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Orange Energies has aimed to make energy more accessible, becoming a preferred partner for energy producers in regions where half the population lacks electricity. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Energy

Orange Energies opened its digital platform, Orange Smart Energies, to all energy producers, helping them secure their revenues and further support energy inclusion

This initiative aims to boost energy inclusion by providing easy, prepaid access to energy through solar kits and smart meters. The IoT platform tackles profitability challenges faced by African energy producers by reducing the risk of non-payment.

Originally developed by Orange and enhanced in 2021, Orange Smart Energies is now accessible to all energy producers in Africa and the Middle East. It guarantees customer payments via mobile money. The business model, based on a partnership between Orange and energy producers, allows Orange Energies to offer a digital service and distribution network that improves energy access in rural areas, reaching even the most remote locations. This universal platform uniquely supports both pay-as-you-go solar equipment and prepaid smart meters.

Since its launch in 2017, Orange Energies has aimed to make energy more accessible, becoming a preferred partner for energy producers in regions where half the population lacks electricity. It helps electricity companies enhance account receivable collections. Operating in 12 countries (DRC, Madagascar, Cameroon, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Jordan), Orange Energies serves over 300,000 households daily and continues to grow its customer base and regional presence across the continent.

Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, commented, “Using digital technology to improve the energy inclusion of African people has been our ambition since day one. By opening up our Orange Smart Energies platform to all energy producers, we are taking a major step forward in our commitment to universal access to energy in Africa and the Middle East."

Nat-Sy Missamou, senior vice-president of Orange Energies for Africa and the Middle East added, "We are working with energy producers to help them sustain their business in African markets. Leveraging existing digital and financial inclusion solutions, our pay-as-you-go service is delivered through a distribution model tailored to African markets."

The Liebherr LTM 1400-6.1 is characterised by its high lifting capacities and 70 m telescopic boom. (Image source: Liebherr)

Construction

Liebherr has launched the new LTM 1400-6.1, described by the leading manufacturer as “the world’s most powerful 6-axle crane”

The new machine presents an upgrade to its predecessor, the LTM 1350-6.1, with major differences particularly around the assembly process for the Y-guying system. With one self-assembly lift, the LTM 1400-6.1 places the guying system on the chassis, where it is then pinned in place. The hydraulic quick coupling closes automatically when the boom is luffed down between the two Y-frames. The electrical connection is established with one final movement and the telescopic boom with Y-guying is ready for use in just a few minutes.

Various lattice jibs enable the new crane to work efficiently in a wide range of applications. The fixed lattice jib extends the telescopic boom by up to 45.5 m and can be mounted at an angle of 0°, 10°, 20° and 40°. As an option, the fixed jib can be adjusted between 0° and 40°. The luffing lattice jib, with a length ranging from 14 m to 80.5 m, delivers maximum height, radius and performance.

The total available ballast for the new LTM 1400-6.1 consists of 100 tonnes of basic ballast and 40 tonnes of additional ballast. The hydraulic ballasting device is integrated in the counterweight frame – ballast assembly is simple, quick and does not require an auxiliary crane. The VarioBallast system is fundamentally different to the one found on the predecessor model. The 140 tonnes of total ballast can now be set to a radius of 7.7 m to achieve the higher lifting capacity. In confined spaces, the ballast radius can be reduced to 5.6 m. The counterweight plates are compatible with those found on other large Liebherr cranes.

The variable VarioBase supporting system ensures additional versatility. In addition to the option of flexibly using the predefined support positions with pinning options of 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%, the sliding beams can now also be freely extended between 0% and 50%. Until now, this was only possible on mobile cranes with up to five axles.

The 400-tonne crane is powered by the Liebherr single-engine concept and a mechanical drive for the superstructure. An eight-cylinder Liebherr diesel engine with 455 kW / 619 h.p. and 3,067 Nm of torque ensures a powerful travel drive.

Liebherr has developed different driving conditions to ensure worldwide, economical mobility. With an axle load of 12 tonnes, the LTM 1400-6.1 with telescopic boom and detachable hook block has an overall length of 17.8 m. On the construction site, the 400-tonne machine can be driven with 10 tonnes of ballast, a three-line hook block and Y-guying with an axle load of less than 16.5 tonnes. Equipment can be removed for road journeys requiring lower axle loads.

Liebherr has also taken pains to ensure safety in ensured at all times when the machinery is being operated. This includes the installation of various driver assistance systems to increase road safety, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. For example, the Blind Spot Information System warns the crane driver when someone is in the vehicle's blind spot, particularly when the crane is turning. The moving off information system also provides a visual and acoustic warning if someone is in front of the crane.

Discover the enhanced JCB 3CX Backhoe Loaders, arriving in South Africa this July with upgraded features for superior performance. (Image source: Bell Equipment)

Mining

The updated range of JCB 3CX Backhoe Loaders is set to arrive on South African shores this July, promising to build on the brand’s popularity with enhanced features aimed at delivering improved comfort, versatility, and productivity, thereby reducing costs and boosting efficiency

Bell Equipment sales product manager for JCB products, Massyn Jansen Van Vuuren, commented, “This new model range will replace the existing JCB 3CX Eco, 3DX and 3CX Global product lineup. The new cab makeover is the most noticeable change and is bound to impress. The striking new design uses high quality moulded plastics, and the pillars and roof are light grey in colour to give a lighter and more spacious feel.

“Most importantly the new cab places a huge focus on operator safety, comfort, and ease of operation. For example, the loader lever has been simplified to operate like a wheel loader. The 3CX range now has a single lever loader control incorporating an F-N-R directional switch so an operator can control the loader and transmission with one hand. In addition, there is a proportional switch on the side of the lever to operate the 6-in-1 bucket, which further reduces the effort needed to operate the machine.” 

Enhanced features

The new EasyShift transmission with 'kick down' comes standard across the range, simplifying gear changes via a rotation of the F-N-R directional lever next to the steering wheel. The kick down switch, located on the floor, allows operators to shift from second to first gear for added power during loading or site work."

“All cabs are ROPS/FOPS certified and the seat rotation area is larger to give the operator more room, which together with improved cab sealing to keep out water and dust, creates a cleaner and more pleasant workspace. There is also improved visibility to the working area behind the machine,” remarked Massyn.

In addition, the 3CX Plus model introduces a high-performance HVAC air conditioning system with 21 adjustable air vents strategically positioned around the front console, ‘B’ pillar, and rear of the machine, optimising comfort and demisting performance. The 3CX features a standard fan mounted on the B pillar."

Under the hood, the JCB 3CX range benefits from enhanced hydraulic efficiency due to new standard variable displacement piston pumps across all models. The larger pump provides 150lpm, a 39% increase over the previous model, allowing for reduced engine speed while maintaining productivity, effectively cutting fuel consumption. Moreover, the variable flow pump operates on demand, reducing engine load and further improving fuel efficiency.

The Plus and Pro models feature a standard Smooth Ride System for improved road handling and can be equipped with a versatile 6-in-1 shovel, optionally fitted with flip-over forks for increased functionality. “The 6-in-1 shovel can be used for dozing, loading, digging, grabbing, spreading, and grading while the optional flip over forks are ideal for machines that will double up as a forklift for pick and place activities around the work site and to unload vehicles,” he added.

Lighting has been upgraded with six LED work lights replacing halogen lights. Front-mounted adjustable LEDs and rear-mounted LEDs, two of which are adjustable, enhance nighttime visibility. A 'guide me home' light system keeps work lights illuminated for 30 seconds after the ignition is turned off, aiding safe exit from the machine and worksite during nighttime operations.

Other standard features include an in-cab boom lock, front and rear wash/wiper functions, Return To Dig function, electronic throttle control, Bluetooth radio and USB ports, front and side LCD display, adjustable steering column, and a battery isolator key for electrical isolation during maintenance.

"All in all, the new 3CX range has a machine to suit all requirements and we expect these new machines to add real value and strengthen JCB’s position as the world’s leading brand of Backhoe Loaders. We have a fleet of units that will be used across the country to familiarise customers with the new range and the improvements, so we encourage customers to contact their nearest Bell dealer and experience the machines for themselves,” concluded Massyn.

Transporting the massive transformer meant overcoming many logistical challenges. (Image source: AGL)

Logistics

AGL Egypt, part of Africa Global Logistics, has successfully transported a 50-ton transformer to Zimbabwe

The massive transformer contained 14 tons of compressed nitrogen gas – a critical component for its operation – and was required to be transported through the Port of Durban in South Africa and then on through multiple countries until it reached its final destination. Under the leadership of Osama Sedawy, the AGL team in Egypt successfully carried out the operation despite challenging circumstances including complex border crossings, challenging road conditions and local regulations.

According to the company, the completion of this project is a demonstration of its logistical expertise, its commitment to supporting regional growth and connectivity, and its ability to handle large-scale, complex operations with precision and reliability.

Jason Reynard, regional managing director at AGL East Africa, remarked, “We are immensely proud of our team’s accomplishment in executing this challenging logistics project. This project is a testament to our dedication to providing seamless logistics solutions that support the economic development and infrastructure advancement of the region. Our robust logistics networks are essential in driving the progress and transformation we are witnessing across Africa.”

Elsewhere, AGL Rwanda has laid the foundation stone for the extension of its Kigali warehouse as part of its efforts to meet growing logistics demand in East Africa. Discover more at: https://africanreview.com/transport-a-logistics/agl-rwanda-moves-to-meet-growing-logistics-demand-in-east-africa

The Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) 2024 were held in Nassau, The Bahamas. (Image source: Afreximbank)

Finance

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has launched its African Trade Report 2024 and African Trade and Economic Outlook Report 2024, forecasting greater growth in African economies than the global average

The reports were launched at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) 2024 which was held in Nassau, The Bahamas. The latter of which, titled ‘A Resilient Africa: Delivering Growth in a Turbulent World’, analyses the economic environment, trade patterns, debt scenarios and future projections for African economies. One of the key, positive takeways highlighted by the organisation is that African economies are expected to grow on average by 3.8% in 2024 – a figure greater than the predicted global growth of 3.2%. In 2025, Afreximbank forecasts this to climb even higher, reaching 4% growth.

“This performance is reflective of the resilience of the African economy and the potential impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) single market for the continent as a tool to protect them from global shocks,” explained Yemi Kale, Afreximbank’s group chief economist and managing director of research and international cooperation. “Our analysis in the report also revealed large untapped potential in intra-African trade, especially with respect to machinery, electricity, motor vehicles, and food products.”

The report also revealed that African economies face several downside risks, including increasing levels of sovereign debt and associated sustainability risks, excessive exposure to adverse terms-of-trade shocks, escalating geopolitical tensions in some cases, volatile domestic political environments in certain African countries, high commodity prices and inflationary pressures, and potential food insecurity.

Despite this, the general outlook for Africa in 2024 remains positive with the research suggesting that most macroeconomic indicators are expected to improve in 2024 and 2025.

AfCFTA’s impact

In the African Trade Report 2024, titled 'Climate Implications of the AfCFTA Implementation', it is concluded that the AfCFTA offers a path to achieving the developmental goals of African nations while also addressing climate change concerns, according to the chief economist.

Kale also indicated that while the benefits of the AfCFTA can be seen, the debate on its impact on climate change is still ongoing. He remarked, “One group believes that increased urbanisation and industrialisation associated with the AfCFTA will worsen carbon emissions, and the second group believes that by emphasising intra-African trade and reducing extra-African trade, carbon emissions will be eliminated through shorter shipping distances.”

Overall, the report states that optimising the AfCFTA can result in potential gains through increased intra-African trade and investment, creating economic prosperity and fulfilling the vision of the founding fathers.

Earlier this year, Afreximbank captured headlines by announcing a financing facility to support the Government of Cameroon implement its National Development Strategy. Read more at: https://africanreview.com/finance/cameroon-national-development-strategy-receives-afreximbank-backing

Product manufacture could be anything you typically use a mould for such as vacuum forming, foam casting, food production or composite layup. (Image source: Fyous)

Manufacturing

Fyous is seeking to fundamentally change the manufacturing industry by launching its PolyMorphic moulding technology

As the world’s first, infinitely reusable moulding technology, PloyMoprhic was devised and engineered by company co-founders Joshua Shires and Thomas Bloomfield. The product features more than 28,000 densely packed pins that create the mould and, when in position, can withstand six tonnes of distributed pressure.

Capable of adapting to a different shape in under 20 minutes, the product produces zero tooling waste and makes usable parts 14 times faster than 3D printing.

"Our mission is to deliver a revolutionary moulding technology that will disrupt prototyping and manufacturing sectors worldwide,” commented Shires. "Using PolyMorphic moulding to rapidly create accurate moulds for tooling will reduce time to market for a huge array of products, plus unlock commercial viability for desirable products which currently have no cost-effective manufacture method.

"Our mission is to deliver this disruption whilst reducing environmental impact. PolyMorphic moulding is a zero-waste technology where raw materials are conserved and the moulds can be used again and again. We will remove not only physical waste in the form of materials and tooling, but also remove wasted time by accelerating product development, prototyping and manufacture efficiencies.”

Limitless manufacturing applications?

It was originally conceived to create bespoke footwear for athletes but the founders, after realising the broader potential of PolyMorphic, have extended its application to include medical and other industrial uses. With patent-pending, PolyMorphic will be unveiled in full at the RAPID + TCT event in Los Angeles which is running from 25-27 June in USA.

"This versatility makes its possible applications almost limitless,” added Bloomfield. “Much like when 3D printing was developed, the applications it could potentially be used for was unknown by its inventors. The Fyous team is now undertaking this period of discovery with PolyMorphic moulding, uncovering potential applications for this technology at an exponential rate."

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