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Transnet Engineering’s Foundry Business

Transnet Engineering’s Foundry Business has a long history dating back some 50 years.
At one time, the business employed some 2000 people with immense capacity to serve both the internal and external market. The Business’s main objectives included casting of all the components for the former South African Railways and Harbours. This included bogies, frames, bolsters, wedges, side frames, couplers, draw-gears etc – in fact, every casting needed on rolling stock i.e. locomotives, coaches and wagons. Today, the Foundry business is being further upgraded in all aspects to resume its vital role in the South African rail industry.

Currently, the Foundry Business employs 152 people. With its low staff turnover, the business has the advantage that many of its staff has extensive experience and knowledge. However, the business is also recruiting new employees to strengthen its core of expertise. This allows the Foundry business to advise its customers on the best solutions for their castings requirements.

The Foundries Business operates to the highest levels of efficiency, ensuring that its customers receive a highly cost-competitive service.

The business operates from two sites, one in Tshwane at Koedoespoort and a much larger facility in Bloemfontein. The facilities are both ISO 9001 accredited. The two facilities have the ability to produce any casting a customer could require.

In terms of the materials it uses in its castings, the business has expertise in casting all types of metals. Common metals that it uses are steel, brass, copper, white metal, spheroid graphite (SG) and cast iron (CI).

Currently, the major clients that the Foundries Business serves are Transnet Engineering’s Wagon Business, its Locomotive Business and its Rolling Stock Equipment Business. External to Transnet, it also makes components for VAE Perway. The business also serves a number of smaller clients such as NLPI, an Israeli company that owns and operates the Zambian railways.

Apart from the railway industry, the Foundry Business serves a number of other industry sectors such as mining, automotive, and to a lesser extent marine.

The Foundry Business has access to Transnet’s Engineering’s top quality Product Development facilities. This includes a range of engineers and designers who use technologically advanced computerised design stations, and who are fully conversant with techniques such as finite element analysis. This service also includes pre-development surveys and feasibility studies.

The Foundry Business is a leader in South Africa’s castings industry in that it possesses the most modern, efficient production equipment. This is constantly being upgraded as new technology becomes available. At Koedoespoort, the workshop is equipped with two energy-efficient induction furnaces and a semi-automated CT3 moulding machine for producing greensand moulds. The facility also has its own sand plant. The Koedoespoort facility is able to produce moulds from chemically bonded sand, though this is being phased out over time. The facility also has heat treatment ovens. In addition, the foundry men have a full suite of equipment for fettling, shot blasting and finishing. There are also copper and brass furnaces and ingot making machines.

The workshop has all necessary ancillary equipment such as cooling towers and overhead cranes.

The Bloemfontein workshop has four 30-ton furnaces, one of the largest facilities in South Africa. There are also two other five-ton BBC furnaces, for smaller production runs. The jewels in Bloemfontein’s casting crown are the workshop’s three Disamatic automatic casting machines. These machines allow the business to turn out castings with a maximum size of 500mm x 300mm x 120mm with unmatched speed and cost-efficiency.

The Bloemfontein facility manufactures approximately 240 tons of SG ¬castings and 600 tons of CI castings every month for the railways and other transport industries.


Bleomfontein’s foundry has the following facilities:
    • Three Disamatic high-speed sand moulding systems,

    • A pattern shop fully equipped to produce patterns and core boxes,

    • A rail breaker for shearing steel for furnace feedstock,

    • A sand plant for the milling and preparation of green sand,

    • Induction furnaces for melting of steel and other scrap metal.

The efficiency of the Foundry Business allows it to offer its customers excellent turnaround times, which are among the best in the industry. Should customers face very tight deadlines, they are welcome to discuss these with Foundry management.

Quality control is integral to all production processes. Although the early steel castings were prone to failure, quality control processes have now nearly eliminated these. The facility routinely carries out spectrographic analysis to ensure the metals it uses (or in the case of copper and brass, produces) are of the correct quality. Stress and porosity tests can be rapidly carried out.

The two Foundries facilities are both on major rail sidings, which ensure a smooth supply local and export supply chain. The Businesses’ marketing department is able to ensure that export orders are swiftly and efficiently expedited.

Customers can be assured that the Foundries, being part of Transnet Engineering, enjoy the financial stability to ensure sustained success.

Transnet Engineering also offers a very efficient reclaim service. It is able to take scrap copper and brass and rapidly convert this material into highly saleable ingots. This ensures that its customers get a quick return on their scrap. Buyers of copper and brass can also be assured that with the Foundry’s advanced lab facilities, they are able to purchase metals of unquestioned purity.


The business’s main objective included casting of all for South African railways and harbours.

The foundry business operates to the highest level of efficiency, ensuring that its customers receive a highly cost-competitive service.