By ensuring that a high quality of cement is used in infrastructure, South Africa is investing for a stronger future, according to Richard Tomes, sales and marketing executive at construction materials leader AfriSam.

“With our history going back 87 years, AfriSam has sustained a significant focus on quality which today pays dividends in terms of the structures relied upon by our people and our economy,” says Tomes. “By putting the best quality materials, expertise and technology into our products, we pave the way to a brighter and more reliable future.”

The drive for quality is closely linked to being fit-for-purpose, he says, by ensuring that a range of cements is available for defined applications. In the housing sector, AfriSam has raised the bar with the quality of its All Purpose Cement so that it can be used for a number of purposes within this segment. 

“Contractors and home owners want to rely on a cement that will last, so that problems like cracks in walls do not occur,” he says. “At the same time, there may not be a high level of expertise among some users in this market, exposing them to a potential risk if they choose the wrong cement for the task.”

Mixing concrete with a cement that has been developed only for plastering, for instance, could compromise the integrity of the structure. To avoid this risk altogether, AfriSam’s All Purpose Cement meets a high spec that allows it to be used for any home-building application.

“Road building is another application where quality cement brings many benefits that end-users seldom even see or think about,” he says. “AfriSam’s Roadstab is a specialised cement that allows contractors to create a strong foundation for longer road life, while also giving them delayed setting time to conduct the necessary mixing and compaction.”

By the same token, large structures need a cement which will reduce the heat differential between the inside and outside of a large concrete mass so that cracking does not occur. Special cements to achieve this have allowed South Africans to build vital structures like dams and wind farms, vital to our economic development. 

“As we start to experience the global challenges of climate change, it is not enough to focus just on the quality of cement products themselves,” says Tomes. “We need to innovate the process of how we manufacture these products, for a more sustainable future.”

He highlights that AfriSam’s commitment to both people and the planet have ensured that quality processes have reduced the company’s carbon emissions to well below the international average for cement producers. It has even contributed to water savings by developing cements that consume less water when mixed to produce concrete.


Crushing equipment specialist Pilot Crushtec is seeing growing demand from the mining sector as rising commodity prices breathe new life into this industry. 

This contrasts with the construction sector, which remains challenged, according to Francois Marais, director sales and marketing at Pilot Crushtec. Sluggish demand for construction materials has meant that capital expenditure for aggregate crushers remains under pressure.  

“The upturn in mining is spurring local demand for our mobile crushing equipment as contractors – who are our traditional market – move onto mining sites to conduct crushing contracts,” says Marais. This shift from quarry-based or on-site crushing to the mainstream mining sector is demanding crushing equipment from the larger end of the product range.

“We’ve seen a move towards much bigger equipment than what our customers in aggregates would typically use,” he says. “Whereas we might in the past have been supplying operations producing 250 to 350 tonnes per hour, we are now working with customers who work in the region of 500 to 600 tonnes per hour and upwards.”

This is well within the capacity of the Metso crusher range – represented regionally by Pilot Crushtec – which includes mobile units with throughput capacity of up to 1000 tonnes per hour. Recent orders include the supply of a mobile crushing train to an iron ore operation in the Northern Cape, where it is successfully processing up to 550 tonnes per hour.

“We welcome these new opportunities, as we have the quality of product and depth of expertise to ensure the material volumes and operational uptime that mines require,” he says. “We know what this environment demands and can confidently support our customers and equipment at this scale.”

This is opening the door to an exciting era of expansion for Pilot Crushtec, where the company is introducing new models and configurations. At one of the iron ore projects in the Northern Cape supplied by the company, for instance, a global ‘first’ is on the cards for Metso. 

“We are changing the feed arrangement on a mobile cone crusher to include a vibrating grizzly screen feeder configuration – upgrading from the traditional apron feeder,” says Marais. “This means that the upgrade kit is being installed in a completely novel manner at this mine.”

In another pioneering project, the company will, for the first time, be bringing in two Metso large-format, triple-deck ST4.10 mobile screens. While it is not a new product, this installation will be the model’s debut into the South African market. The first unit will arrive in September and the second in October.

“We have high ambitions for these robust units, and expect them to be leading performers in their segment,” he says. “The iron ore application – with its high densities and abrasiveness – is among the most demanding, and these Metso products are well suited to it.”

In neighbouring countries, the aggregate market is holding up better than in South Africa, he notes. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been an active market for Pilot Crushtec, with a 250 tonne per hour aggregate plant recently installed and a mobile jaw crusher delivered. Another mobile jaw crusher was also recently supplied to an aggregate producer in Zambia. 

When South Africa’s aggregate industry recovers, Pilot Crushtec is looking forward to the contribution that will be made by its recently launched mid-market Nordtrack range of mobile crushers and screens. 

“Having launched this range locally just before the Covid-19 lockdowns began, it has not yet had much opportunity to prove itself,” he says. “However, sales of these units have been strong internationally, signalling that our product quality and pricing has met expectations.”

Metso Outotec recently renewed its distributorship agreement with Pilot Crushtec for another five years, after a very successful first five-year period in a formalised relationship. 

Pilot Crushtec also continues to locally manufacture its own range of crushing equipment, managing the various logistical challenges posed by the pandemic’s impact on global freight movement. 


Settling disputes is a key aspect of maintaining fairness and stability in any sector, and the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) continues to render this vital service for the civil engineering industry. 

Through the BCCEI’s Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC), dispute referrals are resolved as quickly as possible to meet the accreditation standards of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), according to DRC manager Merle Denson.

“To ensure we achieve the best results, the BCCEI appoints highly rated commissioners and arbitrators who are accredited by the CCMA and hear cases under industry-specific standards and guidelines,” says Denson. “In addition, they are seasoned professionals with a solid understanding of the civil engineering sector.”

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, cases have continued to be dealt with using all means possible including remote online facilitation via Video Conferencing, Zoom or Teams, she says. As an industry-based forum of organised business and labour, the BCCEI regulates employment conditions and labour relations in civil engineering – with the aim of fostering a stable and productive working environment. 

The DRC’s services are available to all firms in the sector, and to all scheduled and non-scheduled employees who fall within the BCCEI’s scope.

“The cost of using the BCCEI DRC is covered by the monthly dispute resolution levy paid by employers and employees,” she says. “So there is no additional cost for using the DRC, except when referring an Inquiry by Arbitrator (S188A) dispute.”

Denson highlights that, in all dismissal cases referred to the DRC, the applicant and respondent must first explore a process of conciliation to try to resolve the dispute amicably. 

“Where such a settlement cannot be reached, the case then goes to arbitration, if this is requested by the applicant or referring party,” she says. “The case is then arbitrated by an independent commissioner appointed by the BCCEI.”

In the arbitration process, she explains, the arbitrating commissioner hears both sides of the dispute. Based on the evidence that is led and the arguments that are made, the commissioner decides if the dismissal was procedurally or substantively fair, or not  – and issues an arbitration award. All arbitration awards are final and binding.

Denson notes that ‘statutory disputes’ around a range of different kinds of dismissal can be handled by the DRC. These include retrenchments (operational requirement disputes), incapacity due to ill health or  poor work performance and misconduct – as well as strike action, lock-out, unfair suspension, and severance pay. Among the advantages of the DRC’s service is that disputes in large projects can even be heard on site, for example, at the Medupi and Kusile Power Stations 

“On site dispute resolution can be conducted in long-term, multi-disciplinary projects where site agreements are applied,” says Denson. “This means significant savings in time and cost, while ensuring that the process is fully compliant.”


Even the best quality pumps need to be supported with a full range of aftermarket services, according to Jordan Marsh, sales manager at Integrated Pump Technology. 

“Reliable pumping is the life-blood of many sectors in our economy, making the choice of pump supplier a strategically important one,” says Marsh. “This applies even when customers have specified the best pumps available.”

He highlights, for instance, that Integrated Pump Technology is so confident of its Grindex range that it offers a 36-month warranty on all new pump units purchased. The expected lifespan is, of course, much longer than this, he says, and the company is well equipped to ensure customers long and reliable performance. 

“Our full-service offering includes a comprehensive stock of all critical spares across the range, with a service centre and experienced staff to maintain units to OEM standards,” he says. The necessary equipment and expertise are on hand to look after the complete range of pumps, from the 0,4 kW units right up to the large 90 kW Grindex Bravo Mega pumps. 

Integrated Pump Technology also supplies and supports Faggiolati slurry pumps and Leybold vacuum pumps, and can even service and test other brands of submersible pumps.

Among the technical services in the company’s quality-accredited workshop is its test tank, which allows comprehensive testing of pumps with motors up to 150 kW. According to workshop manager Fred Slabbert, the continual investment in workshop capability means that customers can benefit from a six-month warranty on refurbishments and repairs. The workshop can even conduct full refurbishments. 

“Pump users can bring us their equipment for a professional assessment by our skilled technicians,” Slabbert says. “After careful examination, we generate a condition report which gives all the details necessary for an informed decision, and customers are assured of aftermarket services to OEM standards.”

Underpinning the company’s high service levels is a dedicated workshop sales administrator, providing a strong link between customers and the workshop and spares store.

“We prioritise quick and efficient turnaround times on all spares sales, repairs and quotes, keeping customers informed at each step in our relationship,” he says. In the unlikely event of a customer needing assistance on site, the workshop is also equipped to provide trouble-shooting assistance on most mechanical or electrical issues.


South Africa’s hot climate – when combined with demanding site conditions – is often too much for standard heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. This is where Booyco Engineering’s robust solutions have built a solid name for themselves.

With over three decades of designing, manufacturing and supporting specialised HVAC systems for rail, mining and military applications, the company’s depth of expertise brings a new level of health, safety and productivity to the work site. 

According to Brenton Spies, managing director of Booyco Engineering, the importance of effective HVAC systems has grown significantly in recent years as companies work to improve health and safety while optimising valuable uptime.

“Businesses across a range of industrial sectors are pursuing policies of zero harm,” says Spies. “Cool, comfortable working conditions are a vital part of this trend, whether in relation to rail locomotives or mining and earthmoving equipment.”

“Hot and dusty site conditions, as well as factors like high vibration levels and uneven road surfaces, can undermine the performance of standard-issue HVAC equipment,” he says. This invariably leads to frequent stoppages for repairs – and lost revenue due to unplanned downtime. 

“We have built a niche serving customers who must operate vehicles or mobile equipment for long hours in typically South African conditions,” he says. “Our solutions give customers a reliable foundation for more streamlined and rewarding work cycles.”

The company’s success is based on a detailed understanding of each application, according to Grant Miller, executive director at Booyco Engineering. This includes considering the necessary standards for compliance, airflow, ingress protection (IP) ratings, structural and electrical requirements, corrosion and acoustic noise. 

“Our purpose engineered designs are brought to life in our well-equipped 1,600 m2 assembly facilities in Meadowdale, Gauteng, which are manned by experienced and skilled personnel including quality inspectors,” says Miller. “Following ISO-certified processes, we ensure that our systems are rugged and fit-for-purpose.”

This is confirmed by extensive internal and external testing before products are released. He also emphasises that regular inspections and maintenance are crucial if owners expect smooth and continuous operation. 

“Any unplanned downtime is expensive – so a scheduled HVAC maintenance programme should be in place, as for any other equipment on site,” he continues. “This is why Booyco Engineering has skilled and competent HVAC‑qualified technicians all over the country.”

Located mainly on or near customer sites, these technicians carry out planned maintenance programmes – from Komatipoort and Ermelo, to Saldanha Bay, Richards Bay and Kimberley. There are also roving technicians to address ad-hoc needs. 

“In many industries, an operator is not obliged to work when in-cab temperatures exceed certain levels,” he says. “When an HVAC system goes down, it can, therefore, bring an entire operation to a standstill.”

Avoiding this situation means, firstly, installing an HVAC system that is up to the job at hand and secondly, caring for that system proactively through scheduled maintenance. Booyco Engineering’s capability covers both key aspects, with decades of experience and a nation-wide footprint, says Miller.


Kwatani’s success in developing custom vibrating screens for a range of scalping, sizing, dewatering, drain and rinse and desliming applications is built on decades of experience and practical research, according to CEO Kim Schoepflin.

“We focus on the detail of every project, so that the screen performance suits the customer’s mined product and expected output,” says Schoepflin. “This means working with all screen operating parameters like velocity,  stroke,  angle of stroke and deck inclination – as well as the appropriate screen media – to deliver results.”

A vital aspect of the engineering process is the testing of material in Kwatani’s laboratory, using wet or dry test screens and other equipment to outline options for the customer. This allows a differentiated approach to each category of screening required in mining and other sectors. 

“Scalping is usually one of the first steps in the comminution process, which subjects screens to intense strain and wear,” she says. “We therefore design our scalping screens for high drop heights, large sizes of material and considerable throughput tonnages which can handle up to 7,000 tonnes of heavy run-of-mine material ore per hour.”

This means a very specific design and fabrication of deck beams, traverse beams and side plates, for instance, giving maximum uptime and reliability. Using its integrated engineering approach, Kwatani also designs the scalping panels in-house, so that they provide the best balance between impact resistance, durability and economy.

The company also has an enviable track record in custom grizzly feeders – for scalping run-of-mine material varying from fine particles to one-metre lump sizes – across heavy duty applications in commodities including gold, manganese and diamonds. 

“Our feeders efficiently remove fines from ROM prior to secondary crushing, with a strong impact deck that minimises structural shock,” she says. “The configuration must suit the application, with rubber or steel options available. Grizzly bars can also be fabricated or supplied in a cast manganese option for heavy duty applications.”

Sizing is a broad category of screening, with wet or dry applications, where mines aim to achieve their required cut-off while maximising process plant efficiency, product quality and production tonnage. For wet applications, Kwatani offers static or dynamic water spray options on single, double or triple deck configurations depending on material – with either unbalanced motors or exciter gearboxes for larger capacity applications. 

“To protect screens’ deck components and side plates against wear, our options include a comprehensive selection of rubber, polyurethane and ceramic for greater durability,” says Schoepflin. “The key is to ensure high load capacity, improved wear life and lower operating cost.”

Kwatani’s desliming screens effectively remove slimes (fine particles) from larger particles in mineral processing, and Schoepflin says large multi-slope screens are a fashionable choice in this application.

“Our research and development has improved the efficiency of these multi-slope designs. We not only adjust the operating speed, but also the stroke and angle of stroke to optimise efficiency. We also align the number of slopes as well as change the angles of each slope to achieve better performance and life e,” she says. “For instance, we can design a more continuous curvature profile along the screen, with a higher number of slopes ensuring a gradual change of direction for material and optimise the material velocity to improve the overall screening performance. 

She highlights Kwatani’s ability to reduce the transfer of a screen’s dynamic force into the building structure in which it is housed. This is a significant concern in any application, but especially where the infrastructure is aging. 

“We design specialised counter frames for each custom screen, to minimise the transmission of forces into the support structure,” she says. “We have a range of screen mounting options – such as rubber buffers and torsional springs – to optimise this isolation effect.”


Trafo Power Solutions has assisted a large diary producer in a recent expansion, supplying five dry-type distribution transformers to its facilities in a coastal region of South Africa.

“With an application in the food and beverage sector, it is important that any equipment in the plant meets the highest standards of cleanliness and safety,” says David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions. “This means no risk of oil leaks or harmful gasses is tolerated, so the dry-type transformer option is ideal, with the added advantage of requiring very little maintenance.”

The transformers are 2MVA units, with 11kVA input stepping down to 400V. The warm and humid coastal environment demanded specialised enclosures coated with painting plan type C5 for demanding conditions. 

“Our transformers are supplied into a wide variety of applications, so our design must often specify special materials and coatings to resist corrosion,” says Claassen. “Where units must operate very close to seawater, for instance, we ensure a selected grade of stainless steel in our manufacturing process.”

The project required Trafo Power Solutions to design, manufacture, test, deliver and install the five tonne units, as well as to assist with commissioning on site. He highlights that the company is always involved, directly or indirectly, in their equipment’s installation.

“In some projects, we will take complete responsibility for the delivery, off-loading, rigging and positioning of transformers for installation,” he says. “Where customers have their own rigging team or arrangements, we still make it our business to be there at the time. These are specialised pieces of equipment and it is important to move them correctly to avoid any possible damage.”

The transformers were fitted into three new substations constructed by the customer last year to power the extended dairy facility. Manufacturing of the transformers was undertaken by Trafo Power Solution’s strategic partner TMC Transformers, a global leader in cast resin transformers based in Italy. The completed units were shipped into Durban, and transported timeously to the customer’s site in KwaZulu-Natal province. 

Dry-type transformers are air-cooled rather than oil-cooled, making them safe to use in enclosed and confined spaces, as the risk of fire or explosion is so low. The absence of oil also makes them suitable for applications where high levels of hygiene or environmental protection are required. These features make them quick and cost-effective to install, as no dedicated infrastructure such as bund walls or brick structures are required.


With Grundfos pumps used extensively in breweries, distilleries, wineries and soft drink plants, it is no surprise that the company also offers leading technology for disinfecting water in these facilities.

With a heritage of serving the beverage sector for the past 150 years, the company recognises that hygiene is at the centre of this industry, according to Grundfos associate sales engineer Raymond Makgoga.

“Alongside all the quality Grundfos pump solutions that are used by food and beverage producers, our offering includes the sophisticated Oxiperm Pro disinfection system,” says Makgoga. “This is a one-stop chlorine dioxide generator that facilitates effective and efficient cleaning-in-place (CIP) solutions.”

The system creates a diluted chlorine dioxide solution from sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid, disinfecting the water supply and allowing pipelines in a plant to reliably cleaned in between production batches. The use of chlorine dioxide is able to render the water safe and hygienic without affecting its taste or smell – another vital element for success in this sector, he says. 

Dean Naidoo, lead key account manager OEM South Africa for Grundfos, highlights that the Oxiperm Pro has been tried and tested in many food and beverage applications. It has even been used to provide high quality drinking water for corporate drinking fountains. 

“The accuracy of the dosing system supports the responsible use of water when cleaning and sanitising the inside of pipes,” says Naidoo. “By ensuring the correct chemical strength, the user can optimise the water volumes that must be passed through the plant pipelines to remove microbes.”

Water can even be recirculated through the Oxiperm Pro at a higher strength if pipeline testing indicates that the sanitation standard is not yet achieved, he says.

The componentry of the Oxiperm Pro includes three smart digital dosing pumps, a reactor and controller. Designed to resist chemical corrosion, the system includes specially selected materials like Teflon, ceramics and polyethylene. Colour-coding is used to enhance safety and ease of use, with red specifying hydrochloric acid and blue for sodium chlorite – ensuring no confusion of chemicals.

“Our capability in disinfection of water aligns well with our Grundfos value, particularly in helping to ensure water access for more people around the world and to safeguard our precious water resources,” he says. “Many of our customers in the food and beverage sector share these goals, and we are confident that we can help achieve them.”


In a strategic move that will consolidate its resources and further enhance its service to customers, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has moved its South African headquarters to brand new, purpose-designed premises in Kempton Park near Johannesburg.

According to Simon Andrews, managing director at Sandvik South Africa, the state-of-the-art Khomanani facility includes three large workshop areas and office space on a 62,000 square metre site.

“As the Tsonga name Khomanani reflects – “hold each other together as a unit” – our new home unites us under one roof to collaborate, adapt and learn as we strive towards higher standards,” says Andrews. “The technical synergies of the workshops add to our commitment and capacity for local production that meets global quality requirements.”

Two of the workshops are dedicated to refurbishment and rebuilding of local equipment for the southern African region – mainly Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. This is  where new standard-format equipment is configured for local use – typically including features like safety systems, lighting, toe-hitches and decals to customer specifications.

“Our remanufacturing facility allows us to completely rebuild machines to OEM standards, including the sub-assembly refurbishments on transmissions, axles, differential and pump motors,” he says. 

The first workshop has 23 bays for machines to be refurbished, while the second is specially equipped with 100 tonne capacity flooring for the heavier tracked equipment such as underground continuous miners and surface drill rigs. The fit-for-purpose layout of the spacious site allows the heavy transport vehicles to loop in and out with equipment without needing to manoeuvre. improving workflow and efficiency. 

A combination of cranes from 5 tonne to 30 tonne capacity – as well as a specialised 50 tonne forklift – facilitate safe and quick off-loading and reloading. 

The third workshop focuses on local assembly of equipment for both South African as well as global markets to Sandvik’s well known high OEM standards.

“Our investment in local manufacturing capacity is an important vote of confidence in South Africa and its mining sector,” says Andrews. “The quality of our work is also world class, allowing Sandvik to shift certain manufacturing duties from elsewhere in the world to our new facility.”

In line with Sandvik’s international guidelines, the design of Khomanani prioritises energy and water efficiency. With a shared solar photovoltaic system and use of LED light bulbs, the building is expected to achieve a 48% saving on energy, also making greater use of natural light, roof insulation and ‘low-E’ coated glass. Water-efficient fixtures, fittings and systems, as well as rainwater harvesting, will improve water consumption levels by 42%.


The management of waste poses various challenges for the readymix industry, and AfriSam has been following through its commitment to People, Planet and Performance with a range of innovative solutions.

The sector’s sustainability issues include returned concrete, grey water, concrete spillage and soil contamination. Dealing with returned concrete from customer sites has long created an environmental headache for readymix producers, according to Russell Wearne, national operations manager for readymix at AfriSam. 

As part of its mission to preserve the planet for future generations, AfriSam has, over the years, developed a number of strategies regarding returned concrete.

“If we have a quarry site nearby, we are often able to recycle a considerable proportion of concrete that is returned from a site,” he says. “It is dumped in a designated, controlled area of the quarry to harden, and is then crushed and added into our G5 material – subject to the agreement of the customer.”

With the correct planning, AfriSam has also been able to cast blocks and bricks from wet returned readymix before it sets. These have been used extensively on its quarry operations for road markers and other purposes. Where the planning allows, the readymix has even contributed to community projects, going into classroom floors of needy schools, among other applications. 

Another potential environmental impact is the slurry residue that remains in a readymix truck after the product has been off-loaded. This has to be rinsed out on a daily basis to prevent material hardening on the inside of the drum. 

“The resulting grey water is carefully channelled into settling pits, from where we can use it in a number of plant activities to conserve water use,” he says. “On certain sites, the residue ‘slush’ is agitated in a pond, monitored, sampled, and re-used in the batching plant to mix with the cement, aggregate and sand.”

AfriSam has pioneered the use of covers on the discharge chutes of its readymix trucks, to avoid minor spillages of concrete on site or on the road to or from the batching plant.

“In the unlikely event of any spillage, each plant has a clean-up crew that will respond quickly with the necessary equipment,” he says. This capacity is also valuable as the country’s environmental regulations tighten up generally on the impact of construction activities. A closer focus on possible soil contamination on sites, for instance, means that suppliers must support the contractor’s environmental compliance efforts. 

“A truck that leaks oil is a source of soil contamination, so we pay special attention to ensuring this kind of pollution does not occur,” he says. “If it does, we are in a position to respond timeously and mitigate the impact.”