There has been a decline in new projects locally, owing to economic uncertainty, with many clients reducing costs and spending on equipment only where and when required, says hydraulic and pneumatic equipment manufacturer and supplier Germiston Hydraulics MD Archie Leitch.
“Most of the company’s work comes from repairs and the replacement of existing components as clients are trying to keep costs down.”
He explains to Engineering News that the rand:dollar exchange rate is one of the major challenges industry faces as it affects the costs of spares and other imported items. Further, there are not any new original-equipment manufacturers entering the market, and Leitch comments that investors are uncertain of the future of the country and, therefore, wary of investing in manufacturing plants. This further increases the costs of locally manufactured goods.
Leitch told Engineering News in May that the hydraulics industry was feeling the effects of a brain drain of skilled and qualified personnel. “We are still seeing this, and possibly even more so now. Fewer highly experienced and qualified people are remaining in the industry owing to emigration and retirement.”
Moreover, he notes that certain imports from China must be restricted as they are making the costs of locally manufactured goods uncompetitive.
There is a need for stimulus to the economy to boost local manufacture of goods to ensure more opportunities for the hydraulic service and supply companies. Creating new local projects and boosting local manufacture of goods will allow more machines and equipment into the market, thus providing work and repairs not only for the hydraulics industry, but many other industries too, Leitch concludes.