the dti

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) promotes structural transformation creating a dynamic industrial and globally competitive economy. It broadens participation in the economy to strengthen economic development and continually aims to respond effectively to the needs of South Africa’s economic citizens. MORE>>

The IDC

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is the national development finance institution promoting economic growth and industrial development. The organisation’s primary objectives are to contribute to the creation of balanced, sustainable economic growth in South Africa and the rest of Africa. MORE>>

bottomhook

Quick Press

Life is much easier at Quick Press Manufacturing since the company upgraded its machinery through the Department of Trade and Industry's Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP).
MORE >

December 9, 2015

OrangeImpact has grown from humble beginnings into a high-volume, low-cost steel surface service centre

When he got a resounding ‘No’ from the banks he had approached to invest in his ground-breaking machinery, a dejected businessman from Ga-Rankuwa, Tshwane, turned to MCEP for help.

“I am passionate we [in South Africa] should become the hub of manufacturing for African development.” Managing director Gerhard Coetzer

“I am passionate we [in South Africa] should become the hub of manufacturing for African development.” Managing director Gerhard Coetzer

The banks were reluctant to finance the development of new technology and the machinery that embodies it, leaving OrangeImpact’s owner-manager Gerhard Coetzer to go it on his own. So he turned to MCEP.

The grant money helped the small business both to recover from its huge cash flow drain and to market the new technology – and its investment in innovation is now bearing fruit.

OrangeImpact has grown from humble beginnings into a high-volume, low-cost steel surface service centre. It specialises in mechanically removing scale, manufacturing surface profiles and applying coatings to customers’ steel at its 7 000m² facility in Ga-Rankuwa outside Pretoria.

The company officially launched its Blassivation™ technology and the new steel surface it creates, 4DS™, at the 2015 Coatings for Africa, the annual industry expo.

OrangeImpact co-developed and owns this patent-pending technology, and recently commissioned and now operates the world’s first Blassivator™. The machine de-scales hot rolled steel into 4DS™ in a single process, in an environmentally friendly way. The four Ds in 4DS™ stand for de-activated, de-oiled, de-contaminated and de-scaled.

“I am passionate [that] we [in South Africa] should become the hub of manufacturing for African development and not leave it to India and China,” says Coetzer. “We need to reap the rewards of African development.”

He is optimistic, energetic and patriotic, and believes in the future of South Africa’s manufacturing and the people involved in it.

A philosophy and theology graduate, Coetzer started out in manufacturing as a general worker at Samancor’s plant in Meyerton during university holidays. After completing his studies, he worked as a sales representative at Clotan Steel, working his way up to acting managing director before starting his own company, first brokering and later trading in steel.

Now he is MD of OrangeImpact and also a trustee of the trust that owns the company.

It began trading in 2006 as Advanced Coating Company, changing its name to OrangeImpact in 2009 to reflect the wider scope of its activities. The company is active in the corrosion market, removing mill scale and other contaminants from steel surfaces and coating these surfaces. It has 28 employees.

When the company first started up, says Coetzer, it relied on one large customer that took up all its capacity for several years. Having to sign up new customers with limited resources “was tricky”. It was critical to increase manufacturing capacity without expanding the cost structure.

“For a small business in the manufacturing sector to keep customers, you have to be at the forefront of the technology. We searched globally for the best and most appropriate technology that would solve our customers’ issues related to their steel’s surface finish and logistics.”

He found what he was looking for in Mexico, along with technology partners to develop the machine. However, the banks were reluctant to extend a loan because of the complexity involved: among other things, the machine had to be engineered from scratch, manufactured in Mexico and eventually imported in parts.

“Banks  are reluctant to finance complicated and innovative projects that small businesses typically have to resort to in order to remain competitive without huge capital,” Coetzer explains.

“We decided to build certain parts of it ourselves under direction from our Mexican suppliers in order to make it affordable.” A family member told him about MCEP, and he applied for assistance.

OrangeImpact received a grant of R3.64- million in February 2015. He was impressed by “the diligence, solid checks and high work ethic in validating our claim”.

The grant came at a critical time, enabling OrangeImpact to bring the new technology to market and begin expanding its customer base. Without it, “we would have been without any business prospect”, says Coetzer.

He also praised the North West Development Corporation for providing industrial buildings at affordable rentals.

The company’s manufacturing capacity has subsequently grown substantially, from about 1 000 to 10 000 tons a month, and it is now in a position to work with a range of clients in the infrastructure development, road and rail freight, and automotive and shipping industries.

“Now they can use our products and steel and we have the prospect of growing our business nationally and eventually internationally.”