Fabrinox Reorganization Yeilds Greater Efficiencies And Global Competitiveness

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The 12 month reorganisation of Paarl based Fabrinox, manufacturers and fabricators of metal solutions, has placed the company in a more efficient and competitive position to address global markets.

The company has effectively divided itself into two distinct divisions occupying separate premises just a few kilometres apart.

The original 5 000m2 plus 500m2 warehouse premises in Jan van Riebeeck Drive occupied since the company’s founding in 1993, is now the exclusive home to the company’s manufacturing division, which concentrates of components and sub-assemblies, while the recently acquired similar sized site in Bergen Street concentrates on projects and installations.

Heading these two divisions are newly appointed mechanical engineers Pierré Duvenage, who looks after the manufacturing division and Retief Scheepers, who is responsible for projects and installations.

Flexibility and Customer service outcomes:

Managing director André Visser explained: “About 12 months ago we took the strategic decision to embark on restructuring of the company to become more globally competitive by recognising the difference in production cycles between manufacturing and our project and installation activities. The separation of the two divisions has resulted in more efficient and effective management which translates into better customer relations, and the physical separation improves the flexibility and response time of both businesses” he said.

The company is a South African success story providing custom manufacturing, project management, procurement, technical advice, drawings and documentation of manufactured metal products to OEM multinational companies across six continents.

The manufacturing arm of Fabrinox produces high quality, high accuracy components from sheet and metal sections using bending, tube laser cutting and surface finishing. These components are delivered to OEM’s or assembled into added value sub-assemblies using processes such as precision welding, cold forming and bead blasting.

The projects and installation business undertakes under licence manufacture ing, project management, commissioning and spare parts to OEM’s and the division’s six global installation teams get deployed to literally every corner of the globe including China, Russia, Denmark and the rest of Europe and countries in the Americas.

“As an example, one of our clients is based in Barcelona and supplies customers in Australia and in Europe, and their components and sub-assemblies are made here in Paarl!” commented Visser.

“Our manufacturing landscape is comprehensive – we serve industries as diverse as agriculture with milk processing equipment, food and beverages dispensers, components and assemblies for water treatment installations, transportation with specialized railway rolling stock, renewable energy with components for wind turbine towers, architectural and the building & construction sectors.

“Our decision to commit to internationally recognised quality management systems really opened the door to global markets and Fabrinox manufacturing and assembly procedures comply with:

• ISO 9001 QMS certification.

• Weld activities according to ISO 3834-2.

• Welding of Pressure Vessels according to SANS 347:2012 Appendix C.

• EN 15085-2 CL1 welding certification for railway vehicles and components.

• API 650 and PD 5500 manufacturing knowledge.

• Various welding procedures according to ASME IX, AWS D1.1 and ISO 15614-1 for Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Carbon Steel & Duplex materials.”

Investment focus:

“In order to remain globally competitive, our culture is being open to selfexamination and improvement – finding better ways of doing what we do! That includes efficiency enhancement, process flow analysis & automation, repeatability, improvement of production processes using the latest equipment and methodology, and very importantly, continuous investment in youth through training and offering entry level employment” said Visser.

The company has close ties with Stellenbosch University offering reciprocal knowledge sharing and hands-on site visits for students and regards this institution in the same way as it respects and treats its other clients.

“We keep abreast of technology that affects our business and our clients operations by attending local and international trade shows and exhibitions and networking with OEM’s. With a better understanding their business, makes us more able to focus on the products and improvements we can provide” he said.

Output and the environment:

The output for the Fabrinox operation is impressive and speaks volumes of the company’s passion with efficiency. With a modest workforce of just 196, the company produces 45,000 components / month in stainless steel, carbon steel and aluminium.

And the environmental impact and sustainability aspects of Fabrinox business are not forgotten either. The roof of their manufacturing premises provides the platform for rainwater harvesting and PV panels in a grid-linked system which allows surplus power to be fed back into the grid.

More than 400 000 litres of harvested rain water can be stored on site in a battery of tanks which provides for the total water consumption of the plant.

André Visser sees a bright future for the company with more investment in technology and a focus on strategic partnerships – particularly with multinationals eyeing the potential of Africa – as a partnership with Fabrinox is a gateway to the continent.