Valve repair and engineering consulting company Brimis Engineering plans to introduce mobile repair and testing facilities for clients, particularly mining companies, which will be operational from September of this year.
This will enable the company to combine the convenience of being on site with clients while saving money and time, says Brimis Engineering MD Andile Nqandela.
“We plan to take our services, especially the mobile valve-repair and testing services to the various refineries, which are principally based along the coastal areas of the country. We will implement the relevant technology for integrating valve use.”
The mobile service is part of the company’s business strategy to add value by introducing more robust linings for valves in severe applications.
Brimis has also decided to introduce a consulting division, which will focus on lifting equipment, pressure equipment regulations and fluid flow studies, as well as other services associated with valve use and testing.
“The regulations seem to be a pain point for our clients and we want to solve this challenge for them so that they can focus on their core business – production – and not regulatory compliance,” states Nqandela.
The consulting service was introduced after the company decided to make use of the extensive knowledge of their directors in the mechanical engineering field to assist its clients.
Further, the company procured a pressure-relief valve test bench, which is intended to test more than 90% of the installed safety valves currently in use in South Africa, in October last year. The test bench was manufactured by global valve test and repair equipment supplier Ventil, and will test pressure of up to 300 bar, with the option of equipping a booster system that will increase test pressures to more than 400 bar.
Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu states that the equipment has enabled the company to increase its service offering by assisting it in terms of compliance to statutory pressure equipment regulations.
“While mines understand and comply with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, we can run training programmes for our clients and upskill their employees with regard to pressure equipment and safety.”
Vital Valves Industry
Mpotu highlights the mining, petroleum, water and power generation sectors as the industries that present the most opportunities for growth to the company, as they are the largest users of industrial valves.
Valves are used in pipelines, control and regulate flow, regulate pressure and isolate flows for all fluids, as well as provide a safeguard against explosions, he adds.
The remote controlling of valves, as well as automation and preventive indicators using sensors and WiFi to monitor conditions, such as when valves are in open or closed positions, is becoming more prominent, says Mpotu.
“Owing to safety, using employees to control valves, particularly with regard to dangerous fluids, is becoming outdated. Using WiFi networks and technology is a new trend, keeping the industry in line with the latest available technology.”
While power generation and mines were the most consistent industries for the company last year, Nqandela highlights the opportunities that will arise within the water sector, as several new water infrastructure schemes and desalination plant projects will be implemented and, hence, require large sections of pipelines and valves.
Meanwhile, as an entrepreneur who started Brimis Engineering, Nqandela highlights market access as a significant challenge for entrepreneurs in the mining industry, describing the established relationships that mining houses have with more experienced and reputable companies as one of the “obstacles that make it difficult for newcomers to enter the supply chain”.
He states that, generally, the users of equipment are resistant to change or transformation, owing to fear of failure or inadequate service by a new service provider, driving them to continue using their current suppliers.
Brimis is involved in various pipeline maintenance projects. These include multinational mining company Anglo American’s Greenside operation and Mafube mine – which requires safety valve testing and diesel pump and cylinder repairs respectively, Australian mining and metals company South32’s Wolwekrans export plant – which requires valve maintenance, and coal and heavy minerals mining company Exxaro’s Leuwpan coal mine – which requires cylinder and valve repairs. All maintenance projects are located in Mpumalanga.
“Brimis services and maintains the valves and continuously assists with statutory compliance during maintenance periods by doing safety tests on the valve pressure equipment,” concludes Nqandela, highlighting the importance the company’s mobile service for valves.