Germans invest in boiler-making

7 June 2007

German-based civil construction and industrial services group Bilfinger Berger has approved a R100-million investment to construct a pressure part manufacturing facility near Pretoria.

Engineering News reported last month that the plant would be equipped with the latest technologies and be operational by the first quarter of 2008, with the capacity to produce three giant boilers a year.

The investment will be undertaken by Bilfinger Berger’s South African operation, Steinmuller Africa.

According to Steinmuller Africa’s chief executive Hermann Brummer, the investment ensures that engineering skills are retained and improved, ensuring local manufacturing capability for steam-generating equipment in the region.

“We are very pleased that the Bilfinger Berger board agreed to our vision that South Africa can again become the hub for the engineering and fabrication of steam-generating plant,” he said.

“This will open up new opportunities to train and attract highly specialised engineering and artisan skills and will put South Africa firmly back on to the map as a substantial player in this industry.”

Engineering News reports that the company is part of a consortium with Alstom that was bidding for major contracts related to the R66-billion Medupi coal-fired base load power station being built outside Lephalale in the Limpopo province.

According to the paper, Steinmuller Africa has been an original equipment manufacturer supplier to Eskom, supplying boilers to six coal-fired power stations.

Brummer also told Engineering News that the decision to invest in manufacturing capacity had been made independently of the Medupi contract, and that the company foresees significant demand for its products both locally and regionally.

Source: Engineering News