Zesty Growth Aspirations

Zest WEG Group is an acknowledged leader in the supply of electric motors, thanks to its ongoing product line enhancements, industry upliftment through training and acquisitive, and organic growth plans aimed at better servicing its clients writes Laura Cornish.

Parent company WEG Group’s ambition to quadruple its business by 2020 is no small feat, especially in the wake of a troubled economic climate. Nonetheless, the company is already proving its targets are well within reach, having achieved 19% growth in 2011 and in 2012.

Ultimately, its strategic 2020 plan aims to see it increase sales by at least 17% year on year for the next eight years, when it aims to arrive at a turnover of US$10 billion (about R98.73 billion).

Organic and acquisitive growth
The Southern Africa-focused subsidiary, Zest WEG Group, will contribute significantly to the 2020 plan. “We subscribe to it and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we deliver on our specific target growth initiatives,” says Gary Daines, Zest WEG Group’s sales and marketing director.

In line with this, the company has already occupied the facility adjacent to its warehouse and office premises in Linbro Park, which adds an additional 3 000 m² to its footprint. “Next to our people, our stock is our biggest asset, and we are not only expanding our holding capacity, but streamlining our processes as well. This includes the implementation of a new warehousing barcode system – also aimed at improving efficiency, stock management, and customer service while reducing human error risk.” Following an analysis process for fast and slow moving items, an automatic positioning system will also be established to ensure product flow through.

Zest WEG Group’s expansion also includes the acquisition of Hawker Siddeley Electric Africa’s transformer facility in Wadeville. “This will enable us to increase our local component manufacturing capabilities, which in this case, is transformers up to 10 MVA. The deal is currently awaiting approval from the Competition Commission, but we expect access to the facility (which remains operational) from September. “Our plan is to progressively introduce WEG technologies and methodologies to this new business arm in the nearby future.”

The acquisition is evidence of WEG Group’s recognition that as a successful global business, it needs a global manufacturing base, which in addition to South Africa, includes Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, China and the US.

Committed to clean energy production
Zest Energy, part of the Zest WEG Group, will soon celebrate the successful installation and operation of a 48 MW multi-extraction condensing steam turbine whose purpose is to generate energy from additional high pressure steam at Mondi’s Richards Bay mill.

Mondi has an independent power purchase agreement with Eskom and will sell the power into the national grid. The full project scope includes the design, manufacture, delivery, installation and commissioning of the turbine and associated equipment, including a 57 MVA alternator.
The turbine is being manufactured by TGM Turbinas – Brazil’s number one manufacturer of steam turbines. WEG’s relationship with the company is a long-standing one. It is the largest turbine the company has ever manufactured and represents a major milestone in the alternate energy sector for Mondi, Zest WEG Group, the industrial sector, and South Africa.

A contract accolade
In March this year, Zest WEG Group renewed its low voltage motors supply contract with Sasol (South Africa). “We were first awarded this contract in 1997, making Sasol our longest standing customer, which has also standardised on our IE3 motors – the highest efficiency motor commercially available in South Africa. The contract has been renewed for another five years and is a real company accolade.”

Training the industry, and its employees
Zest WEG Group recently held a medium voltage (MV) seminar – aimed at educating engineers and customers on the latest developments and technologies in the product range and earned each delegate a CBD point. “The fact is we are still learning about electric motors every day, even though their origination is 100 years old.” The seminar was attended by Carlos Grillo, WEG R&D engineering manager who delivered a presentation, as well as Glauco Cisz, WEG service manager from Brazil who also presented.

“When it comes to medium voltage motors, it is essential that the application is understood in its entirety. Only then can we specify the best motor for the application, which in turn ensures our motor performs to the highest standard. Ultimately, this leads to improved total cost of ownership and the longest lifespan achievable,” Daines outlines.

Every aspect of the motor range was examined during the seminar, including noise, thermal aspects, mechanical design, vibration and magnetic circuit design, all of which culminate in ensuring we offer the best efficiencies. Daines says the seminar was well received and saw a total of 170 delegates present across the three days it ran for, in addition to 55 Zest WEG Group employees.

“We are a training-centric company offering training on variable speed drives, motors and transformers at our dedicated training facilities around the country. Additionally we present focused seminars with the aim of upskilling the industry and provide value-add, driven through education and product awareness.”

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