“The South African distribution centre will become the first operation within the Bonfiglioli group to assemble large power transmission equipment, and will service the sub-Saharan African market, “ Bonfiglioli MD Robert Rohman tells Mining Weekly.
Two gearbox assembly machines have been installed in the 2 000-m2 factory, while the overhead cranes will be delivered in the next two months. Some R10-million worth of stock is currently in transit, for delivery within the next six weeks.
“This investment is worth a significant R20-million, and will enable Bonfiglioli South Africa to offer a complete package of power transmission products to large users in this industry,” says Rohman.
Before this offering, Bonfiglioli offered planetary reducers for application-specific purposes, such as apron feeder conveyors and dewatering equipment. However, with the products being manufactured from the new facility, the company will be able to offer products for the entire process, such as high-speed conveyors, stacker reclaimers, and bucket wheel drives, in addition to opening avenues into other industries, such as sugar processing, mineral processing and water treatment plants.
“Bonfiglioli initially began as a niche player in the front and back ends of the mining process. Now, we aim to become a main player and offer Bonfiglioli gearboxes throughout the process,” Rohman notes.
“There is a huge demand for the product, and, owing to the requirements for resources, there is a general shortage of heavy industrial gearboxes,” he says.
Bonfiglioli is supplying the full range of its products, including planetary gearboxes, helical gearboxes, and the HDO range of gearboxes, to the Illovo Sugar Nakambala upgrade, in Zambia. This project is worth an estimated R4-million.
The company also completed a contract for the supply of drives to the PPRust project upgrade. The project was valued at about R10-mil- lion.
Rohman says he believes Bonfiglioli South Africa has been successful in becoming the first within the group to assemble heavy-duty industrial gearboxes owing to the nature of the market in this country.
The South African distributor will become the learning curve for parallel markets in Australia, and then into the US.
Meanwhile, the project is not without its challenges. Rohman says the technical resources had to be improved because the new offer- ing will handle products with much higher specifications and informatics. “The whole operation will become more sophisticated,” he says.
However, the company will offer extensive training in this regard. “Training delegations will be flown in from Italy to ensure that our personnel are fully conversant with the product and its assembly, to ensure that the high-quality Euro-pean standards are met. “In addition, the Italian technical task team will set up the necessary infrastructure for the procurement and assembly of the drive systems, which includes base plates, the mounting of electric motors, and alignment of high- and low-speed couplings,” Rohman states.
The company will draw skills from the resource base of the international company, which will offer the distributor a competitive advantage in the market.