Heavy engineering company, sheet metal fabricator and manufacturer, Efficient Engineering, has risen dramatically through the ranks of South African fabricators to become one of the market leaders in this industry.

For much of its history Efficient Engineering was a wholly family owned business, having been established 42 years ago by Giuseppe Cimato. It was subsequently taken over by his son Tony, who has taken the company to the next level.

The company was based in Sebenza, Gauteng, until 2006, but due to limited space for expansion, it then moved to its current location in Elandsfontein near Johannesburg.

This new location consists of two sites (in close proximity of each other), comprising three custom built workshops and office facilities. The total manufacturing area is 12,500 m2 allowing a production throughput of 650-700 tonnes of fabricated steelwork a month. Bay widths of 22 metres, under crane heights of 14 metres and crane capacity of 100 tonnes allow Efficient engineering to take on the biggest of jobs.

“In fact, the limiting factor on the components we fabricate is usually the size of what can be transported by road,” Cimato says.

The fabrication facility is augmented with the largest CNC hydraulic press brake (1,250 tonne) in SA, an onsite machine shop which boasts; a five axis (universal head) CNC horizontal boring mill with a six metre bed, a conventional horizontal boring mill with a nine metre bed, two vertical boring mills with a maximum swing of two metres, two table type CNC horizontal boring mills (15 tonne table capacity), a CNC milling machining centre and various CNC and conventional lathes.

Fab1

A portal structure for a ship loader
manufactured by Efficient Engineering

These machines incorporate the latest CNC technologies and customisation to facilitate higher efficiencies in production cycles and ensure world class quality workmanship, which are cornerstones of Efficient Engineering’s offering.

Efficient also boasts two spray booth facilities, of 500 and 400 m2 respectively, and a 500 m2 shot blasting area. Its capacity to provide all aspects of manufacturing enables it to offer the customer a one stop shop.

Efficient is more than just its plant and equipment. Thanks to its drawing and engineering office, equipped with software including; Autocad, SolidWorks, Edgecam and Sigmanest, it is able to use in-house expertise to design components, enhance customer products, generate nestings from customer drawings for the most cost effective plate utilisation and program the CNC machines for optimal tool paths. The company also tracks the whole manufacturing process using a self-developed software solution, from the arrival of material to the despatch of the finished item. “The goal is to be as efficient as possible and to do that we must remain at the forefront of technology,” Cimato notes.

Welding technology is integral to heavy engineering and fabrication, an aspect of production embraced by Efficient Engineering. To this end, Efficient Engineering has developed relationships with leading experts in the fields of welding and structural design who partner with Efficient Engineering to develop solutions to some of the most complex engineering challenges.

The company employs some 130 people and it looks to balance the use of personnel with the use of modern equipment. The calibre of the production staff at Efficient Engineering sets it aside from most competitors. “All the technicians and welders at the company are certified.”

Fab2

An example of high integrity
submerged arc welding.

“We have put a lot of effort into ensuring we recruit and retain the best people, as the skills we require are not abundant and are vital to ensuring that we maintain the high quality of output that our customers have become accustomed to,” Cimato says.

These factors have enabled Efficient Engineering to become a supplier of choice within the market in which it operates – medium and heavy fabrication and machining. The company is in the process of implementing the ISO 9001:2008 quality management system so as to formalise the existing processes that ensure the high quality product for which Efficient Engineering is renowned.

Efficient, as a jobbing facility, has traditionally been servicing the mining, material handling and minerals beneficiation industry, with typical products including, stacker/reclaimers, heavy-haul truck bodies (280 tonne capacity), loader buckets, dragline buckets, ladle cars, transfer cars, bogies, undercarriages, bucket wheels, stainless steel selector gates, ship loaders and vibratory screens. These products and components are generally manufactured for the OEM. Efficient Engineering’s offering includes the trial assembly and cold commissioning of many components.

As such Efficient Engineering remains an open shop working for various blue chip OEMs. These include ELB Engineering, Thyssenkrupp, Komatsu, Terex, VR Truck Bodies, Caterpillar, Joest, Vibramech and many others.

Efficient Engineering also undertakes various machining repairs and machined component replacements.

Efficient Engineering has recognised that it needs to diversify to some degree and this would be both in terms of market expansion (markets and clients) and well as own product development. To this end it has made great strides in the development of its first proprietary products.

One of these products is modular electrical substations. These are designed and built in-house after collaboration with the client on the specification. The value proposition of this product is the ability to move and re-commission a fully conforming substation to a new location within 48 hours. These modules are constructed out of steel (12 m X 4.6 m X 3.0 m high) include high voltage and medium voltage switchgear, HVAC, pressurisation equipment, fire suppression equipment, access control and emergency lighting. Provision for inter-modular interfacing is also made as these units are cold commissioned in the works prior to delivery.

Another proprietary product is high volume Articulated Dump Truck (ADT) coal bins. These bins are designed to replace the existing standard bin on the OEM ADT, where additional capacity is required due to a low density material being transported, such as coal.

Features include an automatically latching tailgate and lightweight construction from high strength steel. In addition to these products, Efficient has formed a partnership with Witbank based company Industrial Fluid Solutions (IFS) which specialises in fuel and lubrication systems. Together the partnership is able to combine its expertise and supply the mining industry with bulk fluid handing solutions such as water tankers, diesel tankers and service trucks. These are based on ADTs or rigid dumper trucks.

Fab3

Efficient Engineering’s new manufacturing
facility

Recently completed projects include an off-road service unit based on the Komatsu HM400 ADT. This unit is used to carry out infield service on larger mining vehicles and is able to dispense four different oil types, grease, coolant, and wash water. It is also fitted with a waste oil tank for removal of old product. The fully enclosed design of this unit eliminates the possibility of any accidental spillage.

Another recently completed project is an 82,000 litre water tanker based on a Cat777F rigid dumper. This unit is primarily used for mine haul road dust suppression, and boasts a 15 m spray width. Other functions include a gravity fed rear dump spray bar, a remote controlled fire fighting cannon, and filling capability from an external water source.

One of the contributing factors to the ongoing success of Efficient Engineering has been the fact that in its 42 years of existence, ownership and management have been synonymous. Recently Efficient successfully concluded a BEE transaction. “It is hoped that this will go some way to meeting our social obligations and open new market opportunities, while allowing the existing management team to retain some degree of ownership,” Cimato says.

Efficient Engineering has identified its opportunities for growth in the expansion of its OEM client base and the offering of its existing services to the maintenance and refurbishment market.