A composites manufacturing facility owned by BFG Africa (Germiston, South Africa) has opened a new composites manufacturing facility in Germiston, Gauteng, South Africa. The 9,500m2 factory is said to be the first of its kind in South Africa, producing materials made of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) for applications across the infrastructure, mining, automotive, transport and architectural sectors.
BFG Africa is the pan-African subsidiary of one of the largest and oldest diversified composites manufacturers in the world, BFG International. BFG Africa is majority black-owned, with 51% acquired in June 2018 by the Mergence group, a diversified financial services group founded in 2014.
Masimo Magerman, managing director of Mergence, says, “We were delighted to provide BFG International with a local partner that can assist with unlocking further opportunities in the composites space. Our objective is job creation and skills development and to grow the black industrialist sector in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.”
Dr Samer Aljishi, group president of BFG International, adds, “Currently 27 people are employed by BFG Africa, 18 of whom underwent extensive training in Bahrain. The company is well-positioned to benefit from the roll-out of transport infrastructure and rolling-stock (interiors and claddings) renewable energy projects (composite-based wind turbines) and automotive projects.”
As an initial contract, entered into with the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium, BFG Africa will clad the interiors of a fleet of 600 commuter trains that will be supplied to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) over a 10-year period. The first delivery on this project was met in May 2019.
BFG Africa is also working on an affordable emergency housing solution, whereby lightweight collapsible structures can be transported and erected within hours to disaster areas.
Managing director of BFG Africa, Arshad Gove, says, “The factory is regarded as one of the best of its kind in the world, with state-of-the-art equipment, including several specialized presses. The manufacturing processes include tooling, open contact molding, resin transfer molding, painting, SMC material production, SMC press molding, vacuum infusion, assembly and product integration.
“Composites fiberglass has replaced conventional materials in locomotive, buildings and specialized applications,” says Grove. “Composites fiberglass as a ‘material of the future’ has an imprint in many developed nations and we are excited to be leading the charge with applications in Africa in areas of architecture, rail and transport, wind energy, housing and many other areas by using this advanced material.”
Source | Composites World