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Cummins Zambia successfully commissions new coolant plant in Kitwe

Cummins Zambia has completed a coolant plant project in Kitwe on the Copperbelt that received approval from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) in 2019. The ‘plug-and-play’ plant will produce two types of coolant, namely ES compleat Hybrid (Blue) and ES compleat OAT (Red). PLC-driven and automated, the plant has the capability to carry out batch correction. It has a blending capacity of around 1 600 litres over two hours, including quality testing. The system has two 2 500 litre product tanks for product storage.

Originally planned to be completed within six months in 2018, delivery and manufacturing logistics ultimately resulted in the project taking about a year to complete, in addition to the stringent ZEMA approval, John Kambing’a, Cummins Aftermarket Leader (Zambia) reports. The main contractor was CP Engineering, with a Cummins Filtration team overseeing the project from start to finish.

Cummins Filtration built the plant and shipped it to Zambia, where it was installed by a local contractor under the supervision of the project team. The Cummins Filtration team from South Africa also played a key role in commissioning the plant.

“It is a requirement in Zambia to conduct an impact assessment for any project being undertaken. Therefore, the ZEMA approval was necessary to ensure that the coolant plant had no impact on the environment or the surrounding community,” Kambing’a explains. This is also in line with Cummins Inc.’s PLANET 2050 strategy, focused on addressing climate change and air emissions, using natural resources in the most sustainable way, and improving communities.

To date, Cummins Zambia’s main coolant customer has been First Quantum Minerals (FQM), a major copper producer in the region. The new plant will allow Cummins Zambia to supply coolant to other customers in different packages. “This will grow our filtration sales in Zambia, and allow us to serve other customers. It will also take care of our counter-sales customers. Other Cummins distributors and dealers wanting to take advantage of our cost-competitiveness will also be welcomed,” Kambing’a highlights.

The main benefits of the new coolant plant are that customers will not be restricted to obtain the products only in totes, but can request different packages according to their specific requirements. Customers will also have the option of bulk supply, which will drastically reduce their storage challenges in having access to sufficient product as and when required, and eliminate long lead times. Switching to in-house coolant production at Cummins Zambia will reduce import costs significantly, allowing it to pass these savings onto customers.

Meshach Kwegyir-Aggrey, GM Cummins Zambia, elaborates that, in order to be more competitive and supply product at a preferential rate to the market, a business case was raised to the leadership team of Cummins Africa. Approval followed quickly, and the coolant plant was subsequently purchased and installed in the last quarter of 2019.

“With the new coolant plant at Cummins Zambia, what we have succeeded in doing is to basically halt the importation of water, which forms more than 90% of the coolant product, from South Africa into Zambia. This will also assist us to serve diverse markets, with volumes ranging from five litres to 1 000 litres. We will also increase our footprint in the Zambian coolant market and offer more value to customers.”

Kwegyir-Aggrey adds: “The Zambian market is key to the strategic growth of Cummins in Africa. Cummins is a provider of power to the mining industry, and this new plant will allow us to deliver on our brand promise of powering our customers through innovation and dependability. We have invested almost half a million dollars in this project, and that will add value to our customers and stakeholders in Zambia. Adding value is what Cummins stands for, and we are determined to ensure our customers get absolute value when using Cummins products.”

Looking to the future, Kwegyir-Aggrey points out that the new coolant plant will assist Cummins Zambia in penetrating the key automotive market. “It will help us leverage out other filtration products as a single package. Coolant is key in the operation of any machine, and the quality of the coolant matters. We offer superior-quality coolant that will help customers get real value out of their machines. Using the Cummins Fleetguard product range will guarantee world-class performance by unleashing the power of Cummins,” he concludes.

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