Redefining die service and expertise

ROTOCON die tooling

In the competitive realm of die making and tooling, ROTOCON stands out for its products underpinned by decades of expertise and innovation, as well as unparalleled commitment to customer service and satisfaction.

This company mission dates back to 1996 when group CEO Michael Aengenvoort embarked on a journey to revolutionise die manufacturing in South Africa. Identifying a gap in the market, Michael established ROTOCON’s consumables and tooling division, driven by his vision of local production and unparalleled customer service.

Armed with determination and a commitment to excellence, ROTOCON imported cutting-edge equipment and meticulously trained its team from the ground up. ‘We recognised the need for localised manufacturing and customer-centric service,’ reflects Michael. ‘That was the impetus for our journey.’

ROTOCON’s ethos, rooted in craftsmanship and dedication, has been passed down through generations. Michael’s sons and co-owners in the business, Pascal and Patrick, epitomise this dedication, having started as hand sharpeners before pursuing engineering qualifications. ‘Our journey began with a deep appreciation for every aspect of die and tooling production,’ shares Patrick. ‘This foundation enables us to provide solutions tailored to our customers’ needs.’

Identifying value

To try and save a buck, printers and packaging manufacturers often bypass intermediary consultation and directly approach die manufacturers to place orders, presuming they will know precisely what’s required. Michael believes that converters who follow this route will end up paying more in the long run. ‘Unfortunately, this approach often results in incorrect product specification selection for the intended material used. Consequently, when issues arise during production, blame is frequently attributed to the machinery, die quality or technician involved,’ he explains.

It’s crucial for customers to grasp that large die manufacturers dealing with high volumes – manufacturing up to 1 000 dies per day – may lack the capacity to fully comprehend each customer’s unique needs and application requirements. Instead, they typically fulfil orders based solely on the details provided on the order sheet, without deeper consultation or analysis of specific use cases. ‘This disconnect can lead to mismatches between customer expectations and the delivered product, highlighting the importance of comprehensive consulting from a dedicated intermediary such as ROTOCON,’ Michael enthuses.

Patrick sheds light on the company’s hands-on approach, emphasising the value it brings to customers. ‘We offer a hands-on service with personalised attention. This approach extends beyond mere product sales; it encompasses a comprehensive consultation process where ROTOCON experts visit customers to provide tailored advice on product usage, web direction and material compatibility.’

He stresses the importance of selecting the correct die for different materials, pointing out that various materials require specific cutting edges for optimal performance.

Moreover, ROTOCON’s commitment to customer support extends to troubleshooting and problem-solving. Patrick notes that the company assists customers even when issues arise due to factors beyond the die manufacturer’s control, such as machine malfunctions or changes in material thickness. ‘Our willingness to go the extra mile sets us apart from competitors, ensuring that customers receive comprehensive support throughout the lifespan of their dies,’ he maintains.

Intensive training

The value of ROTOCON’s hands-on approach becomes apparent when considering the longevity and performance of dies. Recognising the complexity of die manufacturing, ROTOCON prioritises education and training. Allan Musakwa, overseeing the company’s die management training programme, underscores the significance of proper tooling care. ‘Maximising the lifespan of dies requires a deep understanding of their intricacies,’ explains Allan. ‘Our training modules equip individuals with the knowledge needed to handle tooling with care and precision.’

To empower customers with the knowledge needed to handle and maintain dies effectively, ROTOCON’s die management course for operators reflects the company’s dedication to educating customers and fostering long-term partnerships.

Central to ROTOCON’s success is its team of trained technicians, who undergo rigorous training both domestically and overseas and are committed to exceeding customer expectations. Allan underscores the importance of this training, stressing that these technicians possess a deep understanding of die manufacturing, from sharpening to CNC programming. This expertise enables ROTOCON to meet the diverse needs of its customers and provide tailored solutions with confidence.

Julius Macharia, head of the die reconditioning department, points out the importance of customer-centricity. ‘We don’t just sell dies, we forge partnerships with customers,’ he asserts. ‘This commitment extends beyond conventional business hours, with ROTOCON technicians offering round-the-clock support and assistance. Our goal is to ensure our customers achieve optimal performance and productivity.’

In an industry where size often equates to superiority, ROTOCON challenges this notion. Lesley Abrahams, from logistics and sales, highlights the value of personalised consultation and expertise. ‘Customers often overlook the importance of tailored solutions,’ observes Lesley. ‘Investing in proper die specification upfront can lead to substantial cost savings in the long run.’

Local production

The company’s expansion into local flexible and rotary die production a few years ago highlights its adaptability and resilience. Patrick explains the rationale behind this strategic move, citing the need to mitigate supply chain disruptions. ‘The challenges posed by the pandemic necessitated a re-evaluation of our production processes. Investing in local production ensured continuity of service and upheld our commitment to quality.’

Quality control remains a cornerstone of ROTOCON’s operations, with stringent measures in place to uphold international standards. From meticulous testing protocols to ongoing staff training, every aspect of the production process is scrutinised. ‘Our die testing station is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery to ensure precision and accuracy,’ affirms Patrick.

Lars Joris, operations manager of the consumables division, brings a wealth of experience to the die making industry with a career spanning back to 1995. He emphasises ROTOCON’s commitment to quality: ‘Our dies are manufactured from superior imported Böhler steel. Additionally, we pride ourselves on our efficient lead times, ranging from three to seven days on the tooling side. With our ECOFLEX service, we guarantee a turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours. When we commit to delivering within five days, we ensure it happens – a promise our customers truly value.’

Lars further highlights ROTOCON’s dedication to quality assurance, explaining that every product leaving the factory undergoes a final QC check. The team also adheres to maintenance schedules to prevent breakdowns and all tooling is meticulously measured, checked and certified.

Notably, ROTOCON holds ISO 9001 accreditation for its quality management system, which Lars points out is integral to the operation and ingrained in everything the team does.

ROTOCON’s Allan Musakwa, Lesley Abrahams and Julius Macharia
ROTOCON’s Allan Musakwa, Lesley Abrahams and Julius Macharia.


ROTOCON’s operations manager Lars Joris.
ROTOCON’s operations manager Lars Joris.

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