Turnkey production the key to success at Press Dynamik

Since it was established in 1995 Press Dynamik has grown to become a key player in the CNC sheet metal industry in South Africa. Initially the company was focused on the production of metal pressing components for the home appliance industry by way of owner Aylwin Stephenson’s association with the industry at the time. The company has since diversified in that metal pressing is no longer part of the processes that it performs in its 6 700m² facility in Kyalami Business Park, Midrand, Gauteng.

One of two Amada fiber lasers

A bank of different size Amada press brakes that Press Dynamik has on its production floor

“Before starting my own company, I was employed in the home appliance manufacturing industry. During the second half of the 20th century the well-known company had rapidly expanded into many fields, including motor retail, steel and building materials, handling equipment, consumer electronics, televisions, home appliances and steel manufacturing.”

“In the 1990s the company decided to unbundle and close non-core businesses. At the time I was in charge of the manufacturing operation producing home appliances such as stoves, fridges, washing machines and air-conditioning units. This division was one of the casualties and before they could dispose of the presses and tooling onto the scrap heap, I made an offer and they accepted.”

“When I started my own business it was my intention to become a supplier to the automotive industry. I had the equipment and know-how but the automotive industry did not want me, purely because I had no experience or track record in the industry, to offer.”

Press Dynamik has two CNC Amada punch presses

Products in the sheet metal department

“It was back to the home appliance industry and Kelvinator South Africa became a big client of mine. In fact, I was 80% reliant on them but tough competition had frozen Kelvinator South Africa out of business and they closed their doors in 1999.”

“That heavy reliance on one customer taught me a valuable lesson. Today any one client does not constitute more than 15% of my business. The risk is now spread.”

“The demise of Kelvinator was a contributing factor in me changing our metal processing strategy. I sold off the metal presses and purchased an Amada press brake and an Amada CNC turret punch press and began exploring the idea of manufacturing my own products.”

“We did not want to become a flat sheet metal in, processed flat sheet metal component out, type of company. Nor did we want to be a job shop or service centre.”

A general view of the sheet metal department

The second Amada fiber laser

“We wanted to become a custom manufacturer that takes care of the whole value stream, including cutting, forming and welding metal, powder coating and any other process that would be required before full assembly, but not the ‘dirty or messy’ finishing processes such as galvanising, plating and pickling. We did not want to be in a position where we had to chase for work but rather build a revenue stream from a diverse range of clients while at the same time not be put in a pigeon hole.”

“Our final business model was to be a product line manufacturer while at the same time offer job shop services, but job shop services with a difference. Job shops are usually likened to a high-mix, low-volume environment that offer cutting, forming and welding of metal and maybe some other fabrication and sub-assembly services. You could say they offer just a collection of metal fabrication technology and processes, and nothing more, but many other sheet metal fabrication companies offer the same services – they are easily copied and it ends up in a price war when times get tough. These types of operations don’t sell products – they sell available capacity. I believe that currently in South Africa there is too much capacity in this space.”

TIG welding

Assembly of product at Press Dynamik

“Then you get the job shop companies that offer services from design concept to finished product. They concentrate on servicing their clients’ needs and nothing more. This type of job shop has various customers that order different quantities of different products that all have different lead times, bills of materials and due dates.”

“Then you get our type of company that manufactures our own product lines, that don’t conflict with our clients, and also offer the job shop services of design concept to finished product. Product lines in this business can be anything from direct-to-consumer products to highly configurable or customisable product lines designed to serve a range of other businesses. It’s a good business if the operation can weather the ups and downs. That’s why product line manufacturers, such as ourselves, dip their toes into the job shop business, an arena that’s not tied to the demand variability of a single industry or product.”

First products
“We started off in a factory in the Kew industrial area of Johannesburg manufacturing workshop equipment and various cabinets for the electrical industry. These included DB board enclosures, electrical boxes and other types of steel enclosures. It was pretty simple work but there was a high demand for these types of products. At that stage we were really sheet metal processors adding some value to the final product and had to rely on outside suppliers for finishing processes such as galvanising, plating, powder coating and painting. We still outsource the galvanising and plating but we now have our own powder coating and painting plants.”

Press Dynamik also has two injection moulding machines

Powder coating

“The product range grew to include trolleys, cabinets with drawers and wheels for both the workshop and electrical industries, tool boxes, tool trunks and holders for spanners and screwdrivers, more sophisticated enclosures, work benches, tables, server and UPS cabinets, safes, security boxes, shelving, racking, cupboards, tables and various containers, as the company grew.”

“We now manufacture an extensive range of garage and workshop storage cabinets, both wall-mounted and free standing, electrical enclosures and office storage systems, all designed to keep any garage or office neat and tidy and functional.”

“The magnitude of it can be expressed in the numbers – 19 000 different products and over a million drawings.”

“Our Kew facility served the company well in its infancy period. When we started off, we were being charged R3 per m² rent – a price unheard of today. But a company must progress and we wanted to add other services to our manufacturing processes besides just cut and bend so we built our own factory in Linbro Industrial Park in 2004.”

Founder and owner Aylwin Stephenson

Components that have been laser cut, punched and welded

“At first we had one 4 200m² factory and then built another similar size one next door. Complementary services and processes were housed in each building. However, when you need forklifts to move material around, in our case from one building to the other, during the manufacturing process, you are adding on costs and opening yourself up to other unforeseen circumstances.”

“It was almost as if we became two companies – one in the one building and the other building. I am generalising but it was a contributing factor to us moving to Kyalami Business Park in 2014.”

Reduced space and JIT manufacturing
“In our 8 500m² factory in Linbro we had plenty of wasted space. Examples of this were that we had our off-cuts occupying a space of 1 500m² and we have now reduced this down to 20m² and our metal storage area has been reduced from 2 000m² to 150m².”

Press Dynamik now manufactures an extensive range of garage and workshop storage cabinets, both wall-mounted and free standing, electrical enclosures and office storage systems, all designed to keep any garage or office neat and tidy and functional

Enclosures being assembled

“However, the biggest motivating factor in this transition period of the company was that we changed to a just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing strategy. As Taiichi Ohno, the creator of the Toyota Production System said: ‘The more inventory a company has, the less likely the company will have what it needs.’ Any Toyota assembly plant operates in a make-to-stock production mode. Toyota can’t avoid it, even if it has flexible, level-loaded assembly lines, each of which handles a variety of automobiles that share many of the same components.”

“They say that the eight forms of waste in lean manufacturing are transportation, waiting, overproduction, over processing, operator motion, scrap and rework, inventory and under utilising talent. You can add factory floor space to that.”

“If you work at a typical custom manufacturer, you know you don’t work in a make-to-stock business. Would your company intentionally produce a larger quantity of product than the quantity the customer orders? Would you prefer to fill a customer’s order from finished goods inventory stored for months in the warehouse?”

Certain operations have been automated at Press Dynamik with the deployment of two Yaskawa Motoman MIG welding robots

An Agma CNC machining center that was supplied by Talmac Machine Tools in the toolroom

“Besides, overproduction eats up valuable capacity on a company’s bottleneck resources. For a fabricator, this is essentially wasting capacity (machine hours, labour hours, and overtime), inventory (materials, consumables and tools), and overheads (warehouse staff, electricity, inventory carrying costs, and obsolescence costs).”

“Furthermore, the South African manufacturing scene has moved towards small batch sizes. In the past when we manufactured gas heaters we made 1 000s at a time. This is no longer the case as to have material or product taking up floor space is costing you money for that space as well as what it cost to manufacture the product.”

“Today you will see material being delivered to us daily and then we process according to orders. No need to explain that further.”

Solar power
“I have always been interested in renewable or alternate energy solutions. Hence, our move to install solar power panels for our electricity requirements. Currently about one-third of our power requirements are supplied by solar power panels and we aim to have this up to 90% by the end of the year. Again this represents a big cost saving.”

“Besides two Amada CNC punch presses we also have five Amada press brakes and two Amada fiber lasers. In the welding department we offer CO2, TIG, Spot, ARC, aluminium and stainless steel welding. Certain of these operations have been automated with the deployment of two Yaskawa Motoman MIG welding robots.”

Press Dynamik also has a Takisawa CNC lathe in the toolroom

A combi tool trolley manufactured by Press Dynamik

“On the machining side we have a fully equipped tool room that includes a CNC milling machine and a CNC lathe, radial drilling machine and surface grinders. We also have three presses that need to process certain components for us.”

“We also have a Sonderhoff’s two-component polyurethane sealing machine for the manufacture of flexible foam seals, which are foamed directly onto the part by using FIPFG (formed-in-place foam gasket) technology. The systems consist of a resin (A-component) and a hardener (B-component), which are mixed together at a prescribed ratio. This produces a flexible sealing foam within a few minutes. We invested in this technology because seals are required for the enclosures and some cabinets that we manufacture.”

“We also have our own painting and powder coating operation as well as two plastic injection moulding machines.”

“The design office uses SolidEdge and AutoCAD, for machining we use EdgeCam and Dr Abe is our nesting programme for the Amada machines.”

“Wherever possible we have tried to become self-sufficient.”

A tool trunk with draws manufactured by Press Dynamik

Press Dynamik started off in a factory in the Kew industrial area of Johannesburg manufacturing workshop equipment and various cabinets for the electrical industry. These products are still manufactured by them

“But our company wouldn’t have grown so dramatically if we had focused only on the ‘hard’ aspects of operating, the processes and the technology. We also focus on the people, and not in a superficial way. A company is, at its heart, a group of people working together.”

“A team does need the right tools and technology to succeed. But if that team is dysfunctional, due to mismatched personalities, working styles, or anything else, success becomes impossible.”

For further details contact Press Dynamik on TEL: 011 065 6500 or visit www.pressdynamik.co.za