Sep 28, 2012
Aluminium manufacturer upgrades local schoolsBack
Construction|Engineering|Limpopo|Natal|Africa|Aluminium|Generator|Lighting|Mining|Wahl Industries|Waste|Africa|Mauritius|South Africa|Aluminium Products|Automotive|Energy|Manufacturing|Products|Service|Ture Manufacturer|Eastern Cape|Western Cape|Infrastructure|Power|Randal Wahl|Waste|Eastern Cape|The 2010 FIFA World Cup
© Reuse this
The company states that government has started to reinvest money in schools. Wahl has received orders to supply bulkhead light fittings to various schools in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
“Government is replacing old bulkhead fittings, which are of a poor quality and falling apart,” says Wahl Industries MD Randal Wahl.
He states that the company opened its new upgraded showroom, which took four months to build, in June.
“We host a number of presentations in the showroom and use it as a platform to showcase the aluminium light fittings we offer with a ten-year construction guarantee,” he says.
The company operates an aluminium gravity and tilt die-casting foundry, which produces a range of castings for the automotive, irrigation, catering, general engineering, furniture and lighting industries.
“Our aluminium commercial and domestic light fittings comprise 75% of the business and, although we occasionally supply government departments, we generally focus on private commercial developments,” he states.
Wahl says the aluminium foundry industry has been inconsistent since 2010, but notes that the company has benefited from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as it supplied various aluminium products to contractors for two years in preparation for the event.
“The industry has been unstable since the 2010 FIFA World Cup and if we had only focused on the foundry casting business, we would have been affected by the industry’s instability,” he says.
Wahl adds that many foundries closed in the past two years, adding that the market has become very competitive.
“We are competing with foundries that are struggling to simply pay salaries, with many offering prices that are unsustainable; hence, the closure of so many over the past few years.”
To remain profitable, the company has not only diversified but also increased the amount of stock it carries to improve customer service.
“We carry stock castings and I do not think there is another foundry in the country that does that. “Two years ago, manufacturing companies were cutting their stock to the bone and, as a manufacturing company, you cannot have too little, as small runs result in less efficiency and higher costs, he says.
Wahl says the company recently filled an order for a mining company for 500 conveyor-belt castings. Because Wahl had castings in stock, it was able to deliver the products the next day.
“Having castings in stock has helped us expand our business. We have done work for hotels in Mauritius and we see the rest of Africa as a significant area of potential growth,” he states.
Meanwhile, a major challenge facing the company is the cost of gas and electricity.
“We installed a 635 kVA generator in our foundry three years ago at a cost of more than R1-million. “We need to have a constant supply of work moving through the foundry when we are producing and can’t risk disruption.
“We can’t keep aluminium in the crucibles, as this would damage them as they solidify after a few hours.
“Every time there was a power outage for more than six hours, it would be the equivalent of losing two days of production. We have been fortunate with a more stable supply of power over the past few years; however, the capital costs associated with the backup power make us less competitive than our offshore competitors.
“Stable infrastructure is the foundation of all industrialised economies,” says Wahl.Aluminium
makes up 8% of the earth’s solid surface by weight, but does not occur in nature as a free metal.
“Aluminium is too chemically reactive and is, therefore, found as a combined element in more than 270 different minerals, primarily bauxite ore,” he says.
Wahl notes that aluminium’s value is its resistance to corrosion and its low density.
“Aluminium is malleable, durable and lightweight. It is regarded as being able to store energy because it retains the original energy used to convert it.
“In the recycling of the metal, the original stored energy is reused and only 5% of the original energy input is required to recycle aluminium, without any loss in quality.
“We only use recycled alloyed aluminium. “All runners and flaring cutoffs during the manufacturing process are remelted, so we try to waste as little energy and leftover aluminium as possible,” he explains.
Wahl says the company’s foundry is one of the largest privately owned aluminium foundries in South Africa, with 10 500 m2 under cover, a maximum height of 4 m and overhead lifting capacity of 5 t.
“It has gas melting furnaces, a transfer ladle and electric furnaces with strict temperature controls,” he says.
He adds that the foundry comprises gravity and tilt castings, a tool room and machinery.
“We produce between 58 000 and 70 000 castings a month, ranging from 100 g to 18 kg,” he concludes.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Aluminium News
The secondary aluminium industry has remained uncompetitive in the world market of beneficiated aluminium products, despite the directive of the preferential pricing on scrap metal, issued by the Department of Economic Development in September last year, Non-Ferrous...
By 2025, more than 75% of all new pickup trucks produced in North America will be aluminum-bodied, according to a survey of vehicle manufacturers conducted by US-based consulting and research firm Ducker Worldwide. The study, which confirms a significant breakthrough...
Aluminium industry body Aluminium Federation of South Africa (Afsa) predicts a doubling in local demand for rolled aluminium products in the next five years and a subsequent increase in employment for the industry. “Exciting potential for the future remains, as the...
Updated 24 minutes ago A proposal by the South African government to limit farm size to 12 000 ha is a "negotiating tactic" as it tries to press ahead with the redistribution of land to black farmers, the minister of agriculture said. “Whenever you are negotiating, you always put forward a...
Updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago South Africa’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has summoned 15 construction companies to appear before an independent investigating committee for a formal inquiry in April. Following its own investigation into collusive practices in the construction...
Updated 2 hours 29 minutes ago Nigerian energy company Seplat expects its gas business to contribute around a third to its profits over the next two years, up from less than 10% today, as demand for electricity generation in Africa's biggest economy soars. CEO Austin Avuru told a Reuters Africa...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
Eqstra Holdings was going to reduce its exposure to contract mining, but it was not yet ready to sell the troubled business, said CEO Walter Hill on Tuesday. He said Eqstra would not sell its contract mining business in a “depressed market”. He said it would be...
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year. The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
Next ArticleAluminium industry awaits policy amendments