Business

New smart electricity manufacturing plant launched in KZN

New smart electricity manufacturing plant launched in KZN
DURBAN - Durban-based electronics manufacturing company Conlog’s R110 million investment in a smart electricity meter manufacturing plant within the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone (DTP SEZ) is a boost to the KwaZulu- Natal  as the manufacturing sectors battles a tough economic slowdown.

Conlog held its DTP offices grand launch on Wednesday.

The 12 000 m2 development, located at the now fully-subscribed Dube TradeZone 1, is a major expansion of Conlog’s operation, which was previously located in Overport, Durban.

Conlog is a subsidiary of JSE-listed Consolidated Infrastructure Group. Conlog has a footprint spanning four continents and 20 countries.

Ambassador Sadick Jaffer, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) chief director for investment promotion, said Conlog’s feat showed that it was possible for South Africa to move along the digitisation scale.

Conlog also demonstrated that the challenges in the manufacturing sector could be overcome by being innovative, focused and working together to create an ecosystem and support, he said.  

He said that in the process the firm had increased their production threefold.

Jaffer said  70 percent of Conlog’s raw material was procured from local producers.

Conlog chief executive Logan Moodley said the investment set the business tone for their next chapter after 55 years of existence.

“We have enjoyed many transactions as a business but what we are witnessing today is a leap forward for the business in terms of its adoption of technology and latest innovative trends in so far as design and manufacturing of metering is concerned,” said Moodley.

He said this was a massive transition from their previous space and a culmination of almost three years of thinking on how they would create an environment for Conlog.
Moodley said  Conlog had tracked soundly in the last half  a decade as they benefited a from activities in South Africa, growing their market share to in excess of 40 percent.

He said the firm also enjoyed exposure to utility businesses outside of South Africa.
Conlog said it was a proudly African business with more than 95 percent of its business on the continent and with  65 percent of its business outside South African borders.

“We get to play out markets in terms of market cycles as every utility business has its project needs around energy distribution and metering changing on a monthly basis.”
Going forward, he said Conlog had to re spond to the true nature of innovation, by trying to innovate, design and build new products within every 12 months cycle.

Bringing in something new in the market and leading in innovation was vitally important to them, he said.

“What we have to recognise today is that the movement of finished goods from South Africa to other utilities in the continent may become a thing of the past.

"Business such as ours have to consider how we localise efforts by supporting localised activity for manufacturing and creating local economic value in at least two or three countries in the continent in the medium term,” said  Moodley.
More than 70 utilities are said to be using Conlog’s metering solutions, while thousands of Conlog vending units have been installed around the world, reaching millions of users who access the prepaid systems in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese. More than 400 Conlog revenue management systems are said to be in operation both locally and internationally.

KZN acting premier and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said that notwithstanding the challenges in manufacturing , the government believed that there was a strong potential for the growth of this sector.

“We wish to point out that this plant will become an integral part of our provincial industrial strategy, which enjoins us to stimulate the manufacturing industry in order to increase employment,” said Dube-Ncube.

BUSINESS REPORT