Petrochemicals upgrades provide good opportunities

7th September 2012 By: Chantelle Kotze

The need for South Africa’s six oil refineries to undergo substantial refurbishment and upgrades over the next five to ten years is a good opportunity for supplier of cast components to the petrochemicals industry, Steloy Castings, to step up to the plate as a trusted service organisation, the company reports.

“It is well publicised that the refineries in South Africa are in a fairly poor condition. Although they are still operational, an amount of R40-billion, as estimated by the South African Petroleum Industry Association, is required to bring them in line with the new Clean Fuels 2 specifications and maintain their safety, says Steloy CEO Danie Slabbert.

As a foundry that supplies critical parts to the local and international petrochemicals industry, Steloy manufactures its components to be heat resistant enough to maintain their strength under high temperatures and harsh refinery operating conditions.

Steloy states that its products are certified and adhere to the highest possible local and international specifications to meet the needs and requirements of the client.

Products used in the petrochemicals industry must adhere to the ASME V and ASME VIII codes, which outline the nondestructive examination and the requirements for design, fabrication, inspection, testing and certification for boiler and pressure vessels; a number of other American Society for Testing and Materials standards, as well as the API 560 standard for the design and manufacture of fired heaters, says Slabbert.

Besides meeting these standards, Steloy is ISO 9001:2008 quality management systems certified and is accredited by the European Pressure Equipment Directive.

The manufacturer is also a member of the South African Institute of Foundrymen, the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association and the UK-based Castings Technology International.

Products
Steloy’s stable of product solutions for the petrochemicals industry comprises two families of products.

The first includes static load-bearing parts, such as convection tube sheets, radiant hangers, brackets and bends, when strength at high temperature and high integrity is required.

The second product range includes process tubing, such as partially machined or fully machined reformer, cracking and catalyst tubes for high-temperature and high-pressure applications.

The load-bearing products are cast in static foundries at Steloy’s facilities in Krugersdorp and Bronkhorstspruit, in materials that include stainless steel nickel-based corrosion-resistant alloys, low-alloy steels and heat-resistant alloys, whereas the process tubes are centrifugally cast in rotating metal dies at the Krugersdorp facility, in materials such as corrosion-resistant and heat-resistant stainless steels.

Projects
Meanwhile, Steloy completed an order placed by a local-based multinational engineering company for Sasolburg-based oil refinery Natref, in February, says Steloy sales and marketing director Wynand Labuschagne.

The foundry supplied all the static components for two heater units that are being rebuilt at the refinery.

Further, Steloy has supplied 200 t of support castings for a project in Saudi Arabia and has supplied product to multinational energy corporation Chevron’s Gorgon natural gas project, in Western Australia, as well as 100 t of product to a petroleum company in Colombia.

It has also supplied reformer tubes for a contract in Hawaii, adds Labuschagne.

Accredited Training
While the local foundry industry has established the National Foundry Technology Network to manage skills training, technology transfer and the diffusion of technologies throughout the local industry to assist in the development of a globally competitive South African foundry industry, Steloy notes that a critical gap in specialist training in moulding and patternmaking remains.

To deal with this, the company engaged the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority to acquire accreditation as a decentralised trade test centre.

This accreditation was granted to the foundry in July, says Steloy group sales manager Leon Reeves.

The training courses consist of theoretical and practical training for Steloy’s staff, as well as members of the wider industry. The training is aimed at enhancing the local skills base and ensuring the industry’s competitiveness.

Practical training is offered in-house and on-site at Steloy’s facilities in Bronkhorstspruit, while the theoretical training, consisting of further education and training level N1, N2 and N3 programmes, is provided by the Ekurhuleni East College, on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

On completion of the two-year training programmes and a trade test, the graduates are qualified artisans with a trade test certificate.

To date, six Steloy employees have registered to participate in the course, says Reeves.