Earlier this year, valve actuator manufacturer Rotork announced the successful installation of its Skilmatic SI electrohydraulic actuators, which were deployed at Mauritius’ SSR International Airport, as part of an initiative to increase safety and efficiency at the site.
Rotork Africa senior projects engineer Leonard Lategan, who was sent to Mauritius to oversee the installation, explains that Rotork Africa was asked to replace obsolete electric actuators from another manufacturer.
He notes that the initial groundwork was done through Rotork agents based in Mauritius, and adds that this first stage of work started toward the end of 2015 through to early 2016. The entire project was commissioned in the first half of this year.
With regard to Rotork Africa’s scope, Lategan notes that the company and its affiliate removed seven competitor actuators and replaced them with seven Rotork Skilmatic actuators. “This included Profibus reporting, installation and commissioning,” he says, adding that installation was done by crane.
He notes that Rotork’s South African office and its Mauritian agent, automation control distributor Electrical & Control Specialists, also designed and fabricated the new valve adaption.
Lategan notes that the Skilmatic SI self-contained actuators have been specifically designed as the reliable solution for this type of vital fail-safe application. As such, the Profibus-enabled, ATEX-rated failsafe actuators have been installed in critical valve areas at the airport’s Joint Users Hydrant Installation fuel storage depot to prevent potential spillages by automatically closing off the flow of fuel once receiving an overfill alarm signal.
He notes that the actuators, “combine the simplicity of electrical operation with the precision of hydraulic control and the reliability of mechanical fail-safe action, using an integral spring mechanism to provide the most reliable means of positioning a valve to a predetermined safe position”.
The SI actuators incorporate an intelligent control and monitoring system as standard, and provide an ideal solution for two position or safety shutdown duties in Safety Instrumented Systems or precise modulating control applications.
Additionally, Rotork data-logging and monitoring options provide a valve signature profile and historical record of valve torque demands.
Commenting on the company’s involvement in the airport project, Rotork Africa business development manager Reshmita Singh states that “Rotork has good aftermarket backup service, better spares support and local technical representation in Mauritius”.
Further, she notes that, in terms of quality and efficiency, Rotork Actuators are recognised as being one of the “more reliable actuators” on the market. This reputation is primarily owed to the actuators’ easy to interpret diagnostics, which assist in determining preventative maintenance on the valve and actuator.
She points out that this feature further assists companies in terms of scheduled maintenance, avoiding unforeseen plant downtime and overall improvement in plant and operational efficiency.
Singh explains that Rotork is a leading manufacturer of electric, hydraulic and pneumatic valve actuators, which also manufactures control systems, valve gearboxes and valve accessories.
The company was founded in 1957 and has grown to be a major international Financial Times Stock Exchange 250 business, with manufacturing sites and offices strategically located globally.
“This year marks 60 years of Rotork providing progress, reliability and innovation to the world,” she says, noting that Rotork Africa has agents or distributor agreements in South Africa and neighbouring African countries to assist in the sales, services and marketing of Rotork’s product range.
Singh notes that all staff at Rotork Africa undergo intensive theoretical and technical international training offered by Rotork global to assist and enable all employees to deliver sales and after-sales support on a standardised level.
Rotork Africa has sales and service facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, with agents and distributors located across Africa.
- Reshmita Singh