Atlantis Foundries recovers from fire in record time

Production resumed after an eight-day shutdown thanks to its employees and contractors working together.

A day before Atlantis Foundries was due to be handed over officially to the new owner Neue Halberg-Guss (NHG) of Germany on 1 July, operations were shut down after a fire broke out in its production facilities.

“We suffered a fire which stopped production around 08:00 am after a technical failure caused hot metal to fall onto conveyors in the basement. Fortunately the firefighters arrived quickly and the fire was extinguished within two hours. Nobody was injured as a result of the incident,” explained recently appointed Atlantis Foundries CEO Pieter du Plessis.


Atlantis Foundries and Neue Halberg-Guss management with some of the employees and contractors who worked on the repairs

“More than 400 employees and contractors worked together around the clock to repair the damage, which included the laying of more than 14 kilometres of new electrical cables, and the manufacture and installation of 12 new conveyor systems in just eight days. In addition, six engineers flew in from Europe to assist with PLC and electrical commissioning,” said du Plessis.

“I am truly amazed by the positive spirit of the whole recovery project team and how they worked together to get us back-up and running so soon,” continued du Plessis.

“Special thanks must go to the local Fire Department, the employees of Atlantis Foundries who, together with the great support from our contractors Hyflo, Kooltron, Hytec, APL Construction, F&B Electrical, Grace Staffing, MSG Engineering, Breakthrough Engineering, Optima Hydraulics, Rema-TopTip and Technoserve, who made this happen.”

Mercedes-Benz SA (a Daimler AG subsidiary), the previous owner, negotiated the sale of Atlantis Foundries earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition by Neue-Halberg-Guss, an experienced, world class German automotive foundry with two plants, results in the formation of one of the largest foundry networks in the world.

Although no longer the parent of Atlantis Foundries, Daimler remains an important customer, with Neue Halberg-Guss having entered into a seven-year agreement with Daimler/ Mercedes Benz South Africa to supply engine blocks to the German and US markets, effective from 1st July 2015.

Neue Halberg-Guss develops and produces cast iron cylinder blocks, crankshafts, and engine blocks for, inter alia, passenger cars and trucks and industrial engines and supplies these products to all major European car manufacturers.

The German-based company, with a combined workforce of 2 500 employees in two production facilities based in Saarbrücken and Leipzig, was founded in 1756, and registered as Neue Halberg-Guss since 2011. It is now one of the European market leaders in the development and production of cylinder blocks for cars and trucks as well as cylinder heads for trucks and other automotive components, supplying both leading car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Daimler, Opel and leading truck manufacturers such as Daimler, Deutz, Scania and Iveco. Net tonnage of the company is 200 000 tons per annum.

With this acquisition, Neue Halberg-Guss will strengthen its business in the truck and commercial vehicles sector further.

Atlantis Foundries produces automotive castings for the commercial vehicle industry. The products manufactured by Atlantis Foundries are principally for export purposes and are supplied to customers in the United States of America, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany and China.

The Company, based in Atlantis in the Western Cape, was started by the South African Government in 1979, and licensed to manufacture Mercedes Benz and Perkins diesel engines. In 1985 the Company was incorporated into Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE), before Daimler/Mercedes-Benz South Africa, took control in 1999.

Since the takeover by the Daimler Group in 1999, the Company has gone from strength to strength having increased their casting production from 30 000 to 69 000 net tons per year, and Atlantis Foundries are now considered one of the best heavy-duty engine block foundries in the world, employing 1 100 people.

The sale of Atlantis Foundries was approved by the Competition Commission, with a few conditions. To address the concern, the Commission imposed an employment condition preventing any retrenchments as a result of the merger. In addition to employment, the Commission imposed a condition requiring that the manufacturing plant/facilities of Atlantis Foundries are not relocated to premises that are outside of South Africa, for as long as Neue-Halberg-Guss has control over Atlantis Foundries. This condition ensures that the domestic productive capacity of Atlantis Foundries is maintained post-merger, according to the Commission.

With the change in ownership from Daimler to Neue Halberg-Guss, comes a change in the top management of Atlantis Foundries, and the announcement of the appointment of Pieter du Plessis, who has been in charge of the foundry operations since 2010, as the new CEO and the appointment of two further Directors responsible for finance and commercial activities.

“With our goal to maintain the performance and reputation, the future looks bright for Atlantis Foundries. We look forward to developing the company further and acquiring additional business,” said du Plessis.

For further details contact Atlantis Foundries on TEL: 021 573 7200 or visit