Core to Vanguard is our reputation as the market leader in the installation and commissioning of automotive stamping presses. As such, it came as no surprise that when South African went into lockdown in April 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanguard was working on the installation of a new header press at Nissan South Africa.

The press was a 2 000-ton capacity mechanical stamping press from Rotem for South Korea. This state-of-the-art, brand new press was collected by Vanguard’s Project Cargo department and sea-freighted to Richards Bay, South Africa, where the convenience of Vanguard’s in-port heavy cargo depot made light work of the transport sequencing. The initial idea was for Vanguard to transport and fully stock the press at its new home in Rosslyn, Pretoria, at which point the machine would be handed back to the Korean engineering team for commissioning and handover to the client. However, this was not to be.

As a result of the lockdown, the team from Korea was not permitted into South Africa, and those of the team that were here were repatriated back to Korea This was a big blow for the client who had been granted essential service status and were ready to start commissioning.

Enter Vanguard’s Engineering department. After lengthy negotiations, it was agreed by both Rotem and the client that the impact of the potential delay was too severe and that Vanguard should proceed with commissioning, despite the absence of the OEM.

As Patrick Valentin (Vanguard’s Project Manager) explains, “this was a real challenge made worse by the fact that all the manuals were in Korean. Nevertheless, once we got our heads into it and applied ourselves, it all started to fall into place and I am very pleased to say that 4 weeks from starting, we handed over to the client a fully functional press in perfect working order. I believe this goes a long way in showcasing our potential in the press business and demonstrates why we are regarded the best press installers in South Africa”.


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