VENTURES: Electrifying Growth for EDS
Recent Western Cape Business News
A little more than a decade ago EDS Switchboards was little known, if at all. Founded in 1997 by Capetonians Johan Human and Robbie Hol, the company is now one of the leading manufacturers, and installers, of electrical distribution boards in the Western Cape.
It also produces motor control centers, PLC panels and control panels.
At its 1 800 sq m premises in Paarden Eiland, employing some 80 people, EDS and its associate metal manufacturing company JJR Engineering now design and manufacture a full range of electrical panels for almost any application, including TTA (totally type tested assembly), PTTA (partially type tested assembly) and STA (specially tested assembly) products.
Major milestones this year include EDS being awarded the electrical switchboard and distribution contracts for the new 2010 soccer stadiums in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, with a total contract value estimated at close to R18 million, as well as the upgrade contract for Cape Town International Airport.
Human tells CBN the company is this year targeting a turnover of some R37 million – up from R12 million only five years ago. This growth is not only on the back of the growth in infrastructural spending generally, but some marketshare has also been gained from its competitors.
Quality service and keen pricing is key to EDS’ success, he says. All its products are tested with the South African Bureau of Standards and NETFA.
Its specially tested assemblies(STA) has been certified for 2 500 amp for up to 50 kA at 1 second. It also undertakes total tested assemblies (TTA) for up to 100 kA.
The company has during the past few years developed its own modular system and as its production facilities are no longer dependent on jobbing metal manufacturing processes, thanks to JJR’s contribution, delivery is much prompter.
The next challenge, according to Human, is modulising the electrical side of the product in order to speed up the turn-round time even further. “We are confident that this will soon be achieved”.
“The aim is to orientate production to be more assembly driven, rather than by skills”, he says.
The company’s project portfolio to date speaks volumes. Some of the bigger contracts include the Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) power stations at Mosselbay and Atlantis, work for De Beers Marine, Namakwa Sands, the Netcare Hospital in Blaauwberg, Milnerton, and the Athlone soccer stadium. Other recent projects include Old Mutual, Cape Town, head office, Sanlam head office as well as work on the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.
The company’s product catalogue includes main/sub distribution boards (up to 10kA and above), motor control centres, PLC panels and mimic boards and outdoor kiosks. Also, of course, there are the machined metal products by JJR Engineering.
Human expects continued good trading opportunities and points out that the electrical distribution infrastructure throughout South Africa has not been maintained as it should have. “Our business will expand as the electrical infrastructure efforts are expanded”.
Also, building activities in the industrial and commercial sectors are expected to continue to grow over the longer period and EDS will be more than ready to comply.
Already EDS products are found outside the Western Cape – even as far away as Zambia and Namibia.
Human says the next phase for the company is to open up branches in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape to better serve the growing demand.
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