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L O U W I L L E N G I N E E R I N G

FEATURE


METICULOUS QUALITY

DR I V I NG SUCCESS

Structural steelwork solutions provider Louwill Engineering is a name synonymous with quality says director Deon Kotze. By Ian Armitage

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Louwill Engineering FEATURE

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tructural steelwork solutions provider Louwill Engineering is a name synonymous in the steel construction industry with unrivalled expertise, painstaking attention to detail at all stages of fabrication and installation and superb customer service. It has a proud record of achievement in the mining industry, successfully combining hands-on experience with modern technology to fabricate, supply and erect shaft headgears, bins and chutes (mild steel and all grades stainless steel), mine shaft infrastructures, including compressor houses, workshops and processor plants, as well as smelters and associated steelwork, conveyors and related equipment, underground material handling steelwork and station and shaft steelwork. It is an enviable offering. “We are amongst the top few engineering companies capable of offering a complete

fabrication, delivery and erection service to the mining and smelting industries,” says Louwill director Deon Kotze. ”In addition to the fabrication capabilities offered, we also offer a full and comprehensive erection and commissioning service.” Louwill recently engaged in the erection of the pre-assembled headgears of both the main and services shafts at the Royal Bafokeng Platinum Styldrift shaft complex. “That was the erection of two headgears on the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum mine, a 50:50 joint venture between Anglo Platinum and Royal Bafokeng Holdings,” Kotze says. The main shaft and services shaft headgears were designed by Anglo Technical Division and METS, and were manufactured and pre-assembled on pads: the main shaft headgear in three sections, and the services shaft headgear in four sections. “We did the erection of the headgear,” says


Louwill Engineering FEATURE

Kotze. “It was completed in record time; it was quite an achievement. “The contract was awarded in early 2010; total weight of the two headgears amounts to an estimated 1,200 t.” The headgear centre tower and A-frame sections were assembled on concrete pre-erection pads and frames, and placed into position using a 1,000 t lattice boom crawler rig type crane from Sarens, one of the biggest cranes in South Africa. “We stand apart from the crowd because we insist on all-round, meticulous quality,” Kotze says. “This philosophy embraces not 4

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We are amongst the top few engineering companies capable of offering a complete fabrication, delivery and erection service to the mining and smelting industries

only what we manufacture, but how we manufacture it. “We aren’t what I would consider a big, big company but we can compete with them because of the expertise we have. Also, being smaller we can generally do things at a lower budget than the big companies who carry major corporate overheads. And we have got good workmen in the company and on site as well. All of our men onsite are direct employees, we don’t subcontract any labour. If we do a tender and know we are not going to be able to do the work with our own people then we don’t do it,” Kotze adds. The main reason Louwill


doesn’t use subcontractors or contractors, he says, is that “if you use a contractor that then uses a subcontractor, you have no direct control over the quality of subcontractors’ work.” Similarly, contractors or subcontractors may not appreciate your business culture and may lack the motivation and commitment of permanent staff. “The calibre of people you’ll find at Louwill define our approach to any project: ontime delivery, within budget, without any sacrifice in our quality,” says Kotze. “We are committed to quality.” With this commitment to quality in mind, as well as a need to increase product turn around time and processing time, and optimally utilise material, Louwill made the decision to purchase SigmaNEST Nesting Software late last year. SigmaNEST PowerPack maximises material efficiency, minimises scrap, increases machine productivity, and streamlines overall production. “We have looked to become as competitive as possible, as well as cost efficient,” says Kotze. So what is the current state of the industry? Are things picking up? It’s mixed, says he. “We are very dependent on projects going up in South Africa. We don’t do a lot of

product range


Louwill Engineering FEATURE

work outside our borders so we depend on the local mining infrastructure. I would say 90 percent of our work is for the mining sector. So we need high platinum prices and high gold prices for us to have work in the workshop. That is the market we target and you can only hope for the best.” Kotze has been with Louwill for 11 years, so had been in the game a long time. He certainly knows a thing or two. “I would like to see an optimistic future, but there is a lot of conflicting talk. I don’t know. It is difficult to answer. We’ll take it month by month.” Louwill is owned by CEO Ben Swanepoel; his son M Swanepoel works as MD. Its subsidiary companies are Steel-Mech Engineering (fabrication) and Powersteel 6

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Construction (site erection and commissioning). “We are a small company run by a few directors and that is it,” Kotze says. “There is nothing fancy to it; everybody jumps in, from the CEO down; if there is work to be done in the workshop, we will get in and help where we can and do what we do best. And that is it. “It is a very close company with an open door policy. If you have a problem you can go and speak to whomever you need to speak to.” What is the secret to Louwill’s success? Simple: “We deliver good service,” Kotze says. “Our name is synonymous in the steel construction industry with unrivalled expertise, painstaking attention to detail at all stages of fabrication and installation and superb customer service.” END


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93 Butler Rd Nuffield Springs 1559 P.O. Box 10834 Strubenvale Springs 1570 Tel: (011) 818-5186 Fax: (011) 818-5185 Email: mail@louwill.co.za

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LOUWILL ENGINEERING FEATURE