Collated by Cold Link Africa.
On Friday 15 September, BITZER South Africa, a well-known name in the HVAC&R industry, marked an incredible milestone – its 30th Anniversary.
The celebration was held at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, nestled within the scenic beauty of Cape Town’s harbour. Cold Link Africa had the privilege of attending the event, and what an occasion it was.
The beer festival-themed celebration was a fitting tribute to BITZER’s German heritage, and it provided an opportunity for their staff, strategic partners, clients and end users to come together, unwind and commemorate three decades of excellence.
Torsten Steinborn, BITZER South Africa’s managing director, delivered an inspiring speech, expressing his gratitude to their many valued customers and partners. He said, “We would like to thank our valued customers for your continuous support of the BITZER brand, both in South Africa and across our borders, within your projects. It is because of you that we keep growing and are an essential part of the local HVAC&R industry.”
Reflecting on BITZER South Africa’s journey, Jose Marques, who joined BITZER SA on 1 September 1993, and was also celebrating his 30 years with the company, spoke about how the BITZER South Africa journey all began in June 1993 when Theo van Driel established the South African offices with its headquarters in Cape Town. This move, as part of BITZER’s global expansion, aligned with the vision of Schaufler, BITZER’s founder, to transform BITZER into an international player.
At the inception of BITZER South Africa, their semi-hermetic compressors were relatively unknown in the market, especially in the semi-hermetic sector. While there were many BITZER compressors in operation, they were primarily open reciprocating compressors of the No. 0-VII type, predominantly used in farm milk tanks, and were supplied by Refrigeration Agencies. From the outset, BITZER South Africa faced the challenge of introducing and gaining acceptance for semi-hermetic compressors in their markets. But, with a deep understanding of the compressor market, the team at BITZER South Africa navigated these challenges and steadily grew to become South Africa’s leading brand in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning.
BITZER South Africa achieved several significant milestones in recent years:
BITZER introduced CO2 compressors to South Africa, becoming pioneers in providing compressor solutions for the natural refrigerant CO2. Today, there are more than 1500 BITZER CO2 compressors in operation across the country.
The establishment of the BITZER Green Point compressor repair centre in Johannesburg, where local technicians adhere to strict BITZER quality standards, has been instrumental. Here, they repair approximately 300 piston and screw compressors annually, contributing to a circular economy.
The successful implementation of SAP in their locations as a new ERP system significantly increased efficiency through improved stock management and control, reduced stock losses, unified sales and accounting procedures, and direct reporting lines to their HQ.
BITZER South Africa sold their first BITZER scroll compressor for locally made rooftop packaged units for climate control in shopping malls, marking a major stride.
BITZER expanded its presence in Africa by opening offices in Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya, and in 2022, in Ivory Coast. This strategic expansion aims to strengthen BITZER’s presence across the continent.
They introduced the BITZER IQ module locally, enhancing compressor monitoring and control capabilities, making their compressors intelligent and smart, and aligning their customers with the industry’s digital transformation.
BITZER South Africa ventured into industrial refrigeration with the sale of their first ACP (Ammonia Compressor Package), which has shown immense growth potential. To date, their customers have successfully operated ACPs in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
BITZER South Africa sold its first BITZER Digital Network licence, serving as the gateway for new digital services, remote monitoring and troubleshooting.
Among the many guests enjoying the celebration were Mathias Layer, BITZER sales director: AC, Marine, and Process, who attended the event from Germany, along with Enitan Abisoye, BITZER GM from BITZER Nigeria, both highlighting the global significance of the celebration.
BITZER South Africa’s journey over the past three decades stands as a testament to its commitment to quality, innovation and technical expertise. As they look forward to the future, they remain dedicated to advancing the HVAC&R industry in South Africa and beyond.