Our History

Umgeni Iron Works started life in the late 1890's as "Umgeni Engine Works, Foundry and Forge" and operated in the premises of an old cotton mill on the southern bank of the Umgeni River, some half a kilometer from the present site. In January 1919, Umgeni Iron Works was established under the "Old Firms Act" and took over the assets of the original company.

Manufacturing at this time consisted of grey iron castings for farming, ship repair, brick making and general engineering applications. The need for development capital resulted in Umgeni Iron Works becoming a limited liability company in 1938, with a number of new shareholders.

Of these, Coronation Brick and Tile Co. acquired a substantial interest, and other shareholders were also customers, some of whom to this day continue to support the company with their valued orders. In the same year, the foundry was relocated to its present site north of the Umgeni River, and facilities were updated and developed to increase capacity, in size of casting, and volume of production. Further progress was made in 1961 with the installation of a large sand mill system for green sand, which enabled the company to undertake volume repetition orders, but these were still restricted to grey iron produced by cupola melting.

Furnace Installation

The year 1978 saw a major step forward, with the installation of a 500 kg coreless induction furnace. This was supplemented by an optical emission spectrometer, for rapid chemical analysis of metals, and enabled the production of high quality alloy irons, ductile irons, carbon and low alloy steels and high alloy stainless steels. More recent developments include the change in 1982 from CO2 process to furane resin sand for jobbing work, and the move from cupola melting to electric induction melting with the installation of 3½ ton and 2 ton furnaces in 1983 and 1989.

Servicing Multiple Industries

The company now serves the sugar mills, mines, shipping brick works, smelters, general engineering, metallurgical industries with a full range of 89 different specifications of ferrous castings, up to 8 tons in grey iron, 4 tons in S G iron, 3 tonnes in steel and 1,4 tons in stainless steel. Facilities include patternmaking, and machining is undertaken by subcontracting to appropriately equipped companies in the greater Durban area. In accordance with recent industrial developments, a policy decision was made to install a formal quality management system.

This resulted in the achievement in 1998 of an SABS listing for conformance to the International Standard ISO 9002 for quality systems, which is recognized worldwide. The listing has since been upgraded to ISO 9001:2000 and subsequently ISO 9001:2008.

On 1st March 1999 the foundry plant and manufacturing activities were transferred as a going concern to a new company that continued to be registered under the "Umgeni Iron Works (Pty) Ltd" name while the remaining financial investment activities of the original company were registered under the name "Umgeni Iron Investments (Pty) Ltd" as a totally independent company.

Recent Developments

Other more recent developments include the addition of a larger Jobbing Moulding building with 30 tonne crane facilities and large electric top hat heat treatment facilities plus maintenance workshop and storeroom. In year 2000 the foundry site area was increased by 12,000 square meters to a total of 3,5 hectares. We are also proud to announce the introduction of our dedicated non-ferrous foundry.