Fuchs Lubricants South Africa, the local arm of the German lubricant and grease specialist, has expanded its grease plant at its factory in Isando, Johannesburg. This R125 million expansion will allow Fuchs to make a large variety of specialty grease grades for export.

The plant will produce 30 different grease products, which will be available locally and across the continent. 25% of Fuchs South Africa’s business involves exports into other African countries, particularly Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Fuchs Lubricants SA opens new grease plantAccording to Paul Deppe, MD of Fuchs South Africa, the reason for building the new grease plant is not only to increase capacity, but to inject new levels of process excellence and quality into the manufacturing process. He says it is one of the most automated and advanced grease plants in the Fuchs organisation, and the world.

The plant contains an autoclave and uses open reactor technology to manufacture grease soap, which is then finished in a number of finishing kettles. The plant design and automation was a collaboration between Fuchs’ South African and German engineers, along with systems and component suppliers. DRA Global was appointed to project manage, design, procure and build the plant. Future expansion in capacity as well as future grease technologies were considered in the plant design.

“Importantly, there have been no staff redundancies as a result of the automation of the plant, but what it has done is create the need for staff with higher skill levels … who were all sent to Germany for training,” Deppe says. Fuchs selected five greasemakers, a supervisor, a maintenance engineer and a production manager, to go to Germany for the training.

“This is the start of significant investment in upgrading our plant and equipment to meet the demands of our customers for ever-increasing quality and responsiveness. The plant design and automation conforms to Fuchs latest standards worldwide and ensures that the quality of grease produced is of the highest standards. The plant will give Fuchs Lubricants South Africa the ability to consistently and repeatably manufacture standard and complex thickener greases to meet the needs of customers for many years to come,” Deppe says.

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