In celebration of 90 years in the gases and welding industry and in honour of Afrox’s founding CEO, Afrox presented the prestigious Harvey Shacklock Gold Medal Award at the 69th annual SAIW dinner held on 20 October at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg.
The award is significant to Afrox as it was introduced in 1949 in memory of Harvey Shacklock, the first CEO of Afrox, who was also a founding member of the SAIW. The award was presented by Afrox’s 11th Managing Director Schalk Venter to Angel Krustev for his presentation entitled ‘Modified GTAW orbital tube to tubesheet welding technique and the effect of a copper weld retainer during welding of alloy 825’.
The award is the highest accolade bestowed in the South African welding industry in acknowledgement of exceptional contribution to the industry in terms of research and innovation, and is granted to recipients who have presented technical papers of a very high standard, either on a local or international level.
Established by Shacklock in 1948, the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) is a non-profit, technical organisation dedicated to furthering standards in welding-fabrication and related technologies, and is a founder member of the International Institute of Welding (IIW).
Johann Pieterse, Business Manager for Manufacturing Industries at Afrox, says that the SAIW dinner is the biggest annual event on the southern African welding calendar and that the Harvey Shacklock Gold Medal Award is still highly significant to Afrox as it embodies their ongoing commitment to promoting welding in the industry.
This award is one of many accolades, training programmes, welding schools and skills development programmes that Afrox sponsors and actively supports each year in order to promote the growth and expansion of welding skills and employment opportunities in southern Africa.
“Afrox also sponsored the Stainless Steel Awards Student Category to encourage South Africa’s youth to consider welding as a recognised profession in a time of high unemployment,” says Pieterse, adding that Afrox stands firm in their belief that skills development is key to growing the country’s economy.
“Afrox also offers bursaries for learnerships and apprenticeships, and partners with training bodies to develop individuals into qualified artisans,” continues Pieterse.
In addition, the gases and welding company actively participates in the advancement of new training facilities and has played a key role in establishing welding training centres in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Most recently, the LIV Welding Academy, a custom container welding school that was developed by Afrox in partnership with LIV and the SAIW, was unveiled at the LIV Village in KwaZulu-Natal.
Pieterse says that Afrox has also partnered with the Department of Education, supporting its Technical School Recap programme under Mechanical Technology in a drive to re-establish welding facilities, kitting them out with advanced technology equipment and up-skilling educators to facilitate training.
To date Afrox has upgraded and equipped 14 technical schools nationally and trained over 40 teachers in the four main welding processes.
Since its humble beginnings as the Allen-Liversidge Industrial Gases Company, first opened by Shacklock on 1 April 1927, African Oxygen Limited has prospered by constantly meeting the needs of its customers and developing solutions that add value to their customers’ applications.
Over the years Afrox’s commitment and dedication to the welding industry in southern Africa has been unwavering, with the company’s first welding school established during World War II. The school trained 5 000 welders to assist in the construction of armour plated vehicles and was charged with the manufacture of welding gear used by most of the South African forces.
Today, the company remains committed to training especially in view of the scarcity of suitably qualified artisans and other technical skills within the industry and South Africa at large, and therefore creates opportunities through learnerships and apprenticeships for the youth to enter the working world.