Industrial valves supplier Brimis Engineering is planning a new facility in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, which will include a new head office, and will be strategically positioned to service the surrounding industries, including steel, energy petrochemicals and mining.
Brimis Engineering will complete its relocation to the new facility, which will include improved repair and refurbishment capacity, by 2023, Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu tells Mining Weekly.
Meanwhile, long-term plans are also in place for the company to set up a valve manufacturing plant in Mpumalanga, which will include valve testing capabilities to ensure quality.
“The quality of valve repairs and refurbishments are of key concern in the industry. Valve failures are usually catastrophic and this can lead to adverse consequences,” Mpotu explains.
He says that the industry needs to establish standards and norms to govern local refurbishment entities, which includes setting up standards for high-pressure and high-temperature valve manufacturing.
Manufacturing of original equipment in South Africa has become challenging in recent years, given the effect on the local economy of unstable power supply, labour- related challenges, and sluggish international markets.
However, Mpotu believes that South Africa can become a valves manufacturing hub for Africa again if the significant gap in the skilled trades is addressed, particularly with regard to valves design engineers, who are in short supply.
“Significant resources will have to be allocated for intensive capability building at all skills levels for the country to position itself as a key manufacturer,” he says.
A lack of mining opportunities has led Brimis Engineering to diversify its service offering, which is evident in the company’s being awarded a heating, ventilation, air- conditioning and cooling project.
“This now locates Brimis Engineering as key mechanical engineering firm, offering extended mechanical engineering services to the construction sector. We will continue to build capability in this space while fully localising jobs for the communities in which we operate,” Mpotu says.
The project has produced more than 45 job opportunities, as well as 30 short- to medium- term jobs and four full-time jobs. More than 90% of these job opportunities were awarded to local communities and stakeholders.
Brimis also continues to nurture its relationships with mining houses so that it can take advantage of any potential upswing in mining work in future.