Kwikot Stainless Steel came to the rescue during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.




In 2020, when Covid-19 struck South Africa, important medical equipment was in short supply at hospitals. These same hospitals were running over capacity and there was a massive crisis that affected the medical field.

“From combination bedpan and wash-up sinks to scrub units, to post-mortem tables and plaster-of-paris prep sinks, the company was able to get the products to market faster than most at the time,” says Duard van Rensburg, Kwikot Stainless Steel Product and Sales Manager. “Hospitals and pop-up hospitals and clinics kept us really busy. We had key items in stock, and we also did not have a long manufacturing lead time – about a week or two less than our biggest competitor.”

The factory was deemed an essential service during hard lockdown. “Our hospital clients were facing one of their greatest challenges in history; they were stressed out and it was a very humbling and privileged position to be able to step up and help in a small way. We really saw a lot over that time and were determined to do whatever it took to help our clients who were out there saving lives.”

The company managed to get products out fast, which was not something new for them: they were pretty quick before lockdown, too.

“I think one of our advantages at the time was that we were nimble – able to chop and change. We were not stuck to a specific design so we could adapt to whatever our customers needed. Architects and other clients were also witness to what we were able to do, and this opened many doors for us,” says Van Rensburg.

The company also provides equipment for the catering industry, sanitaryware and security products. Among their clients are architects who have to find solutions for big builds, retailers, hospitals and even prisons.

“With prisons we have to think a step ahead of criminals. How could they remove this sink or toilet or tap to create an escape route or weapon? What can we do in the manufacturing stage to make it criminal-proof?” says Van Rensburg.

Playing their part to keep crime at bay, the company provides prisons with security-type stainless steel toilets and basins, which are generally stronger than the ceramic sort of sanitary ware.

Van Rensburg, whose dad was a well-known professional in the industry and stainless-steel game, says his love and passion for this industry is in his blood, starting out in overalls in the factory.

“Our experienced team is always up for a challenge, and while we have standardised models available, we will spend the necessary time with clients on new and custom designs. Customers sometimes ask us for something weird and wonderful, and we never say ‘no’ until we have tried to figure it out to see if it can or can’t work. We strive to give the client a working solution for their creations. We don’t walk away from a challenge – sometimes we even stick to it at our own expense and try to find a happy solution,” he says.

Part of the factory’s strength is its people who are specialised welders. “To weld stainless steel is an art form; it is a fine technique. We have guys that can take a flat sheet through all the processes to the final product. That’s how experienced they are. Our factory manager himself has been through the ranks, and he also grew up with a father in the game and was often seen as a kid on the factory floors,” van Rensburg explains.

The factory was already well established before the pandemic, but the need for its products just made it shine all the more, when their products were needed most. Says van Rensburg, “We learnt a lot over that period, and just how similar the human spirit is to this material we work with daily: strong, durable and able to adapt when necessary.”

Source: Kwikot