On February 11 2014, Afrox MD Brett Kimber, with the help of Coega IDZ Executive Manager – Business Development, Chris Mashigo officially turned the first sod on the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) site of the company’s new 150 tonne per day state-of-the-art air separation unit (ASU) that will service industry and health sectors across the Eastern Cape. Site clearing work is due to get underway shortly.
This follows recent approval of the environmental impact study associated with this multi-million rand project.
“We have longstanding relationships with customers across the Eastern Cape, some going as far back as 20 years, and we see the new ASU as a catalyst for growth for these businesses,” Kimber said at the sod turning ceremony. “Demand for Afrox products is already high in the Eastern Cape and we expect this to increase in the future.
“The new R300-million ASU will service that demand, while the investment reflects our greater corporate strategy to meet the needs of customers wherever they operate. When the ASU comes on stream, liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen and liquid argon will be available from a source much closer to customer operations.
“This will effectively eliminate the risks associated with distributing product over large distances and other external influences, whilst providing excess capacity and ample storage. From now on, Afrox customers can confidently grow their businesses without having to lay out capital for additional storage space or buffer stock.”
Also present at the event, Rene Naidu, Afrox Regional Manager for Eastern Cape, said: “We believe that by making such a substantial investment in the Coega IDZ, Afrox will pave the way for new investors to feel confident enough to participate in the region’s growth and development.
“Through our longstanding supply of gas products to customers, Afrox has established a proven record of technical ability and engineering support functions. We strive to exceed customer expectations in both service delivery and engineering solutions.”
Commenting on the imminent commissioning of the ASU, automotive component manufacturer Bentler’s Plant Manager, Desmond de Vos, said: “The new Afrox ASU will mean a lot to us, as we won’t have to worry about trunking product, or potential line stoppages, and it will be a ‘just-down the-road’ type of application for us.”
Said Naidu: “Afrox understands the application of our products in customers’ production processes, and in response, rather than being a commodity-driven supplier, we offer innovative and process gas solutions to support and improve their processes. This means partnering with the client from inception to finished product.”
In the Eastern Cape, Afrox provides its gas products across a spectrum of market segments. While the biggest customer segment comprises automotive and component manufacturers in the region, other key customers include the healthcare sector, both state and privately owned, and the hospitality market, as well as local aquaculture and agriculture undertakings. Afrox is also a major supplier of LPG to the rural and urban domestic market in the region.
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