Strategic and effective cement plant maintenance services can increase plant productivity and reduce costs, says furnace and industrial services company The Dickinson Group sales manager Brighton Mapiku.
“By doing thorough cement plant maintenance, which includes proper planning, employing expert skills and using state of the art maintenance equipment, the lifespan and efficiency of the cement plant refractory can be increased, leading to less downtime, meaning less costs and increased plant profitability.”
The Dickinson Group provides cement plant maintenance services for the major cement companies in South Africa and regionally including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
“As a service provider, we ensure that a cement plant meets its yearly availability targets by providing essential and critical maintenance of key equipment encompassing refractory and mechanical works,” Mapiku mentions.
Prior to performing maintenance, the company conducts as extensive plant audit concluded with an audit report that outlines all the recommendations. The audit report clearly outlines all the areas that need maintenance and provides an action plan for plant and maintenance optimisation. The company also facilitates high temperature endoscopy and infrared thermography for the pyro-processing vessel in cement plants including rotary kilns, cyclones and the complete preheaters, which Mapiku explains is more of a preventive maintenance technique.
Maintenance services differ depending on a plant’s requirements and capacity, but a major maintenance shutdown takes about 45 days. However, plants mostly require only a mini maintenance shutdown, which takes about 21 days. “Planning prior to a shutdown could take at least three months,” he adds.
Mapiku highlights that The Dickinson Group is well established in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where it has offices in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and China, with representative offices in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and it is currently establishing an office in Egypt.
“From there, we will supply specialist cement plant maintenance services to the cement industry in Egypt, North Africa and Middle East.” The company is in the final stages of establishing the office and it should be completed by next month. Mapiku says the company “has received many enquiries and is working on numerous North Africa and Middle East projects”.
He further notes that most of the cement plants in Africa do not have people who have the expertise to do maintenance and there is a great need for the company’s expert services.
“One of our fundamental principles is skills development and skills transfer to the local communities in which we set up offices; we will be implementing the same principle in Egypt and North Africa,” he concludes.