Four years ago, AfriSam, previously Holcim, decided to expand its capacity and improve its customer service by enlarging its Roodepoort plant, thereby enabling it maintain its market edge, reports the company.
AfriSam Roodepoort GM Ampie Smit explains that the extended plant will result in the company's milling capacity increasing from 75 t/h to to 195 t/h.
Smit adds that its storage capacity will also increase with the installation of a new cement silo, which can store up to 15 000 t of cement.
"This increased capacity means that we can, in turn, provide a product that will enable customers to deliver world-class projects through our innovative technology, understanding of the market, in-house expertise and broad experience base," he says.
The project started in May 2007 and, in spite of slight delays caused by inclement weather, is well under way for completion later this year, reports the company.
"We expect the first cement to roll out of the new section this month," states Smit.
The new plant, which represents an investment of more than R500-million will incorporate four main components including the materials handling system for the storage, extraction and transfer of clinker to the new mill.
The plant will also feature an energy efficient new Loesche vertical roller mill, which is intended to replace the three old mills which grind clinker to cement.
The cement silo for the storage of the milled clinker, and finally, a second blending plant to convert pure cement into a number of different cement blends, make up the key componenents of the new mill.
Smit says that the biggest challenge was building a new factory within an existing operation.
"The project was carefully planned so that current production was not affected in any way, and this required the active cooperation and participation of all members of the project team," he explains.
Engineering and projects company E+PC, was contracted as project manager for the new plant and facilitated the smooth progression of the project, reports the company.
Besides managing the overall construction of this project, E+PC was contracted to do the design and engineering; the civil and structural aspects of the transport systems; the ten-kt clinker silo, the 15-kt milled clinker silo, the new blending plant, and all connections between them and the existing blending plant and silos.
Civil engineering and construction group Stefanutti & Bressan was selected as the civil constructor, construction company Tubular was selected for most of the structural, mechanical, and electrical construction, while power and automation technologies solutions company ABB was responsible for the process control system.
"Mills manufacturer Loesche South Africa was appointed to build the mill; the first time the company has undertaken such a project without the direct input of its parent company, Loesche Germany. This meant that they faced new challenges in sourcing and securing the equipment from all over the world," says Smit.
"In addition, the scope of their portion of the project was expanded beyond what they were accustomed to by including all the transport and feed systems to and from the mill through the bag filter and into the new milled clinker silo," he adds.
Smit says that throughout the project, attention was placed on the preservation of the environment as well as the ongoing safety of the company's people and the project team.
"Initially, the focus was on the dangers inherent in any construction project and then later on the risky logistics of moving huge pieces of machinery and equipment. Now that those elements are in place, the focus has shifted. As we install the electrical and instrumentation components and energise these as well as the hydraulic and pneumatic components, we have to pay special attention to the specific associated safety risks," he explains.
To cater for the increased capacity at the new plant, AfriSam has employed and trained a number of new employees.
"We have appointed area managers for the new mill and the blending plant respectively and the artisans who will be maintaining the new equipment in the future have been assigned to the project full time," mentions Smit.
Smit says that the operational efficiency of the new mill will result in reduced electrical consumption.
"This is in line with the company's ongoing objective to reduce energy consumption through installing energy effective solutions," states Smit.
As the leading black-controlled building construction materials group in Southern Africa, AfriSam is well positioned to anticipate the future needs of the local industry, reports the company.
The company is able to draw on the international expertise provided by Holcim's network of cement plants and aggregate operations in more than 70 countries.