Quality certification helps wheels turning on international soil


SWASAP, the only African railway axle manufacturer, was able to qualify its manufacturing technology to an EN13261 certification, hence increasing its global footprint to be able to supply any European railway operator, as well as securing significant orders from top European passenger rail coach manufacturers.

This was enabled by a Firm Technology Assistance Package (FTAP) from the Department of Science and Technology (DST). SWASAP has traditionally supplied Transnet with all of its axles. As a valued supplier to this state-owned company, SWASAP was selected to form part of government’s drive to improve the competitiveness of local original equipment manufacturers, and could benefit from the mechanism established for this purpose, the Technology Localisation Plan, of which the FTAP is one solution.

Lorraine Shikwane, Project Manager at the Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU) – an initiative of the DST hosted by the CSIR, says, “Since the company received the EN13261 certification, it has secured orders from top overseas rolling stock manufacturers for new passenger rail vehicles to operate in Australia, the USA, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. These are worth close to 100 jobs plus millions of dollars to South Africa in valuable foreign exchange each year.”

The certification is part of European standards (‘Euro Norms’) governing the design of railway axles and wheel sets.

SWASAP is currently negotiating new contracts with international customers as well as the supply of axles for the new trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.


For further information, please contact:

Tendani Tsedu

Media Manager: CSIR

Cell: +27 82 945 1980


Lorraine Shikwane

Project Manager: TLIU

Cell: +27 72 643 7380


About the TLIU:

The Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU) is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which is hosted and incubated at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The TLIU was formed by the DST to implement the deliverables of its Technology Localisation Plan. Services provided by the TLIU include:

• Benchmarking and technology capability evaluation services;

• Technology capability platforms, or shared technology facilities;

• Access to technical expertise;

• High-end technical skills development programmes;

• Design and tooling support; and

• Technology transfer benefits/Offset programmes.


SWASAP is one of about 20 dedicated axle forges in the world and the only one in Africa. The company has over 60 years of manufacturing experience and conforms to every recognised international quality standard. SWASAP is a member of The Baughan Group, a progressive global engineering business. The Baughan Group has a commanding presence in the US and South Africa and supplies a diversified international market. SWASAP is acknowledged as a market leader in axle technology and manufacturing worldwide. Over $10 million of investment in new machinery and equipment since 2007 has resulted in SWASAP’s factory becoming one of the most well equipped axle producers in the world. A modern metallographic and metrology facility and a wide range of destructive and non-destructive automated test machines complement the extensive range of manufacturing machines SWASAP has available to meet peak production levels of 4 000 axles per month.