SA’s oldest surviving Engel machine in good hands


PHOTO: The 250 ton Engel machine that was manufactured 49 years ago in 1968 and until recently, was still operational. Operator, Isaac Mahlatsi, has been with Enterprise Plastics since 1985

POSSIBLY the oldest Engel injection moulding machines in South Africa can be found at Enterprise Plastics in Robertville, Gauteng.

The 12 ton and 250 ton Engel machines were both manufactured in 1968 (49 years old) and until recently, both machines were still operational and only recently taken offline to make way for modern machinery to improve efficiency, capacity and improve power saving. The 12 ton machine was used to manufacture plugs, electrical connectors, etc, while the larger 250 ton machine was used to manufacture arm pads, piling spacers and larger components up to 400g shot weight.

Enterprise Plastics has been supplying components to the office chair industry since 1984, as well as products for the construction and mining industry and safety products for the industrial building sector. Over this time the company has developed a number of new products in conjunction with its customers. Because Enterprise Plastics manufacture locally, they are able to ensure a reliable and efficient supply of these items.

The company was originally started by Terry Crowe, well-known for his engineering technical knowledge and a senior member of the Plastics Institute of South Africa (PISA). The company is now run by his daughter Jackie and son-in-law Bruce Barkhuizen.

Enterprise’s other main products include the ‘Globrite’ lightweight demarcation safety barrier system, which it designed and developed. The barrier system was developed as a result of more stringent health and safety requirements in the construction and mining industries. The barriers components are lightweight and can be erected by a single person, that is obviously is more cost effective and seen as a value-added feature in this application. Transport costs are also drastically reduced because of the compactness of the barrier in its knock-down form.

Most importantly, the Globrite demarcation safety barrier is highly visible.