Reference Metal Fabricators of Zambia Ltd.
Zambian copper rod valued all over Africa
– Upcast Oy is part of our success. The service is good and the technical support outstanding. They are always willing to support us in terms of technical service and parts supply.
Zamefa’s plant manager Gabriel Bracho seems to be pleased. The Zambian metal manufacturer supplies the fast-growing African market with first class cable, wire and copper rod with decades of experience. Upcast Oy has accompanied Zamefa for over 30 years. How did it all begin?
– At the beginning of the 1980’s, Zamefa took the decision to invest in the first Upcast® machine. Our aim was to continue adding value to copper, which is the main export resource of Zambia.
Over the years Zamefa expanded its copper rod production capacity with no less than three additional Upcast® casting lines. No other supplier was considered.
– The first line from Upcast Oy was decided due to the quality, versatility, production volume and required installation area. After proving itself to be reliable, the other machines came as part of expansion processes. Also, we decided on having only one technology supplier for our copper rod production. Even our sister company in South Africa has an Upcast® machine, Mr. Bracho summarizes the long-standing collaboration.
Setting strategies to reach a wider market
Zambia produces copper rod for its own consumption and to export to regional countries, such as South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania. In the region, Zamefa is a key player in supplying 8 mm, 12,5 mm and 16 mm copper rod.
Despite copper being a crucial export, the copper rod business in Zambia is limited. The cable industry is the sole Zambian industry that requires copper rod. Only one other new cable manufacturer is operating in the country, with their own rod casting machine.
– Unfortunately, the market has been depressed due to economic issues. Our rod production capacity is 32 000 metric tons per year, but at this moment we are producing only 18 000 metric tons per year. Strategies are being set to increase our market participation in the region, Mr. Bracho maps out.
Zamefa takes environmental issues seriously. The ISO 9001 certified company puts itself out to exceed local environmental legislation.
– We do not only recycle primary metals, such as copper and aluminum used in the manufacturing of wire and cables. We also recycle PCV, steel and timber.
Problem solved in hours
The plant manager is very happy with Upcast’s customer support and visits to Zamefa.
– This is not seen very often among other machinery suppliers in the wire and cable industry. It shows commitment to their customers. The users meeting is also a great opportunity to see where the Upcast® technology is going and for supporting companies in their equipment developments.
Operating on different continents is no excuse for a service delay – at least for Upcast. Problems are dealt with immediately.
– In a recent machine upgrade, we had some process issues after an installation and commissioning. The issue was solved within hours through merely a phone call and an internet connection. This showed us that Upcast Oy is committed to serving us in a fast and reliable way.
Any ideas on how to do things even better, Mr. Bracho?
– Maybe something to explore would be how to develop components at a lower cost and how to pass these cost reductions onto the customers.
Copper is going strong
Through more than 50 years in the copper industry, Zamefa’s name has become synonymous with quality products. In Zambia and in the region, the brand is highly recognized.
– Our production capacity was built with thoughts of being an export manufacturer. This gave us the capability to go beyond the Zambian market, Mr. Bracho explains.
A firm foundation is key when planning future strategies and goals. For Zamefa, prospects for the African copper market are looking bright.
– Copper is and will be the preferred material in our product range. Some projects have switched to aluminum, but they are still a small portion of the market. We do not foresee a major change in the years to come. There is enough market for copper rod products in the region, considering that copper mining is a major interest in Africa, Mr. Bracho concludes. •
Metal Fabricators Of Zambia PLC
- A metal manufacturer operating in Zambia
- Parent company South-Africa Reunert Ltd
- Member of the CBI-electric Group
- Manufactures power cable, wire, copper shapes and copper rod
- Incorporated in 1969
- Roughly 300 employees
- 21 trading countries
- 2017 sales 2 898 metric tons to Zambia, 16 184 for export