Value-added processing was not the focus of Specials Steels when it was established over 20 years ago. The main emphasis of the company at the time was to be a specialist cut-to-length company of imported bar and tube company.
“However, in recent years we have concentrated on adding value in all the right places and moved away from being just a specialist cut-to-length company of imported bar and tube company. Niche steel industry capabilities and focus allows our company to be the hybrid between a steel supplier that is able to add value to our products for the benefit of our clients,” said Byron Ferguson, MD of Special Steels.
“The most recent of these capabilities has been the introduction of robotic welding and laser cutting.”
“The use of robotic welding for high-volume automotive component production is becoming more widespread. Benefits such as better quality and improved consistency combined with a variety of technical advancements for the implementation robotic welding during the fabrication process have been key reasons behind this.”
Robotic welding for high-volume automotive component production is becoming more widespread. Special Steels offers robotic welding not just for long production runs but also for small runs
“To suggest that all manufacturers view robotic automation as a wonderful thing would be a gross assumption. That said, there are undeniable advantages that those on the decision-making fence may find helpful. In fact, those manufacturers worried about losing skilled welders due to worker burnout or displacing current employees as a result of new technology will most likely find reassurance in that using robotic automation in no way replaces the skill and experience of a manual welder. Instead, robotics allows those individuals to focus their time and energy on complex projects that require skill, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.”
“One robot is generally as productive as 2.5 welders, which is why many companies find that adding a robotic work cell is enough to help optimise operations. Usually equipped with one or two arc welding robots, a robust weld package, and peripheral technology for seam tracking, today’s robotic welding systems are a cost-effective way to integrate robotics into your welding processes.”
“The benefits of adopting robotic welding include maintaining production schedules and performing welds for high-volume runs, freeing up workers to focus on high-value tasks. Performing basic welds over and over can become redundant, often leading to employee boredom, burnout, and occasionally ergonomic injury. Implementing robots that allow skilled workers to take on other tasks such as short runs or custom fabrication for specialty orders is a win-win.”
Laser cutting of sheet metal
“Besides having the capabilities of plasma and oxy-fuel cutting, we also introduced laser cutting to our services for those companies that require smaller gauge to be cut or might need production runs to be done but cannot justify the cost of purchasing their own machine.”
Laser cutting is another process that Special Steels offers
“A company that doesn’t have a laser cutting machine generally subcontracts the work to one or several job shops with that capability. This scenario doesn’t involve a lot of risk and can work if you have some flexibility with lead times.”
“We found that many of our clients that were using our other services also needed laser cutting to be done. Investing in a laser cutting machine is a large investment and you will need to justify why the investment needs to be made. We therefore decided to make the investment because, collectively the amount of work that we currently do for clients on the Amada machine, gave us the justification.”
“The added benefit is a client does not have to shift his material around from one shop to another. He eliminates all those costly handling and delivery costs. And of course the time that is involved.”
“We decided to develop and invest in the tailor-made solutions and this has now resulted in Special Steels offering CNC machining services such as normal and deep-hole drilling, facing and centring, normal and robotic welding, tapping and bevelling as well as hardness testing, ultrasonic testing, heat treatment, lab services and logistics.”
“This is over and above the bandsaw, laser, plasma and oxyfuel cutting services that are necessary in our business.”
“It’s been a strategic, focused approach to growth. All of this growth has come with the sole purpose to improve our quality and be able to do more for our customers while making sure we do not compete with them,” said Ferguson.
For further details contact Special Steels on TEL: 011 865 4939 or visit www.specialsteels.co.za