Technical excellence in large diesel and gas engine component remanufacturing relies as much on top-class artisan expertise as it does on advanced and specialised equipment, says Andrew Yorke, operations director at Metric Automotive Engineering.

“This is why our ongoing investment in our people and their skills creates the real asset underpinning our technical capability,” says Yorke. “In the same way that we re-invest in our world class equipment, we are constantly upgrading our skill sets and empowering new employees.”

He highlights the vital role in South Africa’s economy for structured and closely supervised learning of trades, which Metric Automotive Engineering has been systematically conducting for decades. From the previous apprenticeship system to the current learnership programmes, the company’s technical staff have grown into demanding senior positions. They also then assume responsibility for passing on their knowledge to new learners. 

“We work closely with the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta) to achieve the required competency-based outcomes,” he says. “At the same time, our learning process aligns with our ISO accreditation to ensure that the expertise we generate is globally competitive.”

The training of new entrants through to journeyman status – or artisans – has been central to Metric Automotive Engineering’s business model since day one. The meticulous sharing of experience and skills from the company’s ‘custodians of knowledge’ has allowed a steady supply of committed experts to gain the best value from its leading-edge machinery. 

“Customers have always been able to rely on the quality of our workmanship, as the depth of our skills base allows us to apply all the necessary ISO checks for optimal results,” he says. “This is also the basis of our culture of quality, where each person on our workshop floor feels the pride of being part of a smoothly functioning environment.”

The learning process ensures that a wide range of skills is covered, giving each learner a rounded capability and an integrated understanding of the workshop equipment and processes. This contrasts with an approach that leaves staff overly focused on a limited number of tasks – restricting their growth and abilities. 

“Our multi-skilled approach rather gives our artisans greater variety and fulfilment in their work and career development,” says Yorke. “It also gives our workshop greater capacity to absorb high work-flows while still ensuring that customers receive high quality results.”

He notes the importance of technical trades like automotive machining in opening up career opportunities for young South Africans. School-leavers with science and mathematics at matriculation level can enter exciting careers through structured learnerships. Such programmes can provide skills of life-long value, as artisan expertise evolves over time to meet new equipment demands and sophistication. 


Offering advantages aplenty – from job creation and cost effectiveness to environmental sustainability and foreign exchange conservation – South Africa’s diesel engine component remanufacturing capability is a strategic national asset.

This is the view of Andrew Yorke, operations director at Metric Automotive Engineering, the country’s most comprehensively equipped remanufacturer of large diesel and gas engine components. With over half a century of experience, the company is a benchmark for what can be achieved in local engineering when expertise and innovation are prioritised.

Having kept abreast of leading technology and global trends, Metric Automotive Engineering today boasts one of the leading crankshaft grinding facilities in Africa. Yorke says this equips the firm – which deals with crankshafts from industrial compressors through to locomotive engines – to grind shafts up to 4,7 metres long and weighing up to two tonnes. 

Its workshop includes seven state-of-the-art, three-axis CNC machines. These are the only units in Africa of this type, capable of performing line-boring, surfacing and blue-printing of engine blocks up to six metres in length.

“Our customers’ loyalty is based on our assurance of world-class expertise and equipment, applied to meet strict international quality systems,” Yorke says. “The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of these diesel engines expect their components to be remanufactured for long term lowest cost of ownership, and we achieve this by meeting OEM standards.”

He highlights the valuable opportunity that the remanufacturing sector offers for skills development and employment – now required more than ever, in the light of soaring unemployment. The industry could absorb many more skilled employees if there was renewed commitment to policies and practices that supported local procurement.

“The remanufacturing of these components represents an important recycling activity, which helps governments and customers to meet carbon-reduction targets,” Yorke continues. “At the same time, retaining this vital function within the local economy strengthens economic capacity while reducing the country’s need to spend foreign exchange on imports.”

He warns, however, that OEM pricing of aftermarket parts is making remanufacturing less viable, and needs to be addressed. If the skills required for large diesel engine component remanufacture and assembly are lost, engine testing skills would suffer the same fate. 

“If we ended up only importing new large diesel engines instead of remanufacturing components, we would soon need to import the skills to maintain them too,” says Yorke. “South Africa must be strategic about our economic choices – for instance, by supporting automotive engineering that focuses on engine component remanufacture.”

Metric Automotive Engineering – with its modern workshop facilities for testing, grinding, reprofiling, reboring, surfacing and other specialised engineering services – is an inspiring example of what local engineering can achieve. 


Ensuring quality customer service even during power outages forms part of Metric Automotive Engineering’s sustainable business strategy. The company recently invested in an uninterruptable power system (UPS) at its state-of-the-art technical facility in Germiston to ensure just this.

While the company has always had its own standby generators to provide power during load-shedding or utility outages, Metric Automotive Engineering operations director Andrew Yorke explains that this was still not ideal.

“The short delay between utility power failing and the generators kicking in could have negative effects on our workflow,” says Yorke. “The brief stoppage of our sophisticated machines could lead to damage to major components which are in the middle of a high-precision machining process.” 

He notes that this could not only damage components but invariably resulted in delays due to the unexpected rework required, which all involved additional costs. The new UPS system – which includes two separate UPS units – provides an effective solution to these challenges. 

“Both UPS units are fed by a specialised solar inverter system, giving us a bridging system that allows our operations to continue unimpaired,” he says. 

The one UPS provides uninterrupted electricity supply to the critical machinery at Metric Automotive Engineering, powering the four crankshaft grinders, the seven reboring surfacing machines and the CNC lathes. The other UPS supports the administrative side of the business, ensuring that there are no server outages. This facilitates smooth and continuous access to information and communication. 

The company’s self-sufficiency has been further enhanced by the implementation of an extensive rainwater harvesting system to collect water for all its cleaning processes. Yorke explains that some 60 000 litres of water can be harvested from a single substantial downpour of rain. 

“This water is stored in tanks above and below ground, from where it is supplied into the operation by pressure pumps,” he says.

With 50 years of experience, Metric Automotive Engineering is South Africa’s most comprehensively equipped diesel engine component remanufacturer. It refurbishes large diesel and gas engine components and offers services such as cylinder head remanufacture, cylinder block line boring, milling, honing and boring. It also grinds camshaft and crankshafts, assembles engines and conducts dynamometer testing.  


Leveraging gas as a power source is an exciting prospect for Africa, and offers not only reasonable costs but will have a lower environmental impact. While natural gas is generally a clean burning fuel, gas generated from landfill sites is considered a much harsher application for engines.

Andrew Yorke, operations director at Metric Automotive Engineering, says this is because it is difficult to control the level of contaminants in gas that emanate from landfill sites. 

Yorke says that the relatively poor quality of gas requires advanced ignition monitoring systems in the engine. In addition, the wear rates remain high due to the highly abrasive post-combustion residue, despite filtering of the gas.

“This means that gas engines operating in these applications require more frequent maintenance and the service intervals will also be reduced,” he says. “As a comparison, with natural gas cylinder heads will need to be replaced every 20,000 to 30,000 hours, while with engines burning landfill gas attention will be required as early as every 5,000 hours.”

He notes that there is no real cause for concern as South Africa has a world class engine component remanufacturing capability in Metric Automotive Engineering. Ready access locally to the requisite skills and cutting edge equipment needed to optimise the lifespan and reliability of these gas engines is a major advantage to these industries, he says. 

The company has been in operation for more than 50 years, with its decades of experience underpinning the remanufacturing of both diesel and gas engine components to meet the exacting original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standards.

Yorke says that Metric Automotive Engineering has already been conducting work for customers in the both the natural gas and landfill gas segments, where the generating capacity of the engines is usually between 1 MW and 10 MW. 

The company also provides customers with service exchange units. This not only enhances efficiencies in the maintenance process and reduces downtime, it also allows customers to have remanufactured components such as cylinder head assemblies readily available when worn components need replacement.


Identifying needs within its customer base and addressing these sets Metric Automotive Engineering apart in the diesel engine component remanufacturing sector. The company recently announced it now offers a cleaning service to OEMS for diesel engine components.

“We found that few OEMs have the equipment, resources or time to adequately clean components to the correct level of cleanliness required. This prompted us to offer this service to our customers,” says Andrew Yorke, operations director of Metric Automotive Engineering.

Cleanliness of diesel engine components cannot be underestimated prior to assessing the components for repair or remanufacturing work. Yorke says it is critical components are cleaned to a certain specified level of cleanliness to facilitate accurate inspections to be done.

“By offering this ancillary service we will remove some of the frustration from OEMS, while at the same time drive up efficiencies in the diesel engine component remanufacturing sector,” he says.

Metric Automotive Engineering has a long and impressive track record remanufacturing heavy diesel engine components across a host of industries. The company offers services which include cylinder head remanufacture, cylinder block line boring, milling, honing and boring, camshaft grinding, crankshaft grinding, engine assembly and dynamometer testing.


Facing perhaps the toughest economic conditions in living memory, South African businesses using diesel engines must refocus on preventative maintenance and quality remanufacturing.

This will ensure that their engines deliver optimal uptime and business continuity at a time when margins are being continually squeezed, says Andrew Yorke, operations director at Germiston-based Metric Automotive Engineering.

“Catastrophic failure of a diesel engine in these tough times can be fatal for the profitability of a project or even a company,” says Yorke. “More than ever, reliable and economical engine operation is now key to survival.”

He warns that cutting corners on maintenance programmes – which he has witnessed among many fleet operators – would inevitably lead to failures and costly unplanned downtime. An important aspect of preventative maintenance is regular oil sampling, for instance, which helps to identify issues such as coolant contamination and other factors that lead to high wear on engines and components.

“Companies need to empower their technical departments to ensure that best practices in fleet maintenance are applied,” he says. “This is not a function that can be devolved to a purchasing department.”

With the early warning that preventative maintenance provides, diesel engine users can plan ahead for timeous and cost effective repair or remanufacturing of large diesel engine components at experienced and well-equipped facilities like Metric Automotive Engineering. This world class service is particularly relevant with the Rand exchange rate contributing further to the high cost of importing new engines and components.

With 50 years of experience, this South African company refurbishes large diesel engine components and offers services such as cylinder head remanufacture, cylinder block line boring, milling, honing and boring. It also grinds camshaft and crankshafts, assembles engines and conducts dynamometer testing. 

“Staying abreast of the latest technology means we are one of Africa’s leading crankshaft grinding facilities, with capability to grind shafts up to 4,7 metres long and up to two tonnes in weight,” says Yorke.

It deals with crankshafts from industrial compressors through to V16 locomotive diesel engines. The well-equipped workshop houses two state-of-the-art, three-axis CNC machines – the only ones of their type in Africa – for line-boring, surfacing and blue-printing of engine blocks up to six metres in length.

He highlights that remanufacturing large diesel engine components in South Africa currently makes even better sense because many replacement parts are no longer available ex-stock in the country. These have to be shipped in at extra cost, or even flown in if the situation is urgent.

Diagnosis and fault analysis on fuel injection systems is another benefit Metric Automotive Engineering offers its customers – through its sister company Reef Fuel Injection Services. This includes the remanufacturing of the latest generation of fuel systems, saving companies substantial costs on new components.


As South Africa’s depressed economy is further hammered by the Covid-19 lockdown, large diesel engine owners can be thankful that the country retains world-class diesel engine component remanufacturing facilities.

Key sectors like rail, mining, power generation and marine transport rely on large, hard-working diesel engines, according to Andrew Yorke, operations director at Germiston-based Metric Automotive Engineering.

“In times like these, customers are forced to take a far closer look at the cost of keeping these assets operational,” says Yorke. “The quality remanufacture of large diesel engine components is an ideal way of doing this, as it offers considerable savings over new replacement.”

The local remanufacturing option now makes even more sense as the global pandemic fuels exchange rate volatility and disrupts some cross-border supply chains.

“There has been a regrettable trend toward the unprotected importation of remanufactured diesel engines, which threatens the vital remanufacturing element of our engineering sector,” he says. “The worsening economic conditions are likely to highlight the benefits of using local expertise and services.”

While purchasing decisions tend to be driven by the upfront cost, he warns that the right choice of remanufacture can be the difference between future success and failure. In many cases, diesel engines are mission-critical to business sustainability, so their reliability should be of paramount concern to owners.

“Customers must ensure not only that they get a competitive price for remanufacture of large diesel engine components, but that their service provider has the necessary skills and equipment – coupled with a quality system meeting international standards,” he says. “Original equipment manufacturers design their components to be remanufactured several times, but this must be done to their exacting specifications.”

This quality is ensured by Metric Automotive Engineering, as the most comprehensively equipped diesel engine component remanufacturer in the country. Its facilities keep abreast of the latest technology and trends, with capability to handle large diesel engine components. With one of the leading crankshaft grinding facilities in Africa, it can grind shafts up to 4,7 metres long and up to two tonnes in weight.

“This allows us to grind crankshafts from industrial compressors right through to the V16 locomotive diesel engine,” says Yorke. The workshop also includes two state-of-the-art, three-axis CNC machines – the only ones of their type in Africa. These perform line-boring, surfacing and blue-printing of engine blocks up to six metres in length.

Yorke says it is time that South Africa’s high-value diesel engine component remanufacturing capability was recognised as a strategic national asset, which also contributed environmentally to the effective ‘recycling’ of engines and their components.


Metric Automotive Engineering is committed to supporting customers who are providing essential services during the current lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, while still meeting the required safety regulations.

The company, a leading large diesel engine component remanufacturer, has been granted Essential Services status and is fully operational with a reduced staff complement.

Operations director, Andrew Yorke says companies that have been declared as an essential service need to know that their own support services are fully operational and ready to ensure that they stay on track. This includes all those in transport logistics from vehicles moving essential items such as foodstuffs and medical equipment through to the mining and power generation companies.

“For our current customer base as well as any prospective customers we continue to offer access to quality diesel and gas engine component remanufacturing. All work is done to OEM specifications and ISO quality standards and there is no doubt our customers can continue to rely on us for all their engine component remanufacturing requirements,” Yorke says.

“The safety of both our people and customers is our first priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures aligned with the government regulations and guidelines to protect and keep the team safe and healthy,” Yorke says. “Visiting customers are requested to respect and adhere to our safety procedures, which can be found on our website.”

“As the situation changes on a daily basis, it is imperative that we each do as much as we can to ensure that critical elements of the economy continue to move, while keeping as many people safe. The team at Metric Automotive Engineering fully supports the lockdown restrictions that the government has put in place, and we understand the critical role that we play in keeping the engine running,” Yorke concludes.


Currently Metric Automotive Engineering is remanufacturing a crankshaft belonging to an 18 cylinder Cummins QSK 78 diesel engine. This 4000 hp diesel engine component, 2.7 metres in length, is easily accommodated on the company’s crankshaft polishing machine.

The large engine powers a rigid frame dump truck in an open cast mining operation, and as can be expected works under arduous operating conditions.

Andrew Yorke, operations director at Metric Automotive Engineering, explains that the engine had reached its scheduled overhaul hours and the engine components had come into the facility for assessment and remanufacturing to OEM standards, where necessary.

The diesel engine component’s including the crankshaft, camshaft, conrod, block and heads arrived at Metric Automotive Engineering’s well-equipped facility where they were cleaned using specialised high pressure steam and ultrasonic cleaning processes.

“Cleaning is vital to facilitate visual inspection and following this, components are sent to the dedicated component sections at our facility where a skilled automotive machinist conducts a full assessment on the integrity of the component using OEM specifications and guidelines,” Yorke says.

In this particular instance, the crankshaft integrity was favourable and the component only requires surface polishing of the journals. Yorke says this a great example of an effective lubrication filtration system and scheduled preventative maintenance helping to reduce long term operating costs by preventing wear and damage to the crankshaft. This results in a less costly remanufacturing process being required to return the crankshaft to OEM specification.

Metric Automotive Engineering has a comprehensively equipped remanufacturing facility which can handle large diesel and gas engine components with ease. Competent technical personnel receive ongoing training and development to ensure they are kept abreast of the latest technology. ISO driven quality standards and a high level of accountability ensures that customer receive remanufactured components that meet and often exceed OEM specification.


Working to embrace the spirit of transformation and development, Metric Automotive Engineering has affirmed its Level 4 status in terms of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) requirements.

In an exciting recent deal, the Intombazane Development Trust has invested in the Germiston-based specialist in diesel and gas engine component remanufacture. This new shareholder recognised the value in the company, including its continuous investment in the latest technology and its commitment to the local economy. The Intombazane Development Trust also appreciated the company’s strong ethos of skills development. The involvement of the trust will further enhance this important work, by supporting the entry of black women into engineering fields through study bursaries.

“It is gratifying to see our interventions uplifting previously disadvantaged candidates, focusing on learners at tertiary level,” Andrew Yorke, operations director at Metric Automotive Engineering, says. “The skills they are learning are vital to the South African economy, and will certainly transform their lives for the better.”

Yorke highlights the importance of genuine transformation initiatives by the private sector to fill gaps in the market and support economic growth. This means training historically disadvantaged individuals in areas where their academic success can be rewarded by employment and personal growth in productive jobs.

“There is no time for window-dressing while our economy struggles to create the necessary opportunities for young people,” he says. “We are embracing the real spirit of B-BBEE, which is not to empower individuals who already have access to opportunities, but rather to give a chance to those who haven’t had an opportunity before.”

He emphasises that the beneficiaries of the recent deal are previously disadvantaged women. Through the company’s training initiatives, it is furthering the opportunities that exist in fields like the local remanufacturing of large engine components.

Metric Automotive Engineering has long been a leader in diesel and gas engine component remanufacture, leveraging the latest technology and decades of experience in this sector. With its Level 4 B-BBEE status, customers receive 100% spend recognition for any work they procure with the company.

Its modern workshop facilities are equipped for a range of testing, grinding, reprofiling, reboring, surfacing and other specialised engineering services. Work is conducted on large diesel and gas engine components including cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, crankshafts and conrods. Compete engines are overhauled and assembled in-house, and are dyna-tested on one of the company’s three dynamometers.

About the Intombazane Development Trust
The Intombazane Development Trust is a non-profit organisation owned by black women, whose beneficiaries are young black women under the age of 29. It is an independent trust that maximises the use of its capital for educational purposes.