ACTOM : High Voltage Ingenuity

Joshua MannEd Budds
Joshua Mann - Regional Director Ed Budds - Editor
electricians standing next to a transformer in electrical power plant
At A Glance
  • ACTOM is an industry leader and the largest manufacturer, solutions provider, repairer, and distributor of electromechanical equipment in Africa, employing around 5,550 people.
  • With more than 100 years of experience in energy, the company has continually evolved its product and service offerings to meet the world’s energy needs.

ACTOM offers a winning and balanced combination of manufacturing, service, repairs, maintenance, projects, and distribution of electromechanical equipment through its 33 outlets across sub-Saharan Africa.


The ongoing adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is driving a profound transformation in South Africa’s electromechanical equipment sector. 

This significant upgrade is subsequently giving rise to smart grids and the optimisation of energy generation, distribution, and consumption across the continent.  

Key to this digital transformation is the demand for intelligent equipment capable of remote monitoring and control, ushering in unprecedented efficiency and resilience. 

To this point, the uptake of digital transformation within South Africa’s industrial sector has been rapid, with leading equipment manufacturers realising the importance of giving their equipment a voice through IoT.  

As a result, this burgeoning industry is seeing a significant amount of smart development by leveraging real-time data for condition monitoring. 

For the entire sector, this remains key to enhancing the performance and efficiency of equipment and enabling remote monitoring that benefits both manufacturers and clients, as downtime can be prevented by tracking the health and other parameters of components and infrastructure. 

As a key player in this evolving landscape, energy behemoth ACTOM has diligently helped power the African continent for more than a century. 


Today, ACTOM is an industry leader and the largest manufacturer, solutions provider, repairer, and distributor of electromechanical equipment in Africa, employing around 5,550 people.  

The company exists proudly as a Black-empowered organisation with 34 operating units, 53 production, service, and repair facilities, and more than 30 distribution outlets throughout Southern Africa. 

With more than 100 years of experience in energy, the company has continually evolved its product and service offerings to meet the world’s energy needs. 

Silhouette electrician

Undoubtedly, ACTOM’s innovative, cutting-edge technology has helped it to provide reliable, environmentally-friendly energy solutions for both consumers and businesses. 

ACTOM is also a major local supplier of electrical equipment, services, and balance of plant to renewable energy projects.  

Alongside this, it holds numerous technology, distribution, and value-added reseller agreements with various partners, both locally and internationally, where the company has grown its capabilities to now act as a leading supplier of premium and standard low-voltage motors, gearboxes, speed reducers, and motor starters. 

In this way, ACTOM custom designs and manufactures medium-voltage motors for the mining, industrial, processing, and utilities markets in South Africa and across the globe. 

Alongside this, the business now also manufactures laminated components and tooling for the electric motor sector.


Dedicated to ensuring a greener future for all, ACTOM is committed to meeting its own needs in a sustainable way that doesn’t compromise future generations. 

The company’s carefully monitored strategy aims to create shareholder value and ensure that all business units are delivering a positive return on capital employed (ROCE) and therefore employing capital in the most attractive opportunities. 

As part of ACTOM’s ‘Just Transition’ phase, the company seeks growth and sustainability for its vast array of divisions and business units. This indicates the organisation’s adaptability to support the industry as it moves away from carbon intensive energy production to sustainable methods. 

As part of this strategy, the company’s Static Power business unit completed a 200 kilowatt (kw) photovoltaic (PV) rooftop installation at the ACTOM Turbo Machines facility in April 2022. 

This has resulted in the need to increase the system with another 200kW PV installation, which will include a battery with a standby time of eight hours for energy storage. 

All transformers produced in the ACTOM portfolio, meanwhile, are now also designed to operate with both natural and synthetic ester oils. 

As a key part of this transformation, ACTOM retrofills existing transformers with ester oil in-situ within a matter of days and discards the old oil in a responsible manner. 

Elsewhere, in terms of transformer oil regeneration, ACTOM remains focused on returning used transformer oil to international standards. 

Today, the company’s Denver facility boasts a SANS 555 accredited oil regeneration facility, which returns used transformer oil to internationally specified standards for re-use. This practice negates the need to produce new oil, thus reducing the burden on the environment. 

This impressive facility has a Section 20 waste permit from the Department of Environmental Affairs and all quality tests are performed on-site by a fully comprehensive accredited laboratory. 

Engineers installing solar panels on roof


John Thompson is now one of the leading divisions of ACTOM, and the company’s proud history of boiler design and manufacturing supports its principal focus – to be a global leader in energy and environmental solutions through value engineering and innovation.  

Firmly focused on serving its global customer base, the products and services ACTOM offers include boilers, environmental solutions such as air pollution control, engineering, energy management, manufacturing, spares, maintenance, and training.  

To provide its customers with the best solution to any engineering challenge, ACTOM can now accurately simulate virtually any scenario using the latest computational fluid dynamics technology.  

Furthermore, ACTOM’s capabilities in finite element analysis and thermal, circulation, and solid modelling enable its range of solutions to be custom-fit for purpose every time. 

When maintenance is needed, ACTOM’s electromechanical maintenance, service, and repairs specialist, Marthinusen & Coutts, carries out the servicing of machinery and equipment for the mining, rail transportation, utilities, marine, and oil and gas industries.  

The company is a specialist repairer of power generation equipment and medium and low-voltage AC and DC motors, manufacturer of transformers and coils, and has a full range of engineering, testing, diagnostics, balancing, and maintenance services at its disposal.  

ACTOM’s success stories are evident in its completed projects, such as the Ngodwana Biomass Power Station, established under South Africa’s Independent Power Producer Programme, which was completed as a joint venture between John Thompson’s Industrial Watertube Boilers, a further ACTOM division, and Lesedi Nuclear Services.  

The power plant is adjacent to the Sappi Ngodwana pulp mill in Mpumalanga, the installation of which took 20 months.  

Moving forward, John Thompson will operate and maintain the entire plant over a five-year period.  

Furthermore, ACTOM is involved in many power projects in the African market, including the Ingula and Drakensberg Pumped Storage Schemes.  

This impressive portfolio reaffirms ACTOM’s position in the power island supply chain and broader industry.

Technician working in factory
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By Joshua Mann Regional Director
By Ed Budds Editor
Ed Budds is an in-house writer for Manufacturing Outlook Magazine, where he is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.