Nonferrous metal and plastic component manufacturer Wam Metals is acquiring robot automation of a forging press to reduce operational costs and improve out- put. Wam Metals will be in production for 30 years this year and has plans to continue operations as well as make use of opportunities to continue surviving within the manufacturing industry.
“We manufacture complete assembled parts from scrap metal through our process of a foundry, extrusion plant, forge shop and machine shop. “We have recently started manufacturing plugs and sockets for the mining industry,” saysWam Metals manufacturing director Gavin Homan.
The company has changed its working arrangements amid the depressed economy so that high-consuming equipment can use more off-peak power, he says.
The automated forging line will entail an automatic furnace to deliver the hot billet to the robot that will load and offload from the forging press, which, in turn, will be controlled using a human/machine interface. The press is being developed by Wam Metals engineers at the company’s premises, in Benoni, with assistance from Fanuc, a leading robotics supplier.
Homan adds that the company has introduced robot loading on its extrusion press as well as robot welders.
The end-product, which is produced on the automated press for the local market and an import replacement product, is only possible through the reduction in manufacturing costs, he points out.
Homan mentions that the company is in the process of manufacturing parts from plastics and nonferrous metals for the mining industry. Additionally, he says that it is also in the process of manufacturing plugs and sockets for the mining sector; the company has submitted an application to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) for approval as a flameproof manufacturing facility.
“We are also in the process of reintroducing the manufacture of fire hydrants and fire hose reels for the fire sector,” Homan says.
Moreover, Wam Metals has maintained ISO 9001 certification since 2008 and is cur- rently acquiring the SABS mark for fire hydrants.
Further, Wam Metals is finding it difficult to sustain profitability locally and is assessing possible export opportunities by engaging in dialogue with the Department of Trade and Industry.
Gavin says automation will not only con-tribute to making the export of products possible but can also assist in accelerating manufacturing without additional costs.
“The medium-term goals are, therefore, to set up a sales and marketing division to enable us to improve our market share and, in the long term, we will attempt to establish export potential,” he concludes.