ENGINEERING: Afrox Swaps Plant In Atlantis For Saldana
Recent Western Cape Business News
ECOVAR stands for ECOnomical and VARiable and is a concept developed by Afrox’s parent company, the Linde Group, for supplying standardised oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen via on-site production plants dedicated to supplying a single customer. Linde is the global leader in the supply of ECOVAR plants, having supplied more than 1 000 worldwide to date.
Afrox ECOVAR manager Busty du Preez says the departure of several big companies from the area had rendered the Atlantis plant unfeasible to operate in recent years, while only using the plant on the odd occasion to supply local hydrogen extra demand as well as a back up source for Duferco, an existing hydrogen user.
Due to the site security, risks, and equipment pilferage, a decision was taken to dismantle and relocate this plant onto the Afrox site at Duferco Steel Processing, a longstanding customer located 5 km away from the Port of Saldanha. Duferco, also a major Afrox LPG customer, produces in excess of 600 000 tons per annum of steel products, including hot rolled pickled and oiled, galvanised and cold rolled products, using state-of-the-art technology.
“The plant was dismantled at Atlantis, containerised and transported to Saldanha on a flatbed truck. All pipework was re-used and replicated,” explains Du Preez. “The exercise required meticulous attention to safety procedures throughout its duration and involved tie inn’s to the existing plant pipe work. This required planning and communication with the customer to ensure correct isolation, purging, spading, grinding and welding into existing lines whilst continuous supply to the customer was uninterrupted. The project scope also included the installation of new transformers and switchgear.”
“Despite downtime needed to connect the electrical equipment into the power system, Afrox managed to maintain an uninterrupted electricity supply to our auxiliaries equipment by utilising generators. We also kept our customer supplied with hydrogen, LPG and nitrogen from our buffer storage resources to ensure their production schedules were never compromised.”
“We’re very proud that this exceptionally challenging fast-track project was completed in such a short time. Apart from ensuring Durferco had an uninterrupted supply of hydrogen during the relocation, another of our Western Cape clients, a leading manufacturer and exporter of metal powder precision components, was reliant on us in this period to provide sufficient hydrogen to fulfil a large contract for the European motor industry.”
Previously the Afrox ECOVAR team relocated a MINIGAN plant from the same site in Atlantis to a Linde client in Austria. MINIGAN is a containerised standard cryogenic plant for the production of high purity nitrogen gas and is suitable for outdoor installation on simple foundations. This type of plant is based on liquid inject technology.
The MINIGAN had been standing idle after a contract cancellation and was successfully relocated to pharmaceutical company Sandoz in Austria. This unique project was also completed within budget and on time.
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