Machine Tools Africa exhibition looks set to become a regular event every three years

The above machine tool and related products exhibition came to its conclusion recently. The decision to make Machine Tools Africa 2017 a standalone show received a positive response from exhibitors and visitors alike. Exhibitors were very enthusiastic about the quality of visitors and reported that a high number of sales leads were generated. Some major sales, made from the stands, were even reported.

This was the first dedicated exhibition for the South African metalworking/engineering industry to be held in 20 years – the last version was held in 1997. By all accounts the exhibition was acknowledged as one that was of a very high standard and comparable to international standards. Nearly 6 000 visitors attended over the four day period.

Exhibitors must be congratulated in taking the time, effort and expense to portray a very professional image of their companies and the products that they market to the South African metalworking/engineering industry. Most of the products on display were the latest technology available and are a crucial element in the development of the South African manufacturing industry. In a number of cases, these were products that had just been unveiled internationally. Well done I say.

A big factor for having a dedicated exhibition like Machine Tools Africa is to attract the correct type of visitor. Customers and potential new customers had the opportunity to see live demonstrations on machinery and equipment that was brought in by the 105 exhibitors exclusively for the show. The overwhelming response from exhibitors I questioned is that this objective was achieved resulting in numerous enquiries and quotations to follow up on.

The only disappointment was the speech given by the Minister in the Presidency – Jeff Radebe – on the topic of The National Development Plan – Impact on South Africa’s Manufacturing Sector & Vision 2030. You got the impression that he did not know the difference between a machine tool and the tool-making industry in the same context.

One key paragraph in his speech and I quote: “Statistical figures reveal that manufacturing sector’s contribution to growth and employment has been in decline for decades, which indicates that the sector is becoming progressively less competitive. Several factors, such as cheap electricity, low-cost labour and plentiful raw material, as well as industry protection such as incentives and trade barriers have contributed to the competitiveness of local manufacturers. However, lately, this competitive edge has diminished as a result of rising administered prices and wages, without concomitant increases in productivity. Also, the trade liberalisation of the South Africa’s economy, which occurred around 1996 has exposed several sectors to cheaper imported goods from China, for instance, the clothing and textiles sector and manufacturing.”

So Mr Minister what are you doing about it? You have hit the nail on the head. Rising electricity costs, rising labour costs without concomitant increases in productivity and cheap imports from China are all correct and just some of the factors influencing the manufacturing sector resulting in the sharp decline within the various sectors.

The next Machine Tools Africa exhibition is scheduled to take place in 2020.

Below is a selection of comments on the exhibition and photographs of exhibitors and visitors.

Franz Studer of Retecon Machine Tools and Andrea Bergaglio of DMG MORI with Mike and Trevor Clayton, both of Mesh Gear

John Jerome and Gavin Homan, both of Wam Metals with Paul Savides of PBS Machine Tools

Gary Lusso of Gurtech with Byron Gueffroy of Durma

Byron Gueffroy – Durma
“As a rather seasoned exhibitor (in my opinion at least) I feel the decision by the MTMA together with Specialised Exhibitions to break away from Electra Mining and put together a dedicated exhibition show casing the machinery and related services and products was long overdue and well received by both exhibitors and the visitors to the exhibition.”

“I noticed the quality of visitors was far superior to previous exhibitions and it was refreshing not being constantly asked “what is this and what does it do”!”

“The reactions to the machinery and the effort by the many of the exhibitors was good, and I’m sure we all received many really good enquiries and of course sales, directly from the exhibition.”

“I have however noticed that since the exhibition that although the enquiries and the need for updated or additional machinery is high, the current political situation and the role it is playing on our economy as well as the new round of wage negotiations and possible strike action has put a hold on most purchases or decisions for the foreseeable future, or at least until December and after the ruling party has elected it new leaders. This will also determine the future for our manufacturing industry.”

Steven Moody of Tysica, Vaughn Hanwith-Horden of F&H Machine Tools, Colin Dallas of Tysica, Hakan Ceki and Mahmut Guler, both from Ermaksan

Tim Rossam and Luis Torres of CML Machine Tools with Roberto Leoni of Heli Engineering

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Manus Potgieter of PIM Machine Tools and Zed Lisac from Salvagnini

Vikesh Harikaran of Siemens South Africa, Matthais Heiser of Siemens Germany and Ryan Earle of Esteq

Vikesh Harikaran – Siemens South Africa
“At Africa’s biggest machine tools exhibition, Siemens demonstrated its live solutions with its four key partners in machine tools – EJE, WD Hearn, CSI and MSI. Various machines with capabilities in high-speed cutting, smart operations and higher productivity and efficiencies in machine tool manufacturing were displayed alongside the Siemens SINUMERIK 840D sl controller.”

“Under the motto “Digitalisation in Machine Tool Manufacturing”, Siemens is driving the increasing digitalisation in the machine tool world. With integrated software and hardware solutions and innovative technologies, Siemens supports both machine manufacturers and operators on their way to become a digital enterprise. In the machine tool domain, Siemens offers digitalisation solutions that extend from the first idea for a new machine tool up to its operation and ongoing optimisation. The consequential use of all the possibilities offered by digitalisation opens up completely new business potential.”

Malcolm Moriarty of Metal Chip Machinery, Lee Ridgeway of Anfield Engineering, Matthew Moriarty, Karel Wilmot, Oom Gerrit, all of Metal Chip Machinery, Jukka Hakala of CoastOne, Ivano Gerardi of Gerardi Tooling & Workholding, Juha Vuorela of CoastOne, Vincent Harth of Metal Chip Machinery and Gavin Huilai Wang of Leiming Laser

Jannie Krugel, Terrence Marx, Ron Brown and Charles Roets, all from CSI

David Risk, Charlie Lougassy, Helen Tan, Mike Jiang and Jason Jiang, all of TDC Cutting Tools South Africa

David Risk – TDC Cutting Tools South Africa
“After exhibiting successfully at the Electra Mining Africa 2016 exhibition in September last year, TDC Cutting Tools South Africa (Pty) Ltd once again exhibited the international TDC groups’ diverse industrial product range at this years’ MTA 2017 event.”

“Products displayed included the Cleveland brand HSS drills, taps, end mills, carbide drills and end mills, carbide inserts and tool holders, carbide mining teeth/buttons, saws (holesaws, bandsaws, reciprocating saws, hacksaws) and grinding wheels (CBN, ceramic, resin bonded).”

“We held discussions with over 200 industry visitors over the four days, interested in the TDC product ranges on display. Interest was equally split between HSS and Carbide tooling ranges, abrasives and saws, and came mainly from an end user base (including home users), with a smaller percentage of distributors.”

“With a recession now confirmed in South Africa (as of June 2017), this reinforced perceptions of visitors searching for more cost effective tooling solutions, which aligned neatly with the quality Cleveland brand offering in South Africa. The vast majority of visitors were from South Africa, with several from Zimbabwe and Botswana.”

“Through this event, TDC SA was able to assess in more detail the product requirements of the South African industrial market, to support TDC’s further regional product and market expansion plans. We found it a very useful platform to engage with the South African market, and TDC will surely exhibit once again at the MTA 2020 event. Visiting TDC factory staff included Jason Jiang (Saws Sales Manager), Helen Tan (Grinding Wheels & Machine Tools Division Manager), Mike Jiang (Grinding Wheels Engineer), and Charlie Lougassy (TDC Group CEO).”

Mike Wolhuter, Lance Deysel and Angus Singleton, all from Pressure Die Castings

Robert Milne, Freek van den Berg, Colin Sampson, Justin Theunissen and Quinton Janse van Rensburg, all of Mecad Systems

Jaclyn Hansen, Johny Hansen, Jessica Lategan and Terry Nichols, all of Multitrade Distributors with Enrico Dalonzo of MT Marchetti in the centre

Rick Ferreira and Barry Page of Amada with Abri van der Merwe of Autovest in the centre

Jurgen Lecki of Retecon Machine Tools, Henry Elvis Grundling and Armand Strydom, both of Bono Steel, and Graham Rome of Retecon Machine Tools

Banie Barnard, Derrick Horn and Keith Opperman, all from Duncan Macdonald & Co

Keith Opperman – Duncan Macdonald & Company
“The exhibition has come and gone. I normally judge a show based on the sales afterwards and, if I can recoup my costs with sales of product, I would say it was a success. Up until now I haven’t recouped my costs.”

“Not many visitors but those that came were interested in our products and I therefore saved a lot on handing out freebies.”

“I think you are familiar with my views on the costs – a 53% increase over a three year period is a definite … No! No! Let us see if the costs for the next show will be in line with inflation.”

“The only negative feedback is theft from my stand on Friday evening 12th May. They cleaned out my stall. I even purchased the EXPO Security Screen to cover my stall which is additional security. It seems that they lifted the Expo screen and crawled underneath. They removed the TVs and the only way possible is to unscrew them. They were therefore prepared with the necessary tools.”

“I think the current policy of a limited pack-up on the Friday evening while you have exhibitors and all sorts of other people inside the halls with trailers and bakkies helping themselves and no control doesn’t work. I did ask security on Saturday morning if they noticed anyone walking out with a fridge but nobody saw a thing!!! I have subsequently had some compensation from the organisers but it still does not cover the expenses of my loss.”

“I’m still pondering whether I will be back, I might approach machine importers and sponsor machines and contribute towards costs.”

Thomas Zackey of Craft Industrial Equipment with Bill Mallett of Craft Machine Tools

Abraham Heystek and Ian Simpson, both of Victor Fortune with Gerhard Fourie (centre) of J.D Components

Kobus Beukes, Christo Moolman, Ian Daines, Kobus Snyman, all of Hurco South Africa with David Waghorn MD of Hurco Europe

Christo Moolman – Hurco South Africa
“Was it a good show? The answer to this is not as straight forward as you would like to believe. During the months before the show there was an anticipation that this would be the show to showcase what is the best that the machine tool suppliers could muster for the South African market. I think the first impression was that the public could see there was a high standard when it came to the actual stands. The feeling you got when walking into the halls was a feeling of vibrancy in the air.”

“Yes the correct decision makers walked through the stands, yes the knowledgeable person visited our stands, and yes the proper questions were asked. Did it generate more sales than the previous years that can be counted as actual show sales and not just pre lined up sales before the show? Well that is a question that remains open.”

“What was very clear to see is that the South African market is still focused on the standard 3-axis machine configuration on the milling side and the standard 2-axis lathes. Alas for the shop owners to move forward and expand South Africa’s needs for a stable economy. The very latest technology is available but is the market trend dictated by the buying customer?”

David Currah of Edgecam, Clever Mbava, Vincent Wills, Charles Parkin, all of Stillam, Walter Wade of Vero Software and Kevin Kleyn of Stillam

Frik van Coppenhagen, Ryan Scott and Bryn Labuschagne, all of Stillam

Adrian Hendrikz of Scamont Engineering, Alberto van Zyl of F&H Machine Tools, Richard Buckley of Scamont Engineering and Richard Poalses of F&H Machine Tools

Wolfgang and Marisa Rothbauer of Biber with Tumelo Morale and Lucias Mafema, both of Mafema Sales Services

Ludrick and Mariolize Barnard of Caldeaz

Alex Saam and Heiko Engelke of Lubrication Consult

Fabio Morettino of Italian Trade Agency and Steve Turner of Toolquip & Allied

Gabriele De Marchi of BLM Group, Neil Labuschagne of First Cut with Freddie Visser and Nico van den Oever, both of Stainless Plate Products

Dale and Lara Hughes of Afrilaser with Herschel Ismail of Schuurman Lasercut

Mark Exley of Xmeco Heavy Engineering, Ricky Chua and Yoshiyuki Fujibajashi, both of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation with Mark Lotter of Multitrade Distributors

Mark Lotter – Multitrade Distributors
“We were cautiously optimistic at the outset of the show being well aware of the sizeable investment of time and money it takes to exhibit at these exhibitions. After the first day had concluded, we felt that the money and time was well spent considering the quality of the people passing through our stand.”

“It is inherently difficult to measure return on investment (ROI) for an exhibition being suppliers of consumables. However, if we measure the ROI against the number of positive interactions that we had during the show, as well as the promotion of the Multitrade Distributors’ brand, we feel it was a success to exhibit.”

Michael Popa and Andreas Hooge, both of Behringer with Mike Cronin of Elquip in the centre

Carel and Fred Peens, both of Boschpick Engineering

Kobie Janse van Vuuren of Iscar South Africa, Neels de Wet of Weir Minerals, Ilan Geri of Iscar Ltd, Gavin Adams of Iscar South Africa, Jason Ormerod and Pieter Anker, both of Weir Minerals

Gavin Adams – Iscar South Africa
“Machine Tools Africa 2017 has come and gone as many shows in the past, but fortunately this time with a major positive twist. We, like many other exhibitors were extremely apprehensive from the outset, facing a massive spend and commitment to an event which was last held 20 years ago. We are however extremely satisfied with our decision to attend this event and experience the positive vibe during the week.”

“The prevailing mood at the show was positive throughout. Although attendance figures were below what was expected, we found the typical visitor was from within our industry and attended with a definite intention to view what new technology was available or alternatively to purchase new machines. It was definitely a focussed audience which was a breath of fresh air in comparison to more recent shows. It was evident from the trade visitors at our booth that this event stimulated good interest from not only the domestic market but representation from across Africa as well which bodes well for future events.”

“This was the ideal forum for us to display a limited cross section of our vast product portfolio as well as important peripheral support systems such as our Matrix Tool Vending solutions. We were extremely satisfied with the market response to this and will be more expansive in upcoming events. The daily attendance at our booth and busy atmosphere reflected a positive outlook amongst visitors, which has not been seen for a while in the market. If this is anything to gauge the medium term market prospects by, we are extremely positive for what lies ahead.”

“Looking at the cross section of exhibitors at this event, it is evident that the quality and investment has advanced beyond previous shows and was found to be on par with what is available at top European events. This further contributes to an overall improvement of this and one can surely believe there will be a higher level achieved with the next event. Based on our overall experience with the event we will for sure be at Machine Tools 2020.”

Derick Manser, Rupert Rossouw, Chris Schmidt and Geoff Morris, all of Star Tooling

Derek Marriott of Marriott Machinery, Philip Thompson of Craft Machine Tools and John Thompson of Harp Machine Tools

Ricky Lazenby, Martin Haslam and Mark Haslam, all of MJH Machine Tools

Ricky Lazenby – MJH Machine Tools
“MJH Machine Tools exhibited both our top brands namely the Ctek CNC milling machine and Akira Seiki CNC machining centers, high speed drill tapping machines and CNC lathes. We believe that the expo attracted the right type of potential clients who knew what they were looking for. All that is left now is the many follow ups of which we believe will turn into a few sales.”

“The cost of exhibiting is extremely high as are all these exhibitions, and perhaps we will consider approaching our main suppliers next time to assist in the costs should we decide to exhibit again. Overall a good, well organised event with a really helpful team who put the expo together.”

Corry Danielis, Etienne Claassen and Carlo Danielis, all of MTool

Alan Meredith of Victor Fortune, Izak Vorster of Vossies Engineering and Jan Prinsloo of Software Development

Dudley Meredith (centre) of Victor Fortune with Navin Elliah and Nishen Chetty, both of Petroquip

Ian Simpson – Victor Fortune
“The Machine Tools Africa 2017 show appears to have been a great success. One of the first impressions was that all the visitors were genuine machine tool and engineering people who knew what they were looking for and had the right questions. This was very different from many of the visitors we used to have when combined with the Electro Mining show. Over 6 000 visitors with the proper interest has to make this a worthwhile exercise.”

“From Victor Fortune’s point of view we can certainly not complain about the quality of enquiries that we received and have been very busy following up and quoting where required. A number of these enquiries were from new customers that we have not dealt with in the past, which is very encouraging. Of the six machines on our stand, four were delivered directly to customers after the show and with the outstanding interest there will be a number of additional deliveries in the near future.”

“All in all a very successful show and one that I am sure will be repeated again in three years time with additional exhibitors that regretted that they did not participate this year.”

Mike Lee of Puma Machine Tools with Edwin van Loggerenberg of Iscar South Africa

Pierre Moll of Trutool Engineering with Polino Goncalves of Clear Cut Engineering

Anita Neves-Coetzee, Sakkie Coetzee, Carolina Neves, James Yang and Karel Terblanche, all of Extreme Machines

Professor Dimitri Dimitrov of Stellenbosch University with Hans-Peter Neth of Retecon Machine Tools

Antoinette Jacobs, Nathan Govender and Willem Oberholzer, all from Taegu Tec

Kevin Barnard, Lennard Brits and Oven Eales, all of Actom Switchgear with Hans Rossouw of Taegu Tec

Deon Delport, Cecil Hunter and Tim Gilbert, all of Toolquip & Allied

Michael and Rob Berti from Metal Spinnings with Hannes Pretorius of PIM Machine Tools

Maurice Mawson and Domenico Spadino, both of Messer Eutectic

Ferdinando Fusca of Rolleri, Roberto Costantino of Prima-Power, Franco Tallarico of Talmac, Murat Zengin of Zenweld and Marco Massensini of Faccin

Andrew Crackett and Kurt Rosenberg, both of Yaskawa Southern Africa

Justin Cloete of Allied Steelrode, Andrew Poole of First Cut with Arun Chadha and Marius Bezuidenhout, both of Allied Steelrode

Andrew Poole – First Cut
“The Machine Tools Expo 2017 was an unmitigated success primarily because the show was able to attract the right people to the exhibition. By comparison to previous years in conjunction with Electra Mining where there were more feet through the door there was a marked difference in the quality of visitors this year. Most of the stands on show were most professional and this helped to present our industry in the correct light.”

“First Cut had a really good show with a lot of interest in all the machines that were on display. We had fantastic support from our oversees principals notably – Bystronic, BLM, Omni X and Timesavers who made the effort to attend the show and share their knowledge and experience with our customers. We look forward to participating again in the next Machine Tools Expo.”

Ad Verburg of Timesavers with Steve van Wyk of First Cut

Philip Theron, Joshua Zhao and Daniel Posniak, all of Engravcut

Clyde Erasmus of Laser World and Die, Henk van Niekerk of Ultra Lock, Quinton White from IPG and Ludwig Oellermann from Microstep South Africa

Pierre Theunissen, Albert Schoonderwoord and Andrej Sobolic, all from Microstep South Africa

During the exhibition WD Hearn Machine Tools’ MD Ray Cooper announced that the company had appointed Johan Neveling to the Board of WD Hearn Machine Tools as Technical Director. In the picture are Sales Director Graeme Cooper, Johan Neveling and Ray Cooper

Hans-Jurgen Pelzers of Mitsubishi Electric EDM Machinery with his colleague Frank Mehl

Hans-Jurgen Pelzers – Mitsubishi Electric EDM Machinery
“Thanks for giving me a chance to review and give some comments on the show. As you know, we Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. were participating with our local partner WD Hearn Machine Tools.”

“Organisation of the booth has been done by WD Hearn. For us it has been a good show, giving us the chance to meet many companies being interested in our products of EDM and wire EDM technology. The clear focus on machine tools was in fact beneficial, even the halls were not looking very crowded. The quality of contacts was very good, resulting in a good number of new leads – and some sale on-show. If WD Hearn decides to participate in 2020 we will be with them.”

Andre Enslin of WD Hearn, Bodo Lingath of FFG Europe, Marius Conradie of WD Hearn JHB and Peet Buitendag of EJE Industrial Electronics

Gareth Jackson of First Cut, Philippe Burgener of Bystronic and Luis Fernandes of Schuurman Lasercut with Joanne Canossa and Eugene Fernandez, both of First Cut

Arthur Carolin of Remkor Technologies with Carlos de Almeida, Wesley Bellora and Walter Bellora, all of BCF Precision Grinding

Robin Ackermann, Ashley Ladiera and Ampie Ackermann, all of Lind SA Automation

Gerald Green of Walter with Math Robson and Darren Stoddard, both of Hurco South Africa

Leigh Lockhart and David Carter, both of Feedback Systems

Mike and Kerry Palmer, both of Prime Components

The Flexilube team

Terry Rosenberg and Riccardo Ferrari, both of Yaskawa Southern Africa

Vince Wessels, Gerhard Honiball, Francois van Wyk and Frank van Niekerk, all of Haas

Fernando dos Santos of AFM Engineering, Yolande van Loggerenburg of Pilot Tools and Steve Andrews of EDM Shop

Werner and Sandra Hurlimann, both of WH Machine Tools

Wayne Kannemeyer of Stainless Plate Products with Jenny Thobois and Dave Cameron, both of FEW

Justin Boshoff and Aurelio Grech-Cumbo, both of RGC Engineering

Bart Pieterse of MTP, Nomfundu Mgidi of Modtech Services and Richard Gladwin of MTP

Jose dos Santos, Manny and Jorge Peixoto and Ricky Camacho, all of JP Engineering

Jaun Hugo, Nico Hugo and Pieter Claasens, all of TH Machine Tools

Nico Hugo – TH Machine Tools
“Was it worth your while attending and / or participating? We are very happy with the exposure we got from the expo. Results can’t really be measured from immediate sales generated from the expo but we were able to introduce our company to a lot of new customers.”

“Was the mix of exhibitors / visitors of the right quality? I would describe it as “focused exposure”. The dedicated machine show definitely brought the right quality of visitors. Even though there were less visitors than Electra Mining it was better to spend time with visitors asking the right questions and less answering “What is that?” questions.”

“Could there have been more done to attract participation at such an event? The amount of visitors is much less than Electra, but it is the first dedicated show in a long time and it still needs to earn a reputation, but I’ve seen and heard all the adverts and campaigns done by the organisers and I think they did a good job.”

“What about the costs to exhibit? The costs are high looking at it from a marketing budget perspective, and I also think the organisers will be able to line up more exhibitors because they have three years to do it now, which will help to reduce the costs.”

“Did the organisation of the exhibition run smoothly? We did not experience any major problems, they did a good job.”

“Will you participate in the next exhibition that is scheduled to take place in three years time? We would definitely like to be there again.”

Abie Ferreira of ABMTS, Louis Struwig Samsung Machine Tools, Jannie Krugel of CSI and Albertus Kriel of Samsung Machine Tools

Marcus Filer of Skok Machine Tools and Paul Dreyer of Lasercraft

Joerg Schmauder and Phillipp Zwirner, both of Trumpf

Craig McMurray, Lee Herbert and Gordon Boddy, all of Victor Fortune with William Anderson of Iscar South Africa