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Atlantis Diesel Engines - a very Brief History


Engines and Components sold in the 10's of Thousands!

In it's heyday ADE sales of engines and components numbered in their tens of thousands.

In 1997
The 100,000th 300 series engine is produced at ADE

In 1998
ADE completes an order for the delivery of 10,000 diesel engines into Cuba.

ADE lands contract to supply Mercedes-Benz 140,000 engine blocks.

Atlantis Diesel Engine Site near Cape Town
Aerial view of the Atlantis Diesel Engine Site near Cape Town

Founded in 1979

Formed by the South African government as a defence against UN sanctions, it's goals were to mitigate these effects by:

  • providing employment for thousands of people.
  • establishing a supply line of engines for it's military needs.

The first engine rolled off the assembly line in 1981 and the company's business flourished strongly during the next few years. However the lifting of international sanctions in 1994 spelt the end of engine making at Atlantis was on the horizon.

Sadly, a sluggish economic climate with cheaper imports and industrial unrest meant ADE lost it's competitive edge and hundreds of employees lost their jobs as a consequence.

Daimler takes over in 1999 and the company re-surges!

Atlantis Foundries incorporated into the Daimler Trucks Powertrain business unit.

The focus is now on castings, components and machining

Production more than doubles!

"Since the takeover by the Daimler Group in 1999, the Company has gone from strength to strength having increased their casting production from 30,000 to 69,000 net tonnes per year, and Atlantis Foundries are now considered one of the best heavy-duty engine block foundries in the world, employing 1,200 people." enthuses Sally Redshaw of Atlantis Foundries.

Inside Atlantis Foundries near Cape Town
View inside Atlantis Foundries

Atlantis Foundries date back to 1979

"The history of Atlantis Foundries dates back to 1979, when it was started by the South African Government and licensed to manufacture Mercedes Benz and Perkins diesel engines.
In 1985 the Company was incorporated into Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE), before Daimler/Mercedes-Benz South Africa (then called DaimlerChrysler), took control in 1999, and incorporated Atlantis Foundries into the Daimler Trucks Powertrain business unit."
Continues Sally at Atlantis foundries.

The Halberg-Guss group buy Atlantis Foundries, the successor of Atlantis Diesel Engines

Mercedes Benz sells Atlantis Foundries to Neue Halberg-Guss.

"On 30th June 2015, Atlantis Foundries (Pty) Ltd was sold by Daimler/Mercedes-Benz South Africa, to German metal casting group Neue Halberg-Guss GmbH who has a combined workforce of 2,500 employees in two production facilities based in Saarbrƒ¼cken and Leipzig."

Inside Atlantis Foundries near Cape Town
Another View inside Atlantis Foundries

Atlantis Foundries date back to 1979

Sally goes on: "We continue to specialize in casting cylinder blocks for commercial vehicles and off-road installations for export to engine manufacturers in the UK, USA, Brazil and China, in addition to our on-site machining facilities. In the past, Atlantis Foundries also produced castings for the passenger car market."

We acknowledge and thank Sally Redshaw, Chief Commercial Officer at Atlantis Foundries, for her contribution to this article and for supplying us with the images.

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