Western Cape foundry participation to be revived

After a few years of inactivity within the foundry community in the Western Cape area, a concerted effort is now being made to revive the once vibrant institute activities that were ably supported by industry, both suppliers and foundries alike.

Past President of the Western Cape Institute of Foundrymen (WCIF) and champion of many of the well attended training courses and the annual dinner/dance held by the WCIF, Alan Wood has agreed to support the industry body, the South African Institute of Foundrymen (SAIF), in its efforts to have someone on the ground in the area and take control of promoting and enhancing the foundry industry in this important region of the country.

“I will be representing the SAIF on a number of fronts, as well aiming to get back to the levels of full participation in institute activities by all interested parties that we used to enjoy. However, one of my prime tasks will be to establish the needs of the Western Cape foundries, suppliers and others, and to try to establish a member base, without which any other initiatives may not be sustainable,” said Alan Wood, who has been involved in the foundry industry all of his adult life.


“This will include visiting foundries and suppliers in order to promote the SAIF in respect of what we can offer via membership and technical meetings, and to introduce new technology and assist with technical and industry requirements.”

“The overall goal will be to increase individual foundry communication, promote training of personnel in all aspects of manufacturing, quality, productivity and, complete understanding of the processes and procedures of foundry practice.”

“Additionally, I will be promoting an understanding of the foundry industry via the local technical colleges and universities.”

“I will also be organising technical presentations, workshops and training programmes that will benefit foundries and their employees in and around the Western Cape.”

“During the 1990’s the SAIF branch in the Western Cape developed and implemented an eight module training course for industry workers and was accredited by MERSETA. I was involved in the development of these training courses and they now form the basis of the short course training programmes that the SAIF has been rolling out to the wider industry since 2010.”

“These training courses have gained great traction in the foundry industry, and I believe the SAIF had close to 500 students enrolled for the various modules last year, bringing the total to over 2,200 students in five years. It certainly affirms that industry has bought into this training programme presented by the SAIF, as was the case in the Western Cape when we introduced them.”

“The training courses have continued to be presented since the passing in 2013 of Tony O’Brein, through the assistance of Sean Stadler and the continued support of particularly Atlantis Foundries, as well as a few of the smaller foundries in the region.”

“The eight modules consist of important foundry topics such as quality, health and safety, productivity, melting, finishing, pattern and die design, sand and moulding sands, cores and core making and other manufacturing principles.”

“Learners who successfully complete at least six of the eight modules are presented with a diploma.”

“I will be facilitating and presenting these courses, along with other colleagues from the industry, in the Western Cape. I have just completed the assessor and moderator training courses, and will be registering with the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) body in terms of the SAQA requirements.”

“An assessor is someone registered to measure competence against specified National Qualifications Framework (NQF) unit standards and qualifications. A moderator is employed to umpire these assessments, and to ensure that the results are fair, valid and reliable. In essence, the moderator is responsible for ensuring that the principles of quality assurance are applied and maintained during the assessment, and that the learning outcomes are achieved.”

Annual dinner dance
“Finally, I am going to revive the annual dinner dance which had been a highlight of the Western Cape industry for many years. We had our first WCIF dinner dance back in November 1982, the year that the WCIF was founded on the principles of the Institute of British Foundrymen.”

“The current CEO of the SAIF, John Davies, was the WCIF President for the first three years of its existence, and he was followed by Andre Knoop who has just recently retired.”

“The Western Cape is steeped in history, and the earliest commercial foundry recorded was in 1876 when an engineering business known as Cunningham and Gearing was established. The company had premises in Ebenezer Road, which runs off Somerset Road near the V&A Waterfront complex. The company operated as general engineers and iron founders. Remains of the foundry can be seen in the building housing the Beluga restaurant, which aptly forms part of The Foundry office, hotel and retail complex.”

“I have in excess of 35 years in the manufacturing Industry, of which 28 were in higher management and possess excellent management skills, including personnel, operations, finance, marketing and project management.”

“I qualified after completing a five year mechanical engineering apprenticeship including city & guilds, specialising in metallurgy. My first position in South Africa was with Atlantis Diesel Engines, where I was Production Manager, before I moved to Atlantis Aluminium. I then spent 15 years with Ajax Manufacturing.”

“During this period I was the WCIF President on two occasions and also the body’s secretary for a number of years.”

“From 2007 to 2010 I worked in the UAE and gained enormous exposure to the international market.”

“I am looking forward to the challenge. My main objective is to advance the service and technology related to the manufacture and use of metal castings through education and training, skills development and the dissemination of information and research in the Western Cape, as well as facilitating the meeting of stakeholders engaged in the foundry and allied industries.”

Alan Wood can be contacted on TEL: 021 5572868 (Home), Cell: 072 351 1391 or via email on alanw1@hotmail.com