Current developments in the Coega industrial development zone (IDZ) in the Eastern Cape will create oppor- tunities for coil and leafspring manufacturer Springwell to supply its products to large multinational clients, technical director Andrew Ogden tells Engineering News.
Fortune 500 company First Automobile Works (FAW) is building a new truck assembly plant in the Coega IDZ, and Springwell hopes to be able to supply the plant with components, he says.
Engineering News in February reported that FAW had broken ground on the plant, with production scheduled to start at the end of 2013. The plant will produce 5 000 medium and heavy commercial vehicles a year.
The trucks are destined for the local market, as well as for export to a number of African countries. FAW sells roughly 20 000 units a year to the African market.
There are also currently a number of large export contracts by vehicle manufacturers under way; however, the size of these projects increases competition between components suppliers, as manufacturers are sourcing components globally.
“Although this is good for the economy, it makes securing contacts more difficult, as our prices need to be globally competitive,” MD Dave Ogden explains.
To maintain its competitive edge and successful business, Springwell has to continuously diversify, he says.
This has seen the business’s product range grow and investments have been made in new technology, machinery and quality systems.
“Springwell constantly develops new products made according to customer specifications,” says Andrew Ogden.
The company has been supplying products to automotive seat manufacturer Lear Corporation for over 20 years. It will also supply Lear with components for a new car model, on which manufacturing will start within the next few months, he says.
The products for this contact will be similar to products previously supplied to Lear. “We will provide them with numerous components, including springs, clips and wire fasteners, which are used to hold the cloth to the vehicles’ seats,” explains Andrew Ogden.