As part of ABB’s strategic plans to strengthen local manufacturing, the company has invested over R10 million to complete the technology transfer that brings the manufacture of UniGear ZS1 medium voltage switchgear to South Africa.
Previously, the product was fully imported from the Czech Republic, or other countries when needed. Now, 60% to 70% of the technology will be locally manufactured and assembled. As a result, the company’s customers will benefit from a higher design flexibility, faster accessibility, and decreased costs due to reduced import costs and delivery time.
The increasing number of investments in sustainable power generation, coupled with the growing population, is expected to drive the growth of the local switchgear market. To support this growth, the company plans to employ more permanent engineers, contractors, and graduates, some of whom may come from its graduate programme, in which over 70 graduates are currently participating. In this way, the firm is helping to create jobs in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
In addition to the transfer of UniGear ZS1 production, the company has started the process of increasing the localisation of its compact secondary substations (CSS), due to be completed in October 2023.
Egon Worthmann, the company’s MV primary AIS switchgear manager says, “Utilities are increasingly looking to implement smart solutions to solve complex energy challenges. ABB is well placed to continue to deliver world-class solutions to customers now through local manufacturing right here in South Africa. The creation of job opportunities for local engineers and contractors demonstrates our commitment to the long-term development of the country.”
The company’s investment signifies that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination across all sectors, including the advanced manufacturing sector.