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Without trucks, South Africa stops. And as The Answer to all trailer requirements, leading designer and manufacturer Afrit of Pretoria is keeping the nation’s wheels rolling.




ook at the volume movement of the transport sector and you have a barometer of the South African economy. Or as Fleetwatch magazine’s Managing Editor Patrick O’Leary put it recently and more tersely, “Trucking grows or dies in line with a country’s growth or death. Which is it going to be?” Back on the growth route is the response from AFRIT, one of the most respected and innovative trailer manufacturers, and South Africa’s biggest.

“Before the recession we were producing sixteen to eighteen units a day,” says Sales and Marketing Manager Leon van de Wetering. “Then from August 2008 through to October 2009, it was down to between six and ten units a day. Currently it’s back up to thirteen to fourteen units after six months of constant growth.”

Excellence and outstanding support Afrit is powered on the twin axles of product excellence and outstanding customer support. Its aim… to be The Answer to all trailer requirements.


LEADING STEELMAKER SSAB was first to develop the new steels for a more sensible everyday life. Today, we are the leading producer of high strength steels. SSAB high strength steels are produced in Sweden and the USA, but sold throughout the world.

QUENCHED STEELS SSAB has a leading position in the market for the most advanced quenched and tempered steels. Docol cold rolled products are often in demand for passenger cars. Customers frequently choose to combine Hardox, Weldox, Domex and Docol steels in heavy vehicles, trucks, trailers, truck bodies, containers and cranes, in order to optimize theirproducts. This results in dramatically improved payload capacity, increases the useful life of the application and reduces maintenance costs.

STRONGER – LIGHTER – MORE ECONOMICAL Trucks built of high strength steels can be made lighter,consume less energy and carry a higher payload, which reduces the number of trips for a given quantity of material. Reduced fuel consumption consequently leads to lower emissions of carbon dioxide and reduced impact on the climate. This is not a simple equation, but SSAB has the solution. And this benefits the environment. SSAB specializes in the production of high strength steels. We choose from among 500 different

“recipes”when producing the steel for your car, home, leisure products, interior fittings, large buildings, bridges, public transport equipment, machines, industrial plants or medical equipment.

“Reduced welding, less waste and faster production” To understand the impact that Afrit will have on the local transport industry, it’s necessary to understand the trailer market and how the material and design of a trailer impact payload capabilities. Each trailer, be it a tanker, tipper or interlink, is designed for a specific payload. How the trailer is designed, what materials are used and how big it is depend on what is being carried. Is the load abrasive, heavy or reasonably light? How will it be loaded and unloaded? Consumables tend to be transported by interlink trailers; fuel, chemicals, liquids and bulk powders in tankers; and construction materials, minerals and raw materials in tippers. In fact, generally speaking, tippers tend to carry the heaviest, most abrasive loads, which are roughly loaded and offloaded as well. This combination of weight and material properties means that tippers need to be strong enough to handle their loads, while still light enough to ensure maximum payload. In truck bodies and containers, Domex and Hardox ensures a longer lifetime and highly predictable performance. Its high strength and hardness often allows for a thinner plate, enabling a higher payload and better fuel economy. In short, with Hardox and Domex you’re ready to bring it on day after day, year after year.

SSAB is a global leader

high strength steel.

in value-added,

SSAB offers products developed in close cooperation with its customers to reach a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world.

The SSAB product brand portfolio

includes numerous world leading and well established brands as well as some rising brands. The SSAB product brand names are HARDox, DomEx, WElDox, DoCol, ARmox, PRElAq and Toolox.

Learn more at


Its design and manufacturing processes are continually addressing the balance between strength, mass and durability, while a fully equipped on-call mobile maintenance and after sales service teams provide 24/12 support at any point on the vast South African road map. When hauling an Afrit trailer, downtime becomes drive time, ensuring business is where it should be - on the road. Afrit’s philosophy since inception in 1968 is unchanging: to deliver the lightest possible trailers with uncompromised quality and the highest legal payload for its clients to earn maximum income. “You’ll never be in doubt which trailer will stand the test of time,” says Leon van de Wetering.

For 21% of the country’s businesses to spend more than 10% of the cost of their goods on transport indicates quite clearly the plight we are in Logistical costs slashed ‘Without Trucks, South Africa Stops’ runs the slogan of the Road Freight Association. And currently, 80% of the nation’s companies move more than 90% of their goods by road. But as Barloworld Logistics supply chain foresight 2010 survey observes, perhaps the most pressing need is to significantly reduce supply chain and logistics costs. “For 21% of the country’s businesses to spend more than 10% of the cost of their goods on transport indicates quite clearly the plight we are in,” said the survey. Afrit’s objective of designing and producing the highest quality product at an affordable price meets this challenge. 6

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Even so it is a given among the more astute truck operators, that support and back-up takes precedence over price when it comes to the purchase of a new vehicle. “You have to have the capability to design and produce any type of quality product to suit the customer’s specific needs supported by great after sales service,” says Leon van de Wetering.

Sales support critical “Speak to any transport operator in South Africa and he will always stress after sales support is one of the most important factors to consider and evaluate before making a buying decision.” Customer surveys indicate that all these points are characteristics they associate with Afrit. And while Afrit has a large facility for aftersales, accident repairs, modifications and standard warranty work, it also has a network of Afrit-assessed specialists’ throughout South Africa.


You are never far from Afrit No matter where the road may take you, from Cape Town in the South to Limpopo province in the north, Afrit will always be close at hand. “If I was phoned from anywhere in the country by a client who needed roadside assistance I will be able to attend to his problem very quickly through our network of operators.” says Leon with assurance. “The market in Africa and South Africa in particular, is very big but it is also very diverse. In Europe for example, the market accepts one specific type of product based on a standard design. In South Africa our standard designs and products are in high demand yet most of our clients require a customised design and product tailored according to their requirements and operating environment. “So with every customer it’s important to evaluate their requirements in order to offer the best design solution until they are

completely satisfied. I believe our innovative approach together with the wide range of products and thousands of designs in our computer data bank has helped us overcome the recession during the last couple of years.” Much of Afrit’s success is based on this leading edge design and high trailer performance, and no challenge is too great for their design team. The transport industry is fast paced and very demanding – 60 % of work is currently with side tipping trailers for transport to and from mines - with customer’s continually monitoring payload capacity and return on investment.

whilst ensuring the manufacturing process is efficient and quality uncompromised.” Often the route is new specification requirements requested from our marketing department who in turn gained insight from the product information division according to customer feedback, says van de Wetering This is a big family firm with extended family values. Each participating member is a shareholder in the business, holding a specialty position, and in Leon’s words, “working 24/7 round the clock.” Besides Leon there are six van de Weterings’ at the helm of Afrit, Andre Managing Director; Johan - Director; Albert After Sales Manager; Gerben - Weld Assembly Manager; Gerrit - Technical Manager, and Hans - Purchasing and Logistics Manager.

If I was phoned from anywhere in the country… I will be able to attend to his problem very quickly

Uncompromising quality “Our design division, in synergy with various other divisions, is constantly tasked with making trailers more efficient and lighter on the road,



“We are very proud of our heritage, the Afrit brand and the quality product we offer our clients. For this reason we have an open policy and participate in daily discussions with the focus on improving our product and service offering,’ says Leon. “I believe this is one of the key contributing factors why we are one step ahead of our competitors.” Famed as the country’s biggest and most respected trailer manufacturer, with 25%30% market share, Afrit also has a strong position in other industries. “Our dedicated manufacturing, components and assembly plants, offered us the opportunity to diversify and target markets such as Agricultural equipment and the manufacturing and supply of steel components.

To be the best Absolute focus also describes Afrit’s attitude to leadership and staff relations. The line


between top management and employees is in cohesion. As Leon says “Communication is vital; to be able to talk to one another about a project, or even their family life. The most important factor is to be able to deliver positive criticism but also to receive it. “ And at Afrit leadership comes by example… at the frontline. “Your employees’ take notice if you are working more hours than they do, that you are willing to go the extra mile, take on a challenge and get your hands dirty.” At Afrit the philosophy is that respect is earned by your actions and not forced down by your title. Leon van de Wetering concludes, “We are extremely honoured to be part of such a strong heritage and successful company. Our main focus is to make sure the 700-plus people working for us are proud employees and that we are all going forward with the same mindset: To be the best at what we do.” END

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SA Mag - Issue 4 - AFRIT FEATURE