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SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide


Maintenance products facilitate efficient manufacturing
Technews Industry Guide: Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation 2017, Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration, News

RS enables the selection of the right equipment and maintenance solutions to ensure smooth-running operations.

RS Components is the market leader in the distribution of industrial parts and electronic components. RS collaborates with its customers to help them reduce their Total Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) spend by taking the hassle out of indirect procurement. The company specialises in meeting the maintenance, repair, low volume production, and research and development purchasing requirements of engineers, buyers and maintenance professionals.

The RS offer is facilitated by a world-class website and e-commerce platform that gives customers access to over 500 000 products across 2500 global suppliers that specialise in industrial, mechanical, automation and control and electronics products. The company is committed to ensuring that its one million customers have fast access to a broad range of products and technologies all under one roof. RS has operations across 32 countries whilst serving a further 80 markets through third-party distributors and a global network of distribution centres worldwide, that ship more than 44 000 parcels daily.

RS’s customers are able to order single or multiple units of a product and can experience a quick, easy, secure, and cost-effective process. With free access to thousands of datasheets customers can easily compare and select the correct product which they require. Locally-held stock is delivered to customers within 24 hours, and products that need to be ordered from other global distribution centres, are delivered within four to six working days to customers in South Africa. RS South Africa also services countries in sub-Saharan Africa where there is strong demand for a distributor with its capabilities and range of products.

In a study conducted with the Manchester Business School in London, it was highlighted that procurement departments traditionally spend close to 80% of their time sourcing indirect products that account for only 20% of their total procurement spend. RS is focused on reducing the time and effort that customers spend on indirect procurement processes by consolidating supplier bases and giving customers a multitude of options and alternatives to select from. By facilitating this process customers don’t need to make multiple calls to various companies to source products, thereby significantly reducing supplier-related administration and improving efficiency, so that time is freed up to concentrate on more important business tasks.

Mobile and digital tools

To add to the website and e-commerce platform, RS has developed a new and improved mobile website that is optimised for mobile devices to support its growing mobile user base. The company has seen a fourfold increase in mobile traffic to its website year on year and the new site enables customers to more easily search and buy products whenever and wherever they need.

The new mobile-optimised website provides a much-improved user experience for customers accessing the RS portfolio of over 500 000 products on their mobile devices, making it easier and more convenient for them to research, browse and purchase on the go. Developed using Agile methodology, which has enabled the enhancements to be implemented quickly and efficiently, the website allows customers to check real-time stock availability, pricing, view technical specifications and datasheets, manage their basket and checkout using their RS account or pay by credit card.

Alex von Schirmeister, chief innovation officer at RS, commented: “The mobile-optimised RS website is another key step in our ongoing efforts to improve the online experience for our customers. With our mobile user-base expanding, providing an enhanced mobile-optimised experience is vital and is already helping us to drive more traffic onto our site than ever before.”

Other digital tools that RS provides for free are its RS Toolbox and DesignSpark. The RS Toolbox App combines electronic product reference material with calculation and conversion tools available in an easy-to-use format. It also offers an extensive range of functions, including a multitude of engineering calculators, converters and lookup tables. is an online community for engineers that share the latest product and technology trends and ‘how to’ information on engineering challenges. The site also offers free software downloads for PCB, electrical and mechanical design projects making it easier to bring an engineer’s designs to life.

Plant maintenance products and solutions

The company recently announced a range of plant maintenance products and solutions designed to help companies with planned and emergency maintenance requirements at manufacturing or processing facilities, to equip themselves to maintain operations and extend system life for as long as economically viable.

Key product areas for plant maintenance include tools, consumables, chemicals, cables and cable management, test and measurement, HVAC systems, lighting and a range of automation and control products including sensors and machine guarding.

One important area is enabling engineers to find and deal with electrical problems safely and quickly in hard to reach places inside panels, cabinets or equipment. Key product solutions include wireless inspection and thermal imaging cameras, such as the FLIR CM174 all-in-one clamp meter with built-in thermal imager, power measurement tools from Fluke, lamps from OSRAM, RS Pro safety lockouts, tools for working at height from Facom, and other electrical devices including cables and sockets.

It is essential that production line systems be continuously maintained, as having an early indication of when a unit is operating outside of normal parameters can help avoid equipment failure and reduce downtime. RS offers solutions designed for production line maintenance, covering areas such as process control using sensors, relays and beacons, plus a large range of products for predictive maintenance. Important for predicting failure is the integration of sensors into existing systems or equipment, such as the SKF CMSS 200 vibration sensor, which can be placed on machinery to measure vibration above a pre-set limit and trigger an alarm condition.

RS also provides information on a range of essential workshop products, such as adhesives, tapes, tools, personal protection equipment and labels. For the general identification of items such as bins, beams, and drawers, a standard industrial-strength label can be used, but other applications require more specific types of labels. The Dymo XTL range of labelling products is an example system that makes it easy to create customised labels simply and quickly. Finally, RS also offers a large range of key RS Pro products targeting plant maintenance applications including heavy-duty cabinets and tool modules, lead-acid batteries, LED lamps, extension reels, cable ties and fastener kits.

RS Pro: dependable quality and performance at a fair price gives customers a clear value option

RS Components, is placing a greater focus on its private label business with the launch of the new RS Pro brand, creating a single unifying value proposition for the private label product range. The RS Pro range of more than 40 000 high-quality, competitively priced industrial products and electronic components will evolve and expand over time.

The RS Pro range offers customers a choice where the combination of quality, performance and price create exceptional value. To ensure customers have complete confidence in the RS Pro offering, all products and components will now be backed by the RS Seal of Approval, representing leading industry standards for audit, inspection, test and certification.

The RS Pro range will be more visible and accessible to customers and will be easier to purchase online. The size and reach of the range around the world will increase by identifying opportunities in the portfolio to continuously introduce new products.

Kurt Colehower, president of RS Pro, commented: “We want to build a global product brand that is synonymous with quality, performance and value. RS Pro provides the platform to offer customers a clear value option and allows us to work closely with our key suppliers to fill out specific product categories. RS Pro represents our legacy of more than 75 years of offering our customers proven products at cost-effective prices.”

For more information contact RS Components SA, +27 (0) 11 691 9300,,

Supplied By: RS Components SA
Tel: +27 11 691 9300
Fax: +27 11 466 1577
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