Already back in 1959 Böhler Steel started with an agency in South Africa which was registered as Bohler Steel Africa(Pty) Ltd in 1961 with its office and store established in Isando/Johannesburg. Starting as a small player in South Africa, clients immediately realized the excellent quality of Bohler Tool Steel and Special Steels and the company grew fast during the sixties and seventies, opening branches in Pinetown/Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
In 1976 the company realized how important “Heat Treatment” as a reliable service for our customers was. After all, even the best material will only achieve its full potential in the finished tool with the proper heat treatment! The first Salt Bath heat treatment facility was opened in Isando and Pinetown in 1976 and rolled out to Cape Town in 1977. In 1987 the heat treatment plant in Isando was changed from a “production line” to a “tool and die hardening shop”.
The first “Vacuum Heat Treatment” furnace was installed in Isando in1992 to provide more accurate and cleaner heat treatment for our customers. This investment was followed by a number of further investments in vacuum heat treatment until today and we are proud to say that in 2005 we are by far the biggest “Quality Heat Treatment” company in South Africa with 10 furnaces in operation. In 2006 we will replace our old IPSEN furnace in Isando with the latest state of the art RÜBIG 6 bar furnace (800x800x1200).
In 1998 the company changed its name to Bohler Uddeholm Africa, reflecting the representation of our second high quality steel brand “Uddeholm” of Sweden.
2001 marked two important acquisitions. The first one was Martensite Steel situated in Pretoria. Through this acquisition we gained new market shares and customers and also stocking and sawing capacities in Pretoria. The second was Mitco, based in Vereeniging, the leading Die Set producer in South Africa. This acquisition enabled us to offer a complete service range to our customers, including machining.
In 2002 we introduced salt bath heat treatment in our Port Elizabeth branch. This service investment will be complemented by 2 vacuum heat treatment furnaces installed in 2005.
From 2000 to 2005 Bohler Uddeholm Africa has invested more than R30m in new “state of the art” plant and machinery and we employ 136 people, all of whom are South Africans. This, we believe shows the commitment of the world’s leading “High Performance Steel” producing company towards South Africa, its production and specifically tooling companies.
Bohler is steeped in rich history dating back to 1446 when the first hammer forge was established, on the site of the current Bohler Steel mill in Kapfenberg, Austria. In 1900 Bohler developed the revolutionary High Speed Steel Bohler Rapid. Then in 1967 a special melting shop was built housing the first ESR (Electro-slag-remelting) plant. In 1991 Voest Alpine, the owners, bought Uddeholm Tooling and established Bohler-Uddeholm.
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Uddeholm began over 300 years ago when the first iron was produced at Stjarnsfors in the Swedish county of Varmland in 1668. From small mills and workshops in the 17th century generations of skilled craftsmen have contributed to the development of today's products.
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ASSAB (Associated Swedish Steels AB) was established in 1945 to sell a range of special steel products manufactured by ba group of Swedish special steel producers outside Europe. Some of the original owners are still household names, companies such as Sandvik, Bofors, SKF, Fagersta Uddeholm and others. In 1976 ASSAB became the wholly owned subsidiary of Uddeholm.
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