Tag Archives: Zest WEG Group

UNDERSTANDING STANDBY, PRIME AND CONTINUOUS GENSETS

The increasing reliance of South African businesses on generator sets (gensets) to mitigate power disruptions highlights a crucial need for proper selection based on specific operational demands. Despite their growing usage, there’s still widespread confusion about how to choose the appropriate genset, often leading to inefficient and costly decisions. 

Understanding the differences between standby, prime and continuous applications is essential to optimise genset performance and longevity. This is according to Craig Bouwer, Senior Manager Gensets at WEG Africa, who explains that many customers mistakenly select gensets based solely on nameplate rating. 

“Understanding the specific application of the genset is crucial for the right selection, and the first step is knowing that genset applications are broadly categorised into standby, prime and continuous, each with distinct operational requirements,” he says. 

Standby gensets are seldom used, typically kept for emergency situations. These units have a limit on operational hours per year and a specific load factor. In South Africa, due to frequent load shedding, few gensets are used solely for standby purposes.

Prime and continuous applications are more common in the country. Prime gensets can run unlimited hours annually with variable loads, maintaining an average load factor below their maximum rating. Continuous gensets also operate unlimited hours, but with a constant and predetermined load.

Damian Schutte, Engineering Manager at WEG Africa, explains that understanding the difference between prime and continuous ratings is also critical. The load factor is a key differentiator and not the unlimited time requirement, with prime applications having variable loads and continuous ones having fixed loads.

Schutte uses a vehicle analogy to illustrate the differences: a continuous genset is like a car on cruise control operating at a steady speed within its capacity on a long-distance trip, while a prime genset is akin to a vehicle driving in the city. Standby can be perceived as racing between traffic lights. 

The choice of genset rating impacts its expected lifespan and maintenance needs. For example, continuous power may be required in mines during load shedding to supplement limited grid power, while industrial applications like workshops, with variable loads, would need a prime-rated genset.

Bouwer notes that standby power remains vital in essential service sectors for health and safety reasons, especially in environments like mines, hospitals, and data centres.

WEG Africa, as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), uses these categories to guide customers in their genset choices, aiming to match their specific needs and expected service life. They caution against oversimplifying the selection process by just matching the total load with a genset’s nameplate rating, as this can lead to premature failure and additional costs.

“To ensure the correct choice, we work closely with customers assessing their load requirements, usage frequency and operational conditions and through this process ensure optimal genset selection,” Bouwer concludes. 

WEG MOTORS AND DRIVES ARE KEY PLAYERS IN SOUTH AFRICA’S ENERGY SOLUTION STRATEGY

With the continued energy poverty being experienced in South Africa, motors and drives are set to play an ever more crucial role in industry’s energy solution strategy. The manufacturing and processing sectors, which include minerals processing plants, are energy-intensive industries, and finding ways to reduce energy consumption while increasing efficiencies is essential for both economic and environmental reasons. 

This is according to Jaco Brits, Projects and Technical Manager at WEG Africa, who says that the company has the knowledge and expertise as well as the technology solutions to assist operations in reducing their operating costs and increasing their productivity while guarding their energy security.

“Electric motors and drives are used across industries to operate pumps, mixers, conveyors, vibrating screens and feeders, crushers, and other machinery including automated packaging systems,” Brits says. 

“Advancements in motor and drive technology, underpinned by WEG’s extensive research and development, have seen substantial improvements in energy efficiency, both equipped with advanced control algorithms to optimise motor performance based on real-time conditions,” he explains. “These algorithms assist in ensuring motors operate at peak efficiency levels, even in complex processes.” 

“By upgrading to newer technology and installing higher efficiency motors such as the WEG IE3 or IE4 electric motor, customers can significantly lower their energy consumption. In addition to this,” he adds, “by combining high efficiency motors with WEG variable-speed drives (VSDs), better control and optimisation of equipment can be achieved. This ensures that equipment operates at its most energy efficient speed and power level, and will reduce operating costs significantly.”

Commenting on the use of VSDs, Brits explains that traditional fixed speed motors run at a constant speed regardless of the actual load requirements. In contrast, VSDs are most effective in controlling the speed and torque of motors based on the actual load requirements. This level of precision facilitates the adjustment of the motor’s speed to match the load, thereby ensuring that equipment operates only as needed. VSDs also have faster reaction to load changes and better integration with equipment. “All these factors reduce unnecessary energy consumption during periods of low demand and enhances overall equipment efficiency and performance,” says Brits. 

Unpacking advancements in drive technology, Brits points to the WEG CFW11 VSD line, which incorporates some of the most advanced technology in the world for alternating-current three-phase induction motors. 

“Incorporating WEG Vectrue™ technology, these new generation WEG drives combine variable frequency, sensorless and closed-loop vector (with encoder) control techniques in a single product. This facilitates high torque and a fast dynamic response with the self-tuning function allowing automatic configuration of the drive to adjust it to the motor and load in vector modes,” Brits says. 

With most industries looking at sustainable energy resources including renewables such as wind and solar, motors and drives will continue to play an important role in facilitating the integration of such systems. VSDs can be used to balance power supply and demand, and ensure stable operation in hybrid energy setups. 

“Substantial efficiency improvements are possible by leveraging the latest motor and drive technology, and the significant savings in energy consumption more than justify the capital cost of replacing old technology equipment with higher efficiency technology,” Brits concludes. 

PETROK SUPPORTS WEG GROWTH IN UGANDA

WEG, as part of its drive to expand the WEG footprint in East African markets, is taking significant steps to increase its presence in Uganda by partnering with company Petrok as its Value-Added Reseller (VAR). Petrok’s local presence and technical expertise, along with the popularity and reliability of WEG products in the market, will likely facilitate this expansion.

Theodul Mwema, WEG’s Regional Sales Manager for East Africa, says the anticipated economic growth from projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), along with the existing strength of sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, utilities, cement and oil and gas in Uganda, offer potential opportunities for WEG to  offer their products and solutions. 

“This is an exciting step as we look forward to reaching more customers in Uganda with WEG’s range of electric motors as well as medium and high voltage solutions,” he says “We have been supplying customers in Uganda for over a decade, and this appointment builds our support for them and opens new markets for us. Our commitment to delivering efficient, reliable products with a low total cost of ownership, as exemplified by our W22 IE3 motor, shows our customer-centric approach which is appealing to businesses in Uganda.”

Mwema highlights that the coffee sector already has a strong reference base, for instance, as many coffee factories used Brazilian processing machines which are fitted with WEG motors, drives and soft starters.

With agriculture being the biggest contributor to Uganda’s economy, other significant sectors include manufacturing, utilities, cement and oil and gas, he explains. There has also been considerable investment in power and water projects in East Africa, notably from Asian countries. 

Commenting on the EACOP, Mwema says when completed this major project will see the transportation of Uganda’s crude oil almost 1,450 km from Kabaale in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania.

“Petrok was selected as our VAR following a stringent vetting process, and we are confident they will deliver the high standard of support to our customers that we expect,” he says. “The company has the necessary experience in our field of operation, with a strong technical team of engineers and technicians with the right product knowledge.”

He says Petrok’s premises in Kampala allows for local warehousing of WEG Low Voltage products such as electric motors ,drives and others, as well as workshop facilities for small works. The company’s sales team and customer base across Uganda also ensures customers will be well served and distribution channels expanded. 

“With the quality and reputation of WEG products, we can ensure players in the Ugandan market will benefit from the same low total cost of ownership as our customers everywhere,” says Mwema. “This includes the five-year warranty on our popular WEG W22 IE3 motor, a promise of reliability that few of our competitors can match.”

WEG PARTNERSHIP WITH PANACO STRENGTHENS PRESENCE AND BOOSTS GROWTH IN THE DRC

The strengthened presence of WEG in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through its strategic alliance with Panaco, its Value-Added Reseller (VAR), has proven to be highly successful. 

Thierry Kakese, WEG’s Regional Manager – Central Africa, attributes this success to the alignment of business models between the two companies. “As a major player, WEG has long been dedicated to establishing and nurturing a robust VAR partner network in the Central African region, ensuring sustainable growth and expanding our installed base of products and solutions,” he says. 

Panaco was appointed as WEG’s VAR in the DRC four years ago, and plays a vital role in the region. The company was one of the first electrical subcontractors operating in that country and today with more than 40 years’ experience, Panaco possesses the experience and capability to meet the escalating demand for WEG motors, drives and other products in the country. 

The company’s reputation and established operations in the key mining centres of Lubumbashi and Kolwezi ensure efficient stockholding allowing easy access to WEG products. This significantly reduces lead times for complete motors and drives, as well as spare parts in case of breakdowns.

Apart from the mining sector, Panaco and WEG also serve other industries such as power and water utilities as well as cement. Kakese emphasises that partnering with Panaco facilitates essential market feedback, enabling WEG to make informed decisions and maintain its position as a leading provider of electrical products and solutions.

Recognising the significance of the DRC and the Copperbelt region, WEG’s team, in collaboration with Panaco, regularly visits end user operations to closely comprehend specific challenges and requirements. 

Financial Operations Director at Panaco, Khalid Patel shares that to support the growing installed base and increased demand in the DRC, Panaco and WEG will establish a support centre in the Katanga province. This facility will conduct technical assessments, offer local maintenance and repair services for Low Voltage drives, and enhance overall support for our customers. 

“The enduring success of the WEG and Panaco partnership stems from our shared technical expertise,” Patel says. “Ongoing support is provided via the South African-based WEG operation which is bolstered through comprehensive training for our sales and technical teams.” Training sessions take place both in the DRC and at the WEG drives training centre in Johannesburg, enabling Panaco to deliver excellent customer service.

Kakese highlights an increasing demand for motor and drive combinations in the DRC and neighbouring regions. “This demand is not merely due to WEG’s extended warranty but primarily because of the superior performance and compatibility offered by correctly matched motor and drive combinations,” he explains. “End users who have embraced this trend experience improved reliability and better performance.”

“Furthermore, the energy saving benefits of WEG’s IE3 and IE4 motors have made them highly sought after, as major miners strive to reduce energy consumption and reduced operating costs.” 

WEG transformers have also gained popularity in the region, with them being locally manufactured in South Africa with capacities of up to 40 MVA. Kakese highlights the logistical advantages of sourcing such equipment from South Africa instead of from overseas. The close collaboration between the support teams in South Africa and Panaco ensures that transformers are precisely specified to meet technical application requirements, guaranteeing reliability and optimal performance.

Recognising the increasing power demand in the DRC, particularly in the mining and other sectors, Panaco has decided to augment its product offering by also stocking generator sets. “Initially, the market is expected to favour standard WEG gensets, manufactured in South Africa with convenient logistics. However, this expansion also opens doors to supply custom-engineered gensets tailored to specific applications,” Patel says.

“This strategic partnership in the DRC has yielded remarkable results, and we look forward to significantly increasing the installed base of WEG products as well as expanding the level of sale and aftermarket support we offer to our customer base,” Patel says. “The shared business vision, technical expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction have paved the way for sustainable growth and the provision of premium products that enhance reliability, performance, and cost-effectiveness for end users in the region.” 

ZEST WEG HELPS POWER KIPUSHI’S NEW DAWN 

As part of Ivanhoe Mines’ refurbishment of the historic Kipushi Zinc-Copper Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zest WEG will be supplying a range of electrical and energy solutions. Ivanhoe Mines acquired its 68% interest in the Kipushi Project in November 2011; the balance of 32% is held by the DRC’s state-owned mining company, Gécamines. 

According to Luveshen Naidoo, Business Development External Sales Engineer for Mining and Industrial at Zest WEG, this includes a 14 MW power plant, motor control centres (MCCs), WEG medium voltage (MV) variable speed drives (VSDs) and a WEG 1,200 kW MV motor for the mine’s ball mill. The company is also the preferred supplier of low voltage (LV) motors, and will supply these to a range of mechanical Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) servicing the mine. Delivery of the equipment is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2023.

“Our diesel powered plant, which will provide the mine with backup energy, has been designed to comprise 12 generator sets – each rated at 1,587 kVA and 400 V,” says Naidoo. “Assembled at Zest WEG’s specialised Cape Town facility, the plant includes MV switchgear, six 3150 kVA ONAN type 400V / 6.6 kV step-up transformers, a 40,000 litre fuel tank and an automated fuel system”

He highlights that splitting the plant design into smaller generating units ensured engines and alternators were readily available, securing a quicker delivery time. The configuration of the plant in this way also gives the mine greater energy security in the case of maintenance or breakdown. The gensets can also be transported to site using conventional trucking, without the need for abnormal load vehicles. 

The MCCs are being supplied for use in an established substation on the Kipushi Zinc-Copper mine, as well as for a containerised substation elsewhere on the site. To accommodate space constraints, the MCCs are designed for a back-to-back configuration with a compact bucket size, he explains. 

“This ensures that the equipment will fit in the available space while still meeting the client’s specification and stringent IEC standards,” he says. 

For the mine’s SAG mill, Zest WEG is providing the WEG W60 MV motor rated at 1,200kW – a robust unit for the demanding applications and aggressive environments found in the mining sector, says Naidoo. The reduced motor weight holds distinct benefits, he notes, including a compact base plate or plinth onto which it is mounted – and lower installation costs. The motor’s IP55 rating ensures the motor is well protected from dust or water ingress. 

To meet the client’s needs for the MV VSD to drive the ball mill motor, WEG’s MVW3000 unit is being supplied – a compact design with an integral dry-type transformer. To facilitate the dissipation of heat, Zest WEG designed a ducting system for this 1,200 kW VSD which will reduce the need for cooling of the substation. 

As the client’s preferred brand of LV motors, the WEG W22 motor is being made available to Kipushi’s mechanical supply OEMs. Among the key benefits of this WEG IE3 motor is its energy efficiency, he says. This preferred brand strategy makes it more cost effective for the mine to keep the necessary consignments of spares for maintenance and servicing. 

In putting together its proposals for the client, Zest WEG worked closely with the engineering consultant METC Engineering in the detailed design stage. 

First-line support for Zest WEG’s equipment will come from Panaco, the company’s Value Added Reseller (VAR) in the DRC. The Panaco team can conduct site visits and technical investigations, and has a substantial in-country stockholding to ensure rapid availability of key equipment.

“Our partners at Panaco can generate technical reports to share with Zest WEG to ensure we can provide accurate and necessary specialist support,” he says. “We have an aftersales team who can deliver support and solutions remotely or by travelling to site.”

He concludes that Zest WEG’s ISO9001 quality management systems underpin the high quality standards in all its products, and the company is audited annually to maintain this compliance. 

“We also constantly work at reducing the environmental impact of our production processes, with regard to our usage of natural resources and the generation of waste and emissions,” he says. 

TREND IS TOWARD LARGER  POWER PLANT SOLUTIONS, SAYS ZEST WEG

Whether companies need power to survive loadshedding or to raise their production output, the trend is for these power generating systems to get bigger.

Bernard Mitton, Business Development Consultant at Zest WEG.
Bernard Mitton, Business Development Consultant at Zest WEG.

According to Bernard Mitton, Business Development Consultant at Zest WEG, it is becoming more common for customers to request proposals for power solutions that exceed 10 MW. In South Africa, this appears to be mainly a response to rising levels of loadshedding. In other parts of Africa, says Mitton, it is economic growth that drives demand.

“For many companies who want to grow their output, it is vital to have continuous and reliable power supply,” he says. “In recent years, Zest WEG has been designing and installing more of these large power plants for customers across Africa.”

It is Zest WEG’s depth of in-house engineering expertise and technical capability that earns it these contracts, he explains. From the generator sets themselves to the transformers, switchgear and containers, the company can provide customers with a full turnkey solution.

Generator installed in a 40ft high cube container.
Generator installed in a 40ft high cube container.

“We often propose a modular system that allows the customer to execute their project in phases,” he says. “They can begin with the most cost effective solution, and then expand the plant as the power demand grows.”

In one of these 10 MW systems, there will usually be eight to 10 generators installed within a containerised solution or a dedicated power plant room. They can generate power at 400 V, to be stepped up by transformer up to 11 kV – or power can be generated directly with an alternator output up to 11 kV.

“For a typical 10 MW power plant, we connect the generators to a common switchboard up to maximum 22 kV, to distribute power to the various on-site loads,” he says. “The switchboard solution can be installed in a container, an E-house or a plant room.”

The generating units are custom engineered, built and fully tested in Zest WEG’s Cape Town generator facility. Testing includes a step load test and the synchronisation of generators to each other –  verifying all setpoints, engine performance and efficiency indicators.

HOW WEG VSD TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP DEAL WITH LOAD SHEDDING

Variable speed drives (VSDs) are generally considered as vital contributors to energy efficiency, but they also have features that can reduce the operational disruptions caused by load shedding. 

“Any industrial operation that relies on electric motors will face severe challenges to their continuous workflow when load shedding strikes,” says Pieter de Villiers, Gqeberha branch manager for Zest WEG. De Villiers was previously the VSD Service Manager at the company. “Much of the disruption is related to the process of starting machinery up again after a power loss, which often must be conducted as a series of sequential actions that an operator must oversee and implement.”

Pieter de Villiers, Gqeberha branch manager for Zest WEG.
Pieter de Villiers, Gqeberha branch manager for Zest WEG.

What many motor users are not aware of is the usefulness of WEG VSDs in automating and controlling this start-up, explains de Villiers. WEG VSDs can be programmed to initiate a sequence of actions, so that this does not have to be done manually by the operator. A simple example to illustrate his point is where water is being pumped through pipelines which drain out during load shedding. In most cases, the pumps cannot simply be started up again at full speed in a ‘dry’ condition without the risk of cavitation and other damage.

“In cases like this, the WEG VSD can be programmed to start the pump at a lower speed until the pipeline is full of water, after which it could resume full pumping duties,” he says. “Similarly, it is important for a siren to be sounded on a mining operation before a conveyor system is re-activated after the start of load shedding for safety reasons. The WEG VSD can also be programmed to automate the re-start process, and it initiates the siren to warn staff that the conveyor will be running again.”

He highlights that the full range of WEG VSDs have built-in PLC capability, allowing them to be programmed in this way – without the need for PLCs to be added to the system. Another function of VSDs that makes them valuable assets in times of load shedding is to prevent equipment from tripping out. This can happen when there is too much ‘dead time’ between grid power turning off and a back-up generator kicking in. 

A range of WEG Variable Speed Drives that can prevent equipment from tripping out during load shedding.
A range of WEG Variable Speed Drives that can prevent equipment from tripping out during load shedding.

“If dead time lasts more than a few seconds, many motor-driven applications can trip out and require a re-start which can be time consuming and labour intensive. A common way that the VSD stays live during this dead time is through the stored energy in its capacitors, allowing it to then re-accelerate the motor when the generator kicks in,” he explains. “It is also possible to set up the drive to utilise the inertia from the load and therefore power from the motor itself – essentially using the motor briefly as a generator to keep the VSD alive.”

WEG VSDs also play a useful role when energy users want to harness renewable energy sources like solar power. In a hybrid power system where a motor is connected to both the grid and to solar panels, a VSD can utilise the best source to feed the motor. If there is sufficient sunlight, the system will detect the power flowing in from the panels and optimise that power source. 

“On the other hand, the VSD will switch to grid power at night or when it is cloudy,” says de Villiers. “This allows motors to be kept running while reducing the cost of energy, and also reducing the user’s carbon footprint.”

ZEST WEG SUPPLIES E-HOUSE PACKAGE FOR SASOL GAS PROJECT

A large complete substation E-house locally manufactured by Zest WEG will help power Sasol’s Upstream PSA project currently under construction in the Inhambane Province of southern Mozambique.

According to Lukas Barnard, Zest WEG’s Business Development Specialist for the oil and gas sector in sub Saharan Africa, the contract also includes locally manufactured transformers and diesel generator set – and is being procured by EPCM contractor Wood. The PSA development is an integrated oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and gas project. It will supply a 450 megawatt gas-fired power plant and an LPG facility in Mozambique, as well as export gas to Sasol’s operations in South Africa.

Lukas Barnard, Zest WEG’s Business Development Specialist for the oil and gas sector in sub–Saharan Africa.
Lukas Barnard, Zest WEG’s Business Development Specialist for the oil and gas sector in sub–Saharan Africa.

“This is an exciting project for the southern African region, and we are proud to be part of a development with such an important energy impact,” says Barnard. “We are also pleased to be partnering with the well-respected engineering firm Proconics.”

Zest WEG, part of the global WEG group of companies, will supply a complete substation E-house package measuring 45 m by 22 m in size and containing medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) switchgear, a battery room, a local equipment room and an HVAC system. It will be manufactured and pre-assembled in Zest WEG’s advanced local manufacturing facility in Heidelberg, Gauteng. 

“This large and complex structure will include staircases and platforms, as it will be elevated 2,1 m above ground for ease of cable entry,” he says. “The design will accommodate the uneven ground on site by accommodating the precise metres-above-sea-level elevations of each corner.”

After factory acceptance tests (FAT) are conducted, the structure will be disassembled for delivery and reconstructed on site. Barnard highlights the quality and cost benefit of the E-house option, which can be built and tested under factory conditions. This enhances safety and avoids the costs, risks and logistics of having multiple teams on site for extended periods to build an equivalent brick-and-mortar structure. 

Given the humid and corrosive coastal atmosphere, the E-house will be constructed using 3CR12 stainless steel. The manufacturing and testing of the E-house will be conducted to Sasol’s stringent standards and requirements, he notes. 

The supply package also includes one 1,250 kVA Zest WEG diesel generator set for backup power, and two 2,5 MVA 6.6/0.42kV distribution transformers.

“Once again, these aspects of the contract showcase our local manufacturing capabilities,” explains Barnard. “While the gensets will be manufactured in our dedicated facility in Cape Town, the transformers will be built in Zest WEG’s Wadeville facility.”

Zest WEG will also be supplying a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system to control the temperatures inside the E-house and ensure optimal functioning of all components. He highlights that the company’s experience in E-house design and construction has given it considerable competitive advantage as demand for these solutions has grown.

ZEST WEG BUILDS SPECIAL TRANSFORMERS LOCALLY FOR SOLAR PLANT

A solar power generating facility recently developed by a South African gold mine has made use of Zest WEG’s locally manufactured transformers to serve this specialised application.

Factors like harmonics or ‘noise’ in the current flow mean that solar photovoltaic (PV) applications require specialised transformers, explains Rynard Potgieter, Sales Manager for transformers at Zest WEG. At this site, where 40 MW of renewable energy is being generated, the company supplied 10 of its custom-designed transformers of 5 MVA capacity each. The units for this PV project were manufactured at the company’s Wadeville factory.

“In this application, our transformers will step up from 690 V current to 11 kV,” says Potgieter. “A dual input, single output configuration is a cost-effective innovation, allowing one transformer to be fed by a number of string inverters through the dual input.”

Rynard Potgieter, Sales Manager for transformers at Zest WEG.
Rynard Potgieter, Sales Manager for transformers at Zest WEG.

He noted a further innovation of the recent PV project was the use of ester oil – rather than normal oil from hydrocarbons – as a coolant in the transformers. With ester oil being a focus of dedicated research at the WEG Group’s head office in Brazil, Potgieter said this option brought considerable benefits to the South African solar plant.

“From an environmental point of view, ester oil does not carry the risk of contaminating land or water if it happens to leak from the transformer,” he says. “Operationally speaking, it is also able to withstand higher temperatures without degrading.”

It has the advantage of not being flammable, so it would not contribute to an explosion or fire. Ester oil also retains heat better, moderating the temperature of the transformer windings while not activated.

The transformer radiator configuration designed for optimal efficiency and style.
The transformer radiator configuration designed for optimal efficiency and style.

ZEST WEG’S EXPANDED MIDDELBURG BRANCH IMPROVING SERVICES AND DELIVERY FOR CUSTOMERS

With its continual growth in sales over recent years, Zest WEG has expanded the capacity of its Middelburg branch in Mpumalanga province with expanded facilities and increased staff compliment. 

“This expansion is allowing us to keep up with market growth and ensure on-time delivery to our growing customer base,” says branch manager Fritz Hoogenboezem. “An exciting addition for customers will be our fit-for-purpose training centre, where we can conduct accredited training on various lines of our equipment.”

The branch serves a large geographical area from Ogies in the south to Musina in the north, and from Emalahleni in the west to Komatiepoort in the east. The expansion has seen the building of a new block with more space for product inventory, administration and technical support. A dedicated work area was upgraded for testing and repairing variable speed drives, soft starters and controls .

Hoogenboezem notes that the branch is servicing a range of sectors that continues to widen. Its mining industry customers include mines in the platinum group metals, chrome, coal, gold, magnetite, phosphate and copper segments. 

“We are also kept busy in the paper industry and sugar milling, while steadily doing more work in agriculture and with timber mills,” he says. This business growth has been sustained despite the poor performance of the economy, he points out, showing that the company is making a real difference to customers. 

“An important aspect of our work has been to highlight the importance of energy efficiency in the context of rising energy costs,” he explains. “This is becoming as relevant to agriculture as it has always been to energy-intensive industries like mining. The branch has the largest stock of  IE3 and IE4 WEG Super Premium Efficiency motors to service the Mpumalanga and Limpopo region.”

While in certain industries it is still common to base purchasing decisions mainly on upfront capital costs, he says that customers are becoming more aware of their total cost of ownership of electrical equipment. He points out that an electric motor, for instance, can consume the value of its purchase price in electricity in just five weeks – when running 24/7.

“There is growing recognition of the potential savings possible from buying the best, most efficient motor – and paying less for electricity for the lifetime of the motor,” he says. With most agricultural enterprises paying the ever-increasing Eskom rates for their electricity, there is now more interest than ever before in cutting energy costs than ever before.

He says the branch expansion aligns with WEG continually investing in resources – including research and development, human resources, training, production facilities, new products and equipment. 

“As a sales branch, it is our purpose to bring these state-of-the-art resources to the doorstep of customers including end-users, consultants and other original equipment manufacturers,” he says. “The improvements and expansion of our Middelburg facilities is a major step forward in ensuring that  we achieve this goal.”