The history behind Saftronics begins over 55 years ago, in 1966. Bonne Posma, the entrepreneurial founder of the company, noticed a gap in the South African power electronics market. Although the market was vigorous, and growing, there was not a single local company competing for the business – everything bought and sold in this sector was imported. This, he realised, presented a business opportunity. Trusting his instincts, Posma registered a company. For a name, he combined the letters, SA (for South Africa) with a contraction of the word, electronics to form a new word, Saftronics.
That was the beginning of the first local power electronics company in South Africa, producing thyristor energy conversion drives for industrial and mining applications and supplying 3 300 VDC rectifiers to the South African Railways. In 1978, Saftronics produced a 20 000 ampere pulsed power supply for the Tokamak experiments of Necsa at Pelindaba, situated near the Hartbeespoort Dam, approximately 33km west of Pretoria, Gauteng.
From this, Saftronics grew into the specialised group of companies it is today – still serving the needs of a vibrant industry.
Saftronics have launched their new range of heating and melting furnaces. They have designed a modular furnace assembly system that consists of easily assembled components of the induction system ordered. These components, which include the furnace bodies, power packs, hoods, which double up as dust and fume extractors, transformers, power factor correction and harmonic filter equipment, MF inverter and resonance capacitors, are assembled and wired to allow for quick site installation, once the civils have been completed. The furnace modular design frame includes precast walls and flooring, cable trays, piping, hydraulics, railings, bus tube, flexible cables and the control booth
In just over a decade, Saftronics grew big and profitable enough to attract the interest of one of South Africa’s large building construction groups, Murray and Roberts. M&R made Posma an offer. He accepted. M&R merged Saftronics with Stone Platt Electrical, a company in their own stable, to form a larger and more powerful entity, Amalgamated Power. This repositioning did not last. Within months, M&R switched back to the more familiar, and by then trusted name, Saftronics. Six years later in 1986, Saftronics changed hands again, this time attracting the interest of the Stratcon Group of companies. Stratcon acquired Saftronics to complement Stratford Engineering, a company that manufactured mechanical power transmission equipment.
For the next 13 years Saftronics flourished. Then, in 1999, a consortium of three investors bought the business, reversing the company into an ‘off the shelf’ entity acquired for this purpose. Aligning itself with the vision created by founder Bonne Posma, nearly half a century earlier, Saftronics continues to lead local developments in power electronics, not only in South Africa, but increasingly in Africa.
Acquisition of Solid State Induction Heating
In line with Saftronics’ drive to be a solution provider and building on a half century of power electronics knowledge, Saftronics acquired the company Solid State Induction Heating in 2015. Due to the demands on the industry it was decided to build on the strength as system designers and to partner with strategic equipment suppliers to standardise the product range and as such increase efficiency and reliability. Saftronics Induction Heating was established and is now a specified designer and manufacturer of induction heating systems for heating and melting metal.
Plant Manager Franco Small explained: “We adapt, design and develop products specifically for the South African environment. Local design and manufacture covers product and handling equipment for foundries, forging, bending, brazing, soldering, heat treatment and paint drying.”
MMI with Siemens PLC based control, trending, automated sinter smelt, true feedback data and fault logging and remote monitoring are all standard features of Saftronics’ heating and melting systems. There are many other built-in factors that reduce melting time and power consumption, so as to reduce downtime when melting and casting
“We have completely re-designed our induction heating and melting equipment range specifically taking into consideration of being on and off site in the shortest possible time. This is over and above safety, quality and efficiency facets that are taken for granted with our products.”
“Due to the increasing focus on health and safety and with an eye on productivity and minimising downtime we have designed a modular furnace assembly system that consists of easily assembled components of the induction system ordered. These components, which include the furnace bodies, power packs, hoods, which double up as dust and fume extractors, transformers, power factor correction and harmonic filter equipment, MF inverter and resonance capacitors, are assembled and wired to allow for quick site installation, once the civils have been completed.”
“The furnace modular design frame includes precast walls and flooring, cable trays, piping, hydraulics, railings, bus tube, flexible cables and the control booth.”
“MMI with Siemens PLC based control, trending, automated sinter smelt, true feedback data and fault logging and remote monitoring are all standard features of our systems.”
“There are many other built-in factors that reduce melting time and power consumption, so as to reduce downtime when melting and casting.”
The top deck of the Saftronics heating and melting system includes an operator station main and standby hydraulic controls. The two steel furnaces bodies have fitted hoods that also perform the required dust and fume extraction functions
“The new design of our systems was done for many reasons but chiefly to increase the efficiencies and performance levels as compared to previous designs. This project has been implemented over a number of years, including testing at pilot plants.”
“We are now ready to roll out our new products that can heat and melt the full range of ferrous and non-ferrous alloys and precious metals, in high, medium and low frequency. From 50kW to 3 500kW we have a model to suite the local market. Where required we will also supply special purpose furnaces.”
“Saftronics Induction Heating is based in Reuven, Johannesburg and is the proprietor of all its induction heating and melting equipment. All equipment is inhouse tested before being assembled at client. Manufacturing takes place at Foshan Hengyang Furnace Manufacturing Co, Ltd, a company that was established in 1999 in Foshan, Guangdong of South China as a hi-tech private enterprise integrating production, R&D and marketing the company in induction heating equipment including intermediate frequency furnaces. The company is now one of the largest intermediate frequency furnace manufacturers in China. Like us they have been ISO 9001 and CE certified.”
“Their products are widely applicable to melting, warming and holding of steel, copper, aluminium, zinc, gold, silver and other metals or alloys, heating prior to forging, sintering and tube-bending forming, and quenching, tempering or other heating of mechanical parts in casting and melting industries and is characterised by the speed of melting, energy efficiency and small footprint.”
“In South Africa we have recently installed a 250kg/160kW furnace in Bloemfontein, we are about to install and commission a 100kg furnace at a nuclear industry client and a 650kW / 1ton furnace is working at a processing plant granulating a mixed alloy to 100 to 500micron for further metal extraction processes, where some of these metals are used in the production of lithium batteries. This plant’s capacity is soon to be increased with the installation of a 3 ton furnace and a 500kg furnace, all of them manufactured in accordance with our new design.”
For further details contact Saftronics Induction Heating on TEL: 011 433 8502 or visit www.saftronics.co.za