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New owners of precision casting company drive technology, skills investment

PRECISE CAPABILITY Rely is capable of rapid prototyping and undertaking small-scale manufacturing according to customer needs

VERTICAL VALUE The new owners of Rely also plan on exploring opportunities for vertical integration to enhance its value proposition for customers

8th March 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Following a takeover of Rely Precision Castings by a new group of shareholders, the company is undergoing a renewed market expansion drive with investment into technology, and development of a skills pipeline.

Rely is the largest provider of precision cast components in South Africa and among the largest in the southern hemisphere. It supplies industries such as transport, logistics, mining, power generation, water and sanitation, and general engineering.

The company uses advanced techniques to produce intricate and complex components, which often contribute to the growth of industries and supply chains.

The new owners believe Rely has strong growth potential in the markets of Europe, Australasia, Asia and North America, specifically the US, in addition to growth opportunities on the African continent that will be pursued simultaneously.

Rely, which will retain its management and 109 employees, is a major contributor to local manufacturing and economic development, particularly as its products reduce reliance on imports and enable the upskilling of many people.

The company not only develops skills for its organisation through close partnerships with universities and relevant associations, but works to uplift the country’s skills base overall.

In fact, Rely director of strategy and commercialisation Giancarlo Carrozzo tells Engineering News that the company is on a recruitment drive to attract and retain top talent through competitive salary packages and benefits.

He adds that Rely is in the process of creating a training and mentoring programme with various universities and trade associations locally to provide on-the-job experiential training to newly qualified metallurgists, engineers, electricians, toolmakers, welders, and fitters and turners. Carrozzo says this initiative will also prepare the workforce of the future for technological advance- ments.

To this end, Rely is pursuing relationships with global associations to ensure that the business remains aligned with technological advancements, including those that streamline operations, reduce costs and improve quality.

The new owners of Rely also plan on exploring opportunities for vertical integration to enhance its value proposition for customers, including by using tyre pyrolysis material to fuel four turbines for power generation. Rely currently has backup diesel generators installed in case of an emergency loss of power, however, by using recycled material from its plant for power generation it will not only save on costs but will contribute to circular economy principles from an environmental protection perspective.

Carrozzo expects the tyre pyrolysis plant to be completed by end-2026.

Meanwhile, Rely director of plant and technical Ian Barratt-Gibson says a key differentiating factor the company as a precision casting manufacturer is its capability of rapid prototyping and undertaking small- scale manufacturing according to customer needs. This can be done in virtually all grades of air melted alloys, including copper, steel, cobalt, aluminium, stainless steel, nickel- based and many more, all to internationally recognised standards.

For example, Rely can do additive engineering which avoids having customers incur capital costs to develop solutions. The company’s processing lines are able to incorporate customer branding, as well as map potential future challenges using simulation software and three-dimensional scanning.

Barratt-Gibson boasts that Rely is the largest precision casting manufacturer on the continent in terms of weight, from castings weighing a few grams up to castings weighing 80 kg.

Commenting on future investments, Carrozzo and Barratt-Gibson note that Rely has created a funding facility to propel the company into a technologically-oriented direction, with the first investments earmarked for more energy efficient melting furnaces.

Rely will ensure more energy efficient manufacturing processes through upgraded furnaces in due course, as well as more vertical integration towards net-zero emissions and minimised waste.

The company also plans to expand on automation within its facility, as well as robotics to complement its existing equipment.

Carrozzo concludes that Rely will ramp up its collaborative efforts with suppliers and partners globally, to achieve more sustainable practices and synergistically develop people within the organisation.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor


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