Company Overview

The company has a proud South African history and was started by the Scottish marine engineer and pioneer Thomas Begbie in 1887 during the gold-rush era in the newly proclaimed town of Johannesburg.

As a consequence of the Boer War Settlement Agreement after the British troops defeated Paul Kruger’s Republic, the company was relocated to Middelburg, 100 miles east of Johannesburg.

Little was it considered at that time that over the next century, Middelburg would become one of the most progressive growth areas in mining and industry and the electricity generation hub of the country. 70% of South Africa’s electricity is produced in coal-fired power stations in this district which also supports world renowned stainless steel and ferroalloy production.

In 1989, the management of the company successfully engineered an MBO and Thos Begbie, as it is now known, has grown from strength to strength to the world-class manufacturing, foundry and heavy engineering company it is today.

The company boasts being the preferred vendor to the majority of smelters in 23 countries around the globe. They specialise in providing water-cooled pure copper elements to the pyrometallurgical industry for both wall and roof components of the furnaces. Every item is produced to strict tolerances and specifications in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturing facilities in Middelburg.

Industry Experience

Pyrometallurgical Components Manufacturing

The fully equipped 7 000 m2 foundry with 6 overhead cranes has 7 furnaces, 4 gas-fired and 3 induction furnaces allowing single castings up to 17 t in both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Typical metals and alloys produced are: Meehanite iron, chrome-zirconium alloys and stainless steel as well as speciality bronzes.

Modern automatic sand and resin mixing plant provide constant good quality moulds irrespective of weather and other variables affecting highintegrity
mould surfaces.

General Engineering and Machining

The extensive heavy engineering facility houses the machine shop, comprising a range of lathes, horizontal and vertical boring mills, turret and deep-hole drilling machines, surface grinding, band saw and circular saw units, and drill sharpening equipment. Most equipment is CNC or DRO controlled with 4-axis capability and tables able to handle castings and other items up to 8 t.

A sophisticated CNC programming department develops 3D models from drawings supplied by engineers, which allow highly accurate interpretation of customers’ requirements.

The Fabrication, Refurbishment and Preassembly plant comprises welding and bending capabilities, where water-reticulation tubing made from Monel is fabricated into the most complex of coils and other coils, which eventually are incorporated within the copper castings. The Refurbishment section caters for the repair of castings returned to the
company to be refurbished for re-use in clients’ furnaces.

The Preassembly area is a high-precision floor where completed components are assembled and inspected by the customer and our inspectors, clearly marked and disassembled and packed for transport to the construction site. This process prevents any unnecessary delays due to components not fitting exactly in the designed position and packed in the logical order that the construction team requires them to be.

Tube Manipulation

Monel and other tubing is manipulated according to drawings using sophisticated CNC bending equipment by an off-site associate company, Delberg Engineering. Its expertise, built up over many decades, has placed Thos Begbie in a strategically superior position in a discipline not easily copied by competitors.

Delberg also supplies tubing and other engineered components to the petrochemicals and automotive industries.

In-house non-destructive testing capabilities and services

  • Computer-aided design and drawing office
  • Pattern shop and tooling manufacturing
  • Solidification and methoding expertise
  • Pipe and tube manipulation and coil fabrication
  • General fabrication and speciality welding
  • Laboratory with Wet-Chem and metallurgical chemical analysis
  • Modern Fettling and sand-blasting plant
  • Flaw-detection analysis using X-ray, ultrasound, infrared thermal imaging
  • Mechanical properties pressure and flow-rate testing
    (This range of NDT testing facilities is unique among competitors worldwide)

Summary

Thos Begbie & Co’s long history has resulted in it excelling in a vast range of cast and machined engineering products for the mining industry in general. The company’s vast experience in the disciplines mentioned above, give it the versatility and integrity to cope with the exacting requirements of the critical mining and smelting
industry.

Often when a catastrophic event occurs on a smelting unit, time is of the essence to get back into production as soon as possible and the company is well known for its ability to achieve the impossible. Furnace operators worldwide rely absolutely on the company’s reliability to perform under difficult circumstances.

Thos Begbie runs a 24/7 operation, thereby catering for the different time zones across the globe.