There are many instances of family-owned businesses that have folded when the younger generation takes over. But there are also many success stories to report about as well. Managing a family-owned business involves dealing with interpersonal dynamics that may not be present in other companies. Germiston, Gauteng-based Anceriz Engineering is a family-owned business that’s into its third generation. Fernando da Silva Anceriz started the company in 1972 and has since retired in 2011. His daughters Alda da Sousa and Antonia Castanheira were already working in the company as Financial and Managing Directors respectively and, they now run the successful operation. But it is Fernando’s grandson Dane da Sousa, Alda’s son, who is the driving force behind the company.
Anceriz established the company as a general engineering jobbing company, not focussing on any particular industry.
“My grandfather started the company because he had a passion for machining. He is a craftsman that loves to see components being made from metal and quality was king in his mind. His love for the machines in his workshop was even greater and when he retired in 2011 he had changed his focus completely from machining to the machines. Fixing and repairing the many variations of machines on the floor were his priority but also necessary to keep the mix of components flowing out the door,” explained Dane da Sousa.
The latest addition to Anceriz Engineering’s machining department is the Victor Vturn-S26, a new 3-axis CNC turning center in slant bed technology, released by them. The Vturn-S26 horizontal turning center has a servo-powered C-axis with a fast servo driven BMT live tool turret, 18/24m/minute rapid feed rates and a high thrust force of 1 441Nm. A 4.5kW motor delivers live tooling speeds of 4 000rpm, with an increased swing over the bed of 600mm and this increases the maximum turning diameter to 430mm
The Anceriz Engineering operational team
“There was no evidence about lean manufacturing or work flow on the shopfloor when I joined the company in 2010. You could hardly get around machines it was so crowded. The way the machine shop was setup had worked for my grandfather for 33 years so to change the way things were done was going to be a challenge.”
“Since inception, the engineering services the company specialised in included conventional milling, conventional turning, milling, surface grinding, slotting and boring. The client base that the company had spanned from the automotive, rail, rolling mills, mining equipment and agriculture industries to the pulp and paper industries. He had clients like Scaw Metals and Plasserrail as his clients. Who knows how many different components were machined.”
“The key to keeping a family business running successfully is to always be honest and mindful of the history of the company. But there comes a time when there need to be changes made when the company is not doing well.”
“I studied industrial engineering at university before I joined an engineering company where my uncle worked. He was my mentor and while there at his company I learnt everything from manufacturing to invoicing. The product mix that the company manufactured would also have an influence on where we are today with my grandfather’s company.”
From job shop chaos to lean order
Classic lean manufacturing principles are practically taken as gospel, but benefits can be elusive for manufacturers that produce a variety of components in low volumes. It can be achieved but efficient machine layout based on component routing is a must.
The Anceriz Engineering Directors: Alda da Sousa, Dane da Sousa and Antonia Castanheira
A shank adaptor used in drilling operations in the mining industry manufactured by Anceriz Engineering
“Through consultation within the family we decided to focus our efforts on machining fewer components but components that would, when assembled make a product. We would then be a company that was not just regarded as a machining company but rather one that adds value. It is vital to be able to separate business decisions from family life, although this can be easier said than done. By maintaining boundaries, it is less likely that you’ll introduce conflict with family at home or at work. Sometimes decisions made in the best interest of the company might upset a family member. But even though my personal loyalty may lie with that person, it is important to make choices at work for the overall good of the company rather than basing business decisions on family loyalty,” continued de Sousa.
“Getting out of a slump requires two key insights about the nature of lean manufacturing and how it applies to an engineering shop, as opposed to production environments. First was the understanding that the vast majority of generally accepted lean practices are designed to optimise flow. That is, how product is moved through the manufacturing operation. Second, and most critical, was the realisation that the most effective way to streamline flow is to route jobs into product families rather than part families.”
Components that have been machined by Anceriz Engineering for use in down the hole drilling products
Anceriz Engineering now have five CNC lathes and two CNC mills in the machining department
“We chose to focus on the mining industry, both open cast and underground, but with an emphasis on drilling products – down the hole (DTH) and reverse circulation (RC) drilling products. These include pipes, inner tubes, drill rods, couplings, shank adapters and other accessories.”
“The products fall into the top hammer and rotary categories and can be used in most mining operations.”
“What’s the most effective way to increase in-house production capacity? The traditional way is adding assets through the purchase or lease of additional machine tools, but that may not always be the best way. Throughput and component cost reduction is achieved by efficiency.”
“In our case it was getting rid of old and unproductive assets and then acquiring more productive assets and implementing flow and production systems. As I said it was a mission to move around the shopfloor because of the clutter. It was not an easy period in the company’s history but to move forward we had to be realistic.”
“Just under 10 years later we can say we made the right decision despite the mining industry not performing as it should. This may also be attributed to our small, dynamic team that is innovative and reliable.”
Two of the Victor Fortune CNC lathes in the machining department
Components that have been machined by Anceriz Engineering for use in reverse circulation (RC) hammers
“Manufacturing products and components for use in harsh environments and challenging applications is not a task every machining company relishes. It becomes even more of a significant challenge if you are supplying the demanding mining industry and your competition is not just the local supplier down the road but rather multi-nationals that have been in the business for many more years than your company. Additionally, the face of mining operations has changed dramatically over the last decade. In South Africa this is especially true as the mining industry is constantly shrinking due to costs and other external pressures. High costs, low commodity prices, labour strife and falling productivity have all taken their toll. South Africa has most of the world’s deepest (and historically richest) gold mines. They are clustered some 70km south-west of Johannesburg. The deeper they go, the more expensive and difficult the work of extracting the ore becomes. Most of these mines are reaching a mature phase and the cost of extracting the gold may soon exceed its value. It is no surprise then that for mining companies worldwide the brief is now to maximise processes and reduce costs.”
“With our products we believe we are helping them achieve these objectives.”
“We don’t sell directly to the end user but rather manufacture for the OEMs such as Sandvik, Epiroc, Caterpillar and others. They then brand their products and distribute. You can find our products being used on mines in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana, Burkina Fuso and many others. Between 60% and 70% of our product will be exported.”
Down the hole (DTH)
“Our DTH products cover all operations related to the down the hole drilling method. The main product categories consist of DTH Drill Rods (hot rolled and cold drawn), DTH Subs, DTH accessories such as stabilisers and drill collars, starter rods, non-return valves and others. The selection of products will involve applications such as piling, bench drilling, production drilling, site investigation, horizontal drilling, fore-poling, water well drilling.”
“Our DTH drill pipes are supplied in lengths of either 3, 6, 9, 10 and 12 metres and between 2” and 8 5/8” diameters. All of these pipes are cut-to-length and the tool joints are all machined in-house.”
Reverse circulation drilling tools
“Today, reverse circulation is the preferred method for initial exploration, ore body development and in-pit grade control. The technology has gained ground for its speed, efficiency and ability to provide accurate samples for evaluation by geologists.”
“Our reverse circulation (RC) hammers are specifically designed for all kinds of exploration drilling (deep hole and in-pit grade control applications). Whether you are exploring potential sites or working an existing mine.”
Components that have been machined by Anceriz Engineering for use in down the hole drilling products
Anceriz Engineering’s DTH drill pipes are supplied in lengths of either 3, 6, 9, 10 and 12 metres and between 2” and 8 5/8” diameters. All of these pipes are cut-to-length and the end bits are machined on a flat bed lathe supplied by WD Hearn
“RC hammers are essentially the same as conventional DTH hammers, but with an inner-tube that runs through the centre of the entire hammer. The cuttings are collected in the holes in the front of the bit and confined and transported in the inner-tube. The flushing is in-between the splines of the bit and the chuck. The inner-tube is a wearing component and is replaced easily through the top of the hammer. In all RC hammers the inner-tube assembly can be removed without removing the back head.”
“We manufacture all the components for RC drilling including RC drill pipes, inner tubes, all subs, savers, dig outs, cross overs, blow up and blow down subs, head wear inner tubes, swivels, deflector boxes and sample hoses.”
API certified gauges
“The norm in the industry is to use certified API thread gauges when in production for mining equipment but it is surprising how many companies don’t. Understanding and anticipating problems in sub-surface and blast hole mining are key in reducing maintenance and operational costs. An important factor in determining the reliability of the connections in the drill string is proper thread inspection.”
“We are happy to say that we are API certified for thread gauges and they are sent out to be calibrated regularly. All our API thread gauges are kept in a clean, temperature-controlled environment gauge store.”
“After our clean-out of old equipment we settled on Victor Fortune CNC machines as our machining option. We now have five CNC lathes and two CNC mills.”
Components that have been machined by Anceriz Engineering for use in rotary equipment products
DTH drill rods manufactured by Anceriz Engineering
“The latest addition to our machining department is the Victor Vturn-S26, a new 3-axis CNC turning center in slant bed technology, released by them. The Vturn-S26 horizontal turning center has a servo-powered C-axis with a fast servo driven BMT live tool turret, 18/24m/minute rapid feed rates and a high thrust force of 1 441Nm. A 4.5kW motor delivers live tooling speeds of 4 000rpm, with an increased swing over the bed of 600mm and this increases the maximum turning diameter to 430mm.”
“This machine was installed during lockdown. Supplying mining products allowed us to operate because we are regarded as an essential supplier.”
Other new developments
Other new developments within Anceriz Engineering include the implementation of management information system software Optimus, which will help the company to transform and automate their internal business processes for the creation of items such as estimates, job bags and production planning work to lists, invoices and delivery manifest information.
Anceriz Engineering are API certified for thread gauges that are sent out to be calibrated regularly. All API thread gauges are kept in a clean, temperature-controlled environment gauge store
Shank adaptors manufactured by Anceriz Engineering
The company is also increasing its under roof area from 1 200m² to 1 800m² with the lease of a unit next door, which will be utilised as a warehouse. Anceriz Engineering employs 25 staff and is working a two-shift system.
“My grandfather remains on as the Chairman of the company and visits us regularly. It is great that we can banter about the change of equipment and direction of the company. As he says smart people run smart companies. Family members should also build consensus rather than taking the ‘my way or the highway’ approach to decision making, because there often is no single right answer to a problem. Ultimately, you must treat family members and employees with respect.”
For further details contact Anceriz Engineering on TEL 011 873 2412 or visit www.anceriz.co.za