22 October, 2014:The Eastern Cape industrial marketis set to benefit significantly from the new R300-million state-of-the-art air separation unit (ASU) located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which was officially launched ahead of schedule on Monday, 20 October 2014 by Afrox, the leading Sub-Saharan African gases and welding company.
The local production of 150-tons-per-day of oxygen, nitrogen and argon will commence in early 2015, thereby ensuring regional security in the supply of these critical process components. Afrox managing director Brett Kimber says: “I am proud to confirm this unit will start supplying customers with industrial and medical gases in early 2015. This is a true testament to Afrox’s dedication towards supporting the development of the local economy.”
Kimber reveals that the ASU is the first-of-its-kind in Africa, and the company is proud to be establishing it in the Coega IDZ. “This ASU represents a major milestone in pursuit of our goals to support the economy and our existing customers, as well as to drive the growth agenda of many other businesses in need of our products and services locally.”
According to Kimber, the world-class infrastructure of the Coega IDZ bodes well for the growth of the export industry. “The Eastern Cape manufactures half of South Africa’s passenger vehicles and contributes51 percent of vehicle exports. Afrox is already recognised as a leading supplier to these manufacturing customers, in addition to the food and beverage, wind energy, metals, private and state healthcare, farming and aquaculture sectors. The ASU will further enhance our local standing.”
The R300-million, 23 000 m2 Wind Towers subsidiary of international manufacturing and engineering company, DCD, was also recently established in the Coega IDZ. General manager Gerrit Viviers notes that Afrox has positioned itself strategically in Coega to supply the Eastern Cape with its full demand of ASU gases. “The close proximity of the source means security of supply which benefits our company,” he states.
Coega Development Corporation (CDC) head of marketing and communication, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi states that it is always a proud moment for the CDC when investment in the Coega IDZ becomes tangible, as this has a direct impact to the socio-economic development of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Eastern Cape in general.
“Afrox’s investment is an enabling one in support of industrial development. Adding Afrox to the list of operational investors will see Coega’s operational investors increasing to 29 in line with the Coega IDZ’s objective to have 30 operational investors by year end,” he notes.
About the ASU
At the heart of the Afrox ASU is the cold box, which is the central point where proprietary technology is utilised to cryogenically separate ambient air into nitrogen, oxygen and argon. The Afrox ASU cold box was designed and manufactured in Germany by its parent company, the Linde Group. It weighs over 100 tons, and is 40 m in height, 5 m in width and 4 m in breadth.
The ASU project was initially approved by Afrox and Linde in early2013, and an official sod turning ceremony was held in February 2014. “The process from approval to what we have before us took a little over a year – a record in our industry. This shows Afrox’s commitment and project execution,” Kimber concludes.
As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Afrox has taken its commitment to local community upliftment beyond operational business, by sponsoring R1-million worth of welding and gases equipment and providing expertise for the welding courses hosted at the Coega Skills Development Centre for learners taking part in the Eastern Cape Schools and Tertiary Welding Programme.
Notes to the Editor
There are numerous photographs specific to this press release. Please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the Afrox link.
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) is sub-Saharan Africa’s market leader in gases and welding products. Afrox was founded in 1927, listed on the JSE in 1963, and has prospered by constantly meeting the needs of customers and developing solutions that add value to customer applications. Afrox operates in South Africa and in ten other African countries. It also manages operations in five additional countries on behalf of its parent company, The Linde Group - a global gases, engineering and technology company.
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