Having received its manufacturing technology EN13261 certification in July, Germiston-based railway axle manufacturer Swasap is now able to supply to any European railway operator, and has since secured a significant order from French train company Bombardier, one of the largest rolling-stock manufacturers in the world.
The certification was enabled by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through its Firm Technology Assistance Package (FTAP).
Swasap supplies State-owned logistics company Transnet with most of its axles and, as a Transnet supplier, Swasap was selected to take part in government’s drive to improve the competitiveness of local original-equipment manufacturers. The manufacturer could also benefit from the mechanism established for this purpose, the Technology Localisation Plan, of which the FTAP is one solution.
“Since the company received the EN13261 certification, it has secured orders from top overseas rolling stock manufacturers for new passenger rail vehicles to operate in Australia, the US, Sweden, the UK and Saudi Arabia. These [total] close to 100 jobs[and are worth] several million dollars in valuable foreign exchange for South Africa,” says Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU) project manager Lorraine Shikwane.
The TLIU is an initiative of the DST, which is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The certification is part of European standards, otherwise known as ‘Euro Norms’, governing the design of railway axles and wheel sets.
In addition to its work with Transnet, Swasap is also negotiating new contracts with international customers and is supplying axles for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s new rolling stock programme.
Meanwhile, the employees and plant resources available to Swasap have enabled the company to become a competitive, renowned producer of axles and flexible in its operations.
Swasap is able to provide immediate technical service support, competitive prices, competitive delivery lead times, guaranteed quality levels and complex axle designs. It is also able to undertake low-volume orders.
Further, the company uses computer-aided design and manufacturing to facilitate its axle and wheel projects, where it uses gauges and computer numerically controlled machines and measuring equipment.
Meanwhile, to ensure quality control, Swasap employs quality management systems, which ensure that clients adhere to quality control during every recognised major international quality standard. Swasap axles are monitored at every stage of manufacture, with inspection procedures carried out at every key stage of operation.
Manufacturing procedures undertaken by Swasap are certified according to standards set by the South African Bureau of Standards, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, the American Association of Railways, and the Railway Industry Supplier Approval Scheme.