Rail technology manufacturer Bombardier Transportation South Africa (BTSA) is set to open its R50-million propulsion and control factory in Germiston, on the East Rand, by the end of the year, BTSA head of sales Aubrey Lekwane tells Engineering News.
“Our contract with State-owned freight and logistics group Transnet to supply 240 electric locomotives is providing us with an important opportunity to localise Bombardier’s footprint in Africa with the establishment of the propulsion manufacturing plant,” he says.
Lekwane says the factory is integral to fulfilling its contract with Transnet and will enable BTSA to explore export business opportunities from South Africa.
“The 6 000 m2 factory is fully managed by South Africans with the support of two expats during the first two years, and will employ about 150 people,” he states.
The factory will be equipped with high- voltage test equipment for simulating the same conditions when the traction converter is operated in the locomotive – this also includes the test of the built-in cooling system.
The factory has its own procurement, manufacturing and methods department.
Lekwane notes that the factory will allow for import substitution of a range of components, including mechanical parts and complex electronics.
The factory will be equipped with high- powered systems, cable crimping and harnessing systems.
He notes that the factory will manufacture a range of electromechanical products, such as insulated-gate bipolar transistor converters and several electrical cubicles.