Injection- and compression- moulded rubber products manufacturer Van Ryn Rubber Holdings says it has adopted Eastern philosophies to improve productivity, and has invested in a combination of new European and Eastern equipment to ensure that it keeps abreast of the changes in the industry.
MD Allan van Ryn tells Engineering News that the size of the local industry has decreased over the years, as some companies are reluctant or unable to keep up with technological advancements.
“However, with the need to further expand our manu- facturing facility, the opportunity arose for us to set up a new facility in Maxmead, Durban.”
Van Ryn explains that, in streamlining the process flow in manufacturing, we were able to further enhance productivity.
In addition to adopting new manufacturing methods, the company has also invested R12.5-million in new equipment, including a newly imported mixing plant.
The plant was delivered in May last year and has led to further productivity and efficiency gains.
Additional equipment is to arrive in Durban at the end of this month.
This has also enabled the manufacturer to become involved in more turnkey projects with companies in Italy and the Netherlands.
Further, an alliance with Swedish sealing system manufacturer Trelleborg Forsheda has resulted in the latest pipe sealing tech- nology being made available to the South African and African markets.
Over the past 18 to 24 months, a management team has been established to understand customer needs and ensure that these needs are fully met.
Meanwhile, he notes that the influx of international products and foreign manufacturers is placing the small South African rubber industry under pressure.
Another challenge is the reluctance by the industry to make investments in an unstable market. Since the economic down- turn of 2008/9, many businesses have suffered as a result of the uncertainty of the markets, he states.
“The South African rubber industry has become a small market; the large international raw material suppliers are reluctant to sell into such a small market and prefer to focus on the larger players, such as China and India, at our expense. “The growth in China has forced a lot of suppliers to set up distribution centres in that country at the expense of the South African market,” Van Ryn adds.
He proposes that South African suppliers partner and form joint ventures with Eastern companies as a means to overcome this challenge.
“South African manufac- tures also need to be active when it comes to sourcing material and projects. We have to be efficient and stop relying on other parties to get the job done,” he says.