Tag Archives: AfriSam


To stay at the cutting edge of cement production technology, construction materials leader AfriSam ensures that its maintenance programme is well planned with future production targets and energy efficiency goals in mind.

According to Hannes Meyer, executive – cementitious at AfriSam, the company’s maintenance standards are codified as part of its corporate ‘AfriSam Way’ programme, and comprise three areas: preventative maintenance, corrective maintenance and capitalised maintenance.

“Capitalised maintenance is vital to ensuring that you stay abreast of current technology and upgrade regularly in a way that improves the performance of equipment continuously,” says Meyer.

At its Ulco plant in the Northern Cape, for instance, the capitalised maintenance plan is allowing production to be raised from its original production capacity of 3,500 tonnes per day of clinker to a targeted output of 4,750 tonnes per day in the near future. The plant – built in 1984 – already runs comfortably at over 4,000 tonnes per day.

In addition to the production increases, the plant upgrades conducted as part of the maintenance schedule are also driven by the need to reduce energy costs and environmentally negative nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. He highlights that energy has become one of the most costly components of cement production – comprising electricity costs and thermal energy mainly in the form of coal.

“Installing a high efficiency separator gave us an immediate reduction in energy consumption, while an upgraded clinker cooler also facilitated higher output at the same time as reducing energy costs,” he says. “The gearbox in the raw mill was also replaced with a view to reaching our 4,750 tonne target. We replaced the electrostatic filter with a bag filter, not only to comply with more stringent emission standards but also to cope with the added volumes of air through the kiln.”

Another imminent upgrade will be to raise the capacity of the pre-calciner, which will in turn increase the output of the kiln while reducing the energy it consumes.

“The new pre-calciner will also have a positive impact on our nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, by ‘splitting’ the energy input between the firing end of the kiln and the pre‑calciner,” he says. “This reduces the temperatures or the energy load in the kiln, which cuts down NOx formation.”

In a further innovation, AfriSam is helping to address the environmental issue of old vehicle tyres by using them as an alternative fuel at its Dudfield cement plant; the project is also designed to be labour-intensive, creating local jobs as part of the company’s positive social impact in its areas of operation.


Through its technical services arm – the Centre for Product Excellence – construction materials leader AfriSam has been showing what is possible when business collaborates with bright young minds at universities.

Partnering with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in recent years, AfriSam has made its specialists and its laboratory facilities available to UJ for its students – both for practical learning as well as to conduct research.

Earlier this year, that partnership led to two research papers being presented at the International Conference on Advances in Sustainable Construction Materials & Civil Engineering Systems, held at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Research for the papers was carried out at the Centre of Product Excellence by UJ Civil Engineering Science student Broadley Miller, and written up by Miller in conjunction with the department’s technical lecturer Johannes Bester and senior lecturer Deon Kruger.

The one paper – on the use of a concrete additive to eliminate returned concrete waste volumes – was particularly well received by the conference delegates, according to Bester, who presented on behalf of the authors. The research investigates the effects of a recently developed two-component powdered product in separating returned fresh ready-mix concrete into fine and coarse aggregates. The product is made from polymers and inorganic compounds, and is mechanically mixed into returned concrete to achieve this result.

“This allows for the reuse of the returned concrete as aggregates in the manufacturing of new concrete,” says Bester. “The returned concrete waste can therefore be eliminated, thus reducing virgin aggregate usage, as well as reducing the environmental impact of returned concrete.”

In their second paper, the authors explored the use of recycled aggregates as a replacement for virgin materials in the manufacture of concrete. They found that fine recycled aggregates have a much greater negative impact than the use of coarse recycled aggregates.

“The presoaking procedure used was problematic when used with fine aggregates and caused a large amount of excess water to be added to the concrete mix as a result,” says Bester. “This study highlights the importance of planning the demolition process of a structure to ensure that the best possible quality of recycled concrete aggregate can be extracted.”


Cement and construction materials leader AfriSam is the new anchor sponsor for the Concrete Society of Southern Africa’s prestigious Fulton Awards. This latest development is in line with the company’s mission of creating concrete possibilities by pushing the boundaries of concrete products, both in terms of sustainability and technical performance.

“This event is well known for recognising excellence in concrete – a product that is synonymous with AfriSam,” says Richard Tomes, executive: sales and marketing at AfriSam. “We believe it is essential to give a platform to those individuals and companies that are pushing the boundaries in the use of concrete as this process leads to the innovative use of concrete from an architectural as well as a functional perspective.”

In addition to being a long-time supporter of the Fulton Awards, AfriSam has also been a sponsor of the AfriSam-SAIA Awards for Sustainable Architecture and Innovation for almost a decade.

“At AfriSam, our focus has always been about the possibilities that concrete structures create for society, which is why we work closely with industry bodies and tertiary education institutions to achieve this,” says Tomes. “This collaboration seeks to do more than just promoting awareness within the industry. We actively get involved with various industry bodies like the Concrete Society, South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and the universities to fund research as well as various initiatives aimed at advancing excellence in concrete. Our work is always about partnerships, as none of us can create these concrete possibilities on our own.”

The Fulton Awards recognise and honour excellence and innovation in the design and use of concrete. The Awards recognise the various teams involved in the construction of each project, including the owner, developer, consultants and contractors.

Nominations for the 2019 awards will be opening shortly and will include any project that has been completed in 2017, or substantially completed in 2018. Judging will take place on-site in early February and March 2019. A panel of seasoned industry experts have been selected to travel the country to evaluate each entered project worthy of an award. The process will culminate in the awarding of the esteemed Fulton Awards for Excellence at a prestigious function to be held at the luxurious Drakensberg Champaign Sports Resort in June 2019.

“Partnering with the Concrete Society in this important event allows AfriSam to recognise the excellent work that our customers do with the high quality concrete that they purchase from our various readymix operations around country, or that they produce themselves using aggregates and cement from AfriSam quarries and cement operations,” says Tomes.

The categories in 2019 are: infrastructure up to R100 million project value; infrastructure above R100 million project value; building structures up to three storeys; building structures above three storeys; architectural concrete; and innovation in concrete.


After the turning of the first sod in April 2017, construction of the glamourous Infinité apartments in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, has been proceeding apace – with AfriSam supplying readymix concrete and cement to contractors Tri-Star Construction.

The luxury ten-storey block of 198 high specification apartments will be the first high rise residential development in this area but – judging by the way the apartments have been snapped up – it will not be the last.

Launched by Fatasy Property chairman Baojin Chen, Infinité embraces a modern design with open, transparent spaces and extensive use of glass, with glass balustrades all around the building and on every floor.

After the earthworks were completed, Tri-Star Construction began piling in May 2017 and started its full construction activities in July. Completion date is set for December 2018. According to TriStar Construction contracts manager Daniel van Jaarsveld, the main structure will be completed by June 2018, while brickwork will continue until October.

AfriSam will supply some 17,500 m3 of readymix concrete over the course of the project, according to AfriSam sales consultant Liza Rossouw, and this will come from the company’s Prolecon and Spartan plants. About 4,3 million bricks will be laid, and some 38,000 bags of cement will be required for the bricklaying and plastering work. The reinforcing of the concrete structures will take 2,700 tonnes of reinforcing steel.

“Where special concrete mixes are required – such as for the swimming pool deck – AfriSam will create the required mix at the plant, and deliver to site,” says Rossouw. “In the case of the pool, the roof and some areas on the first floor where garden areas are planned, a chemical admixture will provide the concrete with improved waterproofing qualities by reducing its porosity.”

Van Jaarsveld highlights the focus on quality and safety, and says they use only sub-contractors with experience and in whose ability they have confidence.

“High quality finishes are non-negotiable in a contract of this nature, as the client and end-consumer will be expecting flawless results in every aspect of their living area,” he says.

He also emphasises the quality and testing of concrete as high on the agenda.

“We test every pour ourselves, and also make use of the services of a well-respected and independent service provider,” says Van Jaarsveld.

Rossouw adds that AfriSam conducts its own tests as a matter of course.

“This is a crucial element of the quality control for which we are well known in the readymix sector, helping customers to safeguard their own standards and effectively manage their risk,” she says.


Seeing through the challenging economic times requires an even more intense focus on quality, as this is what drives efficiency and cost effectiveness, according to Afrisam general manager readymix Amit Dawneerangen.

“AfriSam has consistently differentiated itself in the readymix marketplace by our standards and reliability, and this strategy has paid dividends in recent years where margins are narrow across the industry,” says Dawneerangen. “Our customers are more than ever looking to improve their own offerings to stay ahead under these tough conditions, and our proven systems and processes support them in this quest.”

Nithia Pillay, AfriSam’s national product technical manager readymix, highlights the importance of global ISO 9001 quality standards as the bedrock of the company’s systems and operations.

“Controlling costs and quality internally is an ongoing process that feeds our continuous improvement process, which is vital in the highly competitive readymix market,” says Pillay. He notes that barriers to entry for new readymix operators are not high, but that the market expects excellence in every delivery.

“Through honing our operations and carefully monitoring every aspect of our performance, we drive our own efficiencies and thereby make our offerings cost-effective to customers,” he says.

Underlying the high performance levels is the expertise and experience in the business, argues Dawneerangen.

“Even through the hard times, we retain our staff and with low staff turnover comes growing capacity and insight,” he says. “This is a substantial value-add for customers, as they benefit directly not just from our smooth ordering and delivery process, but from the advice and input they can get on technical and scientific issues related to all aspects of readymix and its applications.”

The company’s levels of excellence were recently in the spotlight when it took both the Best Plant award for its Wynberg facility, and the Best Fleet award for its Gauteng readymix fleet, at the coveted Southern African Ready-mix Association (SARMA) awards.

AfriSam’s contribution to the economy goes beyond adding value to customers’ operations, extending to various inputs that help keep the South African construction industry on a world-class footing.

“We value the opportunity to share best practice, so we play our role – along with some industry peers – on various standards committees of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in concrete-related fields,” says Pillay. “We also make our expertise available to organisations like the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL), when they need input on issues like the Committee of Land Transport Officials (COLTO) specifications for road and bridge works.”

AfriSam recently won both the SARMA Best Plant award for its Wynberg facility and the Best Fleet award for its Gauteng readymix fleet.


Upington-based contractors Botes & Kennedy Manyano are progressing well with the widening of the 312 metre bridge on the N12 carriageway over the Orange River at Hopetown in the Northern Cape.

The substantial project is consuming 4,000 cubic metres of concrete and 500 tonnes of reinforcing steel, with about 28,000 bags of AfriSam High Strength Cement (CEM II A-M (L) 52.5N) being delivered from AfriSam’s Ulco factory near Barkley West.

AfriSam also designed a range of concrete mixes for the project to ensure optimal durability and certain workability requirements. This was done at its Centre of Product Excellence in Roodepoort which includes SANAS accredited laboratories.

The R88-million South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) project began in mid-2016 and is on track for completion by the end of February next year. It also includes a smaller bridge being widened a short distance to the north.

“This improvement will allow a widening of the road with a 2,5 metre shoulder on either side, as well as a dedicated asphalt surfaced pedestrian walkway along the eastern side, protected from the traffic by a concrete balustrade,” says Botes & Kennedy Manyano contract manager Deon Douglas.

The main bridge is a twelve span, simply supported structure constructed with precast pre-stressed I-beams. It comprises 11 concrete piers, each measuring some 12 metres in height, between a north and a south abutment. The road widening project requires new piers to be built alongside the existing ones and to similar dimensions.

The concrete mixes for the project included designs for 15 MPa, 30 MPa, 40 MPa and 50 MPa, according to Brendan Croney, technical consultant at AfriSam’s Centre of Product Excellence (CPE).

“Our concrete mix designs needed to meet SANRAL’s specification of a performance-based concrete, both in term of standard concretes and the ‘W’ concretes that must meet certain durability indices for oxygen permeability, sorptivity and chloride conductivity,” says Croney.

Almost 9,700 square metres of formwork was used in the construction of the 11 new piers, nine of which had been completed by August 2017.

The new abutments on the north and south banks of the river needed considerable earthworks to be done, according to Botes & Kennedy Manyano site agent Jeann van Tonder. At each abutment, 13 piles were drilled to an average depth of about 10 metres and socketed into bedrock.

“Before work could begin on the new piers, a causeway had to be constructed out into the river so that mass concrete bases could be poured, onto which a 1,7 metre deep concrete base could be constructed for each new pier,” says Van Tonder.

The piers were then cast in three lifts of 3,6 metres each and a final 1,5 metre lift. Concrete was poured from the causeway utilising a crane and concrete buckets.

The 12 spans for the new part of the bridge are created by 60 concrete I-beams, each measuring 26 metres long, with straight horizontal alignment and flat vertical alignment. The beams rest on elastomeric bearings on top of the piers. To complete the contract, the contractor will build a new road, laying down new sub base layers and a Cape Seal.

AfriSam also designed a range of concrete mixes for the project to ensure optimal durability and certain workability requirements at their Centre of Product Excellence, SANAS accredited laboratories based in Roodepoort.


Construction materials leader AfriSam dominated at the recent Southern African ReadyMix Association (SARMA) awards by winning two of the four accolades bestowed on the industry’s top performers for 2017.

SARMA’s premier annual event – held in Gauteng during the Concrete Conference in August – saw AfriSam walk away with both the Best Plant award for its Wynberg readymix facility and the Best Fleet award for its Gauteng readymix fleet.

“The team is justifiably excited about winning this prestigious honour,” says Kevin Naidoo, AfriSam’s operations manager for the company’s central cluster which includes the two large plants that share the site at Wynberg.

From left, Russel Wearne, AfriSam Regional Manager CM North Readymix; Jabulani Tshabalala (Jayson), AfriSam Production Team Leader Jukskei A & B Readymix; Kevin Naidoo, AfriSam Operations Manager Central Cluster and Brian Sithole, AfriSam Production Team Leader Wynberg A & B.

Naidoo says it was a significant achievement given the size and output of the Wynberg plants, which are among the busiest in the country. These plants serve the fast growing region that encompasses Sandton and Rosebank.

“There is an added pressure on a plant when its production demands are high, and we feel proud that we can maintain such high levels of safety, quality and other standards while still meeting the output that our customers need,” he says.

The SARMA awards are based on detailed compliance audits that measure safety, health, transport, environment and quality at members’ readymix plants. The wide range of criteria includes hazard identification, risk assessment, legal requirements, communication, participation and documentation.

Being strategically placed in the business heartland of the country also means that the Wynberg plants are producing concrete for many of Gauteng’s new high-rise developments. This, in turn, puts them at the cutting edge of sophisticated concrete products and mixes; specially designed for the high performance requirements of these buildings.

“Quality and consistency are therefore vital in ensuring that we meet specifications at all times, while delivering on time under all conditions,” says Naidoo.

On the transport side of the business, AfriSam’s outbound logistics manager Rob Sansom says it was a great reward to be recognised as the best fleet.

On the transport side of the business, AfriSam’s outbound logistics manager Rob Sansom says it was a great reward to be recognised as the best fleet.

“It is worth remembering how important our fleet is to the image and reputation of the company as a whole,” says Sansom. “While members of the public seldom drive past one of our plants, they will often see one of our branded readymix trucks out on the road. Each vehicle is like a billboard for the company, so it must always deliver a positive impact.”

He highlights the effort invested in keeping trucks clean through methods that are both environmentally sensitive and water saving. Specially researched chemicals are used to clean trucks without damaging the environment or the truck itself. Water is reused in the cleaning process – first for the outside of the vehicle, secondly for washing out the drum, and thirdly in the actual batching of concrete in the plant. This keeps the company firmly compliant with Green Star requirements on construction sites.

Vehicle checks are strictly applied, so the Gauteng contractors who are appointed to run the branded readymix trucks must have them inspected every three months at AfriSam’s transport depot in Spartan.

“Our contracts with suppliers bind them to our high standards of safety and compliance,” he says. “We also motivate our supply partners with Truck of the Month awards in each region, which provides our own internal recognition of the excellence we expect.”

According to Amit Dawneerangen, AfriSam’s general manager (readymix), the SARMA awards represent a highly prized acknowledgement – from the experts in the concrete industry – that a company is at the top of its game.


Gauteng continues to be an urban magnet drawing job seekers from far and wide, making the Droogheuwel municipal bulk water reservoir in Randfontein a vital piece of infrastructure to keep sufficient water flowing to the growing area of Randgate.

Hard at work on this 20 megalitre reservoir is the Stilfontein-based contractor Ultimate Dynamic, supported with concrete from construction materials leader AfriSam. The project is due for completion in March 2018.

According to Pieter van der Merwe, Ultimate Dynamic’s project manager, the 47,6 metre diameter structure, with a wall thickness of 500 mm, will require about 2,000 cubic metres of water-tight pump-mix concrete with a strength of 40 MPa.

“After the contract was awarded in December 2016, we started preparation on site in January and were ready for our first concrete pour in April,” says Van der Merwe. “We are now about a third of the way to completion, and are busy on the third lift (or level) of the reservoir wall, which will require eight lifts to take it to the required height of almost 13 metres.”

Readymix is being delivered from AfriSam’s Technikon plant in its six cubic metre capacity trucks, with each pour comprising about 60 cubic metres – or ten trucks of readymix. Concrete is raised and deposited into the formwork moulds by a truck-mounted boom pump with a reach of over 40 metres, according to AfriSam production team leader Mark Wernich.

“We currently deliver on average once every seven working days, and our plant is conveniently located less than 25 km from site,” says Wernich. “Our production capacity and specialised equipment will also allow a continuous pour of about 380 cubic metres for the roof of the reservoir, once the walls are completed toward the end of the year.”

Van der Merwe says the project covers the reinforced concrete construction of the reservoir walls and roof, as well as all pipes, valves, access manhole doors and step ladders. It also includes the inlet and outlet chambers for the reservoir, pump rooms and the access road from the existing tar road nearby.

“It has been a smooth operation working with AfriSam,” he says. “We place our site orders with Ultimate Dynamics head office, which contacts the AfriSam call centre. The concrete is then dispatched from the plant in Technikon in Roodepoort, and it has all proceeded like clockwork.”

He highlights the value of AfriSam’s quality control function, which includes taking their own concrete tests on site with every delivery, ensuring that the correct strength of concrete has found its way into the structure.

“It is vital that tests are conducted on every batch, and the results carefully recorded, so that our client can be assured of the integrity of the work,” says Van der Merwe. “With a major structure like this, holding such a large volume of water, there needs to be great attention to every detail.”

Wernich says that AfriSam’s quality systems are a key element of its offering to customers.

“Even when our customers do their own testing, we also test and keep records that they can refer back to if there is ever any query about any particular batch of readymix delivered,” he says. “AfriSam’s plant laboratories – based at our cement, aggregate and readymix operations – ensure ongoing process control testing on all our products.”

Once the Droogheuwel reservoir is complete, the pipeline to feed the new reservoir will be laid over a distance of about seven kilometres through the town of Randfontein, linking it to an inlet pump station on one of Rand Water’s main lines. Water from the reservoir will then be pumped from the outlet chamber on site to the pressure tower about two kilometres away, from where it can enter the reticulation system serving the surrounding area.