African Fusion talks to Warwick Hogan and Anthony McGuinness of Brand Weld about welding brand choices and their approach to meeting the needs of the diverse South African market.
Between them, Anthony Mc- Guinness and Warwick Hogan have substantial experience as distributors of welding equipment, which, for McGuinness, goes back to 1997 with Binzel. Prior to the death in 2009 of Sydney Ellerine, McGuinness was running the Ellerine’s welding businesses, Welcom Distribution and Welders Warehouse, while Hogan was running a company called TorchMaster in Australia.
“We started Brand Weld as a new and clean entity in 2009 as an importer and wholesaler of a carefully selected range of brands that we thought would be well suited to the South African market,” says McGuinness. “We decided to sell only through distributors and to carry a comprehensive and complete range of popular, fast moving welding products: MMA, MIG and TIG welding machines, accessories and consumables; gas and plasma cutting equipment; and a comprehensive range of associated safety gear and accessories,” he tells African Fusion.
“The bread and butter of the business, lies in welding consumables,” he notes – flux-cored, MIG, TIG and stick consumables as well as SAW wires and fluxes – and Brand Weld has adopted a tiered approach to give users the choice between cost-effective brands, high-end certified quality and mid-tier options.
“We offer three consumable ranges: a low cost Strike Master option, which is focused on steel such as 6013 electrodes; a mid-tier Taurus range of products, which is our own registered brand of good quality but well-priced products; and the Oerlikon premium brand.
“Taurus consumables are available for the popular steel alloys, including 7018 and 7024s, as well as the common stainless steel and cast iron electrodes such as Nickel 55 and 98,” McGuinness says.
For MIG welding, a full range of solid wires is available, including stainless and aluminium wires, “and we have some Taurus flux-cored wires such as the 71T1 wires, as well as silicon bronze MIG wires.
“The Taurus consumable brand is ideal for general fabrication and is ideal for small and medium sized fabricators that are under competitive pressure – but still have to produce quality products,” McGuinness suggests. “And in the currently lean economic climate, we are also selling to some bigger operations for non-critical welding tasks,” he adds.
“Wherever the contract price is an issue, Taurus can be a cost-effective alternative to the premium brands,” Hogan suggests. “But for premium quality welding tasks, we have the full Oerlikon offering at our disposal,” he continues. “We are a relatively new to Oerlikon, but Brand Weld has quickly emerged as the go-to agency for imported Oerlikon consumables. We are now the primary supplier of all Oerlikon consumables and if any direct enquiry is received in Europe, these will be referred to us,” he says.
The quick success is largely due to a “substantial commitment” from Oerlikon to make their products work in the South African market...