Despite the challenges experienced in the South African fluid power valves market, international motion and control technologies manufacturer Parker Hannifin believes that there is opportunity for further modernisation and development of fluid power valves.
“The local fluid power valves industry is fiercely competitive and leading global brands, as well as many generic or copy valves, are represented in the market,” says Parker Hannifin Sales Company South Africa motion systems group sales leader Keith Mullen.
He adds that the ease with which resellers and end-users can source less expensive products worldwide, without having to set up local infrastructure – which would assist in creating employment opportunities – is a major challenge that established companies operating in the local industry face.
Moreover, he tells Engineering News that the demand for skilled personnel who are qualified to operate in the fluid power industry is at an “all-time high”, while the current availability of such skills neither matches nor keeps up with demand. Further, opportunities for modernisation have resulted in mechatronics graduates being in high demand, with Mullen noting that the number of such graduates entering the industry is too low.
“Many local companies and the South African Fluid Power Association are assisting with the training and accreditation of artisans and technicians which is providing some relief, but this is a long-term project for the industry.”
Meanwhile, Mullen mentions that Parker Hannifin Sales Company South Africa has identified the integration of electronics into its range of hydraulic and pneumatic valve products as a significant opportunity for growth.
Owing to this, Parker Hannifin Sales Company South Africa’s nationwide distribution network provides customers with local sources of hydraulic and pneumatic products and offers them the support they need to keep their businesses productive.
Further, the Parker Hannifin Sales Company South Africa product development teams are continually seeking opportunities with original-equipment manufacturers to develop new valve variants designed to improve performance and efficiency, as well as opportunities to expand its distribution network into new markets and locations, says Mullen.
“The distribution network of Parker Hannifin Sales Company South Africa has undergone rationalisation so that the company now has technically sound stocking distributors that can directly meet most of the needs of the South African market,” he highlights.
Parker Hannifin Sales Company South Africa will continue to consider opportunities in terms of its distribution network from an untapped market growth point of view, Mullen concludes.