African Fusion profiles Anderson Engineering, a specialist fabricator in stainless steel and the 2018 winner of the Sassda Stainless Steel award in the Agro-Processing, Food and Beverage Category. 

Eric Anderson, who saw an opportunity to manufacture stainless processing equipment for the dairy industry, founded Anderson Engineering in 1958.

As the dairy industry evolved, so did Anderson Engineering. “Initially we repaired the milk churns that were collected every day on flat bed trucks from the farms and taken to the dairies. However, as time progressed a better system was required and Anderson was the first company in KwaZulu-Natal to build the refrigerated milk-cooling tanks that were installed on farms,” says Hennie de Jager, the company’s current MD.

“We also manufactured the insulated milk collection tankers, which went from farm to farm on a frequent basis. As a result, the cold chain was improved and with it, the quality of the milk,” he adds.

Combo Emulsi Mixer Anderson Engineering Sassda Award Winner

Anderson Engineering was also the first company in South Africa to fabricate chassisless milk tankers.

“The benefit of having no chassis on the long-haul tankers was the saving in weight, which then allowed for a greater payload of milk,” De Jager informs African Fusion.

The company currently still services the dairy and broader food and beverage markets, but has also branched out into the manufacture of equipment for chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical manufacturers. “Our expertise and experience spans a great breadth of equipment and solutions, from small standard installations to large complex customised solutions. Our business’s expert design and engineering capabilities have enabled us to deliver some of the most innovative manufacturing solutions to South Africa’s industries,” says de Jager.

Anderson Engineering also works in many countries across South Africa’s borders. “As well as in South Africa, we have completed projects in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Congo, Southern Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, and Cameroon. In fact, on October 4th, we received the prestigious 2018 KZN Exporter of the Year Award in the small business category, which was presented by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI),” he reveals.

Anderson Engineering is a project- based company with production and turnover being largely dependent on successfully securing purchase orders for turnkey projects. “In this sense we have grown the business to include a level of flexibility that balances and offsets resource availability against demand. We are continually developing customers and looking for opportunities in new markets,” De Jager tells African Fusion.

Current offering and capability

Currently employing 58 people, the range of equipment manufactured in the company’s Pietermaritzburg premises is exceptionally broad. “Our key expertise is the ability to fabricate customised stainless steel processing equipment of the highest precision and quality. We are the ‘go-to’ business for highly complex projects and excel at turnkey design and build projects.

“We have also developed a number of highly innovative mixing solutions, such as the Anderson Contramix and the Anderson Magnetic Mixer. In addition, we have just launched a new mixing solution known as the Anderson Combo Emulsi Mixer (ACE Mixer),” De Jager says.

The Sassda award winning Anderson Combo Emulsi Mixer (ACE Mixer) was specifically developed for the homogenisation of products with poor miscibility such as mayonnaise, creams, sauces and ointments; or those with high viscosity.

The ACE Mixer has a three-stage multi-chamber modular hygienic de- sign. At the heart of this innovative solution is a rotor/stator combination that generates high shear and creates a stable homogenous product. Ingredients are introduced directly into a low-pressure pre-mix dispersion chamber, which draws and then propels the various ingredients directly into the high shear region of the mixer.

The product is discharged through a recirculation pipeline back to the processing vessel by means of an impeller. “The ACE Mixer combines years of experience in emulsification, effective technology and innovation to develop a machine capable of quick batch times for high-quality emulsions,” says De Jager.

Being specialists in stainless steel, Anderson Engineering has become very experienced in hygiene engineering. “True to our roots in the dairy industry, we specialise in servicing manufacturers requiring extremely stringent standards of hygiene, such as those in the pharmaceutical industry and many processed food producers,” he continues.

From a welded fabrication perspective, what sets Anderson Engineering apart from other processing equipment manufacturers is its ability to offer complete turnkey solutions. “Our involvement with these projects starts from conceptualisation and finishes with training and handover of the commissioned plant. We do this from a depth of knowledge and experience accumulated over the last 60 years. This puts us in the perfect position to offer unique ‘hygiene-engineered’ solutions to our customers,” he says.

Anderson Engineering’s current team consists of qualified engineers, draughtsman and technicians, with years of practical experience. Workshop personnel are responsible for the fabrication of the equipment and consist of machinists, boilermakers, coded welders, fitters and grinders. “We are committed to increasing our skills base by developing young talent and realised some time ago the value is of investing in our own in-house personnel,” De Jager notes.

“Our facility has two overhead cranes with a capacity of 3.0 and 5.0 t, respectively. We have all the necessary metalworking equipment: press brakes for bending; straighteners, cutters, lathes, and more. This enables us to do most of our engineering and fabrication work in-house and we have been able to overcome skill shortages by investing and training young talent and our loyal employees,” he adds

The materials we use consist mostly of the stainless steel grades: 304L, 316L, LDX 2101, SAF 2205; along with mild and structural steel for support structures.

“We use gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) extensively, along with shielded metal arc (SMAW) and we operate a fleet of 3-phase 380 V welding machines for both GTAW and SMAW processes – and we prefer using the Miller and Matweld high frequency inverter-based machines,” he tells African Fusion.

Anderson Engineering uses experienced and coded welders with production being done under the strict guidelines of its accredited ISO 3834 weld quality system. “We have also appointed a responsible welding co-ordinator in accordance with the requirements of ISO 3834 to ensure compliance with the ever-changing codes and regulations and to drive continuous improvement of our welding procedures and end quality standards.

“All projects are managed in accordance with strict quality management plans and in this regard, we are also ISO 9001:2015 accredited,” he adds.

“I believe ISO 3834, since its introduction into South Africa about 10 years ago, has improved standards within our company. As well as guaranteeing compliance to all statutory and regulatory requirements, the fact that ISO 3834 is an international standard makes us competitive, not only on a national level but also on the international stage.

The food and beverage, pharmaceutical chemical and personal care industries we serve insist on extremely high weld finish and weld quality standards and our ability to demonstrate compliance to the ISO 3834 standard for fusion welding gives our customers the peace of mind they require,” De Jager says.

Other notable successes

Earlier in October 2018, Anderson Engineering also won the 2018 KZN Exporter of the Year Award in the small business category. In 2016, the company won two Sassda Awards for Product Innovation: for the Anderson Contramix and the Anderson Magnetic Mixer.

“Our greatest success, however, is being appointed and completing highly complex and large scale projects such as, to name a few, the recently completed NBI fractionation project in KZN, the Sorbitol storage upgrade for Unilever in Nigeria, a 500 litre Contra-mix System for Amka Products, and an Arachis Oil Bulk Storage System for Aspen Pharmacare in East London,” De Jager says.

As a company, expertise in hygiene engineering and highly specialised customised turnkey solutions remain key. This enables the company to differentiate and specialise in the competitive market place.

“Our core values are respect, flexibility, a positive attitude, honesty and commitment. More than ever, in this our 60th year, we celebrate these values, together with our legacy of many accomplishments.

“With the momentum this gives us, we look toward to an ever brighter future. Although 60 years old, the face of our company is very young with a core group of talented young professionals and a focus on training and nurturing young people who show promise.

“We at Anderson Engineering believe that this, together with our flexible and adaptable culture, makes us ready for the opportunities ahead and, as always, we remain committed to outstanding client service and design excellence,” De Jager concludes.

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