Forging and steel industries both affected by unpredictable steel price


Owing to the volatile and unpredictable steel price from local raw steel mills, the steel industry is looking less to locally-forged parts and equipment, and more to imports, says steel supplier and processing company Allied Steelrode.

“As an industry – and in common with the forging industry – we are also really at the mercy of the current steel price volatility. As much as we believe in purchasing locally, and would really like to continue doing so, this pricing volatility is making imports so much more attractive right now.

“The South African forging sector is therefore struggling to cope with the challenges currently facing their industry, as are we,” Allied Steelrode executive director Warne Rippon points out.

He explains that the forging and foundry industry is consequently having to compete against the resulting dramatic increase in foreign imports from countries such as China.

“We are affected by this situation to the degree that we – like many others in local industry – are now forced to source parts from overseas rather than locally, thereby inadvertently contributing to the knock-on effect being experienced by the local forges and foundries sector,” he states.

For these reasons, and in common with the steel industry, the future of the local forges and foundries sector, therefore, depends a lot on how the local steel mills position themselves and their pricing policies moving forward.

Allied Steelrode CEO Arun Chadha further notes that the forges and foundries industry depends largely on the supply of scrap metal for its source material. With a comparative lack of large infrastructure projects and less steel being used, the supply of scrap metal has decreased commensurately.

Allied Steelrode produces scrap metal that it sends to local forges and foundries to be used in the creation of more steel products. On a positive note, the steel industry is seeing an improvement in certain markets owing to exports of finished products.

“Between 2015 and 2017, the volumes of imported steel decreased nationally by about 50%. However, Allied Steelrode continues to import products that are not manufactured locally at a rate of about 3 500 t a month. These steel imports are sourced from Europe and from China. And, due to the current steel pricing volatility, we will be forced to look at increasing our imports,” he states.

Chadha highlights further that the lead time to import steel from other countries has had a low impact on the way that the company works in the last two years. This is owing to the company finding locally sourced steel before looking to the international market. Chadha explains that a common steel that the company imports is high tensile steel that is used in the automotive industry.

“For automotive grade steel, the lead time to import it is admittedly quite long. But then again, Allied Steelrode is aware of this, and thus plans accordingly six months in advance,” he says, highlighting further that this helps the company ensure that it supplies its customers with a consistent supply of high tensile steel.


Improved quality and productivity reduce production costs


As the leading supplier of gases and welding equipment and machinery in sub-Saharan Africa, industrial gases company Afrox continues to provide innovative welding solutions to the Southern African market by introducing new products and technology.

The latest of these is welding equipment manufacturer Miller Electric’s PipeWorx process, a multipurpose pipe welding solution that eliminates the need for high-level pipe welding skills while simultaneously improving quality and productivity.

Afrox has been the exclusive distributor of Miller welding equipment in South Africa for over 50 years and first tested the PipeWorx process in 2012. After extensive research and development, the company is now ready to put its weight behind this innovative pipe welding technology and encourage its application in the South African market.

Afrox manufacturing business manager Johann Pieterse says the PipeWorx process is particularly advantageous for power generation and petrochemicals applications where productivity and quality can be improved.

“PipeWorx can be used to achieve quality welds on pipes from one gas and one wire which means greater productivity, less inventory and improved ease of use. It is also a less expensive process than tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding and reduces the need for highly skilled welders, therefore resulting in a strong base for skills localisation and increasing economic competitiveness,” notes Pieterse.

He explains that, conventionally, pipe welding calls for exceptional quality requirements using TIG and manual metal arc (MMA) gas welding processes, but these skills are difficult to find locally and often imported into the country.

“Both TIG and MMA processes require high levels of skills to achieve quality, flaw-free welds. Miller’s PipeWorx process can reduce the requirement for specialised pipe welding skills while at the same time improving quality and productivity.”

Pieterse adds that this easier process can potentially be used by a field of less-skilled welders and as a result, improve job creation and employment in South Africa’s welding industry.

The PipeWorx process allows TIG-quality welding to be achieved using the advantages of simpler gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and uses the same welding equipment for the root, fill and capping passes. It incorporates two advanced GMAW welding control options.

The first GMAW option is regulated metal deposition (RMD) welding optimised for root welding and producing precisely controlled metal transfer, making it easier for the welder to control the power and the weld pool. The RMD current waveform anticipates and controls the short circuit current phase of the process to improve the consistency of the metal transfer and short circuit stability.

This not only reduces splatter but also produces less turbulence in the weld pool, allowing the welder to control the position of the weld pool and avoid cold lapping and washing of molten metal up the side walls, ultimately producing consistent quality root welds in terms of both fusion and weld bead profile.

ProPulse, for fill and capping passes – the second GMAW option – is an open arc pulsed solution that offers high speed and deposition rates, as well as a fast freezing puddle and good weld-pool controllability. It further accommodates narrow joints, and both vertical up and vertical down welding is possible.

“PipeWorx is not just a product, but rather a complete welding solution that introduces new technology into the market and will add value for our customers,” says Pieterse.

He mentions that the company has a welding laboratory in South Africa that is dedicated to continued market development and have the unique ability to test new products as well as offer entire support packages including new application development, on site optimisation and implementation followed by extensive skills training.

PipeWorx is available as PipePro 400 for fabrication shops and FieldPro 350 for site work. Both are multi-process, inverter-based welding power sources, purpose-built for advanced and convenient pipe welding and include embedded MMA, TIG, flux-cored, and GMA conventional welding modes.

The PipeWorx system, and its associated machinery, equipment and training, is available in South Africa exclusively through Afrox.


Fiber laser available locally for steel industry


With the developments in sheet metal cutting technology over the past 30 years having been remarkable, the latest developments in fiber laser technology are taking sheet steel component production to even higher output and quality levels, and are now available locally, according to a March announcement from cutting consumables and capital equipment distributor First Cut.

Cutting and bending solutions provider Bystronic offers the steel industry the ultimate in productivity solutions. By linking its flagship ByStar 10 kW fiber laser to a ByTrans loader, it is now possible to automate production to a far greater level than was possible previously.

In South Africa, First Cut represents Bystronic exclusively, and has done for many years. Bystronic’s 10 kW ByStar Fiber laser, introduced at Euroblech in 2016, is to date Bystronic’s most powerful laser on the market. The ByStar Fiber’s new cutting head will deliver the highest part output through the full spectrum of sheet thicknesses, from thin gauge up to 30 mm, with an impressive part accuracy. It will also cut other ‘exotic’ materials such as aluminium, brass and copper without the need for deburring. In terms of productivity, the ByStar Fiber is up to five times faster than a 4 kW CO2 laser.

Even compared with a 6 kW fiber laser, the time to complete a job on 6 mm steel could be cut in half and the cost for each part reduced by as much as 35%.

As the ByStar was designed from the ground up to be the most productive fiber laser on the market, it incorporates a number of other noteworthy design features. A newly developed ultra-fast bridge frame which is more torsionally rigid, gives greater accuracy and better edge quality. Bystronic’s detection eye technology identifies the edge of the sheet in six seconds, allowing cutting right up to the edge of the sheet with great accuracy. This significantly reduces a fabricator’s scrap rate.

However, the ByStar’s notable new levels of productivity could be diluted if the loading and unloading of the machine are not able to match its superior production rate. To maximise the ByStar’s productivity potential, Bystronic therefore developed a range of loading and unloading automation solutions. Notable among these, the ByTrans Extended loaders are linked to the ByStar and will automatically load sheets onto the laser’s shuttle table. After the cutting cycle is completed, they are able to unload finished parts and residual sheets.

The ByTrans requires only 60 seconds in which to carry out the complete loading and unloading cycle. This means that the automation system is always faster than the cutting plan that is being processed. For fabricators or manufacturers, this means that the laser can cut uninterrupted for an extensive period of time. While the ByTrans loads one shuttle table, the fiber laser is cutting components from the raw material on an alternate table.

The ByTrans and the ByTrans Extended are operated using the ByVision touch screen. Bystronic has seamlessly integrated the control of the two automation systems into the laser’s operating software, which enables users to perform all the operating steps on a single touch screen.

The development of these automation technologies is part of Bystronic’s overarching aim to provide its customers with unsurpassed productivity solutions, ultimately leading to greater profitability.

Bending Technology

In other distribution news, First Cut has also brought Bystronic’s award-winning Xpert 40 press brake/Mobile Bending Cell combination to South Africa, the company noted in February.

Bystronic’s Mobile Bending Cell was recognised with an award for innovative solutions in the field of sheet-metal processing at the Blechexpo 2017 exhibition. This bending technology is available in South Africa from First Cut.

Global fabrication is demanding an ever-greater variety of sizes and shapes of bent parts. Bystronic’s Mobile Bending Cell, which operates in tandem with Bystronic’s Xpert 40 press brake, provides a solution to this challenge with a notable compact design. In fact, the Xpert 40 was designed to be transportable by forklift, so that it can be easily moved for optimised deployment.

With the combination of automation and press brake, it is still possible to bend ‘one-off’ components. By moving the Mobile Bending Cell to one side, one can take manual control. When it is time to start a production run, the Mobile Bending Cell can be quickly and easily re-engaged, as it automatically aligns itself with the Xpert 40.

Although compact, the Xpert 40 still features a noteworthy 40-t bending capacity and can carry out 1 028 bends an hour – three times more than larger press brakes. The ByMotion control system provides for high levels of dynamics with bending speeds of more than 25 mm/sec.


Welding company embarks on massive expansion


Secunda-based welding company Hydra Arc – ISO 3834 certified by the Southern African Institute of Welding Certification has grown into a leading South African specialised welder that provides services for Southern Africa’s petrochemicals, power, mining and minerals processing industries.

The company offers services in plant refinery maintenance and specialist turnaround contracts; the fabrication of heavy equipment, modular plant, pressure vessels and water tanks; and turnkey on-site construction services and repairs.

Owing to a lack of new investment in plant development in the heavy fabrication sector, Hydra Arc is undertaking a massive expansion of its Sky Hill facility to position the company as the ‘can-do’ destination for local and regional work that can only currently be accommodated overseas.

“From a machining perspective, we know of several cases where large components had to be sent to China for machining after being fabricated here,” says Hydra Arc engineering manager Ewan Huisamen.

He adds that the lack of large machining capacity also results in whole fabrication contracts being awarded overseas, despite the huge associated transportation costs.

The Sky Hill Heavy Engineering facility was opened in October 2009 to service the growing need for replacement and new plant components.

Completed projects include five 446 t, 59 m propylene bullets that were heat treated as a single piece in the company’s purpose-built 66 m furnace and the fabrication of 24 interconnectable plant modules for petrochemicals group Sasol’s Coal Tar Filtration East project, several of which have a mass of over 400 t.

“We have pioneered the local fabrication of a new approach to plant design and construction, an approach that strives to maximise the amount of factory-based fabrication and minimise on-site construction time,” explains Huisamen.

He says the company can complete the fabrication of all five bullets, under factory conditions over six months, but this is a project that could take up to several years to complete if undertaken on site.

“With a length of 500 m and a 23 m width, the near-complete Bay 4 of Sky Hill features a hook height raised to 19 m and a total lifting capacity of 1 500 t. Most notably, a state-of-the-art machine shop is currently being installed to complete the company’s factory-based manufacturing capability for heavy modules and plant equipment.”

He enthuses that the centrepiece of the new bay is a tandem horizontal boring mill from engineering company TOS Varnsdorf, the first machine of its kind globally.

Huisamen says the machine consists of two milling stations that travel along opposite ends of a 33 m common rail, allowing two independent machining operations to be completed on the same equipment simultaneously.

A floor-level bed 36 m long by 8.0 m wide sits in front of the rail and incorporates two rotary platforms that can handle 60 t and 40 t workpieces respectively.

“Setup times will be halved on very big fabrications as we have the capacity to machine both ends at the same time. Machining of 33 m in the x–, 5.0 m in the y– and 1.0 m in the z-direction can be accommodated on fabrications of up to 5.0 m high,” says Hydra Arc machine shop superintendent Gert Swanepoel.

He enthuses that with the new machine, along with the workflow and capacities of the supporting machines, the company aims to provide a cost-effective and time-saving service that is at or above international quality standards.

Swanepoel explains that what is critical to the modular plant approach is that, once on site, interconnectivity with other modules is seamless and precise.

Despite jigging and accurate clamping, machine tool tolerances are impossible to achieve through fabrication alone, he adds.

“This tandem TOS Varnsdorf boring mill allows us to machine heavy plant modules, pressure vessels, columns or heat exchangers to the precise tolerances required. It gives us a capability previously unavailable anywhere in Africa,” Swanepoel says.

In addition to the new Bay 4 and its machine shop, Bays 1 to 3 at Sky Hill are also being extended to the full 500 m length. “We have to move our heat-treatment furnace to accommodate the expansion and, in the process, we intend to upsize it to 15 × 15 × 80 m,” Huisamen reveals.

Skills Development

Hydra Arc prides itself on skills development and the use of local skills with its company’s Mshiniwami Training Academy, which has the capacity to train up to 1 000 artisans every year.

“This highly successful business, which feeds the needs of the Hydra Arc Group as well as the country’s fabrication industry, is a vital component for economic growth,” Huisamen suggests.

Mshiniwami offers practical skills development in boilermaking, pipefitting, welding and grinding, with the more competent trainees having the opportunity to complete their trade tests and to become fully fledged qualified artisans.

“While current work is mostly related to shutdowns or turnarounds at Sasol, crude oil refinery Sapref and international energy company Chevron, our current investments in Sky Hill clearly demonstrate our faith in the future of South Africa, its fabrication industry and the economy in general,” Huisamen concludes.


Delays in biofuel framework hinder industry

Scion Industrial ENgineering

Despite the local sugar industry championing a bioethanol fuel subsidy as a potential method to relieve the burden on sugar through demand diversification, Ethanol Producers Association of Southern Africa secretary Alf Stevens suggests that this may not have the timely impact that the local sugar industry is hoping for.

In a speech delivered on his behalf at an energy conference held in Cape Town in October, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced that the South African government planned to finalise the biofuel blending regulatory framework that it first initiated in 2012 and have it approved by Cabinet by the end of March next year.

This move has since been widely praised by sugar industry stakeholders such as the South African Sugar Association (SASA) and nonprofit anti-trade dumping organisation FairPlay, as a viable opportunity to diversify local sugar demand within South Africa.

The speech outlined government’s plans to implement a mandatory blend of at least 2% ethanol in petrol, which industry hopes will be enough to stimulate the distressed sugar sector as well as encourage the growth and development of fuel ethanol producers. SASA believes that, should a bioethanol mix become mandatory, sugar would become an important contributor to South Africa’s fuel security. It suggests that this can result in increased sugar production, significant investment in ethanol plants and the creation of thousands of jobs.

However, despite Stevens’ belief that bioethanol should be subsidised in South Africa – as it is in countries such as the US and Brazil – he adds that the time in which it would take to implement the proposed biofuel mix may present a problem to the embattled industry.

However, Stevens mentions that, even if the regulatory framework is attractive, the first ethanol for biofuel would only reach the petrol blenders by the end of 2021 at the earliest.

He further explains that bioethanol production for fuel is currently the only form of ethanol-based product that will bolster sugar cane production locally. While ethanol can be used to produce a variety of products – including pharmaceuticals, liquor and paint – local ethanol production currently greatly outstrips demand.

Stevens states that up to 60% of locally produced ethanol is currently being exported. He further mentions that, owing to the global sugar glut, several countries have already begun to divert production to ethanol as a means of curbing the oversupply of sugar. He states that, as a result, the international price for ethanol has declined.

Stevens concludes that owing to reduced global prices, exporting large quantities of ethanol from new unsubsidised capacity would not be profitable for local producers.


Egypt’s Carbon Holdings secures $1.25bn to build petrochemicals complex

Scion Industrial Engineering

Egypt’s Carbon Holdings has secured $1.25-billion in financing to build a giant petrochemicals complex in the Red Sea port of Ain Sokhna.

The Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex, a $10.9-billion project, would be the largest in the Middle East and is expected to create 48 000 jobs.

Carbon signed the financing contract with Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a Lagos-based development financier, on the sidelines of an Africa business forum in the resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, the Egyptian Cabinet said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement cited Carbon Holdings CEO Basil El-Baz as saying the company had signed several financing agreements worth $5.4-billion.

Sanjeev Gupta, AFC executive director for financial services, was quoted in the statement as saying: “We are proud of our partnership with Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex which will be a major breakthrough in one of the most important petrochemical industries in the region.”

Carbon, a private company, signed the contract to build the complex in June. Work is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019.

El-Baz told Reuters last year he saw the project helping to double Egypt’s exports within one year of coming online.

Tahrir will have to export all its production in the first year but as output increases, domestic manufacturers will be encouraged to expand and foreign ones will consider setting up next to the Suez Canal, he had said.

Carbon Holdings already has a polypropylene plant and a mining grade ammonium nitrate plant.

The government says the 460 km2 economic zone around the canal will be used to develop an international industrial and logistics hub to attract foreign investment.

The Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex, which is being funded by credit agencies in the US, Britain and Germany, is Egypt’s first naphtha cracker and will produce different types of petrochemicals used to make various consumer and industrial goods.

Egypt aims to step up exports and reduce imports to revive the economy, which was hit by unrest that followed the 2011 popular uprising.


Heat exchangers made compact

Scion Industrial Engineering

Wisconsin-based shell and tube heat exchangers company Enerquip has added a new line of compact heat exchangers to meet growing demands from customers with low flow-rate applications.

Enerquip describes itself as one of the leading providers of heating and cooling equipment for production plants and original-equipment manufacturers in the US, and the system integrators that support them.

Enerquip director of sales and marketing Ron Herman explains that low flow rates have until now not been catered for. “Until now, we haven’t had an efficient solution for product flow rates from one to ten gallons per minute. These scaled down versions of our exchangers use smaller tubes that keep tube-side velocities high, for better heat transfer, while avoiding problems with bypass, seen in larger exchangers when they are used at low flow rates.”

The heat exchangers – available in both U-tube and straight tube designs – are easy to clean, save space and are built to last. Enerquip’s compact exchangers are also American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME-) -approved, reassuring customers that their product will be safe during production.

The sanitary version also meets the rigorous 3-A sanitary standard, ensuring that equipment designed and fabricated according to the criteria will be cleanable. The pharmaceutical models are more ASME-bioprocessing equipment compliant than other low-flow coil models and other current designs in the market.

Enerquip enthuses that the new product line is ideal for small-batch processes, point-of-use streams, research and development, or pilot-scale applications, where a smaller compact exchanger would be an advantage.

Enerquip’s heat exchangers are typically used in the pharmaceuticals, beverage, brewing, food processing, dairy, paper, chemicals, wastewater and renewable fuels industries.


Engineer to unveil new industry technology

scion industrial engineering

High-pressure equipment and technology manufacturer Haskel has revealed that its product engineer Poova Mahmoudian will be unveiling new industry technology, as part of a collaborative technology and research alliance with the US Army.

The technology is said to dramatically impact on those developing and operating hydrogen refuelling stations.

Industry leaders will gather in Brussels, Belgium in January 2018 for the annual Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Energy Summit. The summit presents a key platform for industry stakeholders to explore the most advanced technologies, review policies and regulations, network, and discuss current economic impacts on the market.

Mahmoudian’s presentation is titled ‘Design approaches to prevent hydrogen gas-induced crack growth in pressure vessels and the related changes in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Section VIII, Division 3’. It will touch on hydrogen embrittlement effects on high-cycle pressure vessels, the limitation of current metallurgical approaches to reduce hydrogen gas embrittlement, and design methods to prevent hydrogen gas-induced crack growth in pressure vessels.

Mahmoudian’s new technology unveiling, as mentioned, is said to impact on hydrogen refuelling station prices. Currently, hydrogen refuelling station manufacturers are required to run tests and undergo an ASME audit to ensure that their equipment and corresponding refuelling process does not result in hydrogen gas embrittlement. These tests can be costly for manufacturers already trying to compete in a growing market.

Responding to this, Haskel engineers, including Mahmoudian, dedicated time each week over six months to solving this problem in the hydrogen marketplace. At the 2018 Summit, Mahmoudian plans to share details of a new pressure vessel design that mitigates hydrogen gas embrittlement without the inclusion of exotic, hard-to-source metal alloys traditionally used for this process.

In addition, Mahmoudian will explain the changes that the ASME has made to its testing and audit protocols, owing to the new technology. Costs for manufacturers could also be drastically reduced, such as eliminating the need for repeated testing and the alloys required for the metallurgical method for preventing hydrogen gas embrittlement. Haskel engineers hope to see similar regulatory changes across Europe and Asia over the course of the next year, as a result of the new technology being presented.

Haskel is highly invested in compression technology research, and research on the hydrogen refuelling process. The company eagerly anticipates having a member of its engineering team speak at the 2018 Summit.


New soluble varnish removal range available in Africa

Scion Industrial Engineering

The new Hy-Pro Soluble Varnish Removal (SVR) system – now available from Hytec Fluid Technology (HFT) – offers complete recovery and maintenance for turbine lubricants. The SVR will be available across Africa through HFT.

The prevalence and potential economic impact of varnishing in industrial applications is so significant that original-equipment manufacturers recommend the use of varnish removal systems from the outset to mitigate risk, according to HFT industrial filtration divisional manager Wynand Kapp.

“There was a need for a simple, easy-to-use product to prevent and remove dissolved and breakdown products in lubricants, which, if allowed to accumulate, form varnish,” explains Kapp.

He states that SVR attacks the source of the varnish problem on a molecular level, removing the oxidation by-products that form varnish deposits. SVR removes acid to improve oxidative stability, slow oxidation rate and reduce varnish production. SVR systems feature “industry leading” filter purification technology for soluble varnish contaminant removal, emphasises Kapp.

He stresses that, “unlike competing systems, SVR purifies 100% of reservoir volume each day”.

Ion Charge Bonding (ICB) is a family of ion exchange resin technologies that is used to purify industrial lubricants, such as those mentioned. ICB has widely been used to purify turbine and compressor lubricants as well as phosphate ester fluids. ICB restores demulsibility during normal turbine operation without damaging additives. He adds that SVK systems all make use of specifically formulated ICB resins that improve machine performance, increase longevity and minimise downtime associated with machine failure.

Kapp highlights a case in which a site with a steam turbine was experiencing varnish build-up on mechanical components. He states that three months after installing an SVR system, varnish deposits had been absorbed back into the lubricant, adding that after four months of operation, a decreasing trend began, cleansing varnished mechanical components. SVR treatment reduced the fluid varnish potential value to below ten over the subsequent three months, enthuses Kapp.

He states that HFT also offers Varnish Test Kits (VTK) intended for long-term repeated use in-house by customers. The available VTK has an upgraded spectrometer for ease in testing and accuracy with an expected life cycle of more than five years. He says that only annual soft calibration and biannual hard calibration is required.

“Testing in-house provides a quicker status report of fluids being analysed,” says Kapp. “Specifically calibrated for Membrane Patch Colorimetry testing according to international ASTM requirements, which form an essential part of turbine and compressor lubricant management, the VTK assists in developing and maintaining a proactive maintenance schedule.”

Kapp assures that the company’s SVR customers work with industry experts to receive comprehensive oil analysis and results interpretation.


Fluid maintenance neglect proves costly

Scion Industrial eNGINEERING

Fluid maintenance is frequently neglected and the consequences of using contaminated fuel and lubricant oil are often underestimated, says technical solutions provider BMG fluid technology business unit manager David Dyce.

“With the preferred trend for diesel-fuelled equipment, there is greater demand for the supply of ‘cleaner’, noncontaminated diesel and lubricant oils from diverse sectors, including earthmoving, mining, transport and shipping.”

Dyce adds that the control and prevention of fluid contamination ensures optimum performance, improved reliability and extended service life of machinery, equipment and vehicles.

The main cause of contamination in diesel and lubricant oils is water and dirt ingress. Foreign materials encourage the formation of bacteria cultures, which feed on hydrocarbons, which, in turn, degrade fuel quality, he says.

“Without the implementation of a structured control and contamination prevention programme, premature equipment failure is likely to occur, resulting in unnecessary downtime and costly replacement of parts.”

Filtration Offerings

The BMG Fluid Technology division offers advanced filtration, separation and purification solutions to ensure that fluids – including water, fuel and lubricant oil – meet the ideal cleanliness standards.

“BMG’s Fluid Technology division offers solutions for hydraulics and pneumatics, lubrication, fuel and industrial filtration systems, hydraulic hose and fittings, as well as instrumentation, pumps and industrial valves,” outlines Dyce.

BMG – a local distributor for motion and control technologies developer Parker’s filtration products – offers advanced oil filtering and purification products that prevent contamination, reduce daily oil consumption and minimise waste. These technologies include Parker oil purification trolleys and portable fluid purification systems.

BMG’s portable 10 MFP series hydraulic Parker filtration trolleys, which protect hydraulic systems from contamination, are designed to prefilter and transfer lubrication fluids – like hydraulic, gear and lubrication oils with a maximum viscosity of 108 centistokes (cSt) – safely from drums or storage tanks to system reservoirs.

The trolleys are also used to filter a new fluid or condition fluids already in use, and can also complement an existing filtration system or remove free water from a system.

The trolleys’ Moduflow dual-stage, double-length filtration system offers pump protection and extends the service life of fluids and particulate elements. Water removal elements in the system remove free water, above a particular fluid’s saturation level. Dirt and water are efficiently removed from the system in one process.

Dyce says a new optional feature of the trolleys is the icountPD particle detector, which can be mounted to the standard frame of the filter trolley, for enhanced monitoring of the hydraulic system and accurate detection of particulates when transferring oil. The particle detector system configuration, coupled with the filter cart, is a cost-effective solution to fluid management and contamination control. The system’s industrial-quality gear pump has also been designed for quiet operation, offering a maximum flow of 38 ℓ/min.

The trolleys have a heavy-duty frame and are operated easily by one person. Rubber wheels ensure ease of mobility and carbon steel wheels are available for use in underground mining applications. The system includes a 3.35 m kink-resistant hose and wand assemblies.

Additionally, the Parker Sentinel portable fluid purification systems – also offered by BMG – are incorporated into planned maintenance programmes to protect hydraulic systems and increase productivity by eliminating moisture in oil.

The Sentinel system operates at flow rates of 12 ℓ/min, with a maximum online operating pressure of 4 bar and with a maximum viscosity of 400 cSt. Its design allows for samples to be taken directly from a hydraulic reservoir, barrel, vehicle or storage tank, ensuring suitability for use in diverse industries, including renewable energy, marine, manufacturing, mining, construction, agriculture and transport.

The system also operates in three modes for maximum efficiency and extended service life. When water is detected in standard mode, the contaminated oil is drawn into the unit for recirculating to achieve the required percentage relative humidity (RH) level of moisture. In sentinel mode, the system automatically turns on, measures water content and runs dehydration cycling if necessary, shutting itself off once the fluid reaches the percentage RH set point. Vacuum dehydration technology ensures that only clean, dry oil subsequently re-enters the reservoir system through the outlet port. The system’s sample mode indicates which operational mode is required, after drawing three batches of hydraulic fluid into the system, where the overall average of moisture levels and temperatures are determined.

“The system’s high visibility digital display provides an accurate assessment of the fluid condition and shows measured parameters, including moisture sensor readings, as a percentage of RH. Stored data can be downloaded to a computer or laptop for analysis,” explains Dyce.

In applications where there is excessive moisture in hydraulic oil, BMG recommends using the Parker PVS series portable purification system, which is designed for automatic operation.

The system incorporates a variable flow circuit, which allows for the oil to be heated quickly, for faster water removal. Desiccant breathers allow for dry and clean air intake for more efficient operation, and coalescing or packed tower elements accommodate up to 460 cSt Oil viscosities and dispersal elements accommodate up to 108 cSt Oil viscosities. A moisture sensor measures and reports real-time water content in per cent saturation and a programmable thermostat maintains a preset oil temperature to prevent overheating.

Further, corrosion-resistant stainless steel is used for primary wetted surfaces and clear plexiglass covers on the condensate tank. A vacuum chamber allows for visual inspections and a reverse-phase switch prevents incorrect rotation and collectively allows for easy maintenance.