WEG Variable Speed Drives (VSD) offer the agricultural sector the ability to reduce the operating cost on automated water collection systems with a reduction in motor energy consumption when the motor speed is reduced.

In addition, the WEG Variable Speed Drive allows the monitoring of all functionalities of a pumping operation including special functions that will not only save operating costs but will optimise, control and protect the entire irrigation system.

Just as significant is the VSD ability to automatically send commands to the electric motor thereby facilitating optimum control of the pumping installation. This allows greater effectiveness when irrigating.

The WEG CFW 700 frequency inverter or VSD provides accurate speed variation for the electric motor ensuring it operates according to the irrigation system pressure needs (PID), and with the necessary field telemetry it can also take different land inclinations into account.

Another important benefit is the WEG VSD’s ability to detect low pressure indicating leakage in a pipeline. With this early warning from the WEG VSD, end-users can eliminate the need for specialised equipment and be able to take remedial action as soon as possible.

Where water is being pumped from a river to the dam for further irrigation, use of the WEG VSD will allow optimum control of the water level. It will prevent overflow situations, and dry pumping can be set up without the addition of flow sensors.

The WEG VSD can be used to facilitate sleep and wake modes in the pump operation. This facilitates significant cost savings as pumping can then be done on a demand driven basis only.

Where there are multiple pumps in use at the same pump station, it is possible using WEG Pump Genius Software and the WEG CFW11 VSD to automatically alternate motor usage to ensure that each motor/pump combination has equal operation time. This will avoid one pump being subjected to excessive wear and regulate the wear across all the pumps resulting in the lowest total cost of ownership for the installation.

Optimisation of water in the agribusiness undoubtedly improves product quality and production between harvests and allows optimum use of land, and WEG VSDs will assist in achieving this.


As part of its ongoing growth plans, Zest WEG Group will continue to focus on opportunities in more African countries, according to its new chief executive officer, Siegfried Kreutzfeld.

With 40 years of service in the global WEG Group, Kreutzfeld brings a wealth of industry experience to the top job at the South African business, which he joined in January 2019. He was most recently the managing director of WEG China.

“WEG has a very simple strategy: we believe in continued growth on all continents,” he says. “This is achieved by maintaining close relationships with all our customers and ensuring that we deliver quality products. We underpin all this by our high levels of service and support.”

Established in South Africa to create a strong national footprint, the Zest WEG Group has grown steadily into other Africa countries. With its responsibility for the sub-Saharan market, it operates branches in Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia. The group also has competent partners in countries like Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, DRC and Zambia. Today, the Zest WEG Group ranks among the top five operations in the global WEG Group.

“Many of our products are well established across the continent,” he says. “However, we believe there is growth potential with both mature products – such as low voltage motors, high voltage motors, and drives and switchgear – as well as with other products we manufacture locally such as transformers, motor control centres, panels and generators.”

Kreutzfeld highlights that major opportunities exist with premium efficiency products across the range, including WEG IE3 motor and WEG CFW drives.

“Also key to the Zest WEG Group’s growth potential is our ability to offer a fit-for-purpose integrated solution,” says Kreutzfeld. “This is available across all sectors, but especially in power generation, electrical infrastructure and mobile power and energy solutions. We will also be introducing WEG solutions for renewable energy applications.”

The wide range of products in Zest WEG Group’s market offering are relevant across a broad sector of industries including mining; petrochemical; agriculture; water and wastewater; paper and pulp; sugar; and energy – including traditional coal fire power plants and renewable energy.


The extensive footprint of Johnson Crane Hire across South Africa, and the establishment of large cranes at each branch, makes for fast and cost effective service to customers.

With the most extensive fleet of mobile cranes in the country, the company can make any size of crane quickly available, as each branch stocks a wide range. The branches now also stock Manitou telehandlers and access platforms – an added lifting solution for material and people.

“Our decision about three years ago to decentralise our big cranes – anything from 180 to 440 tonne capacity – to our branches, holds many benefits for customers,” says Cedric Froneman, sales executive – key accounts at Johnson Crane Hire. “The immediate advantage is that equipment is closer to site, saving transport time and cost.”

Froneman highlights that the company’s twelve branches, located in seven of the nine provinces, are also well equipped to support the cranes on hire.

“At each of our branches, we have a manager and technical representatives supported by mechanics,” he says. “Each branch also has a workshop to carry out repairs and services.”

Major repairs and rebuilds are conducted in the national workshop in Germiston, Johannesburg. This facility also gives each crane a major overhaul every five years, ensuring that they are in immaculate condition to optimise uptime on site.

“The extent and capacity of our footprint underpins our ‘SMART’ brand promise to the market,” he says. “First priority is ‘S’ for safety; we help customers apply high safety standards. This includes the rigging services offered at each branch, including CAD and lift studies for upfront planning and lift engineering.”

‘M’ is for the regular maintenance of equipment, while ‘A’ refers to being available wherever and whenever the customer requires. Finally, the ‘R’ is for reliability of both machines and people, and ‘T’ is for the total cost effectiveness of Johnson Crane Hire’s lifting solutions, says Froneman.

Each of the branches tends to have its own industrial focus, but new markets are always catered for. In Cape Town, for example, the large 440 tonne crane has ongoing work in unloading and ship refitment work at the harbour; however, there has been a growing need for heavy lifting of wind turbines in the renewable energy sector.

In Durban, where a 275 tonne unit is permanently established, much of its work is for the petrochemical plants. Inland, there is another 275 tonner established at Burgersfort, mainly for mine-related work which is also serviced by the branches at Trichardt, Middelburg and Rustenburg; all these operations also have fleets of large cranes as well. A smaller branch at Kathu services mainly the iron ore segment and a growing market in renewable energy.