ABB inaugurated a new traction transformer production facility adjacent to its South African headquarters in Longmeadow, Johannesburg. ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer inaugurated the new factory with The Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry, Lionel October.
“ABB is proud of this new traction transformer facility in South Africa, reiterating our philosophy of locating manufacturing units close to our customers,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB, speaking at the inauguration event. ”It reinforces our Next Level strategy focus on strengthening our presence in Africa and supports our ongoing commitment to sustainable mobility.”
This unit will produce traction transformers to help power trains and support South Africa’s growing railway network. Traction transformers feed power at safe voltages to essential train functions like traction, brakes, lighting, heating and ventilation, as well as passenger information, signaling and communication.
The 2,450 square meter facility is expected to employ 60 people by the end of 2017 and the first major order to be executed at the new facility will be the supply of traction units for 240 Bombardier electric locomotives. The local manufacturing of these traction units supports the South African government’s local procurement and employment requirements.
Since 2012, South Africa has invested in the development of its rail network as an opportunity to rejuvenate the economy, create jobs and support a major shift from road to rail transport for both passenger and freight travel. The expansion of the country’s rail network is also expected to contribute to its vision of becoming a key logistics center in sub-Saharan Africa.
ABB has more than 130 years of experience in producing traction transformers that are powering more than half the world’s electric locomotives and train sets. As part of its ongoing commitment to innovation ABB recently launched Effilight®, its next-generation traction transformer which uses a patented high-technology cell design that can reduce the amount of oil required by up to 70 percent, without compromising functionality. To meet higher energy efficiency needs, ABB has optimized the design for a load loss reduction of 25 percent, compared with a classic transformer of the same weight.
ABB has operations in 23 African countries and employs about 5,000 people across the continent. As a pioneering technology leader serving utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure customers globally, ABB supports Africa’s growth with innovative solutions designed to address local challenges, from access to electricity, to industrial development, to sustainable transport. As part of its commitment to Africa, ABB provides scholarships and internships for talented engineers who need financial support to complete their studies. ABB has annual sales in Africa of around $1.5 billion and manufacturing operations in Egypt and South Africa.