Engineering company Hlakani Engineering will deliver the last of the 164 custom- made burners to State-owned power utility Eskom’s Camden power station, in Mpumalanga, in the second half of this year.
Having been awarded the contract in 2013, Hlakani had delivered 120 of the 164 burners to Eskom by December last year.
“The new burners will use low nitrogen oxide (low NOx) technology that improves the safety of the plant and provides cleaner flue gas emissions. The older pulverised fuel burners had spots where the fuel accumulates, eventually causing the burner to overheat and potentially causing explosions that put workers at risk,” says Hlakani director Gerhard Holtshauzen.
Low NOx burners are new to South Africa and Eskom has started using the burners to reduce emissions from its Camden power station, Hlakani director Hermann Bruemmer adds.
He points out that the new burner design required Hlakani to change the way it operates, as it had to hire several new employees and move to new premises that would allow for the company to meet ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 3834 qualifications required to build the burners.
The company started with only four employees in 2011, but an additional 71 staff members had been appointed by the end of last year, many of whom are fully qualified boilermakers and welders, Holtshauzen points out.
He further explains that staff are hired based on their potential: “Some of our top welders and boilermakers started as sweepers around the shop. They used their lunch breaks to practice welding under the guidance of other qualified welders.”
Hlakani encourages the appointment of people wanting to qualify for training and thereby realise their potential through opportunities to advance in the company.
Meanwhile, Bruemmer explains that the contract for the 164 burners prompted the company to not only seek the appropriate ISO certifications but also acquire larger equipment for other possible future fabrication jobs.
Subsequently, the company has started supplying spare parts for burners to the Lethabo, Duvha and Kendal power stations, he points out.
Hlakani will bid for contracts to supply burners and do burner maintenance for other power stations, such as the Tutuka power station. Several power stations might be upgraded with the new technology and Hlakani is very much interested and set up in anticipation of these projects, Holtshauzen concludes.