Our Solutions

By putting safety and quality first at every element of the signage production process, we are able to provide our clients with the reassurance that their projects will be executed to the highest possible standards (we achieved our first ISO 9001 certification in 2006 and have maintained it ever since).

One of the reasons we are able to deliver consistent quality is that we employ more graduates and skilled technicians than anyone else in the African signage industry. We also offer a broader range of services that extends from the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of signs through to world-class engineering and project management services. 

We also offer the additional services of branding and retail image designing for our clients.

As you’d expect from a team of engineers, we are fastidious about planning. Most of the signage and cladding projects we’re involved with have multi-million price tags, so it’s critical that requirements are accurately identified before the prototyping or manufacturing process kicks off.

By taking clients through a discovery phase we can listen to their needs and explore the best solution for their specific environment and budget. This typically involves reviewing combinations of structure-types, materials and lighting solutions to determine which products and applications are most appropriate for them.

We also focus on the life cycle cost of a project.  Sometimes a bit of money spent up front saves a lot on maintenance later. A good example being the specification of LED lighting for all illuminated signage – while LED's are still more expensive than traditional fluorescent lights, running costs are lower and life expectancy is much greater which results in reduced replacement and maintenance costs.

During this analysis process we’re often able to introduce clients to new technologies and innovations in the signage industry. In most instances technology helps create a better end product. On some occasions it can speed up production processes. And sometimes, it can help reduce costs.

An additional service that we offer our clients in this phase, through to design and engineering, is the assistance in helping to develop a corporate identity and image. This is achieved by evaluating your existing image and then presenting you with various design concepts that can further enhance your corporate image.

Once the analysis process has been completed and a project blueprint has been drawn up, the project can be priced accurately and the concepts can be passed to the design and engineering team.

OandoWe are one of the only signage manufacturers in Africa to employ a full team of engineers who work to ensure that every product leaving our manufacturing facility is made to the right specifications.

Designing signage is a complex process. In most cases, the end product is used as an advertising medium, so it needs to conform to stringent brand guidelines. Marrying the needs of the brand with a requirement for structural soundness creates a unique challenge.

To overcome some of the challenges that we face, First African Holdings makes use of the WorkPool task-scheduling and monitoring system, ensuring that we’re on track every step of the way.

With the majority of our signs being installed in outdoor environments, they are prone to damage from the sun’s ultra violet rays and corrosion. By specifying the right materials for the environment the signs will be installed in, we can maximise the sign’s lifespan.  

Our engineers use sophisticated 3D modelling software to conceptualise everything from petrol station fascia to building cladding solutions. Not only does this mean that we are able to review every aspect of a product’s dimensions before it is passed to the manufacturing team, but it also allows us to stress test our designs. When you’re building pylon signs that need to withstand tropical hurricanes, having a team of engineers well versed in 3D CAD software products like Solidworks isn’t so much a luxury as a necessity.

By involving clients in all aspects of the design and engineering process we can ensure that if complexities or challenges emerge in their original specifications, they can be resolved efficiently and timeously before we move into the manufacturing phase.

A service that we also offer is the development of a Corporate I.D. and Branding, assisting our clients to gain a professional image in the business world. This incorporates everything from effective use of colour schemes, station design, logos and so on.

An example of this is our project with Oando in Nigeria
, as we not only supplied them with signage, but a full corporate identity too.

With comprehensive designs signed off by the client, we move onto the factory floor where prototyping and building of the product occurs.

With over 4000 m2 of floor space we are able to operate a large and sophisticated manufacturing process with 14 active workstations: Storage, Fibreglass, Pressing, Acrylic, Electrical, Routing, Vinyl, Trimming, Sanding, Spray Painting, Curing, Metal Fabrication, Assembly and Dispatch.

While most components are made by machine, our team of skilled technicians will also manufacture and finish detailed signage – such as light boxes – by hand.

With each workstation able to operate independently of the others, we are able to tackle significant projects and deliver full signage solutions against extremely short deadlines. For example, for one of our projects for BP we were able to provide 400 sites around South Africa with new BP Ultimate panels that were fitted to pre-existing pylons and spreaders in just three months.

Besides the work efficiency of our dedicated staff, we also make use of high-tech industrial machinery that includes CNC Routers and a large RollsRoller Flatbed Vinyl Applicator to ensure that we deliver our finished products on time.

Our spray workstations consist of three separate rooms that lead into the 100sqm curing facility which features massive 45kw heaters to allow for rapid curing of painted materials.

Manufacturing signage to detailed specifications is only part of our service offering. We will also ship and install products across the continent.

Our factory’s location - in close proximity to Cape Town’s port - gives us quick access to shipping routes, making us the preferred signage manufacturer for many organisations in East and West Africa. For clients in South Africa and Southern Africa components are generally shipped by road.

All products are securely wrapped and packaged before being loaded into containers for road or sea shipping.

In addition to shipping complete signage solutions, we also have a number of specially trained rigging teams who conduct installations in South Africa and across the continent. In many instances, they work closely with subcontracted riggers abroad, training and up-skilling them to handle installation of the signage and structural products delivered to our clients. 

TOTAL MaintenanceAt First African Holdings we recognise that our clients have made a significant investment in their signage and through our proactive and reactive maintenance solutions we help them to maximise its lifecycle.

To-date, we carry out regular maintenance operations on more than 300 sites across South Africa that include a bi-annual scheduled maintenance on 135 of TOTAL’s sites and quarterly schedule for 60 of SASOL’s sites.

2D, illuminated signs, pylons and panelling are subject to a wide range of conditions which, over time, can result in degradation and significantly reduce their brand impact, and cause safety hazards.

We have between six to eight qualified and experienced maintenance teams around South Africa who facilitate our scheduled proactive solutions and are always on standby for rapid callouts when reactive maintenance is required.

Environmental conditions damage signs. UV rays from the sun bleach out colour and weaken the integrity of some structural elements, while dirt build up can obscure branding – this can manifest itself in the form of grime from exhaust particles, lime scale deposits from rain water, or insect, rodent and bird infestation.

Other environmental influences towards the longevity of sign products include corrosion which is most prominent near coastal regions, damage due to high-wind conditions and of course – power surges, which cause failure to illuminated signage.

Humans also cause significant damage to signage - sometimes this might be accidental (a truck reversing into a pylon), while on other occasions the cause might be intentional.

Following a maintenance callout, and depending on the severity of the maintenance needed, our team can be on-site immediately to tend to the issue at hand.

Technology improvements also play a role in signage maintenance programmes and recently our teams have been busy retrofitting traditional florescent tubes in lightboxes with more energy efficient LED lighting.