SA’s armoured steel stocks receive a much-needed boost

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CAM Steel has recently landed its first shipment from Europe of ArcelorMittal’s Industeel Mars armoured steel, giving the South African industry access to a wider product offering when sourcing this vital raw material in what promises to be a significant boost to the local defence industry.

Several customers have already purchased Mars armoured steel, sourced from Europe. CAM Steel’s CEO and Chief Product Specialist Leonard Peters explained to defenceWeb that the Mars brand is well known globally and is a highly sought-after product.

Peters, who has some 30 years’ experience in the steel industry, said CAM Steel is ideally positioned to market a product like Mars armoured steel. “CAM Steel specialises in supplying structural steel, steel sections, graded and duplex grade plates. We are a Level-1 BBBEE company with extensive global experience in marketing armoured steel. More importantly, CAM Steel is the first and only BBBEE supplier of armoured steel on the African Continent,” Peters explained.

The initial order of just over 100 tons “is a good start for us,” Peters said. “We see an upward trend in the demand for armoured steel given the global increase in defence budgets.” Current world defence spending surpassed the $2 trillion mark for the first time in 2021. Spend is constantly on the increase, driven in part by the conflict in Ukraine and consequent defence investment around the world.

“This initial transaction activates a lot of foreign investment and is the start of a long and mutually beneficial agreement between CAM Steel and our Principals. What’s even more exciting is that with the availability of armour steel, there is a very strong likelihood that this will attract more projects to South Africa and ultimately create more jobs, and we are extremely passionate about job creation”, said Peters.

Some South African companies have been struggling with product availability when sourcing quality armoured steel, resulting in long delays, little or no stock available and loss of projects for the South African market – something exacerbated by Covid-19 supply chain disruptions. “We now have stock on the ground and available immediately,” Peters said, “giving flexibility for the end user.”

Although Mars armoured steel is mainly used by armoured vehicle manufactures, it is also of interest to the shipbuilding sector, which has a limited requirement for armoured steel. At least one local shipbuilding company manufactures armoured wheel houses into some of its patrol vessels. CAM Steel aims to target the shipbuilding sector by supplying steel plates specifically for these applications, but initially, the main focus will be primarily on the defence industry for products like armoured vehicles, guard houses, bullet-resistant vests and other peripheral applications.

According to ArcelorMittal Industeel, the Mars product range rolled homogenous armour steel offers toughness that gives maximum resistance to shock and blast waves for all vehicle structures, including main battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers. It can be supplied as quarto plates or cut-to-length sheets between 5 and 50 mm in thickness.

Peters describes the product as ‘flawless’, and coming from a mill with an extremely good reputation for quality and best in class flatness. “This is essential for the armoured vehicle industry, in which we cannot afford fatalities arising from poor quality steel,” he said.

For enquires, visit www.camsteel.co.za or call Leonard Peters on 083 2007 383. He can be reached via email at [email protected]