The certification allows a company to carry the CE mark, which is a prerequisite for a company to export its products to EU countries.
At present it may seem less important to have the CE mark, as the con- ditions for exports seem unfavourable, but AZ Valves believes it stands to benefit enormously from its certification.
GM Helmut Ulland says the certification will provide the company with a long-term advantage in the export market.
“This will afford us a second footing in the export market, and keep our company and its products on a competitive position in the international markets,” says Ulland.
AZ Valves also exports to continents other than Africa, including the Middle East and the Americas.
The company, which was founded as a subsidiary of AZ Armaturen, of Germany, has also started designing special plug valves for Transwerk tanker fleets that transport ammonia.
These new changed ball valves will replace imported valves currently used, reports Ulland.
The company is also processing a R1,6-million order for 900 half-inch four-way plug valves from Saudi Arabia.
This order, which AZ Valves won over international opposition based on pricing and flexibility of delivery times, has to be completed in 16 weeks.
The company will start delivering the valves to Saudi Arabia in December, and expects to complete the order by the end of January next year.
AZ valves has also developed new castings and designs, Ulland reports.
With few developments taking place in South Africa, he says, the company hopes to secure a number of local orders.
“The platinum industry has a number of developments lined up, and we are optimistic that there will be opportunities for everyone in the industry,” says Ulland.
South African power utility Eskom also has a number of projects from which AZ Valves hopes to secure orders.
The company started manufacturing independently from its German partner, AZ Armaturen, in 1987.
Currently, it manufactures 80% of the products that the German company manufactures, and it aims to increase that to 95% in the next three years.
The two companies work together on technological developments.
“Our relationship with AZ Armaturen is a mutual one. We gain technical knowledge from its mechanical expertise, while it gains from our expertise in producing for the mining industry,” Ulland says.
AZ Valves showcased its range of products at the exhibition organised by the South African Valves and Actuators Association (Savama) last month.
“Our aim was to show that, as a South African company, we are able to produce to the same quality standards, if not better, as the international companies, hoping that the local industry will no longer see a reason to look outside the country for its valves requirements,” Ulland states.
AZ Valves is also in the process of looking for an empowerment partner or shareholder that it can work closely with.
“Having a black empowerment element in one’s business makes good business sense, because it provides a company with an advantage when dealing with government parastatals, financial institutions, and the petrochemicals and mining industries,” says Ulland.