Allen Bradley Projects

I worked for Rockwell Automation in South Africa between 1995 and 1999, shortly after they acquired Sprecher and Schuh in 1993. Allen-Bradley PLCs were imported by local representatives during sanctions. After 1994, Rockwell Automation opened offices in the older Sprecher offices in most major cities in South Africa.

I had completed several projects at Volkswagen (while working there and as a subcontractor), plus at several other motor manufacturers and tool rooms. Rockwell was looking for an Automotive Account Manager, and when visiting VW, they gave them my name (although VW would not be buying Allen-Bradley, as they were Siemens- and AEG customers). I assumed Rockwell Automation would be like Siemens, AEG or ABB—all large OEMs who had been in South Africa for many years and completed large, turnkey projects. Rockwell Automation surported their system integrators with large discounts, however, Global Corporate customers would receive similar discounts, so many system integrators would “drop ship” the hardware, and charge for the software and integration.

Automotive Account Manager

I spent fifteen months in sales specialising in the Automotive Industry. I achieved significant market penetration at Delta Motor Corporation (General Motors) who were previously only Telemechanique customers. This required several hundred hours of programming and manufacturing printed circuit boards while in sales (Man-Machine Dynamics was the contractor to Delta). This resulted in over forty SLC 5/xx systems being installed at Delta. Other successes were Toyota, General Tyre, Goodyear, SAMCOR/Ford, SAB, some motion systems and projects with AIMS Corporation in Uitenhage. The sales target was approximately R800,000 as Rockwell Automation previously never sold into this market in South Africa due to sanctions. At the end of the Rockwell financial year my sales were approximately R3 million, however, R1,2 million was for delivery in early 1997.

Global Technical Services Engineer (GTS)

I preferred the technical side, and although sales was certainly rewarding, an opportunity opened in Rockwell Automation’s GTS.

My main function was to support industry in Port Elizabeth on technical issues, and country-wide on motion control/ servo systems. I attended several courses on most of the product lines; PLCs, drives and SCADA systems. I often flew (up to three times a week); mainly to Johannesburg, receiving over 400,000 Voyager miles.

Courses

Languages

There were an amazing range of products to support, but the main languages were:

GTS Projects

The following projects were done in GTS.

Private Contracting

Once the System Integrator network was sufficiently up to speed, GTS projects in the Eastern Cape declined. The offer of a transfer to Johannesburg was unattractive as my wife had her own medical practice, so I took a package and returned to contracting and custom design.