The repair and refurbishment of critical valves present significant opportunities in the South African valves industry, says mechanical engineering company Brimis Engineering MD Andile Nqandela.
The company can manufacture in-house components required for repair and refurbishment of critical valves to original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications.
To capitalise on the refurbishment opportunities, the company has procured a pressure relief valve test bench to service 90% of the installed pressure relief valves in the local market, he tells Engineering News.
“This piece of equipment puts Brimis Engineering at the forefront of valve refurbishment and testing.”
Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu explains that valves are used in critical applications across various industries and applications such as flow control, pressure control and process optimisation. Specialised valves such as pressure relief valves are used to safeguard the environment and human life, he adds.
“The quality of workmanship and adherence to established international standards when performing refurbishment and repairs are vital. More often than not, valve failure, owing to poor or substandard repair, prompts environmental spillages and loss of costly capital equipment, as well as loss of life or disabling injuries,” he stresses.
Nqandela enthuses that in August, Brimis Engineering partnered with a global valve repair company specialising in control valve refurbishment in the power generation and oil and gas industries.
“This partnership will assist Brimis Engineering in building its in-house capabilities and this will open new markets, where the company will continue to partner with strong and recognised valve repair partners.”
Further, the company has also been a distributor of global valve OEMs VAG-Klamflex-Valves, since April, George Fischer, since July, and Cla-val, since June.
Cheap imported valves that enter the South African market remain a major challenge facing the valves industry, says Nqandela. This is further compounded by a shortage of specialised engineering skills that can deal with valve design and manufacturing.
There has been a recovery in the low- to medium-pressure valves sector of the local industry, with State-owned enterprises now specifying a minimum of 70% local-content requirement at the tender stage, however, Nqandela adds that critical application valves – used in high-temperature and -pressure situations – also need to be designated.
The local-content requirement has the potential to create significant job opportunities along the valves value chain, from foundries to final distributors and after-sales service providers, he highlights.
He further comments that the industry has disappointed in terms of transformation, which has made it difficult for new entrants to prosper. To overcome this, all industry players have to take their role in transformation seriously, he says.
“The industry must continue to perform to expected technical specifications and at competitive price points, while all stakeholders, including government, must support an enabling environment. Industry should have deliberate programmes to assist new entrants to play a meaningful role in the supply and maintenance of valves,” Mpotu notes.
One of the challenges that Brimis Engineering faces is access to funding. However, Nqandela mentions that the company has received substantial support from the Department of Trade and Industry to meet its medium-term funding requirements. The company continues to raise funds for long-term expansion through various funding channels.
Nqandela advances that the company is pursuing long-term refurbishment contracts in the pulp and paper, oil and gas, petrochemicals, power generation and mining industries by leveraging its mobile valve repair capability.
The company has fully operational branches in the Rustenburg area, in North West, and in Lephalale, in Limpopo, as well as a sales office in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, for pressure relief valve work.
“Brimis Engineering will continue to invest in its in-house capability using innovative and nontraditional engineering solutions while being clientcentric and providing world-class response times,” Nqandela concludes.