The South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) hosted a cluster information session for the proposed Bag Filter Manufacturers Cluster in October, which will be an initiative of industry managed under the auspices of the SACEEC.
In 2013, State-owned utility Eskom developed a bag filter manufacturing strategy as part of their supplier development and localisation drive. Eskom plans to embark on a drive to lower the current particulate emissions from some of its power stations by retrofitting the existing electrostatic precipitators with fabric filter plants.
A key requirement of the planned retrofit and subsequent maintenance programme is the localisation of some of the components.
In an article published by Engineering News in September, the Department of Public Enterprises stated that it had singled out the power utility's need for fabric filters to eliminate toxic gas produced by coal-fired plants as “creating a strong case for a localisation strategy”.
Eskom currently uses seven fibre suppliers, of which only one is South African. Four local companies were involved in stitching the bags, which accounted for only 14% of the final cost of the product. Producing and needling the fibre used to make the bags accounted for the remaining 86% of the production cost.
“Bag filters were the first prod-ucts identified by the Treasury as being strategic in State-owned enterprise projects and work has already started on surveying the industry; however, it is only the industry itself that can give a clear and accurate indication of capacity and capability, from the individual components through to the entire bag filter system. Through active collaboration, the real work of populating the designation application for submission to the Department of Trade and Industry can start,” says SACEEC MD Sybil Rhomberg.
The clustering process will assist companies in engaging with Eskom and government at a practical level to address issues such as the development of the industry, capacity, availability and constraints as well as capability through gap analysis.
As a cluster, members are enabled to collectively identify other potential buyers in South Africa, such as Sasol, and develop export opportunities for either the end-product as a whole or a componentry portion, thereby creating stability within the value chain.
“Currently, there is no economy of scale to develop the fibre manufacturing industry in South Africa; however, if you look at the bag filter as a complete installed product, then a 70% local-content minimum threshold is achievable,” says Rhomberg.
The next step in the process for the Bag Filter Manufacturers Cluster is to define the product, system and battery limits for designation.
“This includes identifying two champions to drive the cluster, engaging with key stakeholders and coordinating the compilation of information required for the designation application,” he adds.The
SACEEC successfully facilitates the Valve and Actuator Manufacturers Cluster of South Africa, or Vamcosa, and the South African Mineral Processing Equipment Cluster, or Sampec, with more on the horizon.
About SACEEC The
SACEEC represents the capital equipment and project sector both for new projects and for the aftermarket. It is also the endorsed representative body for consulting engineers and their associated bodies, such as merchant bankers – in terms of the reference to their involvement in financing capital projects, capital equipment suppliers and suppliers of services to the capital project sector.
The SACEEC provides a facilitating role in assisting capital equipment sector companies to grow their business through exporting and is widely seen as an indispensable part of the globalisation of the South African industry.