Zest WEG poised for African growth

Generators at the Zest WEG manufacturing facility in Cape Town.

AFTER a decade-long expansion of its manufacturing capabilities in South Africa, Zest WEG, the South African subsidiary of Brazil’s WEG Group, is well placed to extend its already extensive footprint in the African market. 

“We now have six manufacturing facilities in Gauteng and Cape Town, producing a wide range of equipment including gensets, transformers, electrical panels, E-Houses, MCCs and mini sub-stations,” says Zest WEG’s outgoing CEO, Juliano Vargas. “This ability to manufacture locally gives us a huge advantage in the African market, as we can produce economically and deliver promptly to countries throughout the sub-Saharan region.”

“WEG now manufactures in 12 countries outside of Brazil with these facilities accounting for more than a third of the Group’s global production,” he says. He adds that Zest WEG is amongst the largest WEG operations outside of Brazil, including USA, Germany, and China.

Vargas’s successor as CEO of Zest WEG is Eduardo Werninghaus, who has been with WEG for more than 15 years and who comes to South Africa from WEG’s USA subsidiary. “I’ve been briefed to build on the very firm base created by Juliano and his predecessors,” he says. “WEG is not a company that is fixated on next quarter results only. It thinks and acts long term and considers Zest WEG as being crucial to its future, given Africa’s enormous growth prospects which include a need for massive investments in energy infrastructure.”

“Being local in Africa is a key part of our strategy,” says Werninghaus. “We need to be close to the countries and communities we serve.”

Most of Zest WEG’s product offering will be on display at the Electra Mining Africa 2022 exhibition. “Our theme, as always, will be how to change energy into solutions,” says Werninghaus. “There will, however, be a particular emphasis on efficiency and sustainability. One of the products that we’ll be highlighting is our range of WEG IE4-rated super-premium efficiency electric motors which were launched locally last year and which cost no more than their IE3 predecessors. These are the most energy efficient motors in the market and offer major operating cost advantages to users.”

Werninghaus says that the WEG IE4 motors have already received a warm reception from the mining industry, which is struggling with constantly rising electricity costs. “A medium-sized mine typically has between 2 000 and 3 000 electric motors on site – powering everything from fans and pumps to conveyor belts and screens – so the potential for very significant energy and cost savings is huge.” 

He points out that electric motors account for about 40 % of all industrial electricity consumption and that around two-thirds of these motors are on mines.

Many high-tech products and systems will be showcased at Electra Mining Africa 2022 including WEG Motor Scan, which allows the continuous monitoring of electric motors and other rotating machines; and Pump Genius, a software package that enables a standard VSD to be dedicated to specific pumping systems with various motor and pump combinations, thereby providing improved control and monitoring capability.

Also on show will be WEG’s new Motion Fleet Management system, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to diagnose and monitor  rotating equipment such as motors, VSDs, gearboxes and compressors. Based on cloud computing technology, the performance of assets can be monitored at any time from any part of the world. This approach reduces unplanned downtime and optimises repair actions.

For more information visit: www.zestweg.com

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