Two TAKRAF Redler chain elevators will be supplied later this year to family-owned food and beverage company Willowton Oil and Cake Mills (WO&CM) for its plant in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, says equipment supplier Tenova TAKRAF Africa (TAKRAF Africa).
TAKRAF Africa has been supplying Redler and Takraf machines to WO&CM for 40 years and, to date, has supplied more than 150 Redler machines to the company’s various production plants across the country.
TAKRAF Africa specialised handling business unit manager Antonie le Roux says the company designs, manufactures and supplies the Redler range of chain conveyors and elevators under licence from Redler in the UK. The relationship between Redler and TAKRAF Africa dates back to 1980, when the company acquired technology distributor Brandt, which had held the licence for Redler in Southern Africa since the 1960s.
The license agreement is part of TAKRAF Africa’s long history in Southern Africa and it having retained the licence for so many decades is testament to TAKRAF Africa’s ability to provide a high level of service to support Redler equipment, he states.
Le Roux says the many years of experience in the industry ensures optimal equipment design which allows for minimal product degradation and low maintenance. Correct equipment sizing and chain speed is essential to ensure long and trouble-free operation.
“We offer a full after-sales service that includes the service and maintenance of the equipment installed by the company. Our experienced service technicians can do inspections and maintenance at regular intervals to ensure the equipment is kept in optimal operating condition. Takraf also keeps a range of spare parts at their stores in Spartan, Kempton Park, to ensure quick delivery to clients.”
Meanwhile, Le Roux says companies in the food and beverage market are increasingly requesting original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts to limit capital equipment expenditure and obtain longer life, thereby reducing operating costs. TAKRAF uses high-quality Redler drop-forged chain in its machines. Some of the parts that TAKRAF Africa has installed are still in operation after three to four decades of use.
“While initial equipment costs could be higher, the longer life, lower operating costs and reduced maintenance and downtime requirements of higher-quality equipment makes OEM parts the way to go.”
TAKRAF Africa’s niche has been supplying and manufacturing specialised handling equipment at the higher end of the quality scale and it is the only distributor of Redler equipment to sub-Saharan Africa, says Le Roux.
While TAKRAF Africa Redler installations dating back four decades are still in operation, Le Roux says the oldest Redler installation in South Africa – “a wooden machine installed at a brewery that was supplied directly from Redler, in the UK” – predates World War Two.
TAKRAF Africa has been working and supplying equipment to the local food and beverage industry for 50 years, when the company was still a subsidiary of equipment supplier Bateman Group.
Le Roux explains that, in 2012, global metals and mining solutions provider Tenova acquired the Bateman Group and TAKRAF Africa became part of its materials handling specialist subsidiary, TAKRAF.
“While TAKRAF Africa is widely known as a key equipment supplier to the mining and minerals processing industries, the company views its business activity in the food and beverage industry as a key factor in its continued sustainability,” Le Roux says, adding that the industry is a stable market with ongoing growth and infrequent downturns.
Although TAKRAF Africa supplies the food and beverage industry primarily with chain conveying equipment, several other equipment ranges are available to support the industry in various applications. One of the recent licence acquisitions of TAKRAF Africa is the Magaldi Superbelt to enhance the company’s specialised handling offering in the mineral processing and power plant sector.
The Magaldi Superbelt is a steel belt conveyor that can be used to convey materials at temperatures of up to 1 100 º C. Le Roux says the Magaldi Superbelt technology could be applied in industries, such as breweries, to extract hot bottom ash directly from a boiler. The hot ash is cooled down while it is being conveyed to storage systems.
“Currently, wet ash conveying is used mostly in the industry. Ash from the boiler is quenched in submerged conveyors and then conveyed to storage systems. With Magaldi’s proven record in the safe handling and transportation of dry bottom ash, applying this technology could provide an energy efficient and water-wise alternative for the food and beverage industry,” he concludes.