Condra, a South African leader in crane and hoist manufacture, has bought iTek Drives, a distributor of the Optidrive range of variable frequency drives (VFDs). The acquisition secures for Condra the supply of a key crane component and reinforces iTek’s position as an important sales partner of Invertek Drives, the UK-based manufacturer of the Optidrive product range.
Optidrive VFDs optimise the operation of completed Condra cranes, delivering precisely variable motion during lift, cross-travel and long-travel, and smoothly changing motor speeds to eliminate ‘stepping’. The drives also optimise electrical energy usage.
Invertek’s pricing is competitive: through distributor iTek it can be as much as 25 percent lower than the prices of competing brands.
The takeover is seen by industry observers as a logical development of Condra’s longstanding use of Invertek’s Optidrive range, bringing together corporate synergies in vision and distribution likely to prove useful in improving both product delivery times and support for Optidrive installations across South Africa.
End-users will benefit from expanded technical expertise, including readier access to installation and repair skills delivered by an increased staffing that will soon include Condra technicians currently undergoing training and accreditation in drive programming and repair. Condra’s managing director, Marc Kleiner, thinks that Condra’s incorporation of iTek Drives has likely propelled iTek to a position of agency leadership.
“Condra already holds a substantial stock of this product at our Johannesburg factory,” he explains, “so combined with iTek’s own stock, the acquisition effectively makes us the country’s biggest supplier of Invertek drives. Customers will benefit from the increased level of competition in the drive market resulting directly from this increased stockholding.
“There will be no changes to iTek’s pricing, branding or staff,” Marc continues. “The existing team will continue to run the agency as an independent business unit, selling and supporting Invertek drives as before.
“Distribution channels will for the moment remain confined to South Africa, but there remains the option to extend distribution into sub-Saharan Africa at Invertek’s discretion.
Online and in-factory training
“We have implemented a programme of planned visits to customers and sub-agencies to communicate the smooth change of ownership and improved product availability resulting from larger stock holdings.”
Marc emphasises that, within Condra itself, benefits will include unhindered access to an excellent drive at a competitive price, and the ability to advance more quickly the technology incorporated in its own product. Online training by Invertek of Condra technicians, already begun, will be reinforced by in-factory training at the UK manufacturing facility in Welshpool in early 2023.
Condra’s purchase of iTek Drives is the company’s second acquisition this year, and follows the incorporation into the group in March of Cape Town’s BB Cranes.