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Africa|Automation|Compressors|Conveyors|drives|Engineering|engineering news|Export|Installation|Lifting|Mining|Pumps|Service|Steel|Training|Equipment|Maintenance|Products

Centre to enhance Optidrive knowledge

OPTIDRIVE FAMILY iTek Drives offers Optidrive products at prices up to 25% lower than competitors

TEKCENTRE Invertek’s Optidrive Eco range of variable frequency drives

2nd June 2023

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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Germiston-based variable frequency drives (VFD) distributor iTek Drives last month inaugurated a training centre aimed at transferring and enhancing knowledge related to Optidrive product installation, programming and repair.

The centre has started introductory product knowledge training, but the company intends to elevate these courses to encompass service and repair training, enabling participants to acquire skills in drive maintenance and troubleshooting.

To achieve this, iTek Drives is working towards obtaining accreditation from UK manufacturer of the Optidrive products, Invertek Drives.

The company’s staff will receive training at Invertek Drives’ dedicated global training centre, in the UK, in October, to acquire the necessary accreditation. Once accredited, iTek Drives will be equipped to diagnose and repair drives locally.

“Optidrive VFDs are reliable drives that rarely need repair. But when they do, accreditation will mean that products will no longer have to be sent to the UK. Currently, when a drive requires attention, we send it to the UK, and this takes time. When we receive accreditation, that time will be reduced because we will be diagnosing the problem and repairing the drive at our service and repair centre in South Africa,” sales director Ryan Bisnath explains.

VFDs, also known as inverters, are electronic controllers that change electric motor speeds by adjusting the frequencies and voltages of current supplied.

They are mostly fitted to motion-controlled devices such as conveyors, fans, pumps and compressors, but are also used in lifting equipment and other applications, where fully adjustable speeds during start, stop and machine acceleration are advantageous.

Further, iTek Drives has strategically positioned itself in the market by not only supporting the Optidrive brand’s reputation for quality but also providing competitive pricing.

Compared with competitors in South Africa, iTek Drives says it offers Optidrive products at prices up to 25% lower, granting customers the opportunity to choose from similar products at significantly different price points.

This pricing advantage has translated into a considerable competitive edge for the company.

“A lower price provides the customer with the option of buying two similar products with vastly different prices. With our product priced up to 25% lower, we gain considerable competitive advantage when customers make their buying decision,” Bisnath tells Engineering News.

Additionally, iTek’s training centre plays a vital role in its expansion plans, as it caters to the growing geographic footprint of the company. The company secured an export order for 20 drives – to be used in mining machinery – from Zimbabwe.

It aims to become a distribution hub for the Optidrive range throughout sub-Saharan Africa by partnering with established agents in various countries. Negotiations are already under way with potential agencies in Zambia and Namibia, indicating the company’s commitment to expanding its network beyond the ten existing agencies in South Africa.

“We have partners in South Africa, with established agents in different countries. We are expanding by reaching agreements with those agents to distribute the Invertek range of VFDs,” Bisnath adds, noting that the company will focus on the service centre as a secondary objective after its expanded training programmes are operational.

Meanwhile, there have been significant orders within South Africa’s borders: 20 drives for lifting equipment and 17 VFDs for a local steel mill, as well as eight large units of 55 kW, 75 kW and 90 kW.

Bisnath notes that iTek Drives has noted a significant increase in enquiries from potential customers that are not on the company’s books yet.

“We continue to build our stock levels as and when possible. However, supply shortages are a challenge that all VFD companies are facing.

“We did suffer from the impact of global supply shortages, but these difficulties are behind us now. We are looking forward to becoming Central and Southern Africa’s one-stop automation solution company,” he concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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