This year Rocla, one of South Africa’s leading manufacturers of precast concrete products, celebrates 100 years of excellence in the supply of products to the infrastructure, building and construction industries.
The Infrastructure Specialist Group (ISG) was formed in 2013 when Rocla, Technicrete, and Ocon Brick were acquired by a consortium consisting of private equity firm Capitalworks, RMB Ventures, Pan African Group and senior executives within the companies. The three iconic South African brands were previously owned by Murray & Roberts which sold them as a result of the group focusing their growth aspirations in engineering, mining and construction.
ISG Chief Executive Officer, Albert Weber said “Reaching this milestone of 100 years of service and technological excellence is a milestone we all feel proud of. It is an amazing achievement. Rocla’s technical team offers customers a solution reliability they can count on, particularly with customer non-standard requirements. Our technical innovation is second to none and enables us to continue to build upon our rich history of excellence, in a market where we have become the preferred choice for precast concrete manufacturing”.
An example of Rocla’s innovation is the recent launch of the Rocla Thuthukisa Sanitation Initiative (TSI). Its ‘Community Cast’ system which has been established to empower local communities, entrepreneurs, contractors and SMME’s to become manufacturers and suppliers of the most innovative and highest quality concrete toilet structures in Africa.
Thuthukisa means ‘to share’ and it is with this philosophy in mind, that Rocla developed the ‘Community Cast’ toilet unit that can be simply manufactured and be ready for use within two weeks. The resulting waste material can be recycled into practical items for everyday use.
As Rocla celebrates 100 years of excellence in the manufacture of pre-cast concrete products in South Africa, the importance of technical research in order to meet customer requirements has never been higher. It is critically important to ensure that the client’s needs, at the outset, are fully understood, and this is best achieved by ensuring that the client involves all of their external and internal role players in the development of a ‘need definition’.
A recent example of innovation through collaboration was the development of a precast solution through the use of steel components for an international diamond mine based in Gauteng. Apart from designing and manufacturing precast components the project also required the development of underground installation manual and lifting equipment with handling equipment specialist Manitou. Research was conducted as far away as the Codelco Mine in Chile. Whilst the project is still in the feasibility stage, it showcased Rocla’s ability to develop and manufacture a bespoke and unique solution to stringent client requirements.
In April 2016 Rocla’s locally manufactured concrete cabins for use at photovoltaic farms located in the Northern Cape and the Free State, were awarded the Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) Award for Excellence for the Innovation Category. Rocla was praised by the CMA Judges for their ground breaking advancements in the use of pre-cast concrete in the manufacture of these concrete cabins which proved vandal proof and quick to assemble. The burgeoning South African photovoltaic farm sectors needed an innovative solution to house and safeguard the electronic components required at these installations and Rocla provided the solution.
Rocla’s technical executive, Gerhard Rossouw, an engineer with 40 years design and application experience said “We work with municipal and consulting engineers regularly to develop solutions for projects that are not only cost efficient but that are safe as well. Rocla, for example, designed and manufactured many of the precast poles required by Eskom, for their electrification projects across the country in the 1990s. A large spun concrete pole for 132 kV distribution networks and double poles for specific power transmission requirements were also manufactured and designed by Rocla’.
Weber concluded “ With public sector infrastructure spend at approximately R865.4 billion over the next three years, we believe that Rocla has a continued role to play in the supply and manufacture of appropriate infrastructural products in the sanitation, water, roads, transport developments as well as for schools and healthcare facilities. Our 100 years of experience not only showcases our commitment to this market, but highlights the expertise that ‘Team Rocla’ offers to our customers”.
All of Rocla’s products are ISO 9001/2008 certified and have the applicable SANS recognition.
A Brief History
Rocla, through its association with Hume Ltd and Superconcrete, have been leaders in the manufacture and supply of concrete products since 1917.
In 1957, Rocla, an Australian concrete pipe company entered the South African market with an operation in Welkom and funded by General Mining. The ‘Rocla Process’ was a manufacturing process of reinforced concrete pipes by compaction on a spindle known as the roller suspension method.
In 1971, due to equity by General Mining in both ROCLA and Superconcrete, the two companies were merged under the name Superocla. The name was later changed back to Rocla as we know it today.