Betterect and RGM: an uplifting and long-standing collaboration


Betterect is a South African specialist in steel fabrication and the erection of large industrial structures and processing equipment across the continent, within various industries including the mining, petrochemical and industrial sectors.

With over 46 years of experience in the pan-African market, over half of those have been in close collaboration with RGM Cranes – the largest independent overhead crane corporation in Southern Africa offering end-to-end lifting solutions. Since purchasing the first crane from RGM Cranes in 1987, the company has maintained all Betterect’s cranes.

Over the past 3 years, Betterect has undertaken extensive expansion of its facilities in Chamdor, Krugersdorp, increasing its manufacturing footprint in line with the company’s technological investment trajectory.


“While we are capable of producing 650 tons of steel/plate work per month, with broad installation capabilities, we have the space and expertise to increase to 750 tons per month if required.  We are, therefore, heavily dependent on efficient, reliable lifting capabilities. Trusted and long-term suppliers like RGM Cranes provide us with cost-effective, high-quality solutions, which in turn, enable us to meet our clients’ requirements,” says Nicolette Skjoldhammer, Managing Director of Betterect.

“RGM has an in-depth understanding of our challenges and requirements; and is furthermore on call 24/7, to prevent any potential downtime at our fabrication facility,” Skjoldhammer advises.

The two businesses have developed a mutually beneficial relationship founded not only on trust and significant operational and ethical synergies; as well as the friendship their respective founders – with both companies operating in similar industries, and offering tailor-made, specialist skills and capabilities.

“Aside from our many years of working together, the quality of our products and service – as well as our quick reaction times – also ensure a great working relationship with Betterect,” comments Alex Dowling, Managing Director, RGM Cranes.

While RGM’s cranes usually operate on-site at Betterect, there are a couple of exceptions where the equipment has been off-site as part of a collaborative project. For example, in 2016, the two companies collaborated on the Saint Helena airport project, manufacturing the highly specialised fuel gantry. More recently, RGM’s cranes were used on a Betterect project in Botswana, to build a workshop for a client.

“We recently commissioned RGM Cranes to supply a 30-ton semi-portable crane and two 10-ton single girder cranes. The smaller cranes lift items for the erection of semi-assembled or fully assembled tanks and skids in our expanded workshop area. While high-performance, the cranes also have stringent safety features, which are critical, given that they are required to lift in populated workshop areas.

As the cranes are fitted with collision warning sensors, the semi-portal crane can run on the same gantry as the 10-ton crane, which obviated the need for any building modifications. The robustness and performance of RGM Cranes’ equipment is of such an extremely high-quality, that our uptime on lifts is maximised and we can guarantee our customers’ requirements and schedules are met,” Skjoldhammer explains.

RGM adheres to stringent safety compliance and adheres to the FEM (Fédération Européenne de la Manutention) rating, determined by the crane’s duty cycle; the higher the FEM rating, the more highly specified the crane.

A registered LEEASA (Lifting Equipment Engineering Association of South Africa) member, RGM Cranes also undertakes load testing, servicing and lifting tackle inspections for its clients; in addition to handling full cranes installation and commissioning. Qualified riggers and ropes men, boiler makers, and certified coded welders work in the company’s extensive under-roof manufacturing facility.  

“All our work is guaranteed, and in compliance with local and international standards. Inspections and testing are conducted according to SANS 1037:2006 specifications,” Dowling says.

With ECSA (Engineering Council of South Africa) accredited LMIs (Lifting Machinery Inspectors), industry guidelines are strictly followed in terms of service inspection and load testing, and each client receives a safety manual compiled by RGM on lifting tackle inspection.

Five years ago, a relationship with Turkish OEM Güralp and RGM Cranes developed, with the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) appointing RGM as their sole South African agent and supplier.

“While we undertake the general maintenance of Güralp’s equipment, we also manufacture,” Dowling explains, and adds that the Güralp hoist is in kit form – comprising the hoist, cabling and electrics – while RGM manufactures the girders and assembles the entire crane.

Francois Herbst, Project Engineer at Betterect, has high praise for RGM: “The team is highly experienced in matching best-practice technology to the required application, with their robust and safe equipment, coupled with exemplary after-sales service. They are always willing to engage and to understand our needs,” he says.

To reduce costs, Betterect is fabricating the legs and box section of the 30-ton semi-portable crane recently supplied by RGM. With a less experienced company, this arrangement could prove challenging.

“RGM Cranes are, however, confident of our high fabrication standards,” Herbst observes, adding that RGM provided the manufacturing drawings and crane kit, and will commence assembly and installation thereof when due. 

Dowling comments: “Our enduring relationship with Betterect ensures that the industry will reap the benefits of our combined expertise, for years to come.”

Skjoldhammer agrees: “Our companies have worked together for so long that we speak the same technical and operational language, with a shared business synergy and ethos which has endured for over three decades,” she concludes.

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