Red Steel takes First Impressions to the NEXT LEVEL

The best thing about travel is that you get out of your comfort zone and you get to see how other people live and operate, and if you have your eyes and ears open, you learn a lot from those new experiences and observations.

The black beaches of Napier, New Zealand

About two years ago, Bob Hawley of Red Steel in Napier, New Zealand had started building his new fabricating facility, and purchased an Avenger PLUS from Ocean to position his shop ahead of his competition. This past trip I had the privilege of seeing Bob in his new state-of-the-art facility, and I got to see how he is positioning his business for future growth.

Red Steel – Napier, New Zealand

From the minute you arrive at the shop you can tell that Bob has tremendous pride in appearance, and the striking charcoal and red color scheme that greets you on the outside of the building, is carried through the entire facility. First impressions are important in business and Red Steel offers one of the most compelling first impressions you will ever see, and not just in the steel fabrication arena.

Red Steel’s front lobby

But it’s not just about appearances. Bob fully understands that the strength of his company is dependent on attracting and retaining the best employees and the effort and expense that he has put into the facility to cater to his employees is immediately apparent. A large, fully-appointed break room leads outside to an attractive covered barbecue area, protected from the cold winds that are common in New Zealand. And most importantly for a coffee connoisseur like myself, visitors are offered a range of gourmet espresso options and Bob has turned out to be quite the Barista!

Impact Machinery’s Robby Clark with Bob in the large break room

Covered outdoor employee break area

Bob and Ocean VP Danny Steyn enjoying some espresso at the Avenger PLUS

This level of detail is carried through to the fabricating facility, where every single fabricator is in control of his own crane, ensuring that he is fully productive. Bob tracks real time productivity with a range of software programs and I really enjoyed seeing the man-hour/ton variations across the massive range of work that Red Steel undertakes.

Every fabricator is in control of their own crane

Peddinghaus HSFDB being installed

And while I was there the Peddinghaus factory technician Rob Ganzer was installing Red Steel’s new fully loaded HSFDB plate line. All in all, a very impressive facility and one that will set itself apart for years to come. Thanks for the tour Bob!

 

 

 

Not your typical beam line!

Yes, the Ocean Avenger is known for drilling holes in beams and columns and adding layout marks for welded attachments, but it does so much more!

We have one customer who is using their Avenger to drill holes through both walls of 1.5” pipe. Have fun trying to do that with a mag drill!

Avenger drilling 1.5″ pipe

Another customer used to process all their flat bar on an iron worker, it worked, but it was an inefficient and labor intensive process. Now they put a 20 ft piece of flat bar on their Avenger and drill all the holes and add layout pop marks to indicate where to shear it, saving valuable time, money and man-hours.

The extreme versatility of the Avenger allows you to process all profiles up to 40” high. The possibilities are endless!

Drill and layout channel for stair stringers

Angle

T-sections

Base Plate

And so much more!

 

 

 

Pump and Steel Supplies, Bulawayo Zimbabwe – Transforming for the future!

Pump and Steel Supplies – Bulawayo ZimbabweIn the heart of Bulawayo Zimbabwe, a young couple, Eugene and Agnes Jackson, have created an amazing company called Pump and Steel Supplies, and in a few short years have grown it into a powerhouse of productivity, and now employ more than 300 personnel. They manufacture everything from Structural Steel to roofing materials to door and window frames, and everything in between.

Roofing manufacturing lines at Pump and Steel Supplies

Roofing manufacturing lines at Pump and Steel Supplies

They currently operate from a 300,000 sqft building, previously the railways workshop building, and have started to transform this facility from an essentially manual operation into a state of the art CNC automated manufacturing facility.

Peddinghaus 210AD Ironworker from 1971

Peddinghaus 210AD Ironworker from 1971

One of the older machines in their floor is their trusty Peddinghaus 210AD Ironworker built in the Peddinghaus Germany factory back in 1971, and this machine still performs as well as it did when it was built, more than 46 years ago. This machine will now reside across from their most recent installation, a line featuring a dual column Terminator Band Saw and the formidable Ocean Avenger PLUS CNC Drill Line. And just across from the drill line is their new Ocean Clipper CNC Angle Line.

Recent installation featuring a dual column Terminator Band Saw and Ocean Avenger PLUS CNC Drill Line

Recent installation featuring a dual column Terminator Band Saw and Ocean Avenger PLUS CNC Drill Line

One senses that not only is Pump and Steel Supplies about to rewrite structural steel fabrication in the country, but the entire country of Zimbabwe is poised for a massive bounce as soon as investment capital rolls in. While the departing president Robert Mugabe might have been reviled, the one thing he really did well was invest in education of the citizens, and the talent and skill in Zimbabwe is ready to make their mark on the continent of Africa.

Left to Right – Ray Chellew (SKOK salesman), Eugene Jackson (Managing Director – Pump and Steel Supplies), Ndaba Mhlanga (Technical Director – Pump and Steel Supplies), Sean Devenny Skok Installer

Left to Right – Ray Chellew (SKOK salesman), Eugene Jackson (Managing Director – Pump and Steel Supplies), Ndaba Mhlanga (Technical Director – Pump and Steel Supplies), Sean Devenny Skok Installer

Ray Chellew and Sean Devenny of SKOK Machine tool in front of the Ocean Clipper CNC Angle Line at Pump and Steel Supplies Zimbabwe

Ray Chellew and Sean Devenny of SKOK Machine tool in front of the Ocean Clipper CNC Angle Line at Pump and Steel Supplies Zimbabwe

 

 

 

Ocean Machinery’s Mazda MX-5 sets two records at NOLA Motorsports Park

Danny Steyn wheels his Ocean Machinery Mazda MX-5 to two new lap records at NOLA Motorsports Park

Ocean Machinery SCCA sponsored car

Ocean Machinery’s sponsored Mazda MX-5 STL (Super Touring Lite) car

The third round of the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour took place at the NOLA Motorsports Park outside New Orleans Louisiana this past week.

Ocean Machinery Vice President, Danny Steyn was there to compete in both the Spec Miata and Super Touring Lite classes, and racked up some pretty stellar performances. Steyn campaigns his 2-liter Ocean Machinery Mazda MX-5 in the STL class and in the qualifying sessions put his car on pole for both races by more than 2 seconds, out qualifying much faster V8 Corvettes and BMW’s.

In STL Race 1, Steyn pulled away from the field, in the process decimating the previous lap record by over a second. However he was denied the win when his water temperatures spiked and he pulled into pits to save the engine.

Overnight, his crew worked on sorting out the cooling issues and he went out for Race 2 in the hope of securing the win. This time Steyn went even quicker, breaking his lap record set the previous day, and continued to win the STL class.

Ocean Machinery gets top spot on the STL class podium (l-r: Mike Taylor, Danny Steyn, Amy Mills)

In the Spec Miata class, in which Steyn campaigns a 2003 Mazda Miata, he qualified on pole for Race 1 and outside pole for Race 2. In Saturday’s Race 1, Steyn drove away from the field to win his first Hoosier Super Tour Spec Miata race of the season, but in the SM Race 2, he missed a shift at the start and fell back to 27th place. However he was able to drive back through the field to finish in 7th place, and secure valuable championship points.

Danny earns top spot on the Spec Miata podium (l-r: Michael Carter, Danny Steyn, Blake Clements)

Overall a very successful weekend for Steyn with 3 poles, 2 wins, and two track records.

The Ocean Machinery Mazda MX-5 will be competing at the following events

  • Road Atlanta March 17, 18
  • Virginia International Raceway April 14,15
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway June 9,10
  • Road America June Sprints June 16,17
  • Watkins Glen June 23,24
  • Daytona August 4,5

The general public is always encouraged to attend, and we would love to see you at a track real soon. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information.

 

 

 

 

Ocean Avenger Repairs a Bulldozer

So, what do you do if a bulldozer has an untimely contact with a tree that destroys a vital ventilation screen?

Simple really, contact a steel fabricator that has an Avenger drill line! This is what happened to one of great customers, Gary Hobbs of GH engineering in Palmerstone New Zealand.

Damaged bulldozer screen

Damaged bulldozer ventilation screen

Gary looked at the original screen and said, “yeah mate, we can do this”, and put a 16mm thick steel plate on the Avenger table and let this versatile machine work its magic. Because the Avenger would have to drill more than 840 holes  each 26mm (1”) in diameter, Gary reduced the feed rate of the machine, so as not to overheat the hydraulic fluid that would be continuously working,

Despite the reduced feed rate, his Avenger still completed this unusual job in only 2hours and 12 minutes, proving yet again just how versatile this amazing machine is.

We love seeing these great stories and inventive uses of our Ocean Avenger, so if you have an interesting story or project, please send them to us – email to info@oceanmachinery.com

Avenger making new vent screen

The versatile Ocean Avenger making replacement ventilation screen

 

 

 

Ocean Machinery races up front in the 2018 SCCA Majors at Homestead Miami Speedway

The 2018 SCCA season opened this past weekend at the Homestead Miami Speedway with the first Majors event of the year. More than 300 drivers from around the country attended to compete in more than 20 classes including both open and closed wheel cars. Ocean Machinery’s VP, Danny Steyn was there to compete in two classes, Spec Miata and Super Touring Lite.

SPEC MIATA features identical Mazda Miata’s from 1990 to 2005, all built to a very stringent list of specifications and balanced with weights and restrictor plates, and is considered the best closed wheel driver development class in SCCA. Spec Miata cars make around 125HP and run at around 2400lbs and since they lack huge amounts of power, they are momentum cars where maintaining maximum speed through turns and not scrubbing off speed converts to speed at the end of the straight which wins races.

Since the cars are so equal, driver’s skill and strategy plays the deciding role, and at tracks like Homestead which feature long straights, bump drafting between team mates to move forward is a critical part of racing.

In the Spec Miata field of 37 drivers, Steyn qualified in 6th place and ran up front in both races, finishing 6th in Race 1, and 5th in Race 2 in the Adept Studios Spec Miata.

Steyn’s Adept Studios Spec Miata

SUPER TOURING LITE is a more advanced class, that allows significant engine work as well as limited aerodynamic enhancements, and Ocean Machinery’s Mazda MX-5 produces 210HP but races at 2750lbs, and this balances it with the other marques of cars on the track.

Ocean Machinery race car

Ocean Machinery’s VP, Danny Steyn with his Super Touring Lite Mazda Miata MX-5.

In the cool conditions, Steyn qualified his Ocean Machinery Mazda MX-5 on the STL pole for both races, well under his own lap record. In Race 1, Steyn raced up front and built a sizeable lead until his clutch failed and the resulting slow shifts allowed Nick Leverone to pass him on the last lap. Leverone finished 1st with Steyn 2nd. In Sunday’s Race 2, Steyn pulled away to a very commanding lead before his gauges failed, and he shut everything down to protect the engine. Despite the final results, the early pace is encouraging for the 2018 season.

The Ocean Machinery Mazda MX5 car will be competing at the following SCCA Majors / Super Tour events in 2018:

  • February 2-4: Circuit of the Americas; Austin, Texas – Hoosier SCCA Super Tour
  • March 3-4: NOLA Motorsports Park; Avondale, Louisiana  – Hoosier SCCA Super Tour
  • March 17-18: Road Atlanta; Braselton, Georgia  – SCCA Majors
  • April 13-15: Virginia International Raceway; Alton, Virginia  – Hoosier SCCA Super Tour
  • June 15-17: Road America; Plymouth, Wisconsin  (June Sprints) – Hoosier SCCA Super Tour
  • June 22-24: Watkins Glen International; Watkins Glen, New York – Hoosier SCCA Super Tour

 

 

Ocean Avenger improves production at Invo Stahlbau in Namibia

 

The extensive desert landscape that is typical of Namibia

The extensive desert landscape that is typical of Namibia

Namibia is a large country, mostly desert with a small population. Colonized by the Germans in the late 19th century, Namibia became independent in 1990 and has been undergoing a transformation ever since.

One of our structural steel customer, INVO Stahlbau, located in Windhoek, owned and operated by Ingo Ahrens and ably assisted by right hand man Harmut Aring, made the investment in their future by stepping into the world of CNC production with the Avenger CNC drill line, almost exactly 12 months ago.

Ingo Ahrens and his Avenger operators Oscar Kayoka and David Shadindi, along with Ray Chellew of Skok Machine Tool.

Ingo Ahrens and his Avenger operators Oscar Kayoka and David Shadindi, along with Ray Chellew of Skok Machine Tool.

When I asked Ingo whether the Avenger had improved his life, he responded with a smile, recalling the amount of time his beam work used to take him compared to how long it takes now, with the Avenger flying through his beams, cleats and plates.

Typical portal steel rafters with connection plates and purlin cleats, all processed on the Ocean Avenger at Invo Stahlbau, Windhoek Namibia

Typical portal steel rafters with connection plates and purlin cleats, all processed on the Ocean Avenger at Invo Stahlbau, Windhoek Namibia

While I watched, his two Avenger operators, Oscar Kayoka and David Shadindi were running a multi-part of angle cleats, drilling and marking multiple cleats prior to cutting them to length with the new bandsaw that they have since implemented.

The Avenger has impacted their production so profoundly that they have also invested in a CNC plate plasma machine.  We are proud to be a partner with Invo Stahlbau in this new phase of their journey in the world of structural steel fabrication.

Typical portal steel rafters with connection plates and purlin cleats, all processed on the Ocean Avenger at Invo Stahlbau, Windhoek Namibia

Typical portal steel rafters with connection plates and purlin cleats, all processed on the Ocean Avenger at Invo Stahlbau, Windhoek Namibia

Typical portal steel rafters with connection plates and purlin cleats, all processed on the Ocean Avenger at Invo Stahlbau, Windhoek Namibia

Typical portal steel rafters with connection plates and purlin cleats, all processed on the Ocean Avenger at Invo Stahlbau, Windhoek Namibia

Welcome to Zimbabwe – prepare to be entertained and educated!

 

Welcome to Zimbabwe - Joshua Nkomo International Airport Bulawayo

Welcome to Zimbabwe – Joshua Nkomo International Airport Bulawayo

One of the most valuable things you can do in this journey through life is continually challenge your assumptions and beliefs. Preconceptions are such dangerous things and we are all prone to them, myself included. To many, the African continent is considered a 3rd world economy and with it follow a whole host of prejudices, judgments and mindsets about what you are likely to see there.

Well I have news for you all. Soon you will be joining Ocean on a safari pilgrimage to Southern Africa, and Zimbabwe in particular, not only to see the abundant African wildlife in its beautiful natural habitat, but also to see how industrious and ingenious the local fabricators are when tackling their daily production.

Enter Eugene and Agnes Jackson, two of the loveliest, most welcoming people you will ever meet anywhere in the world. Both are local Zimbabweans and have embarked on an amazing journey in steel fabrication, overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles and setting even more improbable targets. But Eugene and Agnes are fueled by a vision of what IS possible.

Fifteen years ago, after the birth of their son, Eugene decided he wanted to start his own steel merchant business in the town of Bulawayo, population 800,000. He started, like most of our customers, renting modest facilities, in their case a 2,000 sqft building. As he progressed and secured more work, he extended the building, eventually outgrowing it completely as he added more manufacturing products to his line.

Eugene Jackson (left) - founder of Pump and Steel Supplies, along with Ray Chellew of Skok Machine Tool in the original 2,000sqft building where the journey started

Eugene Jackson (left) – founder of Pump and Steel Supplies, along with Ray Chellew of Skok Machine Tool in the original 2,000sqft building where the journey started

As a fabricator in a small town, Eugene knew he had to be versatile, and while his core business originated with structural fabrication, he started to diversify and manufacture door and window frames and a whole host of metal products that he could supply throughout the country, through distribution.

Four years ago, despite many of his colleagues calling him completely insane, Eugene rented a dilapidated 200,000 sqft building with 5 long 330ft x 75ft bays, almost 100 times the size of his original premises. His crew rehabilitated the building, adding cranes and installing a whole host of equipment.

Today Pump and Steel Supplies is a 300-employee behemoth, manufacturing an entire range of steel products, supplying the building, mining and retail trades. Within the current local business climate, forex is tough to obtain, so they have built their business mostly on the back of ingenuity, dedication, hard work and a range of used equipment.

They utilize several hundred machines of all types, from rolls, to press brakes, ironworkers, punches, radial arm drills, and more recently CNC machining centers. Their machines are impeccably maintained by maintenance manager Ndabezinhle Mhlanga and his team. The machines are spotlessly clean despite their high utilization, and when you enter the premises, you are instantly accosted by the wonderful sound of money being made.

Pump and Steel Supplies - Building Products Division

Pump and Steel Supplies – Building Products Division

Pump and Steel Supplies - CNC Machining Centers

Pump and Steel Supplies – CNC Machining Centers

The production processes are overseen by two bright young Zimbabwean industrial engineers, Melusi Ndlovu (Production Manager) and Adrian Mtyida (Contracts Manager) who utilize time and motion study methods to optimize the flow between machines to the extent that it looks like a beautiful choreographed dance! Just watch the video below.

In all my years of traveling amongst thousands of fabricators worldwide, I finally found production nirvana, and it lives in a small town called Bulawayo Zimbabwe. Talk about shattering all preconceptions. I feel privileged to have met Eugene and Agnes, people with whom I will be friends for life. The next chapter of their story is about to be written and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.

Danny Steyn, VP Ocean Machinery

Pump and Steel Supplies - Roofing Material Division

Pump and Steel Supplies – Roofing Material Division

Pump and Steel Supplies - Building Products Division

Pump and Steel Supplies – Building Products Division

More than 2,000 holes per sharpening on Ocean Penetrator drill bits at Cousins Steel in South Africa

It is always gratifying to visit our customers who have embraced our CNC solutions and have carved out a successful place for themselves in the competitive world of steel fabrication.

Danny Steyn with Cousins Steel machining specialist Jody de Bruin

Danny Steyn with Cousins Steel machining specialist Jody de Bruin

On a recent trip to South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, Ocean Machinery’s Vice President, Danny Steyn met with several customers including Cousins Steel who is one of the premier Kwazulu-Natal based steel fabricators located in Pietermaritzburg.

Cousins Steel implemented the Ocean Avenger and Ocean Clipper CNC solutions in 2011, and it was pleasing to see just how well the machines are maintained, despite the heavy usage.

Ocean Clipper, Cousins Steel - South Africa

Ocean Clipper – Cousins Steel, South Africa

Cousins Steel’s machining specialist Jody de Bruin, who meticulously maintains and operates the machines proudly showed us the Avenger, Clipper and Rejuvenator drill grinder. Steyn remarked to De Bruin that it was possibly the cleanest and best maintained drill sharpener that he had seen in almost a thousand installations.

When Steyn asked De Bruin how the Avenger had been performing he replied that apart from one recent valve issue, the machine has performed flawlessly for over 6 years, and stated that he was getting over 2,000 holes per sharpening on the standard Ocean Penetrator Drill Bits.

Cousins Steel - South Africa

Cousins Steel, South Africa

These are the stories that we love to share with our customers, dealers and prospects. Nothing makes us more proud than to see machines working hard in our customer’s shops.

 

 

 

Step-by-Step Integration of Ocean Products

Integration of the Ocean Terminator Saw with the Avenger Drill Line

Integration of the Ocean Terminator Saw with the Avenger Drill Line

All Ocean products are designed to be fully-functional stand-alone machines that exhibit amazing productivity and versatility in their own right, and are designed to fit into very compact spaces since most of our customers are pressed for space.  However, they are also fully capable of being integrated into fully-functional systems for those customers who have the space to implement them.  This can be done at any time in a step-by-step approach as needs require and as funds become available.

We are finding more and more customers using the Avenger (and Avenger PLUS) drill line to not only drill and layout their beams, but also to measure the beam for cutting to length and coping.  We often see our machines in a system layout where the Avenger drills, lays out and measures, and the Terminator cuts to length.

Ocean Liberator integrated with Avenger Drill Line

Ocean Liberator integrated with Avenger Drill Line

But for those customers who have a significant percentage of their work that also needs to be coped, an Avenger or Avenger PLUS in tandem with the Liberator CNC Coper is even more versatile.  These customers use the drill line to place the location reference marks and then use the Liberator to not only cope the beams, but also to cut to length.

Just outside Fresno in Northern California, Steve Bradford of Bradford Steel started off with an Avenger and then subsequently added a Liberator to cope and cut to length.  He installed cross transfers to facilitate loading the Avenger and added idler rollers to the drill table, making it easier to feed the beams into the coper.  His future plans include additional cross transfers integrated with the outfeed of the Liberator to further speed up production, and the integration of an Ocean Blaster to further reduce costs and improve profitability.

Material handling integrated with Avenger Drill Line

Material handling integrated with Avenger Drill Line

IMG_3452

Ocean Machinery provides full CAD layout drawings of an entire system in your location, showing you how the various products can all be integrated in the future.  This step-by-step modular approach to machine integration means that you never have to invest too much at one time; just add machines as needed.

Call us today toll free at 1-800-286-3624 or at 1-954-956-3131. We look forward to helping you create a customized fully functional integrated system for your shop.