Tag Archives: AfriSam

CONCRETE MASTERY TRANSFORMS WATERFALL CITY SKYLINE WITH DHL SERVICE CENTRE

The new DHL Express Service Centre in Waterfall City is a prime example of modern construction that harnesses the functionality and aesthetic appeal of concrete. This tenant-driven project, developed by SOM for Portimix Pty Ltd and used by DHL Express, showcases a blend of office space and a substantial warehouse, strategically located to optimise logistics operations.

Abbeydale Building & Civils undertook the construction, with Empowered Spaces Architects managing the project. EMArchitecture provided the architectural design, while structural design was the forte of Struxit Projects. The project is distinguished by its innovative use of concrete, supplied by AfriSam, which was critical to meeting the high standards set by DHL.

The building’s design is notable for its highway-facing façade that presents a bold, linear impression with wavy concrete columns. These columns, resembling waves, align with DHL’s core business and are visible from one of Africa’s busiest highways, the N1. The office frontage, combined with the functionality of the warehouse, reflects a design that is both aesthetic and efficient. The warehouse was specifically designed for high-volume parcel throughput, ensuring rapid loading and unloading processes, crucial for DHL’s operations. The uninterrupted operation flow was made possible by the by removing all columns within the operational floor and achieving a 47 m clear span within the warehouse.

As a P-Grade building, the DHL Express Service Centre stands out for its superior quality, modern amenities and a striking façade that enhances DHL’s branding. The design also aimed for a timeless appeal, ensuring the building remains fashionable and appealing for decades.

Concrete played a pivotal role in this project, not just in terms of structure but also in aesthetics. The distinctive V-shaped columns were created using custom-designed steel shuttering, requiring a highly flowable concrete mix with a reduced aggregate size to achieve the desired finish. A strut and tie structural system design was implemented to accommodate the exaggerated angles on the slanted column façade. The strut and tie design concept uses the best properties of each structural material. Compression forces are resisted and transferred using concrete, and the tension forces are transferred through the reinforcement steel. The combination of these two properties in the concrete and reinforcing steel enabled the elegant and durable slanted column design of the DHL facade. Slanted concrete columns, along with the external elements of the building, required meticulous planning and execution.

Less obvious, but equally impressive concrete structural element within the building are the book end concrete walls, cantilevering 5 m from the building while still supporting floors from above. The large cantilevers could be achieved by using the mechanism of Vierendeel Action within the concrete wall. The concrete and steel used within these walls were carefully planned and detailed to activate the Vierendeel Action and produce the impressive cantilevering walls.

The structural design technique used within the mentioned concrete elements is not often used in conventional concrete building or designs, which makes the use of the concrete in this building truly exceptional and unique.

The warehouse’s concrete floor was constructed with large panel floors to a FM2 specification, ensuring durability and supporting efficient logistics operations.

The design of the building also focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. The strategic placement of horizontal fins and high performance glass reduced cooling costs and glare, while the potential for solar panel installation aligns with DHL’s sustainability goals. The concrete design was critical in achieving these objectives, with AfriSam providing a tailored mix for optimal performance.

The DHL Express Service Centre in Waterfall City stands as a testament to the capabilities of concrete in modern construction. Its design and execution reflect a synergy between aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability, setting a benchmark for future construction projects in the logistics sector.

LITTLE CHEER FROM BUDGET SPEECH, BUT CONSTRUCTION RESILIENT – AFRISAM

It was a sombre tone at this year’s annual AfriSam Budget Breakdown event, but sales and marketing executive Richard Tomes reminded stakeholders that the company’s 90 years in business should be an inspiration that the construction sector remains so resilient.

AfriSam’s Executive Chairman Eric Diack agreed the company had seen many ups and downs, and hailed the Johannesburg event as an important forum for AfriSam and its stakeholders to gain vital insights to chart the path forward.

A regular contributor to the Budget Breakdown, Econometrix Chief Economist Dr Azar Jammine highlighted that the construction and building industries were still in the doldrums, with little sign of emerging from it soon. Dr Jammine pointed to the low economic growth rate and the poor level of gross fixed capital formation as the key culprits of the challenging milieu. While the Budget Speech contained a theoretical commitment by government to focus on infrastructure, there was not much to boost confidence.

He noted that private sector capital investment in South Africa had shown some improvement, but this was mainly in machinery and equipment. Investment in construction – including civil engineering – and building had declined 40 to 45% over the past decade. The slight recovery in residential building between 2020 and 2022, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, had faded.

“This is horrific, and there is little sign of it recovering,” he said. “The big loser is in the commercial space, which has fallen by 80% in terms of plans passed.”

Employment in the construction industry also continued to drop, and isnow 40% down from 2019 figures. The sector’s contribution to national employment is today only about 4,5%, having been over 6,5% around 2017.

“No other sector in the economy has been performing as badly,” he said. This was also reflected in the retail sales at builders’ merchants, which now ranked as the weakest segment of the retail sector.

Dr Jammine reiterated that crime was also a central factor in holding back progress in the construction industry, and was encouraged by the Business Leadership South Africa’s workstreams to work with government on energy, transport and crime.

“I don’t need to remind members of this audience of the debilitating effect that the construction mafia are having,” he said. “I only hope that government will listen to the private sector and involve them more in finding the solutions.”

With the ‘semi-gration’ of many South African professionals to the Western Cape, he noted that this province had recently taken the lead over Gauteng in terms of residential building plans passed. There had been a slight rise in numbers in Gauteng recently, however, which may point to a revival.

According to Richard Tomes, AfriSam Sales and Marketing executive, the insights from Dr Jammine confirmed that the construction industry will remain under pressure for some time.

“However, what we can learn from AfriSam’s 90-year legacy is that the industry is very resilient,” he said. “Over the past 90 years we have seen good times, and we have also survived through extremely tough times.”

He said he believed the construction sector – as with AfriSam – will come through this challenging period and will continue to create concrete possibilities for South Africa.

“As AfriSam, we look forward to being the construction industry’s partner of choice through thick and thin,” he said.

NEW LIMESTONE QUARRY FOR AFRISAM AT ULCO

As the important mineral component of its cement, limestone will soon be mined from a new deposit by AfriSam’s Ulco cement plant in the Northern Cape. 

The relocated quarry will be capable of providing security of supply for about 40 years, and will need to deliver around two million tons of limestone to Ulco each year. According to Gavin Venter, Manager Saldanha and Strategic Projects at AfriSam, the enabling infrastructure for this quarry has been significant. 

“After conducting a number of wide-spaced prospecting campaigns – as well as close-spaced drilling across 100 hectares – we identified the best limestone reserves on our mining right on the opposite side of the R31 national road, which runs between the new site and the plant,” says Venter. “This means it is necessary to construct tunnels under the road to facilitate safe access between the new quarry site and the existing plant. Adding to the complexity is that the large Gamagara water pipeline runs parallel to the road.”

The R31 road between Kimberley and Postmasburg carries high volumes of large ore trucks and abnormal load mining equipment. It will be diverted in early 2024 to accommodate this traffic for about six months while extensive excavation and civil engineering work is undertaken to construct the tunnel underpass system. 

“In compliance with the road authority’s requirements, the tunnels will traverse the full 32 metre width of the road reserve – to allow for future road widening, in addition to the pipeline servitude,” he says. “The two tunnels themselves will be over 50 metres in length, and will be separated to enhance safety as there will be counterflow traffic to and from the plant.”

The 5 metre high by 5 metre wide tunnels will be excavated to 12 metres below the R31 road level, and constructed as large culverts with steel reinforced in-situ cast concrete. The design work ensured a tunnel alignment to suit the future possibility of an in-pit crusher and conveyer belt. If such an option was financially justified in future, it would provide an alternative method to feed crushed material to the existing pre-blending stockpiles. 

The civils works also has to accommodate the 700 mm diameter Gamagara pipeline, supplying the Northern Cape with water from the Vaal River. To avoid the risk of disrupting this water supply, a concrete bridge has been constructed parallel to the existing pipeline, inside which a new 100 metre stretch of pipeline was laid. 

“This provided the necessary support for the pipeline so that excavation and controlled blasting can be conducted underneath,” he explains. “As a further precaution, there is also a 100 mm per second vibration limit applied to any blasting activity around the pipeline bridge.”

Work on the pipe bridge began in late 2022 and excavation work began in the third quarter of 2023, creating the initial slot on the south side of the R31. Once the road is diverted, the excavation of the tunnels can begin and this is expected to be complete by end February 2024. This will be followed by the construction of the two tunnels. The supply of readymix – which will include AfriSam cement – will come from Kimberley, about 80 km south. With ambient daytime temperatures that can rise to 40 degrees, this will require careful use of admixtures to achieve the required slump by the time readymix trucks arrive on site.

“Mining is expected to begin in the second half of 2024, with an unusual topography in which the quarry will be mined into an escarpment,” says Hannes Meyer, Cementitious Executive at AfriSam. “Transportation of mined material is therefore mainly downhill. With the gradient of the haul road slopes limited to 5 degrees, AfriSam’s truck-trailer combinations have been designed to be much more energy efficient than conventional off-road dump trucks.”

AfriSam commissioned various specialist studies as part of its environmental impact assessment (EIA), to investigate the new quarry’s potential effects on wetlands, terrestrial life, hydrology, heritage and traffic. Authorisation was granted to mine in the vicinity of water features on the proposed mining area, with a seasonal drainage line that had to be diverted to avoid the exit slot of the new haul road. 

AFRISAM PUTS SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FRONT AND CENTRE

To stay ahead in the industry’s war for talent, AfriSam has over the years placed skills at the forefront of its people development initiatives. With its several training programmes, the company has successfully created a pool of talent, not only to the benefit of its operations, but the industry at large. 

Glenn Johnson, General Manager Construction Materials at AfriSam, believes it is fundamental for the construction materials industry to develop people. The industry, he says, needs strong technical skills at the core of its operational excellence.

With that in mind, AfriSam has over the years invested significantly in its in-house training initiatives, namely the Engineer-In-Training, Artisan Learnerships, Trainee Works Manager programmes and general operational training. This has recently been expanded with the introduction of the Trainee Operational Managers programme for the readymix business unit.

Johnson explains that the Engineer-In-Training is a structured training programme for young graduates who have come through AfriSam’s bursary pipeline. “Selected individuals – those who demonstrate the best aptitude for the aggregates and readymix businesses – are integrated into the programme with the aim of developing a pipeline of electrical, civil, mechanical and mining engineers,” he says. 

AfriSam has a two-pronged approach to developing its Engineer-In-Training graduates further. They are either given a chance to move into line management or to stay in their chosen technical discipline, be it mechanical or electrical engineering, or a multifunction of the two disciplines.

The Trainee Works Manager programme exposes candidates to all the critical aspects of works management on aggregate operations, including legal training, blasting certificates, financial management and, more importantly, people management amongst others.

The Trainee Operations Manager programme follows the same pattern, but with a specific focus on readymix concrete production, including technical specifications, product application and customer interface. Candidates are also exposed to the financial and operational aspects of the readymix business.

The Artisan Learnership Programme targets candidates who have completed their National Qualification Framework (NQF) courses, be it internal employees (18.1 learners) or external candidates (18.2 learners).

“AfriSam has recorded massive success with these programmes,” Johnson says. “To provide context, since 2012, a total of 83 artisans – both 18.1 and 18.2 learners – came through the system.”

Despite the recent challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the continued downturn in the construction sector, Johnson says the company continues to show the resolve to develop people. “I also urge other industry players, who have generally lagged behind, to play their part in developing skills the industry needs, now and well into the future,” he concludes.

ZENZELE PRECAST PRODUCTS CEMENTED WITH AFRISAM QUALITY 

Zenzele Pavers and Cladding, a family-run Pretoria-based manufacturer, credits its unwavering commitment to quality and its lasting partnership with leading cement supplier AfriSam for its successful growth. Today, the business serves both local homeowners in Pretoria North, Ga Rankuwa, Soshanguve and broader regions, as well as large developers and construction contractors.

Since its inception in 2007,Zenzele has specialised in precast products from concrete pavers and bricks to cladding, kerbs, blocks, and tiles. “The backbone of our success is high-quality cement, ensuring consistency in results and colour,” says Founder and Owner Wendel Krook. “Our enduring relationship with AfriSam, who mirrors our dedication to quality, reliability and consistency, plays a significant role in our growth.”

The company’s core principle of delivering a product that is ‘good enough for their own home’ has attracted a diverse clientele, ranging from local families to large commercial customers. Zenzele Co-Founder Hengelene Krook says, “Our loyal customer base is built upon quality, service and the trust that our products will pass the test of time.”

This commitment to quality extends to Zenzele’s workforce, marked by low staff turnover and retention of skills and experience, ensuring attention to detail in all business aspects. General Manager Jacqueline O’Kelly, Zenzele’s first employee, applauds AfriSam’s support and reliability in meeting Zenzele’s high-quality standards.

Sales and Marketing Representative Tinus Redelinghuys emphasises AfriSam’s vital role in the success of phased construction projects. “With AfriSam’s quick service, we maintain a consistent supply of cement, facilitating efficient production and ex-stock deliveries,” says Redelinghuys.

AfriSam’s consistent service and high-quality cement, including the 42.5R CEM II High Strength Cement, has notably benefited Zenzele’s inventory management and delivery efficiency. Wendel Krook comments, “AfriSam’s cement consistency and quality allow us to accurately predict our paver supply and promptly deliver to our customers.”

Praising the partnership, Hengeline Krook says, “AfriSam genuinely values our relationship, a sentiment we greatly appreciate as a smaller business.”

Adele Wentzel, AfriSam’s Sales Manager Manufacturing for Gauteng, further emphasises the importance of their collaboration. “We provide technical support, share information and interact regularly to strengthen our partnership. We are proud to be associated with such a caring and well-respected company.”

Zenzele’s collaboration with AfriSam continues to contribute significantly to its growth and success, underscoring the value of quality and service consistency in the precast product manufacturing sector.

‘DOING MORE WITH LESS’ TO MEET AGGREGATES DEMAND FOR N3 PROJECT

To keep up with the massive aggregates demand for the N3 national road upgrade project, AfriSam’s Umlaas Road Quarry has doubled its volumes using existing resources. The lean team on site is living up to its “do more with less” mantra. 

Part of government’s 62 Strategic Integrated Projects gazetted as part of the Infrastructure Investment Plan approved by Cabinet in 2020, the N3 national road upgrade – which focuses on an 80 km section from Durban to Pietermaritzburg – continues apace.

Located right at the doorstep of the very first package of the project – the 6 km stretch between the Dardanellas Interchange and the Lynnfield Park Interchange – Umlaas Road Quarry is playing a key role in keeping this vital national project ticking. 

The magnitude of the project has placed severe pressure on local construction material suppliers in the area. To provide context, the project required 300 000 tonnes of fill material per month for the past two years. However, the past few months have seen the demand scale tilting in favour of the ‘blue’ material, confirms Theolan Govender, Regional Manager overseeing the AfriSam Umlaas Quarry. 

From the onset, the team at AfriSam’s Umlaas Quarry has always focused its efforts on the ‘blue’ material, with AfriSam’s Pietermaritzburg Quarry, located some 30 km away, providing the necessary backup with the supply of sub-base material, including G2, G4 and G6. 

“Due to the sheer scale of the project, we had to more than double our pre-Covid volumes in 2021, maintaining the same feat in 2022,” says Govender. “A key talking point is our ability to push these massive volumes using the existing resources, thus transforming this small quarry into a big operation using a very lean team.”

To achieve this feat, AfriSam mobilised two existing trains of mobile crushers and screens (comprising eight machines in total) to complement the static plant. 

To maintain high plant availability on the old mobile trains, AfriSam has deployed a maintenance specialist who is well versed with mobile solutions. The stringent maintenance regime has already paid dividends; the team has managed to double the mobile plant’s availability, running at a 55% overall equipment effectiveness, which is quite extraordinary for these 20 year-old units.  

“Effective management of resources has been key to keeping up with the massive aggregates demand. The lean team at AfriSam’s Umlaas Quarry has demonstrated its ability to do more with less. This has been done safely and cost-effectively, which speaks directly to the team’s competence and commitment to the cause,” concludes Govender.

AFRISAM LAB STAYS OUT FRONT WITH SANAS THUMBS-UP

The specialised cement and construction materials laboratory at AfriSam’s Centre of Product Excellence (CPE) in Roodepoort, Gauteng, has once again earned the SANAS stamp of approval. 

The laboratory conducts in-depth testing and investigation across a range of processes and materials, according to AfriSam CPE Manager Mike McDonald. The critical role of concrete in the safety and sustainability of structures highlights the importance of the regular SANAS certification.

“Remaining certified within stringent SANAS requirements – which in turn align to international ISO/IEC 17025 management system standards – ensures that AfriSam’s laboratory is world class,” says McDonald. “Our quality processes mean that our customers can rely on us for the performance of their concrete, and we can continue to take forward AfriSam’s exciting product development innovations.”

He notes that the demanding recertification process is conducted every five years, ensuring that the latest international best practice is incorporated into the laboratory’s quality systems. A recent enhancement of the global standards – and applied in turn by SANAS – is its risk-based approach. The latest certification therefore has required AfriSam’s laboratory to consider and mitigate a range of risks factors. 

Among these is the risk of bias during the testing process, which is addressed by strictly protecting the anonymity of the test work, he explains. The laboratory uses a numbering system to ensure that analysts are not aware of the names of companies that submit samples for testing. 

“The recertification is by no means easy or simple, requiring extensive internal and external training of all our 22 laboratory personnel,” he says. “In maintaining these high standards, it is clear that our highly skilled staff are committed to our quality mission.”

The laboratory’s instruments, technology and skills complement make it one of the country’s most specialised facilities for testing cement and construction materials. Equipment includes a microcalorimeter for measuring heat from concrete samples, and instruments for thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) for measuring material weight during heating. 

“The laboratory gives AfriSam enviable capability on various levels – from proving up our theoretical concrete mix designs for customers to investigating any challenges that contractors might be facing with their concrete on site,” says McDonald. “Our research and testing also provides innovative solutions for customers, such as reducing or removing the need for costly steam generation for curing concrete products.”

Being able to conduct laboratory-scale testing of new mixes is a significant advantage for customers like concrete product manufacturers, he points out. If they tested unproven mix designs in their production process, there could be considerable trial and error. This invariably produced wastage of material and labour time, whereas the laboratory could accurately predict results while not disrupting on-site production. 

He emphasises that cement testing remains a central focus of the laboratory’s work, including oxide analysis and testing for gypsum content as well as fineness and strength of cement. AfriSam relied heavily on the laboratory for its ongoing drive to reduce the carbon footprint of cement, allowing the development of a product with 40% less carbon impact than pure cement. 

“The SANAS recertification of our laboratory is an important foundation for the accuracy and reliability of all our testing and research work,” he says. “This assures customers and the broader industry of AfriSam’s ongoing commitment to quality standards that match the world’s best.”

AFRISAM CLICKTOGO OFFERS ADDED VALUE TO CUSTOMERS

ClickToGo, launched by AfriSam, South Africa’s leading construction materials company, is a gamechanger. This remarkable digital platform is a first of its kind in the construction industry and allows existing customers in South Africa to effortlessly order materials and manage their accounts, providing a seamless experience.

AfriSam’s ClickToGo, a new and remarkable digital platform, is a first of its kind in the construction industry.AfriSam’s ClickToGo, a new and remarkable digital platform, is a first of its kind in the construction industry.
AfriSam’s ClickToGo, a new and remarkable digital platform, is a first of its kind in the construction industry.

The user-friendly online platform, ClickToGo, was developed to provide a digital solution that would ensure convenience and take the customer experience to another level.

“Our goal is to prioritise our customers and drive progress in the industry, and ClickToGo, our innovative e-experience platform, will empower our customers and enhances their interaction with us,” Ilonka de Magalhaes, Customer Experience Manager at AfriSam, says.

ClickToGo offers a range of features designed for ease of use. Customers can easily view their orders, directly order from quotes, review their order history, access essential account documents and credit information and track deliveries effortlessly. Additionally, super users can assign different roles and permissions to staff, facilitating seamless collaboration within organisations.

Almost 70% of AfriSam’s 30-day account customers have already registered and actively use ClickToGo.
Almost 70% of AfriSam’s 30-day account customers have already registered and actively use ClickToGo.

Launched in November 2021, ClickToGo has gained significant interest with positive feedback from customers. “We are delighted by the response to ClickToGo,” de Magalhaes says. “Almost 70% of our 30-day account customers have already registered and actively use the platform.”

It is important to note that AfriSam continuously refines and enhances ClickToGo’s functionality based on valuable feedback from customers and front-line employees.

A recent significant development on the innovative ClicktoGo e-platform is the inclusion of cash account customers, extending use of this platform for all account customers and ensuring all can benefit from this streamlined online ordering platform.

Enhancing the customer experience further, AfriSam has integrated ClickToGo with its Online Payment Gateway. Cash account customers can now conveniently place orders and make payments in a single transaction. “Our aim is to provide a smooth and hassle-free experience for our customers,” de Magalhaes emphasises. “We want to make the process as effortless as possible.”

Moreover, ClickToGo enables cash account customers to apply for a credit facility directly through the platform, simplifying the process and making it more accessible. At the same time, 30-day account customers now have the ability to request credit limit increases directly on the platform, ensuring a seamless and streamlined user experience.

AfriSam’s ClickToGo is a significant milestone in the company’s digital transformation journey, aligning with its commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience. By offering convenience, effectiveness, and transparency, ClickToGo sets a new standard for the construction materials industry.

“We aim to redefine the customer experience and cement our position as an industry leader through this innovative e-experience platform,” de Magalhaes concludes.

AFRISAM’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY: PROMOTING RAIL SAFETY AND SAVING LIVES AT LEVEL CROSSINGS

AfriSam, leading construction materials group, places safety at the forefront of its operations, acknowledging the importance of safeguarding its people and the communities within which it operates. As both a responsible employer and corporate citizen, the company’s unwavering commitment to safety extends beyond its own operations and into the realm of rail safety, particularly at level crossings, where road and rail networks  intersect.

Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu, spent the early morning engaging with motorists and pedestrian at the AfriSam Ulco plant level crossing.
Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu, spent the early morning engaging with motorists and pedestrian at the AfriSam Ulco plant level crossing.

In collaboration with Traxtion, Africa’s largest private freight rail operator, and the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR), AfriSam was actively involved in promoting International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) campaign in June 2023. This global initiative, championed by the International Union of Railways (UIC), unites railway communities from 28 countries raising awareness of level crossing safety.

AfriSam’s commitment to “Zero Harm” reflects its strong belief in prioritising the safety and well-being of its employees and the community. This informed the company’s contribution to ILCAD with its focus on recognising the potential risks and hazards associated with level crossings on a day dedicated to saving lives and preventing accidents.

Nathi Shoba, AfriSam’s Quality Assurance Manager, expresses the company’s resolute commitment to safety, stating, “This is all about saving lives, and for this reason, we were extremely proud to play our part in International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD).” AfriSam’s involvement in the campaign reflects its dedication to proactive engagement, education and fostering a culture of responsible behaviour at level crossings.

Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu, addressing the learners of Ulco Primary School.
Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu, addressing the learners of Ulco Primary School.

Madelein Williams, Executive: Media and Communications and spokesperson for the RSR in South Africa, emphasises their primary objective of enhancing rail safety, a goal that often faces challenges when motorists and pedestrians fail to adhere to level crossing regulations. Williams expresses concern over the recorded 47 injuries between 2020/21 and 2021/22, as this undermines the RSR’s efforts to raise awareness and promote rail safety at level crossings.

To commemorate ILCAD, Traxtion, RSR and AfriSam collaborated on a private siding line connecting to the Transnet line, specifically selecting the bustling Ulco crossing in Northern Cape. This crossing serves both pedestrians, including school children, and motorists, posing potential risks and making it a vital location to address level crossing incidents.

The learners of Ulco Primary School sharing warm hugs with the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu.
The learners of Ulco Primary School sharing warm hugs with the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu.

“We call upon all rail operators to join us following this awareness campaign to ensure compliance with safety regulations for the sake of the public and railway operators at level crossings,” urges Thando Makoyi, SHEQ Compliance Manager at Traxtion and a former train driver.

AfriSam, together with its partners, remains dedicated to promoting rail safety, saving lives and fostering a culture of responsible behaviour at level crossings. By actively engaging stakeholders, raising awareness and advocating for adherence to safety measures, they aim to make a significant and lasting impact on rail safety in South Africa and beyond.

AFRISAM SLAGMENT OPERATION ACHIEVES 1,75 MILLION LTI FREE HOURS

Leading construction material supplier, AfriSam celebrated a significant milestone at the company’s Vanderbijlpark Slagment Operation when it achieved 1,75 million Lost Time Injury (LTI) Free hours earlier this year, demonstrating the high safety standards upheld at this plant. This means that the plant has been injury free for nine years.

As one of the leading players in the supply of aggregates, cement and concrete readymix, AfriSam is committed to safe operation at all its facilities. A strong commitment to ongoing training of its people as well as visible felt leadership underpins the company’s approach to safety and has clearly borne fruit at the Slagment Operation.

AfriSam’s Vanderbijlpark Slagment Operation has the capacity to produce over 700 000 tonnes of slagment per year.
AfriSam’s Vanderbijlpark Slagment Operation has the capacity to produce over 700 000 tonnes of slagment per year.

The origin of this operation, situated in the industrial area on the outskirts of Vanderbijlpark, dates back to the 1950s when Dr Niko Stutterheim thoroughly researched the suitability of South African slag for manufacturing cement and for use in concrete. His conclusion that the slag was eminently suitable led to the establishment of the company Building Binders Ltd, which was subsequently registered as Slagment Limited in 1960.

Today, this operation still produces slagment and supplies the product to operations within AfriSam as well as to other customers for the manufacture of blended cementitious products.

Slagment is the registered trade name for Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBFS) and is a by-product of the iron- and steel production process. It is a latent hydraulic binder that is used in concrete and other construction applications as a partial cement replacement material. Due to its cementitious properties and depending on the application, slagment can replace up to 70% of Portland cement in concrete, enhancing quality in both fresh and hardened states.

AfriSam is committed to safe operation at all its facilities.
AfriSam is committed to safe operation at all its facilities.

AfriSam’s Vanderbijlpark Slagment Operation has provided slagment for over five decades for the construction of major structures including buildings, dams, bridges, roads and water-retaining structures. The factory has the capacity to produce in excess of 700 000 tons of slagment as well as over 200 000 tons per annum of blended cementitious products.

Some noteworthy projects built with slagment from AfriSam include the Ben Schoeman Highway, the South African Reserve Bank and the Gariep Dam on the Orange River.

AfriSam has long been at the forefront of initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, and this has included leveraging extenders in its composite cements, leading to a substantial reduction in its clinker factor without any compromise on product quality. David Labuschagne, AfriSam Slagment Plant Manager says that key among these extenders is blast furnace slag, a by-product of the steel industry.

“Clinker substitution is not new, but there is a growing trend within South Africa to use more environmentally friendly concrete design mixes that use fly ash or slag.,” he says. Interestingly, the Association of Cementitious Material Producers (ACMP) noted that clinker substitution rose from 12% in 1990 to 41% in 2009, with the industry aiming for a 60% rise by 2030.

AfriSam’s Slagment Operation played a pioneering role in introducing separately ground slag for construction applications, and this plant continues to produce slag. The company sources its raw material from ArcelorMittal South Africa, strategically located near the plant.

The benefits of using blast furnace slag are numerous. It offers enhanced strength and durability and is beneficial in decreasing limestone mining and clinker production, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

“By using a finely tuned mechanical activation method, AfriSam has obtained a more reactive product, enabling the progressive replacement of clinker while maintaining high cementitious quality and strength performance,” Labuschagne says.

With its ongoing commitment to sustainability and innovative strategies, AfriSam continues to pave the way in creating eco-friendly products without compromising on quality.