MANUFACTURING: Velo's Stainless Steel Tank Magic
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TO many people Wellington is just another picturesque town in the sprawling winelands of the Western Cape - and so it is, except that it also boasts one of the largest stainless steel tank manufacturers in the country.
The company goes by the name of Velo SA and under this respected banner it is increasingly grabbing industry attention.
Consider the following: in its current financial year it has achieved record breaking sales of over 600 tanks, which saw turnover soar by more than 20%. And some of these tanks are really, really mammoth by industry standards.
Whereas a few years ago a tank with a capacity of 150 000 litres, was considered staggering, Velo SA now regularly produces its gleaming beauties with sizes of up to 350 000 litres.
In 2007 Velo SA manufactured five of these for the Perdeberg Wynkelder and it is currently busy with eight tanks with a capacity of 250 000 litres each, plus one of 50 000 litres, for a well known Distillery in Wellington.
But before we continue with the company’s manufacturing prowess, here’s a tidbit that will also set tongues wagging: Chris Wium, managing director of the company, last month gained full ownership of the enterprise.
Previously the majority shareholding lay with the Velo family of Italy, with Wium holding the balance.
It may well be that this change will boost momentum even further. Already Wium has plans on the drawing board to substantially expand the 2 700 sq m Wellington factory.
The export market too is likely to be expanded greatly, especially into the USA’s east coast and Canadian wine industries, where boutique wineries are growing fast, Wium tells CBN. The demand there is for much smaller tanks but there are many. (See separate article).
Wium says much of the company’s success flows from its increased emphasis on quality management, which naturally shows up in the product.
“We even have clients willing to be put on a waiting list, rather than go to competitors,” Wium says proudly.
“Our aim, provided the current company growth continues, which is very likely, is to expand the current factory space two-fold to meet the ever increasing requirements and specifications needed by our clients.”
“Quality is the keyword and we comply with ISO 1900/2000 standards. All our tanks are subject to strict and high manufacturing standards,” Wium says.
Although the wine industry forms the backbone of demand for Velo’s products, increasing enquiries are also being received from dairies and olive oil producers. The tanks are also finding their way into breweries, soft drinks manufacturers, water storage projects and many other industry sectors, even in industrial plants where they are used as silos for general storage.
Wium says although the wine sector is healthy, and is likely to remain so for some time to come which will further bolster Velo’s well-being, even more emphasis will be placed to further penetrate these other sectors.
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