Joint venture agreement leverages BED’s position in the mining and general engineering industries.
In January 2019 First Cut announced the addition of Messer Cutting Systems’ plasma, oxyfuel, and large-plate processing equipment to its metal fabrication equipment product lines. Messer Cutting Systems, a leading German company, has had a long history in South Africa and much of its capital equipment is being used by steel processors and fabricators throughout the country.
Messer Cutting Systems’ machines are suitable for solutions for various sectors, such as automotive, construction, custom cutting/steel service centres, energy, material handling, mechanical engineering, metal products/heavy steelworks, plant and pressure vessels, recycling, shipbuilding and shipyards, rail, agriculture, job shop, structural steel, general engineering and precision fabrication applications. Messer Cutting Systems also provides full system support with technical and applications training, including software.
Messer welding electrodes
Additionally, Messer Cutting Systems manufactures a broad product range and provides solutions in the field of hand flame-cutting and welding. First Cut subsequently concluded an agreement with Messer Cutting Systems to manufacture and distribute a wide range of the Messer welding electrodes at its factory in Benrose, Johannesburg.
“We have been manufacturing bandsaw blades at our Cape Town factory since the company’s inception 64 years ago. We have successfully built this company on our consumable division and Messer’s range fits into our product portfolio. While there are many cheaper brands of welding electrodes imported into South Africa, we are manufacturing quality and cost-effective electrodes that fit into the mid to upper-range of product,” said Andrew Poole, MD of First Cut.
At present, First Cut manufactures a wide range of Messer electrodes. These include electrodes for welding mild steel, carbon-manganese steels, stainless steels and so-called ‘problem’ steels where welding has to take place under difficult circumstances or dissimilar types of metal need to be joined together. The company is also manufacturing and distributing electrodes for gouging and hard-facing applications.
One of the more recent product developments is the release of StableCut, a mechanical sliding device for manual cutting
When using gas or oxygen as a cutting or welding medium there are many safety requirements to take into consideration
As First Cut’s new electrode range is manufactured under licence from Messer, the products have to comply with German, British and American quality standards such as DIN, AWS/ASME and BS. Sample product are regularly sent to Messer in Germany for quality certification and there is continuous monitoring of formulae and processes.
Oxyfuel welding, cutting, brazing, soldering and heating solutions and consumables
“As suppliers of solutions to problems for the metalworking industry, it is extremely important to us that we always offer you the best solution for your individual requirements. Messer Cutting Systems also has a broad product range in the field of oxyfuel welding, cutting, brazing, soldering and heating. Spare parts, repairs, modernisation, maintenance and service as well as environmental technology round out the product portfolio.”
“We are now increasing our marketing and distribution efforts of these products, which ultimately fall into our consumable division.”
From bottle to torch
“It’s the question heard around the metal fabricating world often: What metal cutting technology makes the most sense? Unfortunately, the answer to the question cannot be covered in one simple statement. The answer depends on the metal being cut, the metal thickness, how the customer defines a quality cut, and how fast the job has to be accomplished.”
“However, when using gas or oxygen as a cutting or welding medium there are many safety requirements to take into consideration. At the start of every gas control path pressure regulators are the decisive connection between the gas supply and the torch. Depending upon pressure, volumes, connections required or the type of gas, various aspects must be considered. A technically faultless and simultaneously safe take-up point has the highest priority here.”
Messer Cutting Systems have appointed First Cut and Bolt and Engineering Distributors (BED) to supply oxyfuel cutting and welding systems and consumables
Products include cylinder pressure regulators and sampling points
“You should regard all fuel gas and air or oxygen mixtures as potentially dangerous. Every year hundreds of people are injured and their property damaged by explosions that result when gas leaks from heating and cooking equipment. Correct handling of oxyfuel apparatus and gases is the mark of a craftsman, so be aware of safe practices. From the bottle to the torch there are numerous aspects that could go wrong and equipment that could fail.”
Replace consumable parts regularly
“Think about a car. Changing the oil regularly is much less costly than replacing the car’s engine. In the same way, replacing consumables regularly is much more cost-effective than replacing the torch. Using severely worn consumables can lead to uncontrolled arcing in the plasma chamber, which can cause torch failure.”
“Likewise take into consideration proper assembly of the torch, ensure proper gas and coolant flow, avoid using the torch as a hammer, avoid torch collision, avoid arc stretching and clean the torch routinely. All of these will prevent accidents.”
Messer Cutting Systems manufactures a range of products for the industry, all of which are available from First Cut. These include:
Cylinder pressure regulators and sampling points
Welding, soldering and heating applications
Hand and machine cutting torches
Nozzles and accessories
“One of the more recent product developments is the release of StableCut, a mechanical sliding device for manual oxyfuel cutting and brand new the version for hand plasma cutting that for example, can cut in combination with the Hypertherm Powermax. Thanks to the integrated rack mechanism very exact straight-line cuts with constant cutting speed can be made horizontally, vertically and even overhead.”
Education around gas usage
“Messer Cutting Systems is very willing to part with the knowledge that the company has acquired over the 122 years of its existence. We therefore have plans to bring out three of their safety officers involved in oxyfuel and welding and take them on an educational tour of South Africa so that they can impart their safety knowledge to the local market, once there are safer COVID-19 requirements in place.”
Appointment of Bolt and Engineering Distributors as a distributor
Messer have also appointed Bolt and Engineering Distributors as a distributor of the Messer Cutting Systems products, systems and consumables. This is a strategic partnership is going to help grow the Messer brand in South Africa. BED have penetration in many different industries, from the mining industry to general engineering.
Cutting and welding products being marketed are from bottle to torch
First Cut concluded an agreement with Messer Cutting Systems to manufacture and distribute a wide range of the Messer welding electrodes at its factory in Benrose, Johannesburg
Bolt and Engineering Distributors Group was established in 1983 and has more than 36 years of industry knowledge supplying standard, specialised and commercial fasteners, high tensile bolts, chemical anchors, studs, screws, hand and power tools, bearings, welding and brazing equipment and consumables, plasma cutting equipment, PPE, oils and lubricants and many other engineering products. The company has nine warehousing and distribution centres around the country and employs over 300 staff.
“We are very strong in supplying the engineering industry with product and have two specific divisions in the company that account for welding and brazing in the one and cutting solutions in the other. Representing Messer Cutting Systems is going to add value to our product range and will also allow us to expand the name in South Africa,” explained Mike Giltrow, owner of Bolt and Engineering Distributors and one of the original founders.
“We see the importance of marketing a leading German manufacturer not just as an attraction but rather as enhancement of our business. The division is headed up by Craig Bister and he will be significantly increasing the investment in the product distribution.”
Craig Bister explains: “Bolt and Engineering Distributors already has a host of customers in the welding, brazing, cutting equipment and consumables industries so marketing and distributing oxyfuel cutting and consumable products is a natural attrition.”
“Initially we are going to concentrate on the mining industry and training centres and have already developed a package that we will refer to as our cutting kit,” said Bister.
Bolt and Engineering Distributors Group (BED) will be targeting the mining and general engineering industries
BED has four vans fully kitted with welding and cutting equipment so that each technician responsible for the van will be able to offer educational advice on-site, as well assess each individual’s setup
“This kit consists of oxygen and acetylene pressure regulators and hose, flashback arrestors, cutting torch (Monarch style 28), torch mounts and nozzles – anything to do with fuel gas/oxygen flame cutting. The kit also includes the associated PPE such as gloves and safety glasses as well as the required spanners.”
Mobile demonstration and assessment vans
“We set ourselves apart from others three years ago when we introduced three demonstration and assessment vans that service Gauteng and the surrounding provinces. We have now added a further van that services the Western Cape.”
“These vans are fully kitted with welding and cutting equipment so that each technician responsible for the van will be able to offer educational advice on-site, as well assess each individuals setup. Messer Cutting Systems products and consumables will now be added to these vans.”
“Going forward we will be able to educate, assess and supply each individual mining or general engineering company with welding and cutting product. We believe this give our customers a significant advantage in igniting their metal processing services and maintenance programmes,” concluded Bister.