Manufacturing for Africa
It is over a year now since Bluhm Burton Engineering unveiled its proudly South African Fresnel CSP module. Since then, IRP 2010 has been published and digested, and Nersa's renewable energy programme has been launched, with preferred bidders selected for the first round of IPP projects. Independent of support from these electricity generation initiatives, BBEnergy has identified process-steam applications for its CSP technology and is attracting interest and orders. Designed for local manufacture and for use in local conditions, local processing plants are its target users (see article in this issue).
African potential is mostly linked to resources, and overseas investment both from the West and East has been, and continues to be, about securing access to these resources. Accessing resources does add jobs and infrastructure, providing many base-order project opportunities for the likes of ABB, for example, which is undoubtedly a good thing. But we need to ensure that we don't end up exporting all our resources to manufacturers in China, Japan, USA or Europe.
Let's strive for an economy that goes beyond servicing mines, oil and gas and petrochemical industries, and even beyond exporting beneficiated minerals. Let's adopt and support the BBEnergy approach - to invest, develop, support and improve local engineering and manufacturing - with South Africa emerging as the preferred manufacturing hub for Africa.
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This magazine's features:
• Pump systems, pipes, valves and seals
• Robotics, mechatronics and automation
• Power, energy and energy management
• Modern transport and vehicle solutions
• Innovative engineering
In this issue
MechTech's Special report looks at ABB South Africa's favourable year-end revenues, which are up 21% to R3,4-billion, with cross-border revenues breaching 20% for the first time in history.
For Power, energy and energy management, we lead with a visit to mining and industrial energy optimisation specialist BBEnergy, which sprouted from the Bluhm Burton Engineering stable. In this article, we look at the accelerating pace of energy-efficiency initiatives in the mining sector.
The magazine's lead article in the Pump systems, pipes and valves feature is on green buildings, and efficient pumping and solar solutions. We chat to Les Ingle, Grundfos' technical director, on the company's new range of solar pumping solutions, and its future move into a purpose-built, four-star green building.
For Robotics, mechatronics and automation, we lead with Invensys Wonderware's growing role of operations management software solutions, designed to sustain the competitiveness of local mining and processing industries.
In Modern transport and vehicle solutions, we look at Volvo's I-Shift system, which is almost a standard feature on its FH-trucks. This transmission system designed exclusively for automatic gear-changing has developed in leaps and bounds.
For our Innovative engineering spot, we report back on the innovative Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau fixed-link project, which includes an immersed tunnel of a record-breaking length of 7,0 km.
Please note that in April, we'll be covering:
• Power transmissions, bearings and bushes
• Computer-aided engineering
• Modern engineering materials and processing
• Hydraulic and pneumatic systems
• Innovative engineering