Category Archives: Client Focus

ON-SITE TESTWORK AT REFINERY PAVES WAY TO QUALITY BOOST

On-site testwork at a South African base metal refinery allowed Multotec to prove its sievebend solution for improving the quality of the customer’s product to market.

According to PJ Pieters, process engineer at Multotec, the refinery was looking for the most efficient way to reduce impurities to less than 200 parts per million in the product stream.

“As the contaminants were found mainly in a specific size fraction, the aim was to remove this fraction by classification using a sievebend,” says Pieters. “To test this proposal, we used our mobile sievebend test unit which we could take onto the customer’s site and link up to one of the product streams in the plant.”

This provided a convenient way to conduct testing under normal plant operating conditions. It also meant there was no need to remove any valuable mineral product from the site, which could demand onerous security compliance procedures. The tests took only a week to conduct, after the mobile units were installed.

“The tests were conducted to reduce impurities and to measure the effect of the sievebend on the downstream screen scroll centrifuge,” he says. “We managed to achieve the product quality goal, while also maintaining optimal centrifuge performance in terms of the customer’s product moisture requirement.”

The addition of a sievebend to the process will not increase the energy costs as the machine is operated under normal gravity conditions and is compact enough to fit inline between existing process equipment.

To withstand the highly corrosive application, the sievebend and its housing were manufactured in stainless steel. By using appropriate sampling techniques, the testwork was able to deliver very representative results. This gave the customer an accurate expectation of the precise results that a full-scale installation would deliver.

“This kind of testwork adds confidence to the customer’s decision to invest in a specific solution,” Pieters says. “It is also part of Multotec’s contribution to continually improve customers’ process efficiency; we work to provide the customer with the best knowledge and products to optimise their plants.”

Another element of the valued added by the sievebend, says Pieters, is that the refinery is likely to save on potential penalties arising from impurity levels in the saleable product. Multotec also provides after-sales optimisation and support to ensure on-going benefit from the innovations applied.

LEVEL 4 ALLOWS SOME CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS TO FLOW

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.”

DON’T LET A FAULTY INJECTION SYSTEM STOP YOUR GENSET

With load shedding expected to return with South Africa’s gradual move out of a Covid-19 lockdown, standby diesel generators need to be checked – especially their diesel fuel injection systems.

“Diesel generators that have been standing idle – or which have low working hours – can often experience fuel injection problems,” says Reef Fuel Injection Services manager Warren Hauser. “This can lead to the generator not starting at that critical time when mains power goes down.”

Hauser urges genset owners to have their systems checked regularly and maintained correctly, especially when there are long periods of inactivity such as the recent lockdown.

“Faulty diesel fuel systems can also lead to more serious engine damage, even failure, when they are not running optimally while power is being drawn,” he says. “The subsequent engine repair costs – not to mention the associated business disruption – far outweigh the costs of professional maintenance.”

Hauser also highlights the danger of diesel becoming contaminated by water and dust when it stands for a long time without being used. Another risk is that the containers employed to bring diesel to the genset tanks can bring contaminants. This will undermine the performance of the fuel injection systems, which in turn affects the genset’s reliability.

For genset owners experiencing problems, Reef Fuel Injection Services offer specialised expertise to pinpoint the fault on diesel fuel injection systems, and to provide a quick and cost effective solution. With state-of-the-art workshop facilities and mobile equipment, the company remanufactures CAT diesel fuel injection systems and is an authorised service agent for all leading manufacturers of diesel fuel injection systems – including Bosch, Delphi, Denso and Stanadyne.

Reef Fuel Injections Services provides OEM-approved testing as well as quality remanufacture and calibration of all these fuel injection systems – with experience spanning a wide range of sizes of power generation units from single-cylinder engines up to large 20-cylinder units.

RIGHT FINISHING PRODUCTS ENHANCE FINAL BUILDING AESTHETICS

Attention to detail ensures the ultimate aesthetic appeal on any building project from selecting the right lighting design right down to the finishing products used for walls, ceilings, windows and doors.

Mentis Africa, specialist in providing durable flooring and handrailing solutions, offers a range of supplementary building products to ensure ultimate finished quality.

Manufactured from quality galvanised steel sheet which is expanded into mesh, Mentis Angle Beads are designed for internal and exterior plaster use. Expanded metal flange wings anchor securely in the full depth of plaster on either side of the arris.

This product provides exterior corner protection and a reliably straight edge for screeding and for forming an arris in plasterwork which resists chipping or cracking. It is ideal for use on all plastered or rendered corners and protects and reinforces plaster where it is most vulnerable.

The metal corner bead is particularly suitable for forming straight edges and exterior corners when plastering for columns.

Mentis Africa Riblath has a number of uses including a plaster backing on ceilings, walls and stud partitions as well as a permanent shuttering for concrete and for refurbishing damaged or aged masonry walls when a key for rendering is not guaranteed due to disintegration or softening of the wall face.

Riblath has also been used in mining application where ventilation shafts need to be closed off for safety. A false wall is created using Riblath as the medium, the walls can be put in place and removed when required for maintenance.

Mentis Africa Riblath is reinforced with herring bone patterned longitudinal ribs to provide greater tensile strength and offer a high degree key of mechanical bonding with plaster or render for an excellent plaster base for all types of walls and ceilings, and fireproofing of steel beam and columns.

Serving as a guide for plastering and as reinforcement at the corner of a wall before plastering, Mentis Africa Plaster Stop also provides a straight edge and finish for plaster at all openings and abutments.

This product is recommended wherever plastered walls finish against tiles, face bricks, skirting, exposed steelwork, and woodwork and it protects and reinforces the plaster whilst providing a neat finish.

Mentis Africa Mentlath 213 provides a key and reinforcement for plaster to minimise cracking. Used where gunite is applied, it is the accepted means of keying plaster or vermiculite to steelwork when fireproofing a steel building and is galvanised to prevent corrosion.

Mentex Corner Mesh comprises general purpose galvanised reinforcement strips used in plaster where cracking is likely to occur due to shrinkage.

Mentex Strip Mesh is used along lines of potential weakness such as door and window frame corners and as a backing for plaster over narrow gaps such as service chases. In addition, it is used as a plaster reinforcing to prevent cracking around airbricks and vents, and as a bond between dissimilar materials at crack-prone areas.

RENEWABLE POWER AT SANDVIK ZIMBABWE CUTS CLIMATE IMPACT

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.

PUMPING EXPERT KEEPS MINES AFLOAT IN LOCKDOWN

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.”

MULTOTEC PLEDGES CUSTOMER SUPPORT DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

While respecting Covid-19 lockdown and other regulations, Multotec has assured customers globally of its technical and sales support, especially to operations declared as essential services.

As a global company serving six continents, Multotec has operations in Canada, Chile, Australia, Europe, China, Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa.

“We certainly find ourselves in challenging times and the global Covid-19 pandemic is giving us the opportunity of modifying the way we do business across the world,” says Multotec CEO Thomas Holtz.

With South Africa currently in lockdown, Multotec is producing only ‘essential services’ products there, but expects to return to full production at the end of the lockdown on 17 April 2020, says Holtz.

“Our manufacturing facilities in China are fully operational, while our facilities in Canada, Chile and Australia are in various stages of operational capacity,” he says. “We have committed to working on weekends and over public holidays over the next months to ensure any order backlogs are caught up and there is the least possible disruption.”

Holtz highlights that where some countries’ mining and power generation operations have been declared by their governments as essential services, Multotec is providing full product and service support from its local bases in these locations.

“The safety of our staff and customers is an absolute priority and every precaution is being taken to ensure the continued health of all our stakeholders,” he says. “At the same time, please be assured that – as far as possible and using various means – we continue to provide full technical and sales support to all our customers, wherever they may be.”

Multotec has taken the worldwide travel restrictions as an opportunity to run online training workshops in multiple languages with many customers in remote locations. There are also informative training videos available on the company’s YouTube channel.

MULTOTEC CENTRIFUGE EXCELS IN FOOD SECTOR

Well known in the mining sector for dewatering and other mineral processing solutions, Multotec Process Equipment has also been growing its footprint in food and chemical applications.

A recent installation by the South Africa-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) successfully assisted a salt producer in Namibia in reducing moisture content in its product. According to Multotec Process Equipment senior process engineer Khathutshelo Mutshinyalo, a fit-for-purpose vibrating centrifuge was the answer in this application.

“The customer had a specific requirement to achieve a low moisture level in their coarse salt application,” Mutshinyalo says. “However, we also needed to prove upfront that our solution would deliver the correct result.”

With its experience and its in-house testing facilities, Multotec was able to define a test work method to meet the customer’s precise needs. It was also able to draw on the capabilities of its state-of-the-art Centrilab technology – developed by sister-company Siebtechnik Tema. The Centrilab tests the separability of suspensions in the centrifugal field, by simulating the particular centrifuge operating conditions.

“This allowed us to specify the optimal machine for the customer, and prove the results before the order was placed,” he says. “The vibrating centrifuge we specified features a maximised area inside the housing, to optimise the dewatering process.”

The result was that Multotec’s centrifuge achieved a moisture content 10% better than the customer’s expectation. Achieving better than the desired moisture content ensures that there is minimal to no formation of lumps in the product, which saves the customer potential penalties.

“By testing to ensure the right solution, and deploying a product specialist and technician on site, we could commission the centrifuge outside South Africa within a week,” he says. He notes that Multotec’s footprint with this technology includes companies in South Africa, Botswana, and Kenya using it for similar applications.

METRIC AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING SUPPORTING ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS DURING COVID-19 IMPOSED LOCKDOWN

Metric Automotive Engineering is committed to supporting customers who are providing essential services during the current lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, while still meeting the required safety regulations.

The company, a leading large diesel engine component remanufacturer, has been granted Essential Services status and is fully operational with a reduced staff complement.

Operations director, Andrew Yorke says companies that have been declared as an essential service need to know that their own support services are fully operational and ready to ensure that they stay on track. This includes all those in transport logistics from vehicles moving essential items such as foodstuffs and medical equipment through to the mining and power generation companies.

“For our current customer base as well as any prospective customers we continue to offer access to quality diesel and gas engine component remanufacturing. All work is done to OEM specifications and ISO quality standards and there is no doubt our customers can continue to rely on us for all their engine component remanufacturing requirements,” Yorke says.

“The safety of both our people and customers is our first priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures aligned with the government regulations and guidelines to protect and keep the team safe and healthy,” Yorke says. “Visiting customers are requested to respect and adhere to our safety procedures, which can be found on our website.”

“As the situation changes on a daily basis, it is imperative that we each do as much as we can to ensure that critical elements of the economy continue to move, while keeping as many people safe. The team at Metric Automotive Engineering fully supports the lockdown restrictions that the government has put in place, and we understand the critical role that we play in keeping the engine running,” Yorke concludes.

MANAGING CHUTE ASSETS CLOSELY CAN CUT MAINTENANCE COSTS

Keeping a closer eye on performance of assets like transfer chutes – and carefully monitoring wear – can save not only the cost of unplanned downtime, but also the cost of potential over-maintenance.

“It is true that too little maintenance is usually what causes problems for transfer point equipment on mines, but over-maintenance is also a luxury that mines can no longer afford,” says Amanda Teessen, maintenance contracts manager at Weba Chute Systems. “Under today’s demanding economic conditions, many mines could improve the impact of their maintenance expenditure by being more vigilant and regularly recording wear data.”

This function can also be outsourced through a maintenance contract with specialised transfer point OEMs like Weba Chute Systems. This is especially advantageous to the end-user as both the equipment and its maintenance requirements become more complex.

“It is not surprising that – as equipment used by mines becomes more technologically advanced –more mines are relying increasingly on the expertise of OEMs,” she says. “Not only do we custom-design and manufacture innovative chute solutions for our customers, but we leverage the latest technology to track the performance of this equipment over time wherever possible.”

This has allowed Weba Chute Systems to develop a detailed database of chute performance on sites all over the world and in a variety of operating conditions. The tracking of wear patterns is critical in applying preventive maintenance on site to optimise uptime.

“For instance, chute lip measurements are taken to gauge the wear rate so we can accurately predict when replacement will be necessary,” she says. “The advantage of this is that the replacement can be scheduled at a convenient time, such as when the mine conducts its usual maintenance shutdown.”

Without this wear data, wear parts are often replaced simply as a matter of course during the mine’s maintenance shutdown time, even though they still have plenty of wear-life.

Teessen says that when a maintenance strategy is more scientifically based, greater value can be delivered by the equipment while the unnecessary replacement of components is avoided.

“Observation, measurement and good data is the foundation of a proactive maintenance programme for chutes and transfer points,” says Teessen. “The information gained from regular inspections will highlight critical areas of wear, allowing the mine to prioritise its asset management in terms of each item’s criticality in the process flow.”

A key benefit of a maintenance contract with Weba Chute Systems is that a history of each chute’s performance and wear patterns can be built up. Various components are analysed including liners, lips, bolts and backplates. Teessen highlights that it is impossible to generalise about wear trajectories on chutes, as each application is so different.

“This is why we custom-design our chutes, so that each will suit the customer’s application requirements and operating conditions,” she says. “Like the design, the chute’s wear rates will depend on operating parameters and what function the chute is intended to serve.”

Variables include the nature of the commodity being mined, moved or treated, with more abrasive materials causing faster wear. Also important is the size of the particles, the volume of material being transferred and the conveyor belt speed. All these aspects are included in the data gathered by Weba Chute Systems to inform its maintenance planning.

“Good asset management also requires attention to upstream aspects of on-site processes,” Teessen continues. “If the aperture size on a grizzly screen is enlarged, for example, the chute it is feeding will experience increased backplate wear. Acting on this prior knowledge, the replacement of that plate can be appropriately scheduled.”

She emphasises that a key aim of sound asset management is to avoid any unexpected equipment failure, as this not only disrupts production, but invariably distracts the mine’s staff from their core responsibilities.

“Artisans like boilermakers – as well as technicians and assistants – are all busy with their own inspections, audits, maintenance and new installations,” she says. “When there is a breakdown, though, many of them get called in to help; it has a negative ripple-effect on many unrelated activities.”

Through close collaboration on a planned maintenance system, OEMs can strengthen their partnerships with mining customers while ensuring that equipment is maintained to the highest standard, says Teessen. “This will also contribute to lowering the total overall cost for the operation.”