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The AFSA Technical Assistance Scheme was established early in 2011 as an essential component of AFSA’s mission and value proposition to members. The Technical Assistance Scheme is based on a Panel of Experts, appointed by AFSA, who are qualified professionals.

Each one has many years of experience in the aluminium industry and a steep knowledge of alloys and technologies. The scheme provides quick and convenient access to technical advice on the selection and use of aluminium to AFSA member companies and their customers, members of related professional organisations and educational institutions and non-member companies and individual users.

Panel of Experts:

Brian Drew
Dr Tony Paterson
Rob Lawrence
Brian Dennis

Since inception of the Technical Assistance Scheme, 86% of the enquiries have been from established businesses and organisations and 14% from private individuals.

  • 56% were proactively seeking technical advice on new applications or renovations or improvements.
  • 48% sought advice, or problem solving on existing in-service applications.
  • 56% referred to metal finishing of aluminium, such as powder coating and anodizing and mostly for architectural uses. A positive aspect is that most of these were of a proactive nature from architects, specifiers and contractors.
  • Others were diverse, reflecting the broad scope of the aluminium industry in South Africa and included welding, corrosion, forming, alloy and product selection, properties of aluminium, sourcing, specifications and standards etc. These covered sheet and plate, extrusion and cast products, finishing, welding and fabrication processes and how to specify and use them.

How to access the AFSA Technical Assistance Scheme:

  • All enquiries should be directed first, through the Information Officer of AFSA, who allocate the request to an appropriate expert from the Panel. The expert will then liaise directly with the client and provide a report. You can contact Rentia Malan at
  • The service is provided free of charge by AFSA – provided that the time required to service the enquiry does not exceed half a day and that the overall interaction with a particular member is not excessive. A subsidised charge is levied to contribute towards costs if the time required exceeds this.This free service is offered in order to support suppliers and users of aluminium and help facilitate the successful use of aluminium products. Projects requiring more extensive investigation, research, site visits and travel are quoted for separately.
  • The Technical Assistance scheme is limited to a short study of the problem and the report is based on information provided by the enquirer. It is thus provided in good faith and without guarantees despite every professional effort by the expert.

Examples of previous cases:


Cleaning and Maintenance of surface finishes on aluminum is an important and often neglected issue. Several examples have been covered under the TA Scheme. General recommendations were supplied to clean liquid splashes on signage at a shopping mall. Another identified and discussed cement splashes on architectural cladding panels. Unfortunately, in one case, of powder-coated windows in a private house, the use of aggressive household cleaning chemicals had already caused permanent damage to the finish. Regular cleaning and informed techniques are essential. On major projects, formal cleaning and maintenance programmes are recommended. AFSA can advise – either directly or through the Architectural Surface Finishing Guide on the AFSA website. The SANS Standard, SANS 10322, also includes detailed discussion on the subject.


A number of enquirers sought information on aluminium to replace existing steel applications. Typically they were motivated by considerations to light weight existing or potential systems. On other occasions, under-estimated corrosion on steel has raised questions to replace with aluminium alternatives in coastal or industrial environments.