ENGINEERING: Sea Diamonds Keep Hytec Busy
Recent Western Cape Business News
HYTEC Cape Town has recently been awarded a large contract by De Beers Marine Namibia for the refurbishment of the mining system hydraulics on one of the mining giant’s offshore mining vessels.
“De Beers Marine Namibia whose business is offshore diamond mining, has been a Hytec customer since 1985. They manage and own a fleet of vessels operating north of the Orange River,” says Iaan du Toit, marine & offshore manager, marine and service department, Hytec Cape Town.
Hytec Cape Town’s continued support to the marine mining industry has developed over the years, and the branch is now able to take on any marine refurbishment work, no matter the size of the project. “With the resources available within the Hytec Group, we are able to draw staff from other operations and can send extra work to other operations when needed,” says Du Toit.
Each vessel of DBMN’s fleet has to undergo a major refit, overhaul, upgrade and systems replacement every three years. DBMN sends these mining vessels to the INPort Division of De Beers Marine in Cape Town to complete. This process is necessary due to redundancy of equipment, and to ensure that systems can continue to deliver the performance required to keep up the demand and output required from production management.
The mining hydraulic refurbishment contract that Hytec Cape Town was awarded, entailed replacing hydraulic equipment on instruction after testing, stripping, reporting, repairing, testing, painting with marine specified paint and installing within four weeks. “Apart from refurbishing the hydraulic cylinders, motors, valves and manifolds, we supplied approximately 1 800 metres of hydraulic hose and the new 160 kW hydraulic pump drive control technology, HS3 to HS4,” says Du Toit.
The refurbished equipment form part of the customer’s process to mine at depths of up to 160 metres with a solid drill string. The mining system is driven by four A2FM 250 cc Bosch Rexroth hydraulic motors, with actual hydraulic power up to 300Kw. The active heave compensation system can operate at wave swells of up to 4.5 metres.
“The refurbishment will reduce downtime and improve equipment efficiency to ensure greater availability of the mining system, and will enable the vessel to stay out mining at sea until it is time for another refurbishment three years from now,” explains Du Toit.
Hytec Cape Town was involved with the original design of the system, installation and commissioning. They also consulted with the customer to upgrade redundant control, and assisted in upgrading the control philosophy of the main hydraulic power unit from HS3 to HS4.
The vessel has returned to the mining area with all systems functional. Two Hytec technicians accompanied the vessel to ensure a smooth handover. “Feedback from the customer has been positive, with the response and control of the main power unit up to standard and the control precise. We will be upgrading a further two mining vessels to the same control philosophy as instructed by DBMN,” says Du Toit.
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