Last year Lucchini RS, the Italian manufacturer of forged railway products, invested R260 million in a new production facility in Germiston in Ekurhuleni to machine railway wheels. It was the first international forged wheel manufacturer to make some investment in manufacturing facilities in South Africa.
The group partnered with black South African investors Kusini Investments who currently hold a substantial amount of shares in the local company. Previously Lucchini had actively traded forged railway wheels and axles in South Africa for over 13 years.
The two Diedesheim machines installed at Lucchini SA gives the company more flexibility in its machining operations. The Diedesheim cell allows Lucchini SA to do one and two-offs for example
The group committed to localise wheel machining in the country and to subsequently create jobs locally. The localisation involved the establishment of Lucchini SA, which had been created to complete the manufacturing process of blank wheels imported from Italy that were then machined, inspected and delivered to the end customer.
Lucchini SA is housed in a 10 000m² facility. The R260 million investment included the fitment of state-of-the-art technology plant and machinery that adheres to the manufacturing process standardisation strategy of Lucchini RS Group.
Lucchini SA produces and supplies 34” and 36” wagon wheels and locomotive wheels to Transnet Engineering and TRAXX 23 locomotive wheels to BTSA (Bombardier South Africa)
The plant had the capacity to manufacture up to 20 000 wheels a year depending on the mix of wheels produced. Projects included the production and supply of 34” and 36” wagon wheels and locomotive wheels to Transnet Engineering and TRAXX 23 locomotive wheels to BTSA (Bombardier South Africa).
At the time the group indicated that it would be making further investment in the local company in anticipation of further growth of business in the regional market.
From 20 000 to 30 000 capacity
Now the group has installed a further two machining centers to cope with increased demand. The R30 million investment will take the company from processing 20 000 wheels per annum to 30 000 wheels.
The new line is composed of two Diedesheim machines, ideal for the production of train wheels. In 1994 Hüller Hille and Diedesheim merged to become Hüller Hille GmbH and in 2017 the company was acquired by Zuse Automation and is now known as Zuse Hüller Hille. The machining cell includes a manipulator to rotate the wheels during the machining operations. The machines use two rams each and have a maximum work diameter of 1 100mm.
Wagon and locomotive wheels ready for delivery
This line has been installed to give the company more flexibility in its machining operations. The Diedesheim cell allows Lucchini SA to do one and two-offs for example.
Based in Lovere in the northern part of Italy, the Lucchini RS Group specialises in the design, manufacturing and sale of high-end railway products and solutions, castings and forgings plus special steel ingots for various applications.
The company has been expanding its footprint worldwide and increasing capacity in Italy. Phase two of the expansion plans at the South African facility are on the drawing board and will include a multi-million rand investment to include a forging, rolling and heat treatment plant.
For further details contact Lucchini SA on TEL 087 806 5371 or visit www.lucchinisa.co.za