The expansion of Zest WEG’s Middelburg branch in Mpumalanga province is another sign of the company’s growth in the region, according to branch manager Fritz Hoogenboezem. The enlarged, modernised facility – which includes an accredited training centre – will further improve service to customers and pave the way for a busy and exciting future.
“This expansion is allowing us to keep up with market growth and ensure on-time delivery to our growing customer base,” says Hoogenboezem. “An exciting addition for customers will be our fit-for-purpose training centre, where we can conduct accredited training on various lines of our equipment.”
The branch serves a large geographical area from Ogies in the south to Musina in the north, and from Emalahleni in the west to Komatiepoort in the east. The expansion has seen the building of a new block with more space for product inventory, administration and technical support. A dedicated work area was upgraded for testing and repairing variable speed drives, soft starters and controls.
Hoogenboezem notes that the branch is servicing a range of sectors that continues to widen. Its mining industry customers include mines in the platinum group metals, chrome, coal, gold, magnetite, phosphate and copper segments.
“We are also kept busy in the paper industry and sugar milling, while steadily doing more work in agriculture and with timber mills,” he says. This business growth has been sustained despite the poor performance of the economy, he points out, showing that the company is making a real difference to customers.
“An important aspect of our work has been to highlight the importance of energy efficiency in the context of rising energy costs,” he explains. “This is becoming as relevant to agriculture as it has always been to energy-intensive industries like mining. The branch has the largest stock of IE3 and IE4 WEG Super Premium Efficiency motors to service the Mpumalanga and Limpopo region.”
While in certain industries it is still common to base purchasing decisions mainly on upfront capital costs, he says that customers are becoming more aware of their total cost of ownership of electrical equipment. He points out that an electric motor, for instance, can consume the value of its purchase price in electricity in just five weeks – when running 24/7.
“There is growing recognition of the potential savings possible from buying the best, most efficient motor – and paying less for electricity for the lifetime of the motor,” he says. With most agricultural enterprises paying the ever-increasing Eskom rates for their electricity, there is now more interest than ever before in cutting energy costs than ever before.
He says the branch expansion aligns with WEG continually investing in resources – including research and development, human resources, training, production facilities, new products and equipment.
“As a sales branch, it is our purpose to bring these state-of-the-art resources to the doorstep of customers including end-users, consultants and other original equipment manufacturers,” he says. “The improvements and expansion of our Middelburg facilities is a major step forward in ensuring that we achieve this goal.”