More than just fences

February 2007 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Cape-based high-security fencing company, Beta Bastion, has announced its aggressive growth plan to double turnover to R200 million by end 2008 and to become the leading supplier of total security solutions in Africa.

The planned expansion, which began at the end of 2005, is supported by a number of initiatives, among which are an investment of R40m over two years (2006-2007); the launch of total integrated electronic solutions; the launch of next generation steel mesh solutions; and the opening of a sophisticated security showroom.

Beta Bastion - the African subsidiary of worldwide perimeter fencing company Betafence Group - has its sights set on providing increased protection, and has launched a series of new products, new service agreements and new technology to complement the existing range of sophisticated high weld-strength steel fencing systems.

"The launch of the most sophisticated showroom of perimeter security products in Africa, the purchase of next-generation factory equipment and sophisticated skills training programmes are the tools that have been put in place to meet the objectives," says Beta Bastion's managing director, Michael Rodenburg.

Michael Rodenburg
Michael Rodenburg

The evolution

Beta Bastion was formerly called Bekaert Bastion, which was part of Bekaert Fencing in Belgium. The company was founded by Leo Leander Bekaert, who invented barbed wire in 1880 in order to keep cattle from roaming across farmland. In 2005, Bekaert Fencing Group was sold to international private equity groups Gilde Investment Bank and CVC in Europe via a management buy-out, and the name was changed to Betafence.

As part of the growth plan, Betafence will be introducing a new product family. The first two products are Secura Pulse - an electric fence system - and Secura Sense, a new detection system. Both systems, which integrate seamlessly with existing Betafence systems, are being tested at facilities in South Africa, UK and Belgium for reliability and their overall effect before being officially launched.

"Crime has become more complex. This creates more challenges and the need for added protection," Rodenburg says.

Betafence's global perimeter control manager, Joost Thurman explains: "These developments demonstrate how we are evolving from a fencing component company to one that offers a complete integrated solution, including electronic systems."

The company's manufacturing emphasis is on using sophisticated machinery to weld high quality coated anti-corrosive wire materials. With R22 million of the R40 million already invested in 2006, Beta Bastion is constantly importing the technology to produce high-quality welded mesh products and security panels.

A new angled mesh prototype - the latest technology from Europe - has just been launched. "The weld area is 30% stronger," explains Gabrielle Brown, Beta Bastion's operations manager. "Angled mesh is also more difficult to climb and penetrate."

In line with its social responsibility objectives, Beta Bastion is investing heavily in training and development and, where necessary, in job creation too. Working with local partners, Beta Bastion has structured a sophisticated social development strategy. This strategy identifies training and skills development programmes that will harness full potential of both management and staff, such as management shadowing and exchange programmes in Europe.

The Beta Bastion team
The Beta Bastion team

Rodenburg continues: "Training and development are imperative as we move towards becoming the model plant in South Africa - one that's technically advanced, safe, system-orientated and organised. The fact that our local partners have appropriate and extensive experience means that we now have the know-how to provide the best and most appropriate skills training."

Rodenburg summarises the company's aims as: to reduce reliance on imports, maximise output and exports and to develop an even stronger, first class and cost-effective factory.


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