Rolls-Royce has officially opened and unveiled MTU South Africa’s redesigned and upgraded facility with an official ceremony in Cape Town on 27 October 2016, where MTU employees will assemble, test, paint and commission around 200 MTU engines. The 20V Series 4000 R63L engines are to be installed in freight locomotives operated by the South African rail freight company Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). Rolls-Royce has invested around 50 million South African Rand (equivalent to 3 million Euros) in upgrading and revamping the facility to be able to localise the manufacturing of the engines. The MTU brand is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.
Bernd Krüper, Vice President Industrial Business at MTU, said: “Africa is an extremely interesting market for us and one in which we see enormous growth potential. We regard the upgrading of our facility in Cape Town as an important strategic step towards deepening our partnership with customers in Africa.”
Andrea Nono, CEO of MTU South Africa, added: “Our aim is to supply our African customers and partners with world-class products. The new facilities and our skilled staff will enable us to do this now with locally produced engines.”
The revamping and upgrading of the MTU facility includes the installation of a new, ultra-modern paint booth designed to use environmentally friendly paints, the upgrading of the test bench and the assembly and logistics areas as well as the acquisition of new overhead cranes. Supplier development was an important aspect in the purchase process of the equipment. A new training centre has also been set up. All the new facilities meet the high standards required by Rolls-Royce and MTU.
In the course of the last few months, staff at MTU South Africa has also received intensive training. Employees were sent to the MTU head office in Friedrichshafen, Germany for skills transfer training courses lasting up to two months to learn about and gain practical experience in the assembly, painting and testing of the engines.
The current efforts are related to one of the largest rail orders in MTU’s history: Rolls-Royce is to supply a total of 232 of its most powerful rail engine, the 20-cylinder Series 4000 R63L model, with a power output of 3,300 kW, to the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer. The Class 45 locomotives will then be delivered by CRRC to TFR. Most of the locomotives will be assembled in Durban in South Africa, where MTU South Africa is to deliver its engines for installation in the vehicles. More MTU projects to be carried out jointly with TFR are already being planned.
MTU South Africa is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Prior to the Transnet order, the company serviced customers primarily in the mining and marine sectors. With its new facilities, MTU has now created the prerequisite to extend and deepen these partnerships: “We see ourselves as a partner that is actively involved in the further development of South Africa’s manufacturing industry,” Andrea Nono stated.