Steely determination

Pro Roof Steel merchants are known for manufacturing and distributing a variety of steel products, most notably roofing solutions: TABJ discovers more.

Director of Pro Roof Steel Merchants, Rafik Mohamed, is deeply concerned with empowering his work force. “It’s not the company, it’s the people: without the people, there would be no company,” he says. It is a founding principle that has led this company to go from humble beginnings in 1988 to becoming one of the most prominent steel merchants in Southern Africa. The company has three branches and provides quality steel products to a number of different industry sectors.

In 1994 Pro Roof Steel Merchants expanded its Vereeniging operation by acquiring cut to length and slitting lines, thereby improving their offerings to their customers. The operation was further enhanced in 1997 by commissioning a cold formed sections plant. In 1998 a gate and fence manufacturing division was established. In the same year Pro Roof Steel Merchants entered the export market and, since then, the group has been supplying various steel and allied products into numerous export markets in addition to its South African commitments.

The Cape Town operation was established in 1999 and the manufacturing capabilities of the group were further enhanced by acquiring the first of several tube mills. In 2001 the group branched into selling structural steel sections and has since become a leading supplier in the flat and long steel products market.

Diverse sectors

Further cut-to-length and slitting lines were introduced in 2002. The Durban operation was established in 2006 in Edwin Swales Drive, Rossburgh.

A great strength of Pro Roof Steel Merchants is the diversity of the economic sectors that its product range services. Although it started as a roofing company back in 1988, it has expanded its product range to most steel products commonly used in the various markets it operates in.

The group identifies the key to its sustainable growth as being the ‘determination to succeed and a total commitment to customers and employees alike’. Investment must also play an important part as Mohamed reveals that they are planning to invest R50 million in new equipment and R100 million in another mill.

Pro Roof Steel Merchants currently employs approximately 550 staff members throughout its three service and steel processing centres situated in Vereeniging, Cape Town and Durban. A large contingent of the staff employed are technical staff who are required to operate and maintain the various manufacturing and processing equipment within the group.

Welded not rolled beams

Pro Roof Steel Merchants has also acquired a fully automated, state of the art ‘Welded Beam Line’. This line produces universal columns and beams as well as T-beams in a wide range of sizes for various applications. Beams and columns can be manufactured from 300WA, 350WA, grade 50B and corten.

The production process consists of three coiled steel strips being fed simultaneously into the beam machine to form a web and two flanges. The product passes through the ‘beam forming station’ and is then welded to form a high quality, lightweight product. High frequency resistance welding is a versatile and productive method for the manufacturing of H, I and T welded beams.

“While hot rolled beams have proven suitable for heavier sections, various limitations exist which are not generally recognized. It is difficult, for example, to roll beams with significant differences in thicknesses between web and flanges. Beams with dissimilar metal components for increased sectional strength cannot be rolled. Obviously none of these traditional hot rolled limitations will apply to the high frequency welding process used to manufacture high quality and lightweight structural solutions for our ever increasing customer base.”

The welded product produced by this line find applications in a wide variety of industries and sectors such as building and construction, fabrication, mechanical manufacturing, overhead cranes, truck, container and trailer manufacturing, roadside guardrails, marine vessel construction and many more. One of the advantages of using a welded beam versus a hot rolled beam is a weight reduction in the range of five to 30%, and this clearly has an obvious benefit for Pro Roof customers. Fabrication time and labour costs will also be saved due to the lightweight properties of the welded product.

Roofing roots

Pro Roof Steel Merchants still maintain their roots in the roofing market and are one of the largest manufacturers of roofing solutions in South Africa. The three most common and popular roofing profiles (corrugated, IBR, widespan) are manufactured in-house at Pro Roof’s various service and steel processing centres in South Africa. They can provide these profiles in both galvanised and colour coated finish. These are available both for the South African market and for export.

Although with these profiles, Pro Roof also offer several value added services and roofing accessories commonly used in conjunction with those three profiles.

The success of Pro Roof lies in their knowledge and skill base in the steel manufacturing and distribution area and, as they continue to invest in the people they employ, this is one company that will be able to shout about its achievements from the rooftops.