations that Pieter du Plessis would once again take charge of the foundry as its CEO. “We are really happy to have du Plessis back in the family.”

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Aluminium foundry doyen Charles Rowe passes away

It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce the passing of Charles Rowe (75) in June 2020. He was a doyen of the aluminium foundry industry prior to his retirement from Ajax Manufacturing. Charles was Managing Director of Ajax Manufacturing, one of the largest and oldest aluminium foundries in the Western Cape, retiring after 42 years with the company in 2011.

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SAIF and AFSA submit application to Department of Environmental Affairs to exclude spent foundry sand as a hazardous waste product

Spent foundry sand may be a liability or an asset depending on how it’s handled. We live in a world of increasing scarcity. There is limited raw natural resources, financial resources are often not enough, and acquiring land for waste disposal is getting even more difficult and costly.

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Denel PMP assets up for sale

A joint meeting of the South African Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, held on 3 July 2020, has heard how the country’s bleak financial outlook as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring significant action to reduce the economic effect of the disease and associated lockdown, including major reform within state-owned enterprises such as local defence company Denel.

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South Africa bans all scrap metal exports for two months

Government commences urgent investigation into the supply of scrap to the metals industry in response to COVID-19. Ban put in place to safeguard employment at domestic metal production sites. At the beginning of July 2020 the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (the DTIC), Ebrahim Patel, issued a trade policy directive to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC).

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ArcelorMittal South Africa decides to idle blast furnace C at Vanderbijlpark, and the Vereeniging electric arc furnace until demand recovers

Steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) will idle two blast furnaces in the country’s economic heartland to curb the effects of a collapse in global demand and forecasts it will record more than one billion rand in interim losses.

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China’s manganese ore imports rise by 39% month-on-month in June

Our raw materials continue to be exploited. China imported approximately 2.18 million tons of manganese ore in June, a rise of around 39.3% from about 1.57 million tons in May 2020, according to the latest available Chinese customs data, reported recently in MetalBulletin. June’s volume is also 7.3% higher than the 2.03 million tons imported in the same month of 2019, the data showed.

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Historic Saarbrücken Gusswerke finally shuts down

The fact that the last shift has been carried out at the casting works in Saarbrücken, Germany after 270 years may have to do with the reality that Volkswagen Group Germany (VW) had terminated its contracts with Bosnian supplier Prevent Group, who had only acquired the Neue Halberg-Guss company in 2018, and VW were not about to renew the contracts. It was reported that 70% of castings orders came from the automotive OEM.

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The 5-inch high bargain ‘brass ornament’ that turned out to be a Susini masterpiece

Christie’s specialist Milo Dickinson reveals the extraordinary tale of a lost Renaissance bronze found in a $15 box of bric-à-brac in South Africa. “It is rare that something of this quality appears from out of nowhere. That it was found in a box of odds and ends in South Africa is a lesson to us all that there are still many great works hidden away, ready to be discovered,” says Christie’s Old Masters specialist Milo Dickinson.

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The strange tale of Nelson Mandela’s gold-cast hands

Danielle Bochove of Bloomberg Businessweek writes that in May 2003, Nelson Mandela – the late former South African president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and hero to millions – sat down at the dinner table of his house in Johannesburg and laid his right hand, palm side down, into a lump of cold dental putty. A team of technicians from the precision-casting division of Harmony Gold Mining Co. was present to supervise, and Mandela chatted amiably with them as they worked.

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June 2020

Technology empowered and people driven – ChemSystems Foundry unit

ChemSystems has been a fixture of the chemicals industry for over six decades. ChemSystems is one of the many companies belonging to the AECI Limited Group (African Explosives and Chemical Industries), which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). AECI is a diversified Group of 16 companies that was registered in South Africa in 1924 and was listed on the JSE in 1966.

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Three South African foundries accredited with PED 2014/68/EU certification standard, which enables them to supply castings with internationally recognised CE marking

NFTN supports initiative to get Kimberley Engineering Works, RelyIntracast and Vestcast audit ready. As a result of the TUV accreditation the local content pump and valve initiative gets clout and SOCs loophole is closed.

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Endeco Omega Sinto ready to ship its first international order

Local fabricating and foundry equipment manufacturer Endeco Omega Sinto is getting ready to ship its first international order to a foundry that manufactures a range of small to large castings that meets the needs of companies in the mining, minerals, oil, gas, power and industrial markets. The equipment manufactured locally will be assembled at the foundry site once it arrives and will be incorporated into a very large project that the foundry is currently incorporating into its current location.

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ProActively looking after its future – Active Foundry

Equipment investment cuts cycle times and improves quality. The increasing need to improve the quality standards for castings are not likely to be met by existing systems that are as old as the foundry in many cases. Increasing output also requires the foundry to consider process stability and repeatability. At the same time, production costs need to be contained in any change to equipment processes.

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New owners of Schmidt Industries look to broaden scope of business

Significant change in culture within the business is showing positive signs. There comes a time when all of us must face the grim yet daunting task of divesting ourselves of a friendship, once unassailable, in favour of a new and invigorating relationship ignited with passion and endless, yet-to-be-determined possibilities. This is no easy choice, and there is no unequivocally guaranteed outcome.

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IMP Scientific and Precision rebrands to Scientific and Precision Solutions

Following the approval of the competition authorities, FLSmidth announced in May 2019 that it had acquired the IMP Automation Group, which included the Mining and Minerals Automation division in South Africa. The IMP Scientific and Precision and associated services companies did not form part of the acquisition.

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New steel mill denies bribes for jobs claim

United Steel condemns unnecessary protest at old Metso foundry. International metals and minerals company United Steel, a division of United Heavy Industries, has disassociated itself from allegations that jobs are up for sale at its steel mill, and condemned the protest action at the site, in Mandeni, KwaZulu-Natal, on June 1. The company recently acquired the business of Metso Minerals at the Isithebe industrial estate.

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Tesla files another casting patent application

Invents new aluminium alloys for die-casting electric car parts. The “high-performance die-castable aluminium alloys” described by Tesla also have “a high flowability and low susceptibility to hot tearing when die-cast.” Tesla has filed another patent application to do with a metalcasting invention, this time for aluminium die-casting alloys. Last summer, the company had filed a patent application for a multidirectional unibody casting machine for a vehicle frame and associated methods.

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74th World Foundry Congress postponed until 2022

The event was due to be held in October of this year in Busan, South Korea, but the organising committee, the Korea Foundry Society and the World Foundry Organisation (WFO) have decided to postpone due to the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The new date for the 74th WFC will be 16-20th October 2022, at the same venue of the former programme – Bexco, Busan, Korea.

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The XRF principle – Spectro Analytical Instruments

The Fundamentals of Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Technology. The traditional use of X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) has its roots in geology. Solid samples were the first sample types analysed by X-rays. Over the years the applications have expanded and nowadays cover the analysis of alloys, various types of powder samples to liquid samples and filter material.

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April 2020

Foseco positions itself for the future of the foundry industry in Africa

2019 has been a tough year for all industries in South Africa. From political uncertainty, labour uncertainty, to an unreliable power provider, all resulting in a declining economy bordering on another recession. Everyone has been affected. It is in these times, that bold decisions need to be made and it is from this that Foseco South Africa has taken the opportunity amidst all the doom and gloom, to revitalise itself.

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New owners for JC Impellers

After initially concluding a B-BBEE economic empowerment investment, partners agree to acquire 100% shareholding of jobbing foundry. JC Impellers has announced that the company has now been purchased in full by its B-BBEE partner Gabadela Investment Corporation, a Witbank-based holding company that already owns Witbank Foundry. JC Impellers, based in Wadeville, Gauteng, was established in 2001 and has been owned and run by Greg Smith since 2006.

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Refractory and Metallurgical Solutions concludes B-BBEE deal and lifts shareholding to 40.82%

Refractory and Metallurgical Solutions (RMS) has announced that the company had concluded a B-BBEE deal that will see its partner increase its shareholding in the company from 12.5 per cent to 40.82 per cent. With this deal, RMS becomes one of the only South African refractory manufacturers of brick and monolithics that will comply with the new B-BBEE codes of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Minerals and Energy.

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Export tax on scrap metal under the spotlight

Publication notice of the proposal on export taxes on scrap metal for public comment. The effective date of implementation of the envisaged Export Tax on Scrap Metal will depend on the parliamentary tax process during 2020. This follows the announcement made by the Minister of Finance in the 2020 Budget Review regarding the introduction of export taxes on scrap metal and the publication by National Treasury on the 6th March 2020 for consultation to be the basic approach for such tax.

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Solidworx Engineering and Fabcast Alloys combine talents and expertise

I was warned before visiting Solidworx Engineering to not to attempt to visit using my sedan vehicle. The reason given was because there had been plenty of rain in the area and the gravel roads leading to the company were in bad condition. Gravel roads should give you a clue as to the location of the company – not in your normal industrial area that has tarred roads and other good infrastructure.

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Daimler Trucks AG set to acquire Atlantis Foundries

Germany’s and one of the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers has entered into a transaction to acquire control over Ukuvela Holdings and its subsidiaries Atlantis Foundries Pty Ltd and Ukuvela Properties Pty Ltd. It is no April Fools joke but Atlantis Foundries is about to go through another ownership change – the fifth one in the last five years – and the purchasing company is part of the Daimler AG Group.

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SI Group announces termination of agreement to sell industrial resin business

The SI Group, a leading global developer and manufacturer of performance additives, process solutions, pharmaceuticals and chemical intermediates has announced that its agreement to sell the majority of its global Industrial Resin businesses and its Brazilian Specialty business to ASK Chemicals has been terminated. The company previously announced the signing of the agreement in July 2019.

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HA Group and SI Group to continue long-term partnership in Brazil and South Africa

Hüttenes-Albertus (HA), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chemical products for the foundry industry, has announced that the company will continue its partnerships with the US-American specialty chemicals company SI Group in both Brazil and South Africa, following the termination of the agreement between ASK Chemicals and SI Group in terms of the intended disposal of SI Group’s Industrial Resin business to ASK Chemicals.

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Machine Tools Africa 2020 postponed – new date still to be decided

Like many exhibitions worldwide the Machine Tools Africa 2020 exhibition has been postponed to a new date in the future. The exhibition, which was last held in 2017, has been designed to showcase the very latest technology developments, machinery, products, services and solutions in this innovative sector, was scheduled to take place from 12 to 15 May 2020.

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Papenfus calls for steel industry businesses to resign from Seifsa

Gerhard Papenfus, CEO of the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) has called for businesses involved in the metal and steel industry in South Africa to resign from Seifsa and escape the Seifsa/Numsa stranglehold on the industry. In an open letter Papenfus says: “Avoid being bound by the Seifsa/Numsa agreement. Resign now! Negotiations in the Metal and Engineering Sector are upon us once again.”

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Melting capacity allows Sarco to expand their casting product base

South African Roll Company (Sarco) has long been recognised as one of the leading international manufacturers of castings used in the steel and non-ferrous manufacturing industries. Producing castings weighing up to 65 tons requires the foundry to have large melting capacity and the machine shop to have custom-built CNC equipment. All the processes in between pouring of the metal and final machining have to match and accommodate the size and weight of the castings – no mean feat.

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Notice in response to current COVID-19 status in South Africa – SAIF activities

The content relates to the current COVID-19 virus situation. “Following the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, 15 March 2020 in regards to the current outbreak of COVID-19 status in South Africa, the SAIF Board of Directors have taken the following decisions to support various precautionary measures in combating the spread of the virus within the SAIF community.”

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Isuzu’s manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth gears up for production of the next generation Isuzu D-MAX

Upgrades and modifications to the Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAf) production plant in Port Elizabeth are currently underway, gearing up for the production of the seventh generation Isuzu D-MAX bakkie. Late last year Isuzu Motors Limited of Japan confirmed that the company would be investing R1.2 billion in the next generation bakkie programme in South Africa.

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February 2020

Move to new factory positive for Endeco Omega Sinto

“The move was part of our restructuring plan to grow the business organically and externally. While the previous factory served its purpose while we were there, in the end it began to hinder our ambition to grow the business by expanding our penetration into the South African market and to be able to participate in Group manufacturing activities,” said Roy Dias, Managing Director of Endeco Omega Sinto.

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Breathing new life into Nicast Foundry and Engineering

The risks associated with starting a new business are inherent. We have all heard the statistics that a high percentage of new businesses fail within the first year of operation. In addition, manufacturing is an especially tough business, with competition from both domestic and international sources. Many once successful manufacturing companies have folded in recent years, often because of situations beyond their control.

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Norican partners with DataProphet to accelerate adoption of artificial intelligence in the foundry industry

Norican Global A/S, a leading metallic parts enhancement company, has entered an industry-exclusive partnership with DataProphet, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for manufacturing, to bring meaningful AI applications into real-life foundry environments.

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Mineral Zone accredited with ISO 9001:2015

“I am sure many individuals and companies debate hard about whether to get an ISO accreditation or not, especially as it is a relatively expensive exercise. How will it benefit my company? Will it give me an advantage over my competitors? These are just a couple of the myriad questions that will be asked,” mused Mineral Zone’s CEO, Brendan Homann.

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Quality AND quantity? Yes, both are easily achievable through hard work

Based in Epping, in Cape Town, Gear Pump Manufacturing (GPM), part of the Hudaco Industries group, has always been a leader in the manufacture and assembly of SAE mounted hydraulic pumps and associated components right since its inception in 1985. This is evident through its worldwide recognition as a preferred supplier to various markets in the US and Europe, as well as Australasia.

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Managing your mechanical and metallurgical testing is Vaal Metallurgical Laboratory’s metal

When Dries Saayman found himself ‘wandering the streets’ nearly 20 years ago after being retrenched as Foundry Manager of what was then known as Iscor Foundry in Vanderbijlpark, he was angry. He had studied hard to become a metallurgist and then worked long hours for the state-owned company and through his endeavours had been promoted to various senior positions.

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The date for the Bright World of Metals 2023 has been set

The next date for GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST has been set. The international leading trade fairs for metallurgy and foundry technology will be open to an expert audience in Düsseldorf, Germany from 12 to 16 June 2023. “I am delighted that we have once again found a date in the early summer. This timeline has proved to work perfectly,” says Friedrich-Georg Kehrer, Global Portfolio Director Metals and Flow Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf GmbH.

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Globen Engineering Services and Supplies appointed agent for O.M.LER s.r.l.

Italian manufacturer of pneumatic decoring hammers O.M.LER s.r.l. has appointed local foundry equipment and services provider Globen Engineering Services and Supplies as its agent to market its products in South Africa. O.M.LER’s distribution network includes countries like China, USA, Mexico, South Korea and India, amongst others. The company has embarked on a strategy to penetrate more countries and foundry markets outside of Europe, including South Africa.

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Atlantis Foundries receives sustainability award

“This is an award to Atlantis Foundries employees and in recognition of our continuing investment in the company and drive towards a sustainable future,” said Christoph Ewers, Director, Atlantis Foundries. “We understand this also to be in recognition of all the other automotive component manufacturers in South Africa who are not all large companies, but together consistently create enormous value in South Africa and essentially contribute to South African exports and GDP,” added Ewers.

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Samancor Chrome looking at shedding nearly 2 500 jobs

South African miner Samancor Chrome said it could cut close to 2 500 jobs in response to weak chrome prices and power supply problems, according to a letter sent to unions and seen by Reuters. The warning follows a separate notification about 599 potential job cuts at its smelting operations and corporate offices, and highlights how the struggles of state power utility Eskom are dragging on the economy.

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Trading statement by ArcelorMittal South Africa says the more than 1 000 job cuts had been finalised

ArcelorMittal South Africa, the largest steel company in Africa, has said in a SENS announcement to shareholders said that it had finalised job cuts affecting more than 1 000 employees as it attempted to cut costs. The company had previously announced the large-scale employee reorganisation in July 2019.

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Denel’s Pretoria Metal Pressings under pressure

Company looking to exit business. Denel’s Chief Financial Officer is cautiously optimistic that the defence conglomerate is turning around and headed for financial sustainability, with major restructuring underway at the group. Carmen Le Grange was speaking at the sixth annual Aerospace, Maritime and Defence (AMD) Conference.

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