Saflec was founded in 1980 as an owner-managed company, designing, manufacturing and marketing security and industrial metal detectors. The staff complement consisted of a handful of key people, but grew rapidly and within two years a move to bigger premises in Roodepoort was necessary. In 1994 the company moved to its own three-storey premises to further expand production.
When starting to manufacture its own products, a fibreglass manufacturing facility was also constructed to build the walk-through security metal detector frames. Saflec’s electronic designs are continually developed and advanced using local engineers.
Saflec’s products have continually evolved over the years with an in-house design capabil-ity for both the electronics and fibreglass frame design, which has resulted in a number of firsts, such as a five-piece portable walkthrough metal detector featuring multi-zone detection.
Today Saflec’s designs are comparable to those produced by the major metal detector companies from Europe and the US, and are superior to many cheaper and less reliable products currently available from the East. The benefits Saflec offers to the local market, apart from its advanced designs, are the reliability of its products and the company’s local service capacity.
More than box-dropping
Saflec prides itself on its excellent backup service, made possible by having local control of its manufacturing, ample stock of spare parts and a dedicated team of engineers. A large percentage of Saflec’s staff complement has been with the company for more than 20 years.
Over the years, Saflec has been able to score some major successes, such as supplying all the cricket stadiums with walk through metal detectors for the Cricket World Cup in 2002, as well as the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Saflec is also a firm favourite in government departments.
The company has also expanded beyond South Africa’s borders and supplied large quantities of security detectors to the government of Uganda, and public and private organisations throughout Africa.
Saflec’s products are all locally designed, developed, manufactured and supported, and the company has a long relationship with various South African government departments, such as the SAPS.
Products in the market
The company’s top-of-the-range detector is the Panache, which has 15 individual zones which can be calibrated separately. It also includes an audio function that varies the tone of the audio alarms dependent on the height at which the metal is carried. The unit uses microprocessor technology with touchscreen input to the various functions. The indication of where the metal is located is also displayed down each side, as well as on the central display.
The MZ15 is also a 15 zone unit, but the position of the metal is only on the display. This reduces the cost of the unit.
The third unit is the P21 which gives an audio alarm when a pre-set level of metal is exceeded. The position of the metal would then need to be determined by using a hand held detector.
All the units are manufactured from durable fibreglass, which is unique to Saflec’s models and can be made in different colours or custom designed to suit the insignia of government departments. A battery backup facility is available which will allow operation for an average of eight hours during power outages.
Saflec also has a range of industrial metal detection systems in the market, currently being used in a variety of industries where detecting even small amounts of metal is a vital part of the organisations’ security and health and safety programmes.
Saflec’s Gordon Curr says, “In the security metal detection market, Saflec is currently experiencing stiff competition from inferior security metal detectors emanating from the east and China in particular. This can have negative effects on the viability of local manufacturing in general and further negative effects on local employment levels. It is also short sighted on the part of those purchasing these products as they are often left without support for machines that are unreliable at best, and dangerous at worst.”
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