Since valves manufacturer AVK Southern Africa’s (AVK SA’s) investment in valves manufacturer Gunric in December last year, AVK has taken full control of Gunric’s manufacturing facility in Robertville, Gauteng.
“We initially intended to move the equipment to our main facility in Alrode, in Alberton, but we decided to exercise a lease option and continue manufacturing Gunric products at the Robertville facility,” says AVK SA MD Brian McGugan.
He adds that the company has relocated some of its staff to the Robertville facility to upskill staff on new product offerings acquired as part of the Gunric intellectual property purchase.
This also helps management to get a solid understanding of the challenges faced at the facility and implement processes or upgrades that will improve production outputs and staff productivity.
McGugan mentions that plans for upgrades at the facility are in the pipeline. “We hosted a recent tour of the facility with a delegation of directors from AVK’s branch in Denmark. From this tour, we confirmed with our global colleagues that we are going to add new machinery from one of the AVK global group’s operations in Europe, which will be installed as part of an upgrade to the Robertville facility.”
Since the valves are technical products, high levels of specification requirements need to be met before export is permitted.
New machinery will improve the quality of products manufactured, which will enable AVK SA to sell the product globally through the AVK global network.
The upgrades will be based on the latest international production technology and ‘green’, or energy efficient, processes, which will allow for growing the local skills base and increased high-technology production and foundry capacity. As a result, this will further enable AVK SA to provide large volumes of high-quality, local and competitively priced valves that meet requirements regarding quality, capacity and delivery time.
“We see opportunity to continue growing our business. One of the projects lined up for the rest of the year is an installation of Gunric’s butterfly valves on a gas pipeline at a mine in Thabazimbi, Limpopo,” McGugan notes.
Over the past two years, AVK SA has invested about R220-million to establish its footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, which has helped it meet government’s local-content requirements.
AVK SA also established The Academy training facility, at the company’s premises in Alberton, Gauteng, in September last year to enhance staff’s knowledge, as well as educate clients, distributors, university students and engineers in understanding valves and its applications.
The process of AVK SA acquiring the Gunric valve manufacturing brand started early last year and was finalised at the end of last year.
“The inspiration behind the acquisition was AVK SA’s wanting to enhance its local valve manufacturing footprint in South Africa by expanding its product offering to enable customers to gain access to a “one world” line of valve products,” McGugan points out.
This enables AVK SA to reach potential clients through the global AVK network, since the product offering is more complete and manufacturing standards and specifications can be upgraded at the Robertville facility.
In particular, the addition of the triple offset metal seated butterfly valve product strengthens AVK SA’s offering for the water industry. “This is an exciting addition that expands our core water business and fortifies our offering for South Africa and international project business,” McGugan concludes.