Quality certification helps Swasap to access international markets

Swasap, the only African railway axle manufacturer, has been 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 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.


Blooms are cut to the correct length and the billets are passed through electrical coils and a gas furnace to ensure the steel is at the desired temperature


Once the correct temperature is obtained the steel is forged into the shape of an axle

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.


The axle is then placed in a hardening furnace after which it is oil, air or water quenched and moved to the tempering furnace


Finally the axle is protected, boxed and ready for shipping

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.

For further details contact Swasap on TEL: 011 873 6666 or visit www.swasap.co.za