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ering steam T As a market leader in the South African Power Electronics sector, Ingeteam specialises in the development of traction / energy recovery systems for the energy and spoke to transport industries. Tumelo Malekutu, Sales Manager of the Rail Division, to learn more about the company, its involvement in the Africa Rail exhibition, and its position in the rail and transport industry.
he energy division of multinational firm Ingeteam has maintained a strong presence in South Africa since the company was founded in 1972, but it was only in 2012 that the transport side of the business in South Africa — a subsidiary dedicated to providing railway traction systems and energy recovery systems — found its home in Midrand, Gauteng. “I actually joined the company in November last year,” Malekutu tell us. “The traction division has been present here two years before that, but they were operating from Spain, where the Ingeteam headquarters are.” The arrival of Ingeteam’s transport division has also been good news for the energy side of the fi rm: despite being present in Africa for a while, it
was not until 2012 that they had offices and training facilities on the continent. Since its arrival in South Africa, the rail division has not wasted any time in building connections. Last month, over 7000 rail industry professionals gathered in Johannesburg for the annual Africa Rail exhibition. Africa Rail — Africa’s largest event for the rail industry — saw over 300 speakers and 250 exhibitors share their knowledge and experience through talks, demos and breakout sessions. One of these exhibitors was Ingeteam. “We’ve always been a part of Africa Rail, and we’ve been exhibiting there for the last three years or so,” says Malekutu. “It’s always nice to exhibit
what you do, but obviously we couldn’t bring our solutions to the exhibition because it’s huge systems, so we played demo videos and handed out informative brochures and so on,” he continues. “I’m planning something else next year, like a miniature demo that I’m going to put into the show. We’re going to help people understand more about what we do.” According to Malekutu, it can often be challenging to carry out the company’s work to the African market. While South Africa uses a lot of diesel-electric motors, the majority of neighbouring countries are still heavily reliant on diesel locomotives. “We are focusing on South Africa until the other countries make strides on the electric locomotives. The solutions we are trying to
We would definitely like to be a part of the Gibela project, and I would love our technology to be readily available. The best way to do that is to involve local companies and have them work together with Ingeteam Tumelo Malekutu, Sales Manager of the Rail Division, Ingasteam
offer are actually quite complex, so we need the train operators to understand how they can benefit from it.” Demand within the South African market is growing, but there is still work to be done. While the issues with Eskom and the rolling blackouts are still a long way from being resolved, there is a silver lining: an increased demand for energyconserving technology.
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of the energy consumed by the locomotive can be saved
“That’s the greatest part about the solution that we offer. Obviously Transnet / PRASA are both powerful organisations, but they are not the energy regulators, so they can actually benefi t from our products to help alleviate power consumption.” Ingeteam’s energy recovery systems can recover kinetic energy via regenerative braking, and when installed in traction substations, has the ability to transmit this recovered energy back to the main distribution grid, the operator’s grid, or a storage system. If anything, Ingeteam is the only company with this technology in commercial operation (in several projects they are not in a prototype
stage) and the Ticket-to-Kyoto group report outline Ingeteam as the company with the best technology for these solutions. This is well proven technology and Ingeteam is offering real, substantial, and not just empiric, savings to their customers. Reports have shown that up to 40% of the energy consumed by the system can be saved. “Our solutions can work on all the trains during peak time, when the network need more power, so we can basically eliminate all of the problems,” he explains.
I would like to work with companies in other parts of the country, in order to better reach those rail divisions and depots
“Not long ago we had Transnet selling their locomotives to neighbouring countries. If these trains are going to be used in other parts of Southern Africa, we
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can start modifying those trains and their infrastructure as well.” While Ingeteam is more than eager to continue expanding, not all countries on the continent are ready to adopt this advanced technology. “Botswana is thinking of reopening their passenger rail, so I think they could be our next market, but obviously they’re currently receiving some of their power from South Africa,” he says. “Mozambique, Zambia are possibilities too, and I would give it a couple of years before entering other SADC countries. We are going to have a couple of trains going through these countries as well, but it’s mostly diesel motors that are going through these countries to get
to the ports,” Malekutu explains. “The inland countries don’t have access to the sea, so they’ll be using the ports in South Africa, and in the very close future we’ll be looking at retro fitting a lot of electric motors.” Ingeteam is always on the lookout for new opportunities within South Africa, too
— one of which is the Gibela project, a new empowered South African rail company aiming to revitalise rail transportation in metropolitan areas. “We would defi nitely like to be a part of the Gibela project, and
I would love our technology to be readily available. The best way to do that is to involve local companies and have them work together with Ingeteam, and basically be involved with projects like Gibela,” he says.
We are focusing on South Africa until the other countries make strides on the electric locomotives. The solutions we are trying to offer are actually quite complex, so we need the train operators to understand how they can benefit from it
“It’s a good platform to be involved with because we can bring a lot of experience, and it’s a safe platform because it’s an ongoing project. So I’m looking at collaborate with the Gibela project with the creating of new locomotives. Most currently I’m working on modifying the current trains, the traction system and their substations as well.” For the rest of 2015, Ingeteam will continue its work with several companies in Johannesburg, but is open to involvement with companies in other parts of South Africa. “I would like to work with companies in other parts of the country, in order to better reach those rail divisions and depots. We need to avail our solutions to all rail operators,” he explains. “Cape Town and Durban are in other provinces, but they do have trains. Ideally, we’d most like to work with new companies in the country to localise the expertise.”
Ingeteam (Pty) Ltd. Unit no 2 Alphen Park South Randjiespark 1682 Midrand South Africa Tel: (+27) 11 314 3190 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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