An investment in capital equipment has helped Deckel Sportslids replace a significant amount of imports of automotive components ranging from canopies to mud flaps, boot spoilers, and body kits.
With funding from MCEP, Deckel Sportslids has designed and is manufacturing a new canopy that has revolutionised the industry. The innovation the company introduced relies on using a double-moulded manufacturing process instead of fibreglass traditionally used to make canopies.
The hugely more efficient manufacturing process moulds the canopy in a single shot, with a cycle time of under three minutes. Using the conventional fibreglass method, this process previously took a full day to make one moulding.
Thanks to this innovation, Deckel Sportslids now makes 120 mouldings in one shift, which could be ramped up to 240 canopies a day if demand requires it.
Apart from the quicker production process, the new product is more durable and is recyclable. These characteristics have opened export avenues into countries like Australia and Europe that are looking to do away with fibreglass and non-recyclable products.
The business has been trading in the new canopy since 2014.
Speaking in 2014 shortly after the new product had been launched, the company’s late CEO, Quintin Immelman said this would not have been possible without the support from MCEP.
“Finance is probably one of the major challenges. It’s not a cheap thing to put in a moulding facility, especially when you are talking about the size of parts that you are. Moulds, for example, cost anything from R1 million up. It sounds a lot but it is a lot cheaper than an injection-moulded tool of equivalent size which could cost in the region of R15 million to produce.”
Like most small companies, Deckel Sportslids found it difficult to get funding from the banks. He said without the help of MCEP it would have been difficult to put the machinery and the moulds in place.
“Without their money, I would have battled a lot longer to get the project off the ground. The Manufacturing Enhancement Competitiveness Programme sped up the process and reduced the time to market.”
Apart from the export opportunities, the investment has enabled Deckel Sportslids to meet domestic demand, thereby making imported competition less attractive. This has created additional jobs in the industry and produced downstream benefits to suppliers of components such as glass.