As South African engineered vibratory equipment manufacturer Kwatani emerges stronger, having overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the technology-driven company is reviewing options of expanding to meet anticipated growth.
Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin tells Engineering News that the company, which has evolved to become more innovative and flexible than before, has recorded significant growth over the past few years and has positioned itself well to meet the upswing seen across the industries worldwide, including in Africa, where its equipment is used.
The original equipment manufacturer continues to expand and enhance capacity at its extensive 17 000 m2 local manufacturing facility in Kempton Park.
“We are seeing a lot of growth at Kwatani. We are increasing capacity and we are increasing resources,” she says, adding that this growth requires the company to continuously review and optimise its internal processes.
“We have been doing this quite successfully over the years and we look forward to continuous growth going forward.”
Schoepflin cites an increase in capital equipment projects and brownfield expansions as mines continue to expand, with Kwatani very active in South Africa and across Africa.
The group is experiencing increased exports, including into central Asia, where it has not been before, she adds.
Discussing the innovations going forward, she explains that, as a customised vibrating equipment designer and manufacturer, Kwatani is always innovating, advancing its digitalisation plans and increasingly optimising the processes, procedures and efficiencies of its vibrating equipment, alongside its internal processes, as it expands and grows.
“Kwatani is a technology leader for vibrating equipment. It designs and manufactures its own customised screens in South Africa, which the company is able to manufacture and successfully export globally also owing to its local cost base.”
Further, having access to the Sandvik technology and pool of resources will accelerate Kwatani’s customised vibrating equipment development further.Multinational engineering group Sandvik Group
acquired Kwatani in December, with customers set to benefit from the combined resources of Sandvik and Kwatani.
“Our facility is set to become the global engineering and manufacturing base for vibrating screens and feeders for both local and international customers,” Schoepflin says, noting that the internationally recognised Kwatani brand – particularly its brand promise of being engineered for tonnage – will remain unchanged.
“We will continue to use the Kwatani brand across Africa and products sold internationally will be sold through the Sandvik sales channels under the Kwatani product name.”
Kwatani now has increased access to a global distribution network, as well as an increased customer service network.
Sandvik, through its global technology resources, will provide Kwatani access to monitoring and automation processes as well as access to its extensive research and development facilities, which include simulators.
Kwatani continues to invest heavily in its resources at its Kempton Park facilities, which employ and develop local expertise.
“Our growth has allowed us to build our complement of competent staff, who are continuously upskilled to stay a step ahead of industry needs,” she says.
GM operations Riaan Steinmann says Kwatani was able to successfully navigate the Covid-19 pandemic-induced operating limitations. It implemented an effective Covid-19 workplace plan and this coupled with good planning and with the help of its skilled workforce meant Kwatani was able to sustain its operations in a safe manner.
Steinmann believes Kwatani has an above average percentage of highly skilled and qualified staff, including boilermakers, artisans, certified welders and engineers, besides others, with vast experience and a low turnover rate, and consequently good retention of skills.
The group invests significantly into engineering, operations and its workforce, upskilling and employing the best skills for the job, and continuously improving on safety measures, which resulted in an impeccable safety record, completing a full year without any lost-time injury.