Embracing an innovative approach has allowed Xmeco’s foundry division to improve production and overall efficiency, enabling them to service clients from as far away as Russia and Venezuela.
Xmeco’s foundry and machine shop, located in the Neave Industrial Township in Port Elizabeth, provides moulding, melting, heat treatment and fettling facilities and mainly does aluminium and bronze castings, small and medium in size.
Started in 1951, Xmeco also manufactures resistance welding equipment used in car markers’ body shop production lines.
“The main scope of Xmeco at the moment is for the mining industry but we try not to keep our eggs in one basket; that is why you find this range; from resistance welding equipment to castings for the mining industry,” explains the group’s Vanie West.
Xmeco’s welding equipment clients include major car brands and their suppliers, both locally and abroad.
“We’re fortunate that we have part of the international market,” she says.
After successfully applying to MCEP for grant funding, the business invested in production capacity that allows it to make its machinery in-house.
This allowed the business to produce the specialised equipment it needed that simply wasn’t available on the market. “So [the machinery] was designed in-house with a lot of trial and error and development before it went into production.”
To meet their needs they built eight machines allowing them to improve efficiency, increase production and reduce scrap and re-work rates.
The MCEP funding was put to good use, enabling Xmeco to install a holding furnace that improved melting efficiency and significantly reduced power consumption.
In addition, a new and complete impeller production line was installed and commissioned. This installation included a steel die set, a core box to produce highly accurate impeller vanes, a precisely controllable core drying oven, an auto ladle and a die manipulator to speed up the ejection of the casting from the die.
Xmeco then also installed two fuel-fired furnaces able to burn multiple fuels that offers electricity savings and improves melting turnaround times.
“A big thank you to the dti, because the MCEP made such a special incentive and allowed us to in-house build machinery and equipment,” West says.
The funding also allowed them to think ahead and come up with a “bigger project”. West explains that the company is thinking of further expanding capacity.
“We want to work smarter. If we work smarter we can, of course, increase productivity and reduce our scrap and re-work. We can take on more work, which has a snowball effect – more work and we can take on more people.”