ABRASIVES manufacturer PFERD-South Africa expects South Africa’s manufacturing sector to increase the uptake of high-quality products and training during 2022 as companies look to improve productivity and efficiencies to offset rising costs.
“If we’ve learnt anything the past two years, it is to reduce our reliance on imports. Supply chain disruptions affected thousands of businesses worldwide and there was not much business could do about it. Local manufacturing is key to taking back some control,” explains Dennis Phillips, National Sales Manager at PFERD-South Africa.
He cited Statistics South Africa figures that show that the basic iron, steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products, and machinery division is experiencing an uptick in activity. A positive sign as the country aims to reinvigorate the economy after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the sector rebounds, manufacturing businesses are optimising their operations by improving efficiency as a means to save money. We have noticed an increased demand for high-quality products primarily because a buy cheap, use, discard and replace strategy is not sustainable; not in the current economic climate,” Phillips said.
A sustainable money-saving strategy for the manufacturing sector includes the use of quality products. “One simply gets more work done with a premium product than multiple cheaper alternatives”.
Train to succeed
He said ensuring staff are properly trained is vital for future success because operators who possess the technical knowledge of how tools, tool drives and materials interact with each other, can use it to improve the quality of their work.
“It is in a company’s best interest to train their staff to further enhance their day-to-day operations. Individuals responsible for upskilling their company’s personnel can attend training at the PFERDAcademy and return to their company to train their staff in-house.”
Customers from across the African continent, who cannot attend training at the PFERD Academy based in Kempton Park, can also receive training thanks to the improvements the company made to their e-learning offering.
PFERD, a founding member of the Organisation for the Safety of Abrasives, offers training on the correct handling and application of cutting and grinding machines as well as consumables.
“Safety in the workplace is not solely the responsibility of a company’s Safety Officer—it is a team effort that requires all players to know the rules,” said Phillips, adding that the longevity of equipment also improves when it is used safely and efficiently”.
Companies then benefit from reduced equipment bills, as it requires less frequent replacing. Safe work practices reduce injuries, leading to reduced operator downtime and ultimately increasing productivity.
Turning to the company’s products, he said ceramic abrasives continue to increase in popularity because it significantly increases productivity while leaving high-quality surfaces finishes. “Renowned for their high grinding performance and longer lifespan, ceramics improve economic efficiency, and it is a trend we expect to continue.”
The need for increased productivity and efficiency has seen PFERD introduce their ACTIROX ceramic abrasive belts and fibre discs.
“ACTIROX abrasives grind extremely fast thereby significantly reducing the processing time for tasks such as stock removal and descaling. Importantly, operators only need to apply low to medium contact pressure—ultimately increasing comfort.”
He said the aggressive stock removal rate is thanks to precision-shaped triangular abrasive grains and their self-sharpening ability. The ceramic grain breaks down in a controlled manner, exposing a new sharp cutting edge with each break.
Ceramic abrasives are highly suitable for work on stainless steel (INOX) thanks to their cool grinding ability. However, ACTIROX features a special topcoat allowing the belts and fibre discs to grind even cooler, effectively eliminating heat discolouration and the need for further rework.
The company’s team of Application Specialists can help businesses optimise their operations through on-site application assessments and the testing of possible solutions.