Fuchs Lubricants SA has unveiled a R125m grease plant expansion at its factory in Isando, Johannesburg, allowing the unlisted company to make a large variety of specialty grease grades for export.

The plant — which Fuchs says is one of the most advanced in the world — is a collaboration between Fuchs’ SA and German engineers, along with systems and component suppliers.

"Fuchs sees the importance and demand for speciality grease growing significantly and wants to be in a position to support [customers]," Paul Deppe, MD of the Fuchs South African office said on Thursday. "But importantly, the reason for building the new grease plant is not only for capacity, but to inject new levels of process excellence and quality into our grease manufacturing."

"As one of the most automated and advanced grease plants in the Fuchs organisation, and, indeed, the world, we will be looking to export grease from this plant across Africa and to other parts of the world," he said.

"Importantly, there have been no staff redundancies as a result of the automation of the plant, but what it has done is create the need for staff with higher skill levels … who were all sent to Germany for training."

Thirty different greases are planned to be manufactured at the plant. The plant design and automation conforms to the Fuchs latest standards worldwide. Future expansion in capacity as well as future grease technologies, were considered in the plant design.