While there have been numerous changes in the foundry industry through the past several decades, Malleable Castings has been a reliable presence in this changing industrial sector. The Activia Park, Gauteng based foundry is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, with a rich and innovative history. The vision for superior castings and customer service dates back to May 1963 when Joe Peers, who had been in the foundry industry all his life, founded his own foundry manufacturing malleable iron castings. For most of this period there has been a family connection of Joe’s in the company
with son-in-law Ben Dyson having worked for the company from 1963 until retiring in 2006 and grandson, also christened Ben, has been with the company as Managing Director since 2011.
Joe Peers was born in England and educated at Sutton-in-Ashfield High School and Mansfield Technical College. His involvement with the malleable iron casting industry began in 1930, in which year he joined Ley's Malleable Castings Company Limited in the UK. In 1947 he took up an appointment in South Africa and in 1950 founded J. C. Malleable (Pty) Limited, South Africa. He later became works manager of African Malleable Foundries Limited, leaving them in 1963 to start Malleable Castings. Joe Peers was a member of the British Institute of Foundrymen and joined the South African Institute of Foundrymen when he arrived in South Africa. He would go on o be elected President of the SAIF and remained an active member during his working career. The history of the company shows that Joe Peers sold the company to General Mining in the 1970s and remained on as a consultant.
The company was then sold to Malbak Limited and then this Group sold it on to EC Lennings, a foundry group with a long history in South Africa. In 1992 two private investors, Mike Jolly and Terry Burgess, took ownership and they are still the current owners. Prevailing CEO and a shareholder Joe Fletcher joined the company in 1989 as General Manager and he was subsequently promoted to the position of MD/CEO when Mike Jolly and Terry Burgess took ownership. Affable Joe takes up the story. “I have been with the company for virtually half its existence. In that time I have seen changes in both the company and the industry. At one time the company even operated a cupola furnace but thank goodness we have moved with the times and installed induction furnaces, with our latest one installed earlier this year.”
Change from malleable iron production to SG or ductile iron production “The biggest change in the company came when we made the decision to change from manufacturing malleable iron castings to SG or ductile iron castings in 2005.” “The company was founded on the production of malleable iron castings and today malleable iron is still widely used in industry.
At the time it was the preferred material of use as ductile iron was relatively new for foundries as it had only been introduced in 1948, and would only become recognised and commercially viable much later.” “Malleable iron is cast as white iron, the structure being a metastable carbide in a pearlitic matrix. Through an annealing heat treatment, the brittle structure as first cast, is transformed into the malleable form. Carbon agglomerates into small roughly spherical aggregates of graphite leaving a matrix of ferrite or pearlite according to the exact heat treat used. Three basic types of malleable iron are recognised within the casting industry: Blackheart malleable iron, Whiteheart malleable iron and Pearlitic malleable iron.” “It has greater ductility than grey cast iron for example, because of its carbon content (2.5wt %), silicon content (1.0wt %), and manganese content.” “Malleable cast irons may often be used in place of steel at considerable cost savings. The design and production advantages of malleable cast iron include low tooling, and production cost, good machinability without burring and also the ability to cast into complex shapes. But the microstructure and mechanical properties of malleable cast iron is affected by factors such as chemical composition of the iron, rate of annealing and also the type of graphite formed (if any).
MD Ben Dyson, CEO Joe Fletcher and Foundry Manager Pradeep Singh