Longmeadow campus in Modderfontein, Johannesburg, has invested just over R10 million to complete its additional technology transfer and strengthen the local manufacturing of its UniGear ZS1 medium voltage switchgear facility.
ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.
The product was previously fully imported from the Czech Republic, or other countries when needed. This investment will now mean that 60-70% of the technology will now be manufactured locally.
“South Africa Switchgear Market size is projected to register growth. The increasing number of investments for sustainable power generation coupled with growing population is expected to drive the growth of the market,” said Yunus Hoosen, Head Invest SA of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.
“This illustrates both the importance of the domestic sector to multinationals and the strategic location of South Africa to a rapidly growing African consumer market,” he said.
The Distribution Solutions factory now employs around 120 people, ten of whom employed due to this investment.
There is also a plan to increase these numbers by employing additional permanent engineers, contractors, and graduates through its graduate programme in which over 70 graduates currently participate.
ABB has further started the process of increasing the localization of its Compact Secondary Substations (CSS), which is due for completion by October 2023.
“Utilities are increasingly looking to implement smart solutions to solve complex energy challenges. The creation of job opportunities for local engineers and contractors demonstrates our long term commitment as a partner of Government,” said Egon Worthmann, MV Primary AIS Switchgear Manager for ABB Electrification’s Distribution Solutions division.
Built in 2009, ABB South Africa headquarters demonstrates the company’s early adoption of more sustainable manufacturing approaches, with the site boasting a 760kWp array of rooftop solar panels, which generate enough solar energy to cover around 30% of the site’s annual energy consumption of 2400MwH.
The Distribution Solutions factory serves customers in South Africa and other sub-Saharan countries.
“The ABB investment further signifies that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination across all sectors including the Advanced Manufacturing sector,” Hoosen said.
“InvestSA remains ready and committed to assist foreign and domestic investors in realizing their investment in South Africa with localisation being a key component of economic reconstruction and recovery,” he said.