ENGINEERING: GRW Rolls On Rail
Recent Western Cape Business News
WORCESTER-based GRW Engineering, known best locally and overseas for quality custom-made tankers, has diversified into the market for rail tankers
A relationship was established with Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE) five years ago to investigate the feasibility of manufacturing rail tankers and wagons from alternative material. Development from the initial investigation is an aluminium fuel tanker. An in-house design, the fuel tanker, constructed to maximise payload, was three years in design and manufacturing. Initial testing during 2011 provided good results and the prototype is currently in in-service testing, according to Albert Liebenberg, GRW’s special products executive.
The success of the venture also resulted in an order from TRE in November 2010 for 50 anhydrous ammonia rail tanker cars (RTC’s).
In January last year, GRW started manufacturing in its dedicated manufacturing plant in Worcester. Incorporating robotic welding equipment, overhead cranes and purpose-built jigs and fixtures ensuring component and sub assembly repeatability during the manufacturing process, the company was able to complete the facility and manufacture their first order of 50 tankers within 52 weeks. A subsequent order for 33 anhydrous ammonia tankers was placed in October 2011.
Material procured offshore is arriving this month and production of these RTC’s will then start.
In the interim period, bridging available capacity, 25 rail fuel tanker cars ordered by Transnet Pipelines (TPL) have been assembled from kit form at a rate of four per week.
“GRW is dedicated to creating opportunities within the local Worcester community, and the rail tanker plant has provided an additional 52 jobs. New employees learn on the job working in parallel with existing staff. Depending on the type of skill required they are placed on learnerships for periods between three months and two years.”
“Potential candidates for management identified among artisans and operators have been placed on supervisory training courses. Local suppliers have also been given a boost with increased opportunities to supply materials and expertise,” Liebenberg says.
“GRW Engineering is confident that the move into rail tanker construction, which aligns with the South African government’s drive to develop rail infrastructure, will support job creation and the development of skills,” he says.
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