System Integration & Control Systems Design

Hybrid Automation celebrates 10 successful years

November 2015 System Integration & Control Systems Design

The early years

From humble beginnings in a spare room in his home, Sachin Singh has grown Hybrid Automation into a reputable company that specialises in turnkey automation projects, MES development and integration as well as the supply, installation and commissioning of automation and drives, process instrumentation and motion control. Established in 2005, Hybrid Automation has been an approved Siemens systems integrator and partner for almost 10 years, and is also a solutions partner for both Cisco and Motorola.

Singh, who has extensive experience in the market, launched the company with one client – Tiger Brands – a relationship that endures to this day. As the company’s reputation grew, so did its staff count and client footprint. From an initial base that focused on the food and beverage industry, Hybrid Automation branched out into the packaging industry, to become a specialist in micro projects and maintenance of existing systems.

Singh explains that handling these projects was becoming extremely taxing and he decided to institute a staffing programme that would benefit all stakeholders. This comprised employing students from the Durban University of Technology in KwaZulu-Natal. Not only did this provide the company with an enthusiastic and focused casual employee base, but it also provided the students with an excellent opportunity to put into practice what they were learning in the classroom.

Innovation and growth

Today the company tackles medium to large scale projects and boasts a highly qualified staff of 16 people, including 11 in the technical division, comprising electrical installation technicians, software technicians and project planners.

A number of high-profile projects have been undertaken in the intervening years for blue chip clients like Unilever, where Hybrid Automation completed a manufacturing execution system for the Indonsa facility. Hybrid Automation was responsible for providing the entire industrial automation network for the production elements, as well as the scada system. Singh points out that what makes this project so unique is that the company provided half of the integration for Unilever itself and half for Siemens. “There are very few companies that have reached the stage in their relationship where Siemens employs them to install a Siemens system on their behalf. It is an honour that we do not take lightly.”

Another notable project was for a major brewing company that selected Hybrid Automation to provide, install and commission the electrical and automation systems for the brewery’s new-concept alcohol blending plants in Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Mozambique. The company was responsible for the supply of all control systems, including Siemens PLCs and HMIs for the blending of the new product line. All processing equipment was provided by local companies and Hybrid Automation developed a close working relationship with these suppliers to enable a seamless installation.

A reel to reel application in a packaging factory was of a magnitude never before seen in South Africa. The system provided by Hybrid Automation is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the coating and laminating production line. A Siemens 11 axis was installed to undertake the 300 metres/minute process. The system is programmed to undertake automatic splicing of the product on the 1,2 metre-long reel.

The future looks bright

Hybrid Automation is fast gaining a foothold on the African continent and recently completed a contract for one of the world’s largest manufacturers. The provision of the CIP system and ancillaries for a plant in Nigeria sees the complete automation of the cleaning process of all equipment.

A customer-centric attitude and the ability to remain flexible underpin the enviable growth of Hybrid Automation over the past decade. Now, the company plans an expansion of its business into Gauteng and will forge ahead into new markets like the mining industry. “Our ethos is to work like a family, with each member of the team operating synergistically to ensure that client needs are met,” concludes Singh.

For more information contact Sachin Singh, Hybrid Automation, +27(0)31 573 2795,,


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