First Cut ‘strikes a new arc’ with the local manufacture of Messer welding electrodes

Recently First Cut, South Africa’s foremost distributor and manufacturer of cutting consumables and importer of leading-edge capital equipment for steel processing concluded an agreement with leading German company Messer Cutting Systems, to take over the existing South African agency.

Messer Cutting Systems has had a long history in South Africa, and much of its capital equipment is being used by steel processors and fabricators throughout the country. With the conclusion of the new agreement, First Cut saw the opportunity to take Messer to new heights locally.

European principal Messer Cutting Systems has a history stretching back 120 years and is a global leader in the manufacture and marketing of CNC thermal cutting equipment. However, apart from Messer Cutting Systems’ excellent thermal cutting equipment, the new relationship has brought about another first for South African manufacturing.

First Cut has started manufacturing the complete range of Messer welding electrodes at its factory in Benrose, Johannesburg.

“As First Cut has always been a manufacturer and distributor of premium quality products, the opportunity to locally manufacture Messer welding electrodes was one we welcomed, as this range very much fits our quality product portfolio,” explains First Cut Director responsible for the Consumables Division Gary Willis, who will be overseeing the sales and marketing of the new electrode range.

“While there are many bottom-range, cheaper brands of welding electrodes being imported into South Africa, First Cut is not in that market. Our electrodes are very much a quality mid-range product,” he adds.

In themselves, welding electrodes are a comparatively low value product, he explains. “By manufacturing in South Africa, we want to save our customers the cost of importation so they can buy a top quality electrode at what is a very reasonable price,” he continues. First Cut is already calling on existing customers of the former local Messer company – the rationale being that if they have heavy steel processing equipment, it is also highly likely that they will be in the market for high quality welding electrodes.

“At present, we are manufacturing the full range of Messer electrodes. These include electrodes for welding mild steel, carbon-manganese steels, stainless steels and so-called ‘problem’ steels where welding has to take place under difficult circumstances or dissimilar types of metal need to be joined together.

“We will also be manufacturing and distributing electrodes for gouging and for hard-facing purposes,” he continues.

As First Cut’s new electrode range is being manufactured under licence from Messer, the products will have to comply with German, British and American quality standards such as DIN, AWS/ASME and BS. Samples of every batch manufactured are sent back to Germany for quality certification.

As a commitment to its customers, First Cut has made a substantial investment in a high quality electrode press; as well as industry standard drying and baking ovens. Both the metal used for the rods and the flux coating are of superior quality.

Manufacturing welding electrodes also broadens First Cut’s scope of services.

“We have always been expert in cutting consumables and capital equipment however to this we have also added bending and grinding. With our new range of electrodes, we are now able to supply a high-quality product for use in welding, effectively completing the full holistic basket of industrial products and services.

“For anyone producing high quality fabrication or premium steel processing, the choice of Messer electrodes is one without question,” says Willis.

“If you need to supply a product which has quality joints, First Cut’s Messer welding electrodes offer the best solution to achieve high quality welding of steel components,” he concludes.