Metals fabrication produces the parts and machines which other sectors use to produce their goods and services. This involves forging, forming, stamping, turning and joining processes to produce a wide range of products, including cutlery and hand-tools, bolts, nuts and screws, spring and wire products, hardware, construction and architectural metal products, boilers, tanks and shipping containers. South Africa has a diversified metal products industry with strong links with the construction sector.
The domestic automotive value chain development, government infrastructure development and capital expenditure programmes, and the country’s localisation strategy provide the basis for sustained growth in metals fabrication. Opportunities for expansion and new capacity development include the globally-competitive rail equipment industry.
To reverse stagnation and decline in sub-sectors like casting, tooling and foundries, government and industry players came together to develop the National Tooling Initiative (NTI) and the National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN). These initiatives are targeted at increasing the competitiveness through critical skills development and job creation programmes, technology development and adoption, enterprise development and export promotion.
The NFTN in 2017/18 supported five foundries to supply wedge gate, butterfly and nozzle check valves, previously imported, for the Vaal Gamagara Water Supply Scheme; for a Transnet Engineering Tender, it supported supply and manufacture of 250 microvalves supplied by Microcast and Dhuva foundries for use in locomotive assembly.
Export growth and metal fabrication opportunities exist in rail tracks and slipways, locomotives and components; electrical cables and overhead transmission lines, and pylons; water distribution and treatment, including pumps, valves, meters; mining construction equipment including automation, fuel cells and original construction equipment; scrap metal recycling, including e – waste (especially products like platinum recovery from autocatalytic converters) ; and downstream manufacture of metal blanks, motor vehicle bodies