Knights Sales diversifies, upgrades furnaces and introduces an outsourced inhouse core blowing facility

The company has also implemented ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 to enforce its quality drive.

“Like most foundries in South Africa, we cannot deny it, the beginning of the year was one of the toughest starts to a year that we have ever experienced. Fortunately business has subsequently turned around for us and, even with the increased staff compliment, we are currently still operating overtime shifts,” said Louis Miller, one of six family members that run the 10 year old foundry that was established in 2006.

“We have been on a quality drive at the company for some time. That started approximately four years ago when we introduced a new one and half ton furnace in our heavy bay area of the foundry.”

“This was complimented with a new no-bake moulding system that is fed with a 10 ton an hour continuous mixer, 2 x 2 metre, 10 ton an hour shakeout as well as a 10 ton an hour reclamation plant and cooler classifier. All this equipment has been manufactured and installed by Endeco Omega. They also supplied the two 60 ton silos, with one being used for new sand and the other for the reclaimed sand.”


The heavy bay area

“In addition, we added a 1 x 1 metre gassing station that was manufactured and supplied by RC Systems, a hanger type shotblasting machine that has a height of 6.5 metres and can accommodate castings up to two metres in diameter that was installed in our fettling department, and one kilometer of roller track has been setup in the foundry to easily transport boxes and castings. Each roller has half-a-ton loading capacity and each unit, of which there are plenty, has a five-ton load capacity.”

“At the same time that these installations were taking place we re-arranged the foundry to isolate the stainless steel melting and casting, added a 10 ton an hour continuous mixer that was manufactured by Endeco Omega, as well as a gassing unit manufactured by Lauds Foundry Equipment that can accommodate boxes up to 1.8 metres, and installed a 2.4 x 2.4 metre, two pallet top-hat heat treatment unit.”


A 350 kilogram induction furnace with two 350 kilogram bodies and a powerpack was installed recently in the light bay area


A view of the medium line area

“Another significant change was that we converted completely to a no bake/alkaline phenolic moulding system and eliminated any CO2 moulding.”

“In between these installations we have also installed a dust extraction system supplied by Endeco Omega, and a 350 kilogram furnace with two 350 kilogram bodies and a powerpack, supplied by MUR Industries, in the light line bay.”

Implementation of ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001
“It is no good having all this wonderful equipment to work with without backing it up with a quality management system. When all these new equipment purchases took place we promised that we would implement and become accredited for ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001.”

“The outward focus of an organisation comes from defining the context, mission, vision, policies, and interested-party expectations. A company’s goals and objectives provide the lens through which this outward focus can be seen. The goals and objectives are translated by top management to key performance indicators, and quality was one of our goals.”


A view of the light line area

“This has now been vindicated with Knights Sales being accredited with ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 just over a year ago. It took us over two years to reach this goal, but now that we have reached it we can see the results.”

“Additionally, we appointed a full time Quality Manager who is responsible for all these aspects of the company.”

“The resultant upshot of this is that we have been able to diversify our product mix. Certain areas of industry that we were not able to penetrate previously, particularly in the local procurement sectors such as power generation and rail transport, are now willing to talk to us because of our quality adherence standards. Naturally all our existing clients also benefit.”

Outsourced inhouse core blowing development
“Another recent development has been to outsource most of our core blowing requirements, although with a slight twist. From the beginning of 2014 RC Systems introduced a service whereby they would supply us with most of our cores, particularly the bigger cores and the larger quantities of the same core.”


Currently being installed in the medium line section of Knights Sales is a new 650 kilogram 300 kilowatt one body induction furnace


The outsourced inhouse core blowing department at Knights Sales that has been installed and run by RC Systems

“We do have two existing coreshop areas but they handle only the short runs of the smaller cores.”

“We then came to an agreement with RC Systems that they make our cores onsite rather than deliver. This resulted in RC Systems renting floor space from us and setting up their own coreshop. In other words it is an outsourced inhouse core blowing department.”

“This decision suited our company as well,” said Byron van Niekerk of RC Systems.

“There are numerous advantages gained because of this arrangement that we have with Knights Sales. One of them is a reduction in transport costs and the ability to deliver cores on demand.”

“We have our own staff manning the operation that includes a 25 litre core blower, a 12 litre core blower, three amine gasing stations, two CO2 stations and a 100 kilogram batch mixer.”


Cores that were manufactured in the outsourced inhouse core blowing department run by RC Systems


Knights Sales have also installed a dust extraction system manufactured and supplied by Endeco Omega

“All of this equipment has been manufactured by our fabrication department and remains the property of RC Systems. This has relieved Knights Sales of any further capital expenditure, and furthermore we maintain and develop the equipment, also another cost that our client does not have to budget for.”

“Equally, our dedicated team are experts in their field and that takes another headache away from Knights Sales.”

“All in all it is a very satisfactory agreement and a win win situation for both companies. We have now been operating since the beginning of 2015. We have a reference point now, and will be looking to develop this concept with other foundries soon.”

New induction furnace for medium line
Currently being installed in the medium line section of Knights Sales is a new 650 kilogram 300 kilowatt one body induction furnace, also manufactured by MUR Industries.


Castings ready for delivery

“Some of our older furnaces were getting very tired and we needed to upgrade,” said Louis Miller.

Further developments
“There are further developments that will be taking place in the company. One of these, still very much in its infancy stage, is the implementation of a 3D printer. We are on a learning curve but hope to offer this as an additional service to our clients in the future,” Louis Miller explained.

Family business
The Van der Walt family involvement in Knights Sales includes the younger generation of Vincent, brother Cobus, sister Belinda and brother-in-law Louis Miller. Father Johann, who was one of three brothers who started the company, is still very much involved with the company, and wife and mother Letitia has been the mainstay of the admin side of the business since the beginning.

Knights Sales currently has 110 staff and operates in a 18 600m² facility in Wadeville, Gauteng.

For further details contact Knights Foundry on TEL: 011 827 2517