A generator set installation at a Cape Town private hospital will soon be commissioned by Zest WEG, providing a plug-and-play solution with high reliability and minimal downtime.

“In a design that suited the hospital’s severe space constraints, Zest WEG built the generator, transformer and remote radiator into special ISO shipping containers in a double-stack configuration,” Johannes Nel, operations manager – production at Zest WEG. “The contract also included the refurbishment of the client’s existing 1,000 KVA 400V MTU open-type generator which was included in the solution.”

The new genset expands the hospital’s standby generating capacity to 1 MVA continuous rating, allowing 100% of the institution’s functions to continue as normal during periods of load-shedding. Nel also highlights that reliable supply was key to the hospital’s safe and efficient operation, whether from mains or back-up supply.

To reduce the project lead time as much as possible, the delivery of certain imported components was arranged well in advance. The containerised solution was constructed and extensively tested at the Zest WEG genset manufacturing facility in Epping, saving time during installation.

“It was critical that any downtime be kept to an absolute minimum, as hospitals need to run continuously,” Nel says. “With our expertise, product range and experience in the health sector, our design, installation and commissioning strategy was able to align closely with this priority.”

A dry-type step-up transformer allows the generator to connect to the 11 KV council electricity supply council supply, which will reduce hospital downtime during commissioning. The resin-sealed transformer also provides a long-lasting solution with low maintenance and a high safety factor due to the absence of oil as a coolant.

Nel explains that another vital concern was the hospital’s proximity to a residential area, demanding that the noise level of the generator be kept within strict limits. This requirement was successfully achieved during testing, with the noise level kept within 65 decibels at a distance of seven metres.

In addition to conducting a complete engine rewiring, Zest WEG also upgraded the generator controller, giving the customer improved ability to monitor the generator’s operation during load-shedding. The modern controls help protect the generator and optimise the lifespan of critical equipment.

While certain aspects of the contract’s timing have been affected by Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the final commissioning and handover to the client is projected for the end of May.


Responding quickly with the right solutions, Integrated Pump Rental has continued as a secondary emergency supplier throughout the lockdown, including helping to dewater a coal mine in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“The customer urgently needed fit-for-purpose dewatering equipment to prevent flooding in the open pit,” says Henru Strydom, operations manager at Integrated Pump Rental. The unexpected failure of one of the mine’s own pumps came at a bad time. The national coronavirus lockdown meant that it would be some time before pump repairs were possible. Some heavy downpours aggravated the situation, demanding that there be no delay in pit dewatering.

The answer came in the form of a Sykes HH130 high-head diesel-driven pump. The rugged, five tonne unit was promptly delivered to site by truck, and transferred to an on-site trailer for easy mobility. The six-inch pump is capable of pumping at a head of over 140 metres high at a flow of between 80 to 90 litres per second.

“From our experience of the mining sector, we know that water in a coal mine is acidic,” Strydom says. “The complete pump-end we supplied was, therefore, of stainless steel construction to resist corrosion and ensure reliability and uptime.”

Lockdown regulations allowed those coal mines supplying to state power producer Eskom to continue their operations during Alert Level 5 ,even as most business activity came to a standstill. Rainfall across much of the coal-producing province of Mpumalanga raised the risk of flooding and led to Integrated Pump Rental also delivering solutions to a number of its customers there during the lockdown.

Strydom emphasises that, in addition to maintaining their vital dewatering activities, mines gain other benefits from renting pumps. There is no large capital outlay, for instance, and running costs can be controlled.

“The renting option means that we handle the maintenance, so that mines can better control their costs,” he says. “We also ensure the pump’s optimal performance, so that mines don’t risk costly downtime.”


Transnet’s upgrade of its port facility at Saldanha Bay will include dry-type transformers from specialist company Trafo Power Solutions.

The company is supplying specialised transformers for the Tippler 3 project at the iron ore load-out station. Factory-acceptance testing was completed in December 2019, according to Trafo Power Solutions managing director David Claassen. Delivery to site is scheduled for February 2020.

The construction of a third tippler at the Saldanha Bay port is to sustain iron ore export volumes of 60 million tons per year when the existing tipplers are refurbished in future. It will integrate with the rail system bringing ore via the 860 km line from mines in the Northern Cape. Key aspects of the new infrastructure comprise the 285 tonne tippler itself, a loading vault below ground and a conveyor tunnel. New buildings, service roads, bridges, railway lines, conveyors, lighting and bulk electrical supply infrastructure are also part of Transnet’s upgrade project.

Trafo Power Solutions’ contract was for the design, supply and commissioning of five dry-type transformers. There are two 1000 kVA units and a 3150 kVA unit, both stepping down from 11 kV to 400 V. The other two units are 3500 kVA and 4500 kVA capacity respectively, taking 11 kV to 3,3 kV.

To resist the corrosive sea air, all the transformer enclosures will be manufactured from 3CR12 grade of stainless steel. The enclosures are also to be IP33-rated to ensure a high level of ingress protection against moisture and dust.

“The enclosure design also incorporates cable boxes and Type C, totally enclosed plug-in bushings for the terminations,” he says. “This provides a boot covering which is touch-potential safe, and also provides for efficient plug-and-play installation.”

This is a significant improvement on the regular lug and bolt copper connection, which would just be shrouded by a heat-shrunk material. The special terminations also facilitate easier maintenance or removal.

“The units will provide the medium-voltage supply for the Tippler 3 project and its associated infrastructure, including equipment like conveyors,” he says. “All the transformers will be supplying non-linear load to a certain extent, so they have been designed with a K-factor of four.”

The K-factor is a measure of a transformer’s ability to withstand the heating effects of non-sinusoidal harmonic currents created by electronic equipment. The higher the K-factor, the greater the harmonic heating effects.

As dry-type transformers are cooled without the use of oil, these units will receive forced ventilation when a preset temperature is reached. This ventilation is provided from a row of fans which Trafo Power Solutions has designed to be bolted below the location of the transformers.

Designed locally by Trafo Power Solutions, these dry-type transformers are manufactured in Italy by strategic partners TMC Transformers, experts in cast resin transformer technology. All products are routinely factory-tested according to IEC standards, but type-testing and special testing can also be conducted.

“The standard applicable to dry-type power transformers is IEC 60076-11,” Claassen says. “TMC’s advanced laboratory facilities allow us to conduct the full range of tests in-house, in accordance with what these standards and whatever other requirements are designated by the customer.”

At Saldanha, Trafo Power Solutions is also responsible for building auxiliary protection and control panels, which it locates remotely from the transformers. These include temperature control sensors that communicate with the port’s broader control and monitoring network.


Its growing reputation for prompt and cost effective dredging in the mining sector has extended the work of Integrated Pump Rental into tackling sewage settlement ponds.

A recent contract at a wastewater treatment plant is part of a strong flow of repeat business from South Africa’s platinum mines, according to Ruaan Venter, rental development manager at Integrated Pump Rental. This particular plant was operated by the mine, but also served the local municipality and nearby communities.

“Using our specialised SlurrySucker dredging equipment, we could quickly dredge the sewage pond before there was any danger of overflow,” says Venter. “Regular monitoring and dredging of these facilities allows them to effectively settle the sewage flowing in, and keep the system operating well.”

He notes that the SlurrySucker uses a pump with an open-vane, non-clogging impeller – an important innovation in these applications as there are still solid objects and sanitary products that could block a normal pump.

“The design of our system, and the way it channels water flow to agitate the settled material, ensures that there is no chance of damaging the pond liner,” he says. “This is also vital in protecting the environment from any leakage or contamination.”

Population growth in many of areas of the country means that wastewater treatment plants are often under increasing load, leading to sewage ponds filling with sludge more quickly. These ponds would usually need to be dredged about once a year, says Venter.

Where conditions demand more frequent dredging, he says there is also an option for customers to purchase their own SlurrySucker units. Training is provided by Integrated Pump Rental to upskill local workers in the correct operation of the equipment.


Taking advantage of the mining industry slowdown over the Christmas period, Booyco Electronics equipped another South African platinum mine with its latest Level-9 Ready PDS system.

According to Pieter Wolfaardt, chief operating officer at Booyco Electronics, this rapid installation and commissioning was an important compliance step for the mine, and was achieved with minimal impact on its productivity.

“The industry is hard at work to meet Level 9 compliance by the end of 2020,” Wolfaardt says. “By working through the annual slowdown, we were able to avoid disrupting the production cycle while further enhancing the mine’s safety levels.”

Booyco Electronics has been a leader in developing and testing proximity detection systems that incorporate collision avoidance technology and comply with the required Level 9 standard. At this level, electronic systems are required to take mechanical control of trackless mining machinery (TMM) and automatically slow it down or bring these to a stop when detecting a dangerous and significant risk situation.

The recent contract involved equipping 35 underground vehicles with Booyco CXS PDS systems, the third and latest generation of Booyco Electronics’ offering. It included the fitment of 595 Exsence cap lamps, complete with intelligent buzzers and CXS tags, for pedestrians. Testing facilities for all equipment were also installed – in the form of test stations for lamps and vehicles – to ensure every item is fully functional before going underground.

“Great teamwork from our Rustenburg branch – led by our area manager Carel Snyman – in collaboration with the mine’s staff allowed us to respond immediately to the mine’s order and collectively complete the installation and commissioning in just 19 days,” Wolfaardt says.

Among the vehicles on which the Booyco CXS equipment was installed were load-haul-dumpers (LHDs), utility vehicles and personnel carriers, as well as a rock breaker, an ambulance and a road grader.

Wolfaardt highlights that training is a vital element in ensuring that PDS equipment is used effectively. Skilled training personnel from Booyco Electronics were able to train 50 TMM operators and 407 pedestrians before the mine resumed full operations in January 2020.

“Our local manufacturing capacity means that we can control and reduce lead times, giving customers unmatched availability,” he says. “Our quick delivery and installation times are matched by high levels of local support through our footprint of qualified technicians and offices throughout South Africa.”

The mine has also engaged Booyco Electronics through a service level agreement which will include regular preventive maintenance and condition auditing. The software in the equipment provided will also be updated whenever updates are developed, ensuring that safety performance remains at the leading edge of industry standards.


As the gradual re-opening of the economy begins, the first steps in relaxing South Africa’s national coronavirus lockdown will allow critical supplies of cement and construction material to reach specified markets.

“With the lowering of the national coronavirus level to Alert Level 4, the new regulations permit AfriSam to resume some of its production and to supply certain customers,” Richard Tomes, sales and marketing executive at AfriSam, says. “The company will now be supplying aggregate, readymix and cement products to permitted Alert Level 4 customers.”

The changes were recently signed into law by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in terms of provisions in the Disaster Management Act. Tomes highlights that, despite this relaxation in the regulations, there will still be stringent safety procedures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

“All visitors to our sites will be required to adhere to strict procedures – aligned to the current regulations – which remain in place,” he says. “These will apply to all permitted customers who will be collecting product at AfriSam sites.”

He also emphasises that AfriSam staff adhere closely to regulations when making deliveries to customer sites. This includes the wearing of masks at all times, sanitising and maintaining appropriate social distance.

“We understand that these are difficult and challenging times for the industries we serve, and are doing what we can to support the economy’s partial recovery after the first phase of the lockdown,” he says.

“At the same time, we will be keeping all other visits to customer sites by AfriSam employees to an absolute minimum. These will only take place if they are critical, and if they are permitted under Alert Level 4 restrictions.”


Solar power is driving Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s world-class facility in Zimbabwe, already saving the company over 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.  

Promoting Sandvik’s sustainability goals, the Harare-based operation kicked off its solar power journey in 2017 with an 18-month Phase One project. This included strengthening the roof of the remanufacture facility to accommodate the weight of some 400 solar panels.

Using local contractors and expertise, the project was soon generating 50 kW of power to the facility. In Phase Two, another 50 kW of capacity was added. The installation now supplies about 75% of requirements, and plans are afoot to provide 100% of demand with another 30 to 50 kW of capacity.

“This takes our Harare facility to the next level in terms of technology and sustainability,” Ian Bagshaw, territory manager Zimboz – Southern Africa at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says.

In an unusual design, the system operates with no battery storage, consuming the energy as it is generated. This substantially reduced the cost outlay for the project, enabling an efficient payback period of just nine years.

The solar journey has not been limited to the facility’s buildings. Over the past year, it has also been extended to the homes of employees. In a pilot project, standalone domestic solar power systems were designed, tested and installed. The combined impact so far amounts to about 35 kW of renewable energy.

“We will provide loans to staff members wanting to install solar power at home, empowering them to further reduce climate impact,” Bagshaw says. “We will roll out this programme in 2020 through an offer to all staff, and we expect an enthusiastic uptake.”

He estimates that the company’s domestic solar programme could soon produce a total of about 300 kW of renewable energy.

Well-regarded throughout the Sandvik Group, the Harare facility focuses mainly on the remanufacture of Sandvik trucks, loaders, drills and bolters.

“Our workshop is fully accredited and works to OEM standards,” Bagshaw says. “This high quality of workmanship allows us to provide full warranties on the machines we strip down and rebuild.”

The facility is also an important training resource for Zimbabwe, developing diesel plant fitters, millwrights and electricians. It accommodates about 40 apprentices in training at any one time; currently around 30% of these are women. The facility also provides work-related learning to other companies’ employees in the region and is a government accredited trade testing centre.


Helping the coal and power sector to keep the country’s lights on during the Covid-19 lockdown, essential service provider Integrated Pump Rental is also on hand as other mines now start gearing up their operations.

“As process plants ramp up their production over coming weeks, many are likely to experience challenges related to having been shut down,” says Lee Vine, managing director of Gauteng-based Integrated Pump Rental.

“These problems might include pipeline blockages, pump failures and lack of storage capacity in process water ponds. This is exactly where we can step in with a solution to see them through.”

Experts in dewatering, water transfer and dredging, Integrated Pump Rental has been active throughout the lockdown period to date, responding to urgent requests from coal mines and power producers.

“As a 365-day-a-year operation, we have always worked 24/7 with customers in need,” says Vine. “For the lockdown, we geared up quickly with all the necessary hygiene infrastructure, as well as the documentation and permissions to facilitate a quick response to emergencies.”

“Keeping our teams safe during this global pandemic is top-of-mind for us, as well as ensuring the safety of all people on sites where we operate. These measures will continue to be stringently adhered to, irrespective of the site where our teams are operating,” he says.

With equipment ranging from powerful high-head, high-flow mobile dewatering pumps to submersible pumps and specialised dredging units, the Integrated Pump Rental fleet serves a range of industry demands. Experienced staff ensures that these units are applied effectively in every application.

“During the lockdown, we have already had to dewater a flooding coal mine in KwaZulu-Natal and respond to an urgent request in the petro-chemical sector,” Vine says. “For vital dewatering applications, our range of diesel pumps can run unattended for 24 hours at a time while our submersible pumps can run indefinitely. We also advise customers on the best and most cost effective solutions.”


Zest WEG has delivered a locally manufactured main power transformer to a wind farm project near Swellendam in the Western Cape.

The 45MVA transformer will receive 33kV from the wind turbines and step this up to 132 kV for the main power grid. Stuart Brown, sales team leader, transformer division at Zest WEG, says the design and construction of the power transformers shows the high level of expertise and technical capacity in South Africa.

“With two of the few local transformer manufacturing operations in the country, we have the added advantage of being able to draw on the technical experience of our parent company, the world-wide WEG group,” says Brown. “In designing power transformers for renewable applications, we gain valuable insights and important skills transfer from WEG experts in the US and Brazil.”

Brown highlights, for instance, that the high harmonics content is a feature of the inconsistent cycles associated with renewable energy sources. This requires a specialised design and manufacturing capacity to ensure that a transformer in this application delivers its intended lifespan and high reliability.

He says the local manufacture of main power transformers can contribute significantly to the local content of renewable power projects, which by their nature must import much of their specialised equipment. This helps project developers to comply with the Department of Trade and Industry’s local content requirements.

“Zest WEG’s B-BBEE Level 1 status allows renewable energy developers and contractors to align their projects with South Africa’s transformation goals,” he adds.

The transformer was built at Zest WEG’s Heidelberg facility which, combined with the WEG global operations, offers the market more than 30 years of experience in the design and production of larger power transformers. Following comprehensive testing at the facility’s laboratory in 2019, the transformer was delivered to site and assembled under the supervision of Zest WEG engineers in January 2020. They also conducted full on-site testing of the unit, as well as cold commissioning.

“The size of the transformer – at 5,7 metres high and 7 metres long – meant that it could not be transported in one piece,” Brown says. The total weight of the assembled unit is 70 tonnes.

Ongoing technological improvements and constant upgrades at the Heidelberg plant ensures its state-of-the-art capability. The testing conducted at the factory includes lightning impulse withstand tests and temperature-rise tests, especially relevant to simulate the potentially high temperatures where transformers are located.


Kwatani’s objective to position itself as an expert and advisor for screening applications has seen it execute a project that successfully delivered optimised throughput performance for one of the largest coal mining companies in South Africa.

Kwatani was brought in to consult on possible solutions to assist one of the largest coal processing plants in the country, not only return its screening throughput performance to its original design parameters but to increase it further as well.

“Having evaluated the challenges on site and consulted extensively with the plant personnel, we determined that the suggestion to incorporate a bigger gearbox onto the screen would fail,” says Kwatani chief operating officer Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers.

The screen lifespan was in excess of six years and Kwatani determined that it would not be able to accommodate substantially larger gearboxes offering 50% more output than the  currently installed exciter gearboxes. “This would have resulted in irreplaceable damage to the screens,” Mayhew-Ridgers states.

Because the customer was also looking for a quick and cost effective solution, purchasing new screens with larger vibration capabilities was not an option.

Having evaluated the challenge, Kwatani realised the simplicity of the solution. “The plant was achieving 450 tph on 480 tph screens and was looking to increase this to about 525 tph. This equated to roughly a 17% increase in performance. Replacing the screen’s existing gearboxes with those that could deliver greater vibration but would not exceed  the output torque that the 37 kW drive motor could provide was the answer,” Mayhew-Ridgers outlines.

With a range of locally designed and manufactured exciters gearboxes in its portfolio, Kwatani was quickly able to provide the customer with two new exciter gearboxes which were delivered to site, installed and operational in the two week time frame the customer was looking for. “The increase in screen throughput was immediate.”

The success of the retrofit saw Kwatani secure the order to replace the customer’s three additional screens with new exciter gearboxes which are now currently operating at 550 tph – 22% more than the original requirement. “Our success has proven our capabilities and screening knowledge and we have further secured all the screen repair work as well,” Mayhew-Ridgers adds.

“We have positioned this business to offer expertise that extends beyond the supply of screening equipment. Our product knowledge enables us to correctly specify the right equipment and components for the application – in a case-by-case scenario,” he concludes.