Cramped Zest

Cramped space as Zest struggles
to meet increased demand

International demand for electrical machinery and equipment is outstripping supply and resulting in longer lead-times, which is proving economically and operationally detrimental to the mining industry. In order to alleviate the situation and meet burgeoning demands, leading Brazilian manufacturer WEG is increasing its global exports and boosting its capacity by building new production lines and factories.

This will allow Zest Electric Motors & Drives – the southern African distributor of WEG products – to cater for increased demand generated by the mining boom in South Africa and the rest of the region,” says company marketing and logistics manager Chris Chryssoulis. “The substantial and ongoing capital expenditure by WEG – amounting to R900 million in 2007 — means that South African customers will continue to have ready access to these premium products.”

Zest is the leading distributor and marketer of a wide range of low-voltage, high-voltage, direct current and special electric motors, variable speed drives, soft starters, switchgear and transformers in sub-Saharan Africa.

As a result of WEG’s latest expenditure, low-voltage motor production capacity will be boosted by 8% during the second semester of 2007, and by 12% during the first semester of 2008. This will bring the total increase in production over an 18-month period to more than 50%.

New WEG facilities on the cards include a 15 000 m2 factory in June 2007, for the production of LV motors from IEC 355 to 400 frame sizes. Another 10 000 m2 due to become operational in July will produce LV motors from IEC 160 to 200 frame sizes.

Also in July, a new assembly line will produce motors from 225 to 315 frame sizes. A dedicated 9 000 m2 machining centre will produce components for the new factories from September 2007, and a new 16 000 m2 foundry will produce frames and other cast iron parts as from December 2008.

In addition to investing strongly in its existing plants worldwide, WEG is planning investment in various other new facilities as well.