Personality Profile – Paul van Niekerk

Stainless steel Magazine spoke to Paul van Niekerk the chief executive officer of CNC Clear Cut. Paul is the third of five children. He comes from a technical background as a fitter and boiler maker turned SAAF Qualified Aircraft technician for Puma Helicopters and has been the owner of steel related manufacturing businesses for the past 25 years.

SO, PAUL WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

In 2007 an opportunity for a contract requiring some major production equipment presented itself. It was recommended that I get a CNC plasma system for the project. Not having any idea what that was, I contacted a company requesting a quote. The sales technician gave a basic introduction to their products, I was hugely impressed and could see many more opportunities with this CNC plasma system.

However, the price was totally out of my reach. The only way I was going to have one was to build my own. It took me a year at a huge financial cost, but at last I had designed my very first CNC plasma table in my garage.

This lead to the idea of supplying plasma systems to the market. The first year was extremely challenging, not knowing if we would make it, but we persisted. It is now almost 10 years down the line and our machines and products are spread through five African countries, boasting the widest
range of plasma systems on the continent.

We offer a complete turnkey solution, from CAD and CAM products to the first five-axis high-performance bevel plasma designed and made in Africa – one of few that can achieve an over 50º cutting angle globally.

Our product range is currently the largest available, ranging from products for the DIY enthusiast to products for highproduction high-definition industrial fabrication. Our latest addition is the all-new “X definition, Hypertherm XPR300 System”.

To achieve the requirements and performance for a CNC Clear Cut plasma table to function at peak performance, the design, engineering and technical process took over 6 months.

This high quality CNC Clear Cut plasma table is now standard in our FS and FX range of CNC plasma tables.

We are proud to be the first CNC plasma table OEM in Africa to achieve this level of quality and meet these requirements.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB?

My favourite thing to do is research and development (R&D) design.

WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN MOST SATISFIED IN YOUR LIFE?

I have been the most satisfied for the past 10 years at CNC Clear Cut.

WHAT THINGS DO YOU NOT LIKE TO DO?

I don’t like washing dishes or changing nappies.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL, AND WHY?

Nelson Mandela, for his humble tenacity and wisdom.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED DURING YOUR CAREER AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES?

No one will take care of me – that’s my job. Nothing is guaranteed. And don’t over analyse.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU AREN’T WORKING?

I like to have a drink and braai with my friends, watch TV, play around with new design ideas, spend time with my dogs, spend time with my family and do a bit of 4x4ing.

IF YOU WERE TO CHOOSE AN ALTERNATIVE LIFE, WHAT CAREER WOULD YOU HAVE FOLLOWED?

I would be interested in property development.

WHY STAINLESS STEEL?

Longevity … life span. Clean look. Low maintenance. Low to zero coverage treatment. Large variety of applications.

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