Well known in both local and international sailing markets, Spar-craft Masts is recognised as a leader in spar manufacturing.
A spokesman for the company, Jamie Waters, says that it has been working with Ajax Manufacturing since 2000. “During this time the foundry has produced various aluminium com- ponents for us. It was natural, therefore, to involve them in the production of a sand-casting prototype for newly-designed boom-end, gooseneck and vang-block castings.” Now that certain modifications have been completed to the patterns, the foundry has begun production of 25 kits, most of which will be for the export market.
“We have chosen the outsourcing route for some of the components in our masts and booms because it is economical and less labour-intensive,” Waters says.
Sand castings are a case in point as the process is ideal for relatively small runs. Complex shapes can be produced without the need for fabrication.
“Aluminium alloys such as LM6, which was used in this process, do not require treatment and can be easily welded onto the boom and the whole assembly anodised thereafter,” Waters adds.
Aluminium was also chosen be- cause it is robust, durable, lightweight and noncorrosive. These properties make it ideal for the harsh marine environment.
“It is also important to have a foundry nearby that is able to supply us with our needs at a cost-effective price with on-time delivery.” Local manufacturers in the boat-building industry are currently doing extremely well and Cape Town has earned an excellent reputation for advanced designs and top-quality finishes, putting Sparcraft Masts firmly on the world map. “Ajax has been a reliable partner and is very much part of our plans for future expansion of volumes, as we increase our share of the local and overseas markets,” Waters continues.
Ajax Manufacturing director Alan Woods comments that it has completed a number of aluminium sand castings for Sparcraft Masts since 2000. Since the prototype has been tested and modified and the new patterns made, Ajax has begun production of the order for the boom-end, gooseneck and vang-block castings.
“The properties of an aluminium alloy, such as LM6, are perfect for marine applications,” Woods explains. Most of the boom kits are to be exported to Profurl’s French-based headquarters, so Ajax has to ensure that the components meet the highest possible international standards.
“The local boat-building industry is thriving and we hope to get more involved in the manufacture of various purpose-built aluminium components in the future,” Woods concludes.