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Drive maker eyes sawmills, sugar mills for KZN growth

Home Agriculture Forestry Drive maker eyes sawmills, sugar mills for KZN growth

AGEING sawmills and sugar mills in KwaZulu-Natal represent a significant growth opportunity for drive manufacturer SEW-Eurodrive to introduce its latest energy-efficient technology. This as both the pulp and paper and sugar industries strive to cut costs and boost productivity.

That’s according to Clive O’Reilly, Branch Manager for KwaZulu-Natal, who is based in Prospecton, Durban. The Durban branch is one of the key strategic locations for SEW-Eurodrive. Apart from its significant stockholding, the Durban branch also has a repair and service capability, an assembly line for new drive units, and even an in-house spray-painting facility.

O’Reilly said that while pulp and paper and sugar are highly specialised industries with specific requirements, SEW-Eurodrive is able to meet most of these needs with its standard geared units and industrial gearboxes, which are assembled locally.

“These are energy-intensive industries, and therefore energy efficiency and optimisation are key. This is why when it comes to standard IEC motors our range plays such an important role here.

“The opportunity for growth in these sectors is substantial, especially as so many sawmills and sugar mills have old gearboxes long past their service life, some of which have been running 20 years and longer. Not only do these now need to be replaced, but the sector is looking to leapfrog to the latest technology at the same time,” he said.

While the older drive trains comprise traditional components such as sprockets and chains, the latest trend is for direct drives onto the application itself. This, said O’Reilly, reduces maintenance for end users, as it means less stockholding of critical spares such as V belts, pulleys, sprockets and chains, and increased efficiency simply due to the fact that it is a direct drive as opposed to a traditional mechanical system.

The Durban branch also has a technical team that can attend to any issues on-site, such as emergency repairs or breakdowns. “Our fast turnaround time on both delivery and aftermarket service is a key differentiator for us,” O’Reilly said, adding that this is especially important in industries such as pulp and paper and sugar, where any downtime has a major impact on the bottom line.

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