Somta playing in big league

2013-02-07 00:00

PLAYING in the big league requires the ability to make brave decisions, particularly when you’re a manufacturer competing with German and other first-world businesses.

For Edendale-based Somta Tools, the establishment of a new research and development (R&D) hub is probably one of the best strategic decisions ever taken by the company.

Managing director Allan Conolly told The Witness that the move — which forms part of a R10 million development in new equipment and technology through financing from the Industrial Development Corporation — has enabled Somta to develop new products to meet the growing demands of clients.

Somta previously relied heavily on customer feedback about the performance of its tools.

The company recently celebrated the major expansion, as well as the opening of the R&D facility.

“The event was attended by some of the company’s key customers, including many leading manufacturers, from across South Africa,” said Conolly.

“Given that there is no other facility on the African continent that boasts the combined manufacturing, measuring, coating and testing capabilities in this new expansion, the opening ceremony was not only significant for Somta Tools and its customers, but is a boost for South African manufacturing which has been struggling to stay competitive.”

Somta recently started making tools made from tungsten carbide in a move that solidifies its commitment to entering a new and growing sub-sector.

Established in 1954, Somta is a major exporter that has focused chiefly on producing tools made from high-speed steel.

There is a growing domestic and international market for tools made from tungsten carbide and Somta is poised to capture the market share in this area. Its uses are particularly applicable to the automotive sector.

Conolly said Somta was steadily ramping up capacity of tungsten carbide production.

“The quality and uniqueness of the tooling produced from this facility is winning contracts in Germany and other European countries.

“On the South African market, the company’s tools are outperforming many of the leading international brands and creating the rare ability for users of this tooling to buy local, while still improving their tooling performance and reducing costs.

“In this expansion, Somta Tools have not only quadrupled their capacity, but have created space for further growth in years to come,” said Conolly. — Business Editor.

• The properties of tungsten carbide include hardness, durability and long lifespan.

• Modern technologies allow quick grinding time of the material.

• It represents a move into the realm of high-performance tooling.

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