Major OEM commissions new low-voltage motor assembly line in Gauteng

14th October 2022 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Major OEM commissions new  low-voltage motor assembly line in Gauteng

LOW-VOLTAGE EFFICIENCY The new Zest WEG low-voltage motor assembly line can produce high-efficiency IE3 and IE4 electric motors, in various sizes

Brazilian motor and controls manufacturer WEG’s South African subsidiary Zest WEG has commissioned a new assembly line for low-voltage WEG W22 IE3 and IE4 motors at the company’s corporate premises at Longlake, in Johannesburg.

Speaking on the sidelines of Electra Mining Africa 2022, Zest WEG CEO Eduardo Werninghaus tells Mining Weekly that the new line enhances operational flexibility for the company’s electric motor supply chain and reduces lead times.

The assembly line is producing the motors in various sizes and has the production capability to produce high efficiency IE3 and IE4 electric motors.

Using high-efficiency motors such as these could reduce losses from the grid caused by inefficient motors of up to 474 GWh/y. This energy could be used to power up to 43-million new family homes.

Werninghaus says Zest WEG is committed to the promotion and improvement of local manufacturing, adding that the new assembly line has created various jobs.

Zest WEG staff received extensive technical and process training that is relevant to the new line to ensure that the company maintains its high standards during the assembly process.

Moreover, among the components Zest WEG procures for assembly are rotors, stators, and bearings, which are predominately produced at parent company WEG’s extensive manufacturing facilities in Brazil.

However, the company sources smaller components from local suppliers wherever possible, in line with Zest WEG’s supply chain development policy.

The company’s extensive manufacturing base in South Africa enables it to achieve almost 90% local-content capability for its transformers and about 70% local-content capability for other products such as e-houses and panels. These products form part of the company’s range of solutions such as energy generation, electrical infrastructure, automation and generator sets.

Meanwhile, Zest WEG operations executive Sindi Mbhalati notes the new assembly line required considerable investment in equipment, including jib cranes for easier materials handling, an air reticulation system and a test panel.

The test panel is synchronised with the WEG manufacturing facilities in Brazil, for accurate and complete recordkeeping and evaluation, he explains.

Every motor supplied by Zest WEG undergoes routine winding and insulation-resistance testing, as well as accessories and no-load testing, which is done using the test panel.

Zest WEG’s quality-control personnel assess motors during the build process and at final inspection to ensure that WEG’s world-class standards are maintained across all operating parameters.

To further enhance the Zest WEG facility’s operational efficiency, the low-voltage motors assembly line is fitted with a bearing heating and greasing facility, and rotor assembly C-hooks.

Mbhalati says the assembly line has been engineered to allow for multiple shifts, should it become necessary to increase output.

Werninghaus concludes that the company remains focused on driving energy efficiency through its IE3 motors, which is a key sustainability goal for mining and other industries for the foreseeable future.