Gases and welding company Afrox with its Welding and Cutting Application Development Service aims at enabling the South African industry to overcome critical skills and capacity shortages.
Demand for expertise in the welding and cutting industry has mushroomed in recent times with the emergence of large-scale power, petro-chemical and mining projects, as well as widespread infrastructural development, says Afrox’s Manufacturing Industries business manager Johan Pieterse, however, the necessary skills and knowledge base is lagging far behind
This has become increasing apparent as many of these projects require new materials and approaches with which companies have limited experience, hence the growing demand for the specialised engineering skills that most companies cannot afford today, says Pieterse.
In the recent economic downturn, companies have struggled to increase capacity, improve efficiency and ultimately become more cost-effective in their operations..
Pieterse points out this has a knock-on effect on the core business drivers of companies, including quality, productivity and safety, as well as on the expenses incurred..
“These areas are key and reducing costs and improving efficiency are far beyond simply introducing cheaper components, but rather about the introduction of processes that reduce risk, increase productivity and, therefore decrease the overall cost of welding and cutting operations,” says Pieterse.
The Afrox Application Development team comprises development specialists with the capacity to audit complete welding and cutting processes, make recommendations, and develop procedures for client-specific applications. This is done through the completion of surveys and reports, which review the capabilities of each process component and includes the condition and operation of equipment, as well as safety standards.
The team also has application-specific support specialists, who provide evaluations and advice in specialised aspects of welding and cutting processes, such as pre-heating.
Afrox specialists might also be deployed to train company employees in the safe operation of equipment. Pieterse identifies safety as an indispensable requirement amongst clients primarily involved in welding and cutting processes in the automotive, shipping, rail, power generation, petrochemical and construction industries.
He comments that Afrox’s ability to provide expertise in the welding and cutting processes comes from years of experience, and through its partnership with its parent company, international gases and engineering corporation The Linde Group.
Pieterse says that Afrox has acquired specialised engineering skills and access to world class training and the latest technology as a result of this partnership. These resources have placed the company in a position to assist in growing the local industry, he adds. The company is currently providing equipment and trainers for welding training initiatives that have been established by local construction businesses.
Pieterse adds that Afrox is a manufacturer of gases and welding equipment, and has an on-site facility for the testing of processes and components. This, he says, allows the company to offer complete solutions in terms of process development.
Market Development Manager Tim Jaques adds, “Afrox is focused on working closely with industries and customers, in order to align its capabilities with industry needs and requirements, thus being able to offer the best possible products, solutions and services to our customers. In addition to this, Afrox leads the industry in offering state of the art new innovations providing leadership in efficiency and productivity for our markets”