System Integration & Control Systems Design


SA Gauge

June 2016 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Kempton Park-based SA Gauge was founded by Chris and Judith du Plessis in 1992, in close proximity to potential customers in the East Rand. Du Plessis explains that back in the early 1990s, with the exception of one other local manufacturer, branded pressure gauges and thermometers were only available from outside South Africa. He felt that a local manufacturer would have a distinct advantage over companies that imported their products.

The company opened shop with six people and initial manufacturing equipment included labour intensive manual machines that were slow and inefficient compared to current standards. Today the company uses computerised machining centres and presses to manufacture the components needed to assemble the pressure gauges, thermometers, diaphragm seals and transmitters. Many of these machines are able to produce high accuracy components with minimal supervision, enabling the company to cope with large orders just as easily as it can with small specialist one-of-a-kind requests.

SA Gauge has two self-owned branches, one in Durban and the other in Kempton Park. It currently employs 48 people, six of whom are technically qualified in the manufacturing division and a further two who are METCERT certified metrologists in the company’s ISO 17025 SANAS accredited calibration laboratory. Two qualified graphic designers ensure that in-house dial design and other special OEM requirements are speedily met.

“Although the company can cope with large volume orders, it is geared more toward smaller, OEM requirements where customers can choose their own specifications or a dial design using their own logo. Because all of the processes are done in-house, we are in control of the outcome and can make sure that quick turnaround times are possible. In most cases customers can collect their instruments, made to their specifications with their own logo, within a couple of hours,” says Du Plessis.

Du Plessis explains that SANAS accreditation assures the company’s customers of the accuracy and traceability of all SA Gauge’s products. He says that this is especially important when fully imported gauges come in from the East and the accuracies of these gauges are questionable. “Cheap imports from the East are one of the company’s main challenges, and also the fact that local customers seem to be lackadaisical about the accuracy and reliability of the instruments they purchase,” he adds.

Customised instruments are one of the company’s specialities. “All our equipment is manufactured exactly to customer requirements. The instruments are handmade and individually calibrated, which enhances their accuracy tremendously. In addition, SA Gauge’s heavy duty glycerine filled pressure gauges are guaranteed for a period of two years,” says Du Plessis.

SA Gauge exports approximately 10% of its products, mainly to the UK, USA and Australia. The company also offers a repair and calibration/recalibration service of its own as well as other brands of gauges, issuing SANAS ISO 17025 calibration certificates for the work done on request. The company’s most recent substantial project is the successful development and supply of special gauges to the Transwerk locomotive contract.

For more information contact Chris du Plessis, SA Gauge, +27 (0)31 579 2216, chris@sagauge.com, www.sagauge.com



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