Jul 27, 2012
Towbar manufacturer invests R2.5m in equipment to increase capacityBack
Engineering|Africa|Ford|Ford Australia|Ford Motor Company|PROJECT|Systems|Thule Towing Systems SA.|Thule Towing Systems South Africa|Welding|Yaskawa Southern Africa|Africa|Europe|South Africa|Sweden|The Netherlands|Pietermaritzburg Plant|Equipment|Product|Products|Robotics Manufacturer|Systems|Ford Ranger
© Reuse this
Towing systems manu-facturer and distributor Thule Towing Systems South Africa (SA) has invested R2.5-million in two additional welding robots to ramp up the production capacity of its Pietermaritzburg plant to in excess of 100 000 units a year.
This helped drive the total yearly output of the global Thule group to in excess of two-million towbars.
The local Thule subsidiary acquired the welding robots from robotics manufacturer Yaskawa Southern Africa to meet growing demand from both local and international clients. The robots were installed in May.
The computer-controlled robots weld simultaneously, reducing the cycle time and increasing output.
One of the key growth drivers for the local Thule subsidiary has been the contract for the new Ford Ranger, for which it is the sole in-plant towbar provider in South Africa.
“With its massive 3 350 kg braked towing capability in 4 × 4 3.2 ℓ turbodiesel guise, the Ranger needed a towbar of unprecedented strength,” states Thule Towing Systems SA.
The towbar was developed in a long-term project involving Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA), Ford Australia, Thule Towing Systems SA and Thule’s international innovation centre and network in Sweden and Holland.
When put through its paces at Thule Towing Systems SA’s test facility, which was commissioned in August last year at a cost of R7-million, the Ranger towbar successfully underwent a four-million cycle test – double the local legal requirement of SANS 1501.
This test is performed at regular intervals on production units.
Today, about 800 of these towbars come out of the Pietermaritzburg plant each week, the majority of them going directly to FMCSA’s Silverton assembly plant. A percentage is also supplied to Europe for aftermarket use.
“South Africa is well estab-lished as a production hub for complete vehicles and it is important that we can supply appropriate product not only for the local market – a market which has a strong leaning towards an outdoor lifestyle and, therefore, a definite need for towing systems – but also for the export markets that the locally based original-equipment manufacturers service,” the company states.
It adds that the facility fits Thule’s philosophy of creating a broader engineering network, the core of which is the primary test rig in Holland, which opened in mid-2010 and is capable of testing in three-axis or, in other words, up and down, fore and aft and side to side.
Towbars can be tested either on or off the vehicles.
“The facility is considered the core of innovation for the Thule towbar brand and it is from here that nearly all new products are developed,” the company says.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Components News
Article contains comments
Updated 41 minutes ago While the global economy continues to battle growth headwinds as it slowly emerges from a lingering post-recessionary phase, the greatest inhibitors to South African economic development are largely domestic and within government’s control, Finance Minister...
Updated 49 minutes ago Building materials firm Infrasors said on Friday that FD Marius Potgieter, who had occupied the position since July 1, 2009, had tendered his resignation and would leave the company with immediate effect. Construction supplies manufacturer Afrimat FD and Infrasors...
Updated 1 hour 2 minutes ago Telecommunications group Telkom on Friday announced that, following extensive facilitated consultations and deliberations, management and organised labour had reached consensus that the company’s current restructuring process would proceed. “The parties have...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
South African construction company Group Five says work on the rehabilitation of the 800 km stretch of the Plumtree–Mutare highway, in Zimbabwe, should be completed by the end of this year. Giving evidence before the Parliamentary Porfolio Committee on Transport...
The Space Operations division of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) revealed on July 17 that it had supported the successful launch of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite on July 2. The...
Phase 1A of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system should carry around 42 000 people a day, while it was been expected that Phase 1B, rolled out last year, would add another 60 000 daily passengers. However, the entire system is currently carrying...
A stormwater project in Bedforview, east of Johannesburg, has stalled for eight months after project managers in the Ekurhuleni municipality resigned and municipal managers were placed on special leave without designating replacements. Construction to reinforce the...
The design of the Beit Bridge border post is the biggest impediment to efficient freight movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa, says Cross-border Road Transport Agency CEO Sipho Khumalo. Beit Bridge is the busiest border post in Africa. A research study on the...