Tag Archives: Metric Automotive Engineering

SA’S ENGINE COMPONENT REMANUFACTURING ‘A NATIONAL ASSET’

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. 

METRIC AUTOMOTIVE CLEANING COMPONENTS FOR OEMS

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.

MAINTENANCE AND REMANUFACTURE NOW KEY TO SURVIVAL

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.

METRIC AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING SUPPORTING ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS DURING COVID-19 IMPOSED LOCKDOWN

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.

EMPOWERING WOMEN IN ENGINEERING THROUGH B-BBEE

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.

PIONEERING REMANUFACTURE OF LOCO DIESEL ENGINE BY METRIC

In an engineering first for South Africa, Metric Automotive Engineering in Germiston is conducting the full remanufacture of the two large locomotive engine blocks and oil pans on behalf of a large OEM customer based in the United States for an African rail operator.

According to Andrew Yorke, operations director at Metric Automotive Engineering, the company is one of Africa’s most comprehensively equipped heavy diesel engine and component remanufacturers.

“The full rebuild of these two four-metre-long, 12-cylinder electro-motive diesel (EMD) locomotive engine blocks and oil pans is a good example of the quality of expertise and the leading edge equipment in our business,” says Yorke. “In this major overhaul, we are re-establishing all the block’s and oil pan’s critical dimensions in conformity with OEM specifications. This includes addressing key aspects of the surface finish and dimensions to the requirements of the OEM.”

One of the specific challenges of this contract is that the components are a fabricated mild steel construction, rather than the traditional cast iron. Mild steel is a softer metal with different wear characteristics and requires a different approach to machining, using specific tooling and tips. The size of the components also demanded machining equipment of appropriate scale and dimensions.

“We invest regularly in up-to-date and fit-for-purpose machinery, so our facilities can refurbish large diesel engine components, as well as cylinder head remanufacture, cylinder block line boring, milling, honing and boring, camshaft grinding, crankshaft grinding, engine assembly and dynamometer testing,” says Yorke.

The line bore on the first block was also out of specification in relation to the centre line, so Metric Automotive Engineering had to metal-spray the entire line bore to re-establish the centre line. This was a vital step without which the block would not have been repairable.

“This kind of service is not restricted to just cylinder blocks and oil pans,” he says. “We can remanufacture all of the components for EMD locomotive engines, and the service is available to locomotive operators across Africa.”