Rely IntraCast, one of only four investment casting foundries in South Africa, has recently been the subject of an MBO

“We specifically chose the name Intakobusi because of the symbolism that is associated with it. In the isiXhosa language spoken in South Africa Intakobusi is “the bird of honey” or more generally known as the honeyguide.”

Rely IntraCast
Rely IntraCast, one of only four investment casting foundries in South Africa, specialises in precision casting in most commercially available alloys, including all grades of stainless steel, nickel- and copper-based alloys and nonferrous alloys.

The Boksburg, Gauteng-based company was formed in late 2006 when IntraCast Precision Castings was acquired by Allied Production Industries and was merged with Rely Precision Castings, a company that was established in 1953.

At the time, Rely Precision Castings had been producing lost wax investment castings for almost 25 years and was one of the largest investment casting foundries in South Africa.

IntraCast Precision Castings was formed in 1995 and rapidly created a reputation for innovation and service.

Rely IntraCast specialises in precision casting in most commercially available alloys, including all grades of stainless steel, nickel- and copper-based alloys and nonferrous alloys

Rely IntraCast is the only investment casting foundry in South Africa that is able to manufacture castings between 40 and 60 kilograms nett weight. Mould sizes are up to 50 kilograms. This is as a result of the commissioning of a 50 ton press five years ago.

“The reason we can cope with such relatively heavy castings is that we have incorporated a robot into the production line. We installed our first robot about 20 years ago and fully believe in using the production capacity of a robot. In this case it is not physically and economically viable to use human labour when handling such heavy castings and this is where the robot takes over,” explained Hughes.

Two other 20 ton presses have subsequently been installed, which took the company to the 10 press mark, ranging from 12 ton to 50 tons. The company now has the capacity to manufacture castings from a few grams up to 60 kilograms and from one-offs to volumes of 100 000 plus for a single component, depending on customer requirements.

The company has also increased its melting capacity by purchasing a further two 100 kilogram furnaces.

Solution solving
The company prides itself on providing casting solutions to current methods of manufacturing.

“There are a number of examples that I can give you but let me explain. Rely IntraCast uses the high-definition investment casting process, also referred to as lost wax casting, where high-quality tooling is used to produce fault-free polymer waxes, which are the patterns for forming ceramic moulds for producing net or near-net-shape castings in a wide range of metals, from volumes of one to 100 000,” explained Hughes.

“In our business it is a matter of educating the potential clients. A big advantage is that we can cast over 200 alloy types, but it is the time factor – machining and time-to-market – that is the biggest cost saving to companies. We can produce near-net-shape castings at a fraction of the cost of machining solids, for example. It is this area that we continually work on and have put a greater emphasis on because those companies that are already using investment castings do not need to be converted,” continued Hughes.

Walro Flex has also been the subject of an MBO

“A recent case in point was a client who was importing his component from the US. He is involved in the glass manufacturing industry and the component requires threading and small holes. The material used is very hard and machining, tapping and spark eroding of the small holes was required, which are all time consuming operations. Once these operations were completed the component still had to go for heat treatment. We convinced him that we could cast the component in one and the end result is that he is now saving 30% on each component.”

“The technology of providing for threading and small holes on components when using the investment process has been around for a long time. However, it is a challenge to design the moulds and perform the casting methods so that the components attain the accuracy that is required. Coupled with the company’s experience in this area and applying the technology correctly we are now achieving very satisfactory results for clients.”

“Another example is a client who was having a simple bracket laser cut and then welded. Now he gets the bracket from us as cast with no machining or further operations required.”

“It is also in the area of materials that we are achieving great results. Because of the process involved in investment casting which allows for the production of components with accuracy, repeatability, versatility and integrity in a variety of metals and high-performance alloys we can easily convert a client from using one type of material to another type, that will result in huge savings for him, without compromising the specifications of the component.”

“With the installation of the 50 ton press we opened up a new sector of industry that the company had not been involved in before.”

The company specialises in the manufacture of investment castings to individual customer’s requirements in all air-melted alloys. The company supplies, among others, the automotive, steel making, mining, valve and pump, power generation, defence and glass making industries with precision castings for car door hinges, tap hole drills, hose couplings, valve bodies, impellers, boiler spacers, baffles and guide plates to both local and international markets.

The company also offers rapid prototyping systems that create three-dimensional models by forming cross sections of patterns, using data from any computer-aided design (CAD) system. The transition from CAD to a physical model takes place in a matter of hours without tooling or machining, costing about 10% of the cost of manufacturing a prototype.

These models can then be used for design evaluation or directly as patterns for the casting of metal components. Using this technology, Rely IntraCast also produces cast-to-form tooling with precise investment casting.

3D Printing
“When a serious publication like Harvard Business Review declares, “3D printing is changing the way we think,” only those business owners with a head-in-the-sand mentality, excuse the pun, are going to dismiss it as more academia rhetoric. And they’d be making a mistake.”
“Computer-aided design (CAD) software has emerged as a great tool for shaping an idea into a product. But there is nothing better than designing real-life scenarios in order to gain the proper feedback on a design. By using 3D printing, manufacturers are able to cut out much of their secondary tooling processes, such as injection moulding, resin tooling, mould making, and soft tooling. This of course saves on costs and shortens the time to market dramatically.”

Both Rely Intracast and Walro Flex will in future fall under a recently established industrial holding company Intakobusi Holdings (Pty) Ltd

“I can also add that there are much tighter tolerances that can be achieved. However, the technology is very much limited to low-volume components or one-offs because of the current cost of the production based equipment presently available, but this will change in time.”

“The technology gives companies the opportunity not only to save on development costs but also the ability to manufacture product locally that was previously imported.”

BGG Cable Manufacturing SA (Pty) Ltd trading as Walro Flex
This operation was originally a division of Allied Production Industries and traded under the name of Walro Flex, which is still the trade name of the cable the company manufactures. BGG Cable Manufacturing specialises in and is the only independent manufacturer of automotive wire and battery cable in Southern Africa. In 2003 the joint venture company BGG was purchased from its parent Gebauer & Griller of Austria and the two operations merged on the Walro Flex site in Alberton North, Gauteng.

At the time of the purchase of BGG a technical transfer agreement was signed with Gebauer & Griller, a leading automotive cable developer and manufacturer in Europe and this technical relationship is still enjoyed today.

Carlos Palinhos, the current Managing Director, was appointed to the position in 2013. Palinhos had previously worked at Rely Intracast for the majority of his 20 years experience in the foundry industry.

“When I was appointed MD the company had a 95% exposure to the automotive industry with the manufacture and supply of harness wiring to the local OEMs such as VW South Africa, Toyota South Africa, Ford South Africa and Nissan, amongst others.”

“I have gradually changed that mix and the automotive industry now only makes up 50% of our production. Non-automotive cable in the low to medium voltage range of highly flexible conductors, which are used in the manufacturing of low voltage switch gear and carbon brush assembly on electrical motors, are now very much part of our product range, as are many other specialist products.”

Both companies boast ISO 9001:2008 and TS16949:2009 quality management certification and between them they employ 235 staff.

“We have an established team of directors in place with the drive, determination and vision to take the business forward to an exciting future. We aim to build on our long-standing business relationships, and continue to grow our business with clients and suppliers alike.”

“The name of the holding company and the ownership has changed, but the people, and their expertise, are all still here,” concluded Palinhos.

For further details contact Rely IntraCast on TEL: 011 914 1640 or visit www.rely.co.za or Walro Flex on TEL: 011 907 1563 or visit www.walroflex.com

Management buyout enables majority stake in Rely Intracast and Walro Flex