SAIF Newsletter – March

By March 31, 2017 Newsletters

Retirement message
John Davies, CEO: South African Institute of Foundrymen

John Davies, CEO: South African Institute of Foundrymen

With hopes for the foundry industry heightened by the encouraging key-note address delivered last week at the opening of the 2nd Metal Casting Conference by Mr Lionel October, the Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry, and excited by the success of the conference and the support it received from both local and overseas delegates and exhibitors, it is not with a little sadness that the time has come for me to “hang up my boots” and move on to the next chapter of my life.

My association with the industry and institute stretches back for nearly fifty years and it is difficult to seek out the highlights in that period. Technologically, the development of medium frequency induction melting furnaces and the “cold box” core making processes were significant advances at the time, in the fields in which I was active. There were many other improvements made that have had a positive change on the industry, making it a safer, better and more exciting sector in which to work. More recently, simulation modelling and additive manufacturing, including 3-D printing of moulds and cores, have created a new set of tools for foundrymen to enhance their skills in the forming of complicated shapes. It is my belief that foundries that embrace the host of new technologies available will thrive in a future driven by the “industrial internet of things”, which will enable enhanced levels of process control to be achieved resulting in improved productivity, competitiveness and market share.

During the last seven years, my position at the Institute, has allowed me to place myself closer to the needs of industry and it has been particularly rewarding to have been involved in the skills development, training and education initiatives. The Gauteng Foundry Training Centre was developed with the latter having this month recruited a further ten apprentices to be trained in foundry trades. Much still needs to be done, but with this pipeline of skills being created, the industry will surely be well served by this talent source in the future. The “learnership” pilot project was also successfully completed with fourteen learners receiving their NQF Level 4 certificates in 2014. My gratitude is extended to all those who have worked to make these interventions possible.

The “modular diploma courses” have been incredibly successful and it has been a humbling experience to see the enthusiasm and commitment shown by learners across the country in attending classes and the delight displayed by them when receiving recognition. The team of facilitators deserves special thanks for their commitment and dedication and the NFTN for supporting this training.

The industry, however, is a fraternity, bonded by all the people that work in it; foundrymen, suppliers, customers, academics and members of government and industry institutions, and it has been an honour and my privilege to have had the support, co-operation and friendship of everyone with whom I have worked. My very best wishes for success in the future are extended to each of you. Thank you all for making my journey such a wonderful, worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

I shall be handing over the “baton” to Sagren Naicker to carry the institute forward, which I am sure he will do with distinction.

— John Davies —

The current challenges facing the foundry industry are no different from the that being faced by the manufacturing sector in general in South Africa.

Herewith are some to take note:

  • Manufacturing is declining as a percentage of the total economy
  • 25 foundries have shut down since 2010 losing some 1600 jobs, or a decline in employment of about 15%
  • Shortage of technical and soft skills
  • Not keeping up with technological advances in the industry
  • Import leakage and little protection from imports
  • Scrap and waste management
  • New air emissions regulations

However, on the bullish side,

  • A mature foundry industry
  • Pockets of excellence in manufacturing
  • Cost effective resources
  • Generally good and reliable infrastructure
  • Economy is ready for revival and GDP growth
  • Government’s Policy Action Plan (IPAP) with supply-side support
  • Designation and both the capacity and capability to export

Against this background, SAIF will continue to be the voice of the foundry industry to uplift the core skills in the industry through the provision of skills development by training and education and to represent the industry by interacting with local and central government.

In conjunction with the NFTN, projects have been identified that will assist the foundry industry with capacity utilisation and improving the capability of the industry in general.

These projects include but not limited to:

  • Uplift the SAIF artisan qualification programme in line with the DHET requirements for school leavers through the Ekurhuleni East College, which hosts the Gauteng Foundry Training College
  • Plan, manage and execute the Melter Artisan programme
  • Skills and training support for a Diploma in Foundry Technology Programme
  • Continue with on demand short course training programmes in line with industry requirements
  • Assistance with new emissions control regulations and close interactions with the DEA
  • Other initiatives to improve the cost competitiveness of the industry, e.g., sand recycling
  • Support the localisation programmes to secure more orders to the industry

The SAIF is well positioned to take on these tasks that are facing the industry in the near and long term. This is only be made possible by the excellent relationship that exists within the management of SAIF and among the constituent members.

Recognition must therefore go to the Board of SAIF under the astute leadership of John Davies that has played an invaluable role within the foundry industry fraternity.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank John for his precious contribution to the industry and wish him on a well-deserved retirement.

Hamba Kahle John

–Sagren Naicker–

SAIF Annual General Meeting

Date: Tuesday 16 May 2017

Venue: Reading Country Club, Alberton

Nominations for Board members must be submitted to by no later than Tuesday 25 April. Please include a motivation for your nomination as well as an abbreviated CV of the proposed candidate.

Any special topics for discussion under the General point on the agenda must also be submitted to no later than Tuesday 25 April 2017.

SAIF Annual Awards Dinner

Date: Friday 2 June 2017

Venue: Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, Gauteng

Diploma Programme

Learners who have completed the minimum requirements of six (6) modules of the Diploma Programme should kindly contact the office to ensure verification of each certificate completed. Learners will receive their awards at the annual event. The deadline for submission is 28 April 2017.

AH Guy Award

Criteria for AH Guy Award

This award gives recognition to an individual who has shown exceptional and outstanding service to the foundry industry. This award is only bestowed once on an individual. Any individual in the foundry industry is eligible for this award. Nominations for individuals should be submitted with a detailed motivation to be considered by the awards committee. The deadline for submission is 28 April

Lifetime / Honorary Member Award

Criteria for Lifetime Member Award

This award is given to individuals who are fully paid-up SAIF members that has been members of the Institute for no less than 30 consecutive years of membership and their membership status is in good

Criteria for Honorary Member Award

This award is in recognition of exceptional service to the Institute by an individual. An individual can only receive this award once. The individual MUST be a SAIF Member. Nominations for individuals must be submitted with a detailed motivation for consideration by the awards committee. The deadline for submission is 28 April 2017.


We would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and invaluable support to the Institute and the annual SAIF Awards dinner.

To become a sponsor of this event, please contact the SAIF office to confirm your contribution.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, 05 April – Friday 07 April 2017 – ICC KZN: NAACAM 2017 (In Partnership with AFSA)

Thursday, 09 November 2017 – Reading Country Club: SAIF Members Golf Day