Technical Springworks, which manufactures specialised springs, was accredited in September 2003 by Spoornet as meeting the South African railway company’s quality control requirements. Subsequent to that the Mozambican national railway company awarded Technical Springworks a R7 million (US$1.1 million) contract. With the typical contract undertaken by Technical Springworks being in the R250,000 to 750,000 (US$40,000 to 118,000) range, the Mozambican contract helped boost to about 50% the business the company sources from the railways sector.

This builds upon Technical Springworks’s other major source of business, the mining sector, which accounts for another 40%. For example, Anglo American, Samancor, Eskom and Mittal make use of Technical Springworks products as do a variety of engineering companies undertaking projects in the mining sector. Mining sector applications for which the springs produced are used include the bracing of heavy furnaces, and in crushing and screening equipment.

Apart from South Africa other countries in Africa to which the company supplies springs are Mozambique, the DRC, Botswana as well as Zimbabwe’s platinum sector. “A fair share of our production, which is made to order, is exported cross border outside South Africa, and we also export our springs offshore to countries such as the UK, Germany and the USA,” Technical Springworks managing director, Franco Gallo, says.

Technical Springworks, which has invested about R8 million (US$1.25 million) in plant and equipment, produces springs that range in size from having material 1 mm in diameter to 65 mm in diameter. The company’s factory in Wadeville uses some 80 tonnes of spring steel material a month in its production facilities.

The company, which has been in existence since 1983, entered the specialist industrial springs sector of the market four years ago when it purchased Toyota’s manufacturing facilities, as the latter wished to concentrate on the production of motor vehicle springs. Gallo says that since then Technical Springworks’s business in the specialist springs market has been steadily increasing, and this has been helped by the company’s highly qualified technical people and skilled artisans, who have between them more than 100 years of experience in the manufacture of springs.

“We have acquired a great knowledge of spring manufacturing and technology through our own production of springs. We know what every spring manufacturer should know about springs!” Gallo says.

After discussing what is required with a client, Technical Springworks will look at the design of a spring and the most appropriate grade of spring steel for the product, and it will optimise these to provide the customer with longer usage. The company, which has seven furnaces for the production of springs and employs about 50 people, typically delivers on a lead time of about two weeks on new orders. It usually offers a guarantee of two years on its products, which can range in mass from 250 g to 150 kg.MRA