All fired up


THE new owners of engine casting powerhouse Atlantis Foundries (AF) endured a warm reception last month after receiving the keys to the Atlantis-based production plant. Instead of taking over a humming production facility on July 1, Neue Halberg-Guss (NHG) found the AF plant incapacitated and badly damaged after a freak fire a few days earlier.

CBN reported earlier this year that automotive giant Mercedes Benz had sold AF – formerly known as Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE) to German foundry business NHG for an undisclosed sum.

As a supplier to the competitive global automotive industry NHG could hardly afford to morbidly sift through the ashes at the newly acquired AF plant.  Unbelievably, it took just eight days for AF to restore production – with the new owners seemingly pulling out all stops to preclude a damaging disruption to production.

According to a press statement, AF managed to re-commence production in record time after mobilising more than 400 employees and contractors to work together around the clock to repair the damage. This included the laying of more than 14km of new electrical cables and the manufacture and installation of 12 new conveyor systems. AF noted that six engineers were also flown in from Europe.

The fire, CBN understands, was caused a by technical failure when hot metal fell onto conveyors in the basement of AF’s production facilities. The fire was extinguished in two hours and no-one was injured.

AF casts more than 69,000 tons of heavy duty engine blocks per year with onsite machining facilities, and has recently secured long-term contracts to supply Daimler Benz in German and the US markets.

Pieter du Plessis, CEO of Atlantis Foundries, said he was “truly amazed by the positive spirit of the whole recovery project team and how they worked together to get us back-up and running so soon.”

Aside from staff and the fire teams, he cited great support from Hyflo, Kooltron, Hytec, APL Construction, F&B Electrical, Grace Staffing, MSG Engineering, Breakthrough Engineering, Optima Hydraulics, Rema-TopTip, and Technoserve.

CBN reckons it must be a great relief to Saarbrücken-based NHG, which is the European market and technology leader for the development and production of high-quality engine blocks and single components like cast-iron cylinder heads and crankshafts to Volkswagen and Daimler.

NHG has estimated global sales in excess of EUR500m, and AF appears to be a key component in ensuring revenue and profit lines accelerate over the longer-term.