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Capital Equipment News Dec Cover 2017From the editor:

As 2017 comes to an end, in this issue of Capital Equipment News, we ask the pertinent question: Is Africa still rising? On the back of a ferociously volatile global economy, the ‘Africa rising’ story has been under severe pressure for the past two years. As the growth outlook in developed markets remains pedestrian, the majority of emerging markets are also experiencing the full brunt of the slowdown.


Africa’s growth momentum has slackened, and according to Deloitte’s Construction Trends Report, growth in sub-Saharan Africa fell to 3,5% in 2015, before going down to 1,4% in a difficult 2016, the first time the region’s growth has been lower than the global average since 2000, and significantly far off the 5-7% average experienced by the region over the past decade.

The Deloitte report further notes that, of sub-Saharan Africa’s major four economies – South Africa, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya – one is rapidly contracting (Nigeria) while two are static (Angola and South Africa). It is only Kenya which is somehow bucking the downward trend and growing at a decent emerging market rate of close to 6%.

It is, however, worrying to note that many of these powerhouse economies in Africa are at a tipping point in which politics have begun to firmly trump economics, especially in South Africa, the biggest economy in Africa, as well as Kenya, regarded as the shining armour of East Africa. For example, some political decisions in South Africa in 2017 overshadowed the big recent price gains in bulk commodities such as iron ore, metallurgical coal, manganese and chrome ore. Kenya’s election debacle is still threatening to reverse all the economic gains amassed in the previous few years.

Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see that the World Bank notes that growth in sub-Saharan Africa is recovering, supported by modestly rising commodity prices, strengthening external demand and ending drought conditions in a number of countries. Growth in the region is forecast to pick up to 2,6% in 2017 and to 3,2% in 2018, centred on moderately rising commodity prices and reforms to tackle macroeconomic imbalances in some countries.

Growth in non-resource intensive countries is predicted to remain solid, buttressed by infrastructure investment, resilient services sectors and the recovery of agricultural production. For example, Ethiopia is forecast to expand by 8,3% in 2017, Tanzania by 7,2%, Ivory Coast by 6,8% and Senegal by 6,7%, all reinforced by public investment.

The supply chain is always a good measure of the health of the recipient sectors. Unlike in 2016, most equipment suppliers report improving business activity across Africa, despite the slow growth in a number of economies.

Recent investments in footprint expansion and capacity building projects by several international OEMs and their local dealers is also a key indicator of their confidence in the future of Africa, especially considering that the continent is still home to 30% of all global mining activities and a lot of infrastructure development still has to happen.

Hauling new payloads

Liebherr T236 Mining Truck 001Liebherr is entering the 100 t class size of the rigid dump truck market for the first time with its new T 236 mining truck with a diesel electric drive system, said to represent a new direction by being the first truck with such a configuration in this class size. Having successfully completed the product validation phase, it recently started its field operation trials at the Erzberg iron ore mine in Austria. Munesu Shoko recently visited the mine to witness the truck going through its paces.

Liebherr has demonstrated its continued innovation with the introduction of its T 236 mining truck. Capitalising on decades of proven prowess in off-highway truck technologies, the T 236 benefits from Liebherr’s electric drive system innovations, further demonstrated by the introduction of the vertically integrated Litronic Plus Generation 2 AC drive system.

The new rigid dump truck, with a diesel electric drive system, marks Liebherr’s entry into the 100 t class and is said to be the first of its nature in this class with a four-corner, oil immersed braking system. Initially unveiled last year at MineExpo, the T 236 is said to represent a new direction and increased expansion of Liebherr’s mining product range.

Dr. Burkhard Richthammer, MD of Design and Engineering at Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar SAS, notes that the new truck was developed closely with many of the OEM’s customers in order to meet market requirements that ultimately speak to maximum performance with the lowest possible operating costs.

As part of the T 236’s product development process, an intensive product validation phase was finalised this year. The tests were designed to evaluate the product using several different parameters, including specific function and performance tests for the systems and structural evaluations. Extreme driving manoeuvres were also used to evaluate operator safety, load stability and machine performance during trials.

“We can proudly share that the T 236 has successfully completed the testing phase and has recently started its field operation trials at the Erzberg iron ore mine in Austria,” says Dr. Richthammer. Capital Equipment News was part of a sizeable group of about 40 journalists who recently witnessed the T 236 being put through its paces at the Erzberg mine.

Expanding the commuter bus family

Mercedes Benz OF 1723 Bus Chassis 12 2017 001Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach Southern Africa has introduced its new OF-1723 bus chassis, an entry-level offering that not only expands the OEM’s commuter bus line, but more importantly is developed with lower cost of ownership in mind to help bus operators navigate the current tough economic times.

As part of the broader plan to gun for a sizeable share of the local bus market, Jasper Hafkamp, Executive Director at Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa, says the company has undertaken to introduce right products for the different bus segments that speak directly to customers’ needs.

The plan has been put in motion with the recent launch of the OF-1723 bus chassis, which Shane Henry, Brand Manager for Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach Southern Africa, says is a result of direct feedback from local bus operators. The new bus chassis is said to be specifically designed to help customers get the better of tough business conditions.

“As Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach, we listened to our customers who highlighted the tough economic conditions they are operating in, as well as the limited financial resources they have to put up with. We then developed and are now introducing an entry-level bus chassis that will address the array of challenges our customers face,” says Henry.

Henry believes this is the perfect time to launch the product. “When times are this tough, new products should focus on things that count – in this instance, the OF-1723’s value offering is its significant cost of ownership improvements,” says Henry.

“From the RS4 rear axles that aid highway driving and improve fuel efficiency, to the wider brakes and larger brake chambers, which mean a longer life for brake liners, we really have ensured that this product makes a tangible effect in our customers’ businesses. We see ourselves as more than just manufacturers but rather as partners and mobility solutions providers,” adds Henry.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Email: capnews@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Email: elmaries@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

 
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