About West Rand Engineering
WRE is a diversified South African manufacturer specializing in mining consumables, industrial fluid transfer applications, malleable cast iron foundry products, and roof insulation material. The company is ISO 9001:2015 accredited and complies with ISO 45001:2018 standards.
In March 2023, the company joined the Baobab Industrial Group to create a larger industrial group, with RMB Corvest as its major shareholder.
Our factories are located in Krugersdorp and Germiston (Gauteng), with a branch in Burgersfort. Additionally, our subsidiary, Klambon Water, is based in Sydney, Australia, and we have various agents around the globe.
West Rand Engineering Works, initially founded in Krugersdorp by Mr. CSM Pillans in 1928 with only 7 staff members, played a pivotal role in the country's industrialization by introducing products and processes that were previously unavailable.
The name "Little Birmingham" was added to West Rand Engineering Works (Pty) Ltd after an overseas visitor's visit. The visitor remarked, "You seem to be able to make anything here, like a Little Birmingham." Subsequently, the name stuck, and the street leading to the main office was even named Little Birmingham Street.
WRE was established 11 years before the onset of World War II. During the war, the company swiftly transitioned to producing war supplies for the British Union, employing over 250 individuals, including more than 70 women, primarily for assembly and inspection roles. At that time, WRE was one of the few engineering concerns, alongside the South African Railways and the Royal Mint, to possess advanced facilities such as a thread grinder, a toolroom, and the country's only air-conditioned measuring room.
In addition to the WRE brand, the company has acquired other renowned brands like Glen (ball valves) and Wilco Howard (snatchblocks). In response to customer demands, the company expanded its product line to include high-quality PVC hoses and fittings specifically for the mining industry in 2012.
Further diversification occurred with the acquisition of Africa Thermal Insulation, a supplier of building insulation products, in 2012.
In 2018, the company acquired Malleable Castings, a well-established niche foundry founded in 1963, based in Germiston. This foundry supplies products to the mining, electrical, agriculture, and rail sectors, with a significant portion of its output serving to mitigate overseas supply risks for WRE.
Today, nearly a century later, the company continues to operate from its primary facilities in Krugersdorp, spanning over 20,000m2 and employing approximately 300 individuals.