Macsteel VRN MD Kit Williamson says that the company recently embarked on the expansion programme in order to offer industry value added services across the entire stainless steel and aluminium supply chain.
He adds that to compete in the global market, one must offer services that add value or reduce costs in the supply chain. This was a major factor in motivating the capital expenditure programme.
The expansion is taking place at Macsteel VRN's major service centre in Roodekop just outside Johannesburg. Most of the new equipment has been delivered to the plant and is in the process of being commissioned and brought on line.
One of the most significant additions as a result of the expansion is the new hot rolled cut to length line.
This line will cut to length and edge trim stainless steel up to 6mm in thickness, aluminium up to 8 mm, at a width up to 2 m. The line will handle mother coil up to 30 t and will process lengths in excess of 8 m.
The company now operates two cut to length lines with a third precision machine on order due for commissioning in early 2009.
Further machinery that adds significant value to the company's operation is the addition of a fully programmable plasma profiling machine. Macsteel VRN technical director Mike Hall reports that the plasma cutter is able to cut stainless steel plate up to 50 mm thick. The machine was delivered to the company in February 2008 and commissioning took place in March.
Macsteel VRN Stainless also recently purchased a Trumph 6kW laser cutter, incorporating a 6000 mm x 2000 mm bed, further strengthening the company's laser capabilities. "The advantage the laser offers the company is that Macsteel VRN Stainless is able to cut stainless steel into intricate shapes with increased speed and accuracy. This can be applied to stainless steel sheet and plate up to 25 mm thick," says Hall. The new laser was delivered to Macsteel in November 2007 and commissioning completed in January 2008.
The company has also upgraded its bending facility with the addition of a six metre press brake which is in the process of being commissioned.
A new CNC plate rolling machine, delivered in March 2008, has just been commissioned and is able to roll stainless steel plates up to width of three metres with a thickness of 25 mm.
The final piece of equipment that was purchased during the upgrade was a scotch bright sheet polishing line, which adds to the existing polishing facilities. The polishing lines add the final decorative touches to stainless steel.
The expansion has turned the Roodekop plant into a complete Stainless Steel Service Centre. The bulk of the groups stock passes through the service centre and then onto the branches throughout the country where further services are offered, says Williamson.
The Roodekop Plant is a dedicated Stainless Steel and Aluminium Service Centre and boasts 14 000 m² under roof with a further yard space for fleet and dispatch of 10 000 m².