READY, SET, GO!
The Cape Town E-Prix is the first Formula-E event hosted in sub-Saharan Africa and will be the first major open-wheel race hosted in South Africa since 1993
Photo by: Jesse Armstrong
Local steel supplier Macsteel collaborated with contractors to supply more than 465 t of steel in seven weeks for the first-ever Cape Town E-Prix, on February 25, held during the ninth Formula E season.
Macsteel was contracted in October last year and completed the project on January 16; the company’s steel was used to build frames for the fencing that runs along the perimeters of the race track.
“As the leading steel merchant in Africa, and with our extensive branch and distribution network across South Africa, Macsteel was ideally placed to step up to the demand of supplying large quantities of value-added steel required in an extremely short time. We knew we would be working against the clock throughout the project, but our dedicated staff jumped at the opportunity,” says Macsteel CEO Mike Benfield.
He notes that the company was approaching its year-end shutdown when first contracted for the project that required communication and coordination among steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA), Macsteel’s procurement department, its tube production facility and the Macsteel Trading Cape Town staff.
The short turnaround time meant that contractors worked throughout the festive season with steel being sourced from Macsteel branches across South Africa, ordered from mills and procured from competitors to meet the demand in time.
Benfield notes that about 1% of the required material was sourced from competitors.
Moreover, mother coils were manufactured by AMSA and supplied to Macsteel’s tube mill, thereafter the tube had to be transported from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Benfield says transportation was challenging as there was a shortage of trucks on the Cape Town route, with drivers being reluctant to travel owing to return loads having decreased during the year-end period.
“Macsteel is proud of the cooperation within the group that enabled us to deliver 90% of the steel within seven weeks by December 22, consequently enabling the client to stay on schedule with production over the festive season, while the remaining 10% was delivered in January. All on schedule,” he enthuses.
Qhubeka Manufacturing was the contractor for the fence panels, while metal finisher Galvatech Corrosion Protection Specialists galvanised the fence panels for Qhubeka Manufacturing. Reinforcing Steel Contractors, a Macsteel partner, supplied the reinforcing steel used in the concrete barriers.
“Before appointing Qhubeka, I needed to ensure that Macsteel could meet supply demand and, after appointing Qhubeka, the steel rolled in as required allowing the job to be completed in a mere 61 days. My confidence in our steel supply and manufacturing capabilities in South Africa has been buoyed,” says Cape Town E-Prix organisers eMovement chairman Iain Banner.
The Cape Town E-Prix is the first Formula-E event hosted in sub-Saharan Africa and will be the first major open-wheel race hosted in South Africa since 1993.
Formula E is the world’s first international, fully electric street racing series aimed at bringing the latest innovations in electric vehicles and alternative energy solutions to the world’s major city centres.
Considering Formula E cars can travel at a top speed of 322 km/h, Benfield says steel is the only material that can be used to meet the safety standards required for such an event.
He explains that the barriers and catch fencing will also be used for future events, owing to eMovement having secured rights to host the Cape Town E-Prix on the track for the next five years.
Macsteel continues its lobbying efforts at government level to increase steel demand in South Africa, as part of the Steel Master Plan, with Benfield explaining that steel is a vital element in the infrastructural development of the country.
“Manufacturers in South Africa will be the source of job creation in this country. South Africa needs a plan that secures our future! Events like the Cape Town E-Prix create the demand point for steel. These events are risky and we applaud the people involved for being bold and putting South Africa back on the map.
“Only the private sector can secure the future of this country and government needs to be the efficient umpire and facilitator,” concludes Benfield.