“The rented factory space at Radio Road, Dinwiddie, Germiston was about 350m2, with office and change rooms in an adjacent dilapidated shack with outside ablutions.
A small, humble start, but we were there and we meant to stay there,” reminisces Erich Nast, who took over Otmar Machine Tools in 1968. “Our first employees included Karl Schrag, a German trained and qualified machine tool specialist and Elmon an untrained, but willing assistant, for semiskilled work,” he recalls.
“We stayed at Radio Road for 15 years but the small factory space and a shortage of machinery and equipment made expansion virtually impossible. Therefore, suitable grounds were purchased in Alrode, plans were drawn up and a building erected in record time. Basalt Street Alrode Alberton was the new home of Otmar Machine Tools,” explains Nast.
The company started manufacturing sheet metal and plate working machinery featuring simple, manual and motorized sheet and plate rolls. Soon thereafter guillotines, folders, jennies, section rolls, fly presses, eccentric and pneumatic presses and circle cutters were added to the product line-up. Otmar Machine Tools also designs and builds specialized machines and equipment to customer specifications.
“While our locally manufactured products are found all over South Africa in the industrial sector and training colleges alike, we decided in 1999 to add value to our existing client base by starting a CNC department for the manufacture of quality products with short turn around times and at a reasonable price. From a small start with one CNC lathe we now have eight lathes and four machining centres. We specialize in small batch machining and even one off’s . With up to date software we are able to take on any 3-axis milling job required.
Today, after 50 golden years of Otmar Machine Tools, I am proud to say that three generations of Nasts, are heading up the company. With the help of my son Dietmar and my grandson Craig, Otmar’s destiny is surely sealed for the next 50 years,” ends Erich Nast.