Equipment arrives for new multi-billion rand vehicle assembly plant

2018-01-10 06:00
 BAIC SA recently received its first equipment for their new multibillion rand SA plant which is under construction in the Coega Special Economic Zone.                 Photos:SUPPLIED

BAIC SA recently received its first equipment for their new multibillion rand SA plant which is under construction in the Coega Special Economic Zone. Photos:SUPPLIED

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THE first shipment of vehicle assembly plant equipment for the new BAIC automotive manufacturing facility, currently under construction in the Coega Special Economic Zone, has arrived in Port Elizabeth.

The R11 billion car plant, a joint initiative of China’s Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC), which is the majority shareholder with a 65% stake, and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is South Africa’s largest motor investment in nearly 50 years.

In a statement released last year, BAIC SA said the equipment was shipped from Tianjin, located in the northern coastal mainland of China, late in September last year.

The shipment comprises components for vehicle assembly, welding and painting plant equipment, the statement read.

BAIC noted that industry standard equipment, online testing, installation services, logistics and consumable items will be locally procured, accounting for 15% of the total equipment value in terms of the agreement with Beijing Industrial Designing and Research Institute (BIDR), the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contractor in the construction phase of the BAIC SA plant.

Commenting on technical specifications, BAIC SA’s head of marketing and planning, Gary Yang, described that the under body, main body and body adjustment line will enable the manufacturing of both left and right hand drives with 14.5 jobs per hour (JPH).

Yang further noted that welding automation will reach 60% and body transfer automation will be 100%.

“The assembly line is flexible to handle various body structure vehicle assembly. Our modular engineering design will accommodate a variety of assembly procedures for different models,” he said.

Yang added that the painting line is also flexible for various models.

“Painting automation can reach 34.3% with 100% automatic parts feeding function on SKD and CKD models.

“Painting robots from ABB are employed for 100% automatic exterior painting.”

Commenting on the project completion date for the plant, Yang said they were on track with the project’s timelines while a major milestone is the completion and installation of the assembly shop roof structure.

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