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Kanna automated wool press only locally made option

15th January 2023

By: Tracy Hancock

Creamer Media Contributing Editor

     

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The automated hydraulic wool press from Western Cape farm equipment manufacturer Kanna Industries is the only one of its kind in South Africa, says Kanna Industries founder and owner Willa Nolte.

Kanna sold almost 60 machines last year.

“You can import a similar machine, but the price will be almost three times more.”

Available since 2015, the wool press was developed to provide an easier and quicker way of making wool bales. Following some research, Nolte designed and built his first machine in three months. The machine is upgraded almost every year and “we ensure the best after-sales service possible”.  

“The biggest challenge of manufacturing any machine is to make it affordable, simple and user friendly, but also to supply a solution that someone cannot function without after the first use.”

The wool industry is an important part of the clothing industry. Therefore, wool needs to be transported globally and Kanna’s presses help to improve the ease of its transport, says Nolte.

Wool is loaded into the machine and pressed into a storage unit using a plunger, whereafter four spikes on opposite sides of the machine are driven through the wool bag to keep it in place while the next batch of wool is loaded.

“Our wool press has a built-in electronic scale to ensure that each wool bale has the desired weight. The machine is also mounted on wheels for ease of handling and transport to the site,” explains Nolte.

Manufactured in Worcester by a team of eight people, Kanna’s hydraulic wool press is produced using 100% local content.

“It is important to use components and/or materials that are easily accessible locally. It’s easier to maintain stock and local support when necessary and stimulates our local economy.”

It takes about five days to produce one hydraulic wool press and a three- to four-week lead time is required for delivery.

While Kanna is constantly manufacturing, the product is mostly manufactured to order, notwithstanding the persistent rolling blackouts challenging South African industry.

Nolte says, to overcome the impact of loadshedding the company has invested in solar and generators as standby power solutions to ensure continued productivity and meet deadlines.

The country’s energy crisis will get worse, he believes, highlighting the need to remain focused and try to work around the electricity supply shortage by staying one step ahead.

An exporter to India and Australia, Kanna has also had to deal with shipping delays, owing to State-owned rail and port company Transnet’s employees going on strike in October last year, impacting on the Port of Cape Town. The cost of transport has also doubled over the past two years.

The Western Cape’s agricultural sector is highly export driven, with the province exporting 90% of its primary agricultural products by sea in 2021, explains a media statement issued by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

“Uncertain times make forecasting challenging, but in 2023 we hope to do more exporting of our machines and already have a good reputation locally, so we will work hard on our sales,” concludes Nolte.

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