Dickinson group CEO Trevor Dickinson tells Engineering News that the company strives toremain at the forefront of new technology by collaborating with leading engineering anddesign companies.
“This means that we are able to procure and manufacture cost-effective materials that complywith the most stringent quality specifications,” he says Dickinson says that the company providescost-effective, tailor-made solutions and aprofessional service for the execution of turnkey furnace rebuild projects.
“We have experienced management, super-vision and highly-skilled and -motivatedpersonnel working close to 2-million person-hours a year, as well as modern equipment and operations methods with a high regard forsafety and quality.
“The group comprises eight businessesoperating in South Africa, and has affiliatedcompanies in Mozambique, Mauritius, Portugal and Canada, which all specialise in the corebusiness of rendering turnkey refractory andmechanical services to the pyrometallurgicalindustries,” says Dickinson.
The group, with alliance partner company Lizmontagens, of Portugal, has beenawarded two large glass-furnace projects byPFG Building Glass.
Local float-glass manufacturer PFG iscurrently spending R1-billion on expandingand improving its local production capacity,including the construction of a second float-glass production line, which is scheduled to be commissioned early in 2007.
The Springs float line currently produces140 000 t of flat glass a year.
The new one-kilometre-long production line will double the company’s manufacturingcapacity.
The two contracts secured by the Dickinson group and Lizmontagens include the mechanicalerection and refractory installation on PFG’s rolled-glass furnace and refractory installation on its new SP4 float furnace and tin bath.
The contracts involve the erection of 220 t of steelwork and combined tonnage of more than8 000 t of refractories.
The company also recently completed therefractory installation on Consol Glass’s new C3 container glass furnace at its Clayville plant.
The Dickinson group has executed more than 100 glass-furnace initial-construction andrebuild projects for float- and container-glassproducers in South Africa, including PFG, Consol and Nampak Wiegand Glass. The Dickinson group has also been awarded a contract by Xstrata Alloys for the installation of refractories to the two 63MVA FeCr furnaces,rotary kilns and associated feed bins for thecompany’s Project Lion.
Dickinson’s contract involves the installation of more than 4 000 t of refractories, as well as the supply and welding of over 31 000 stainless-steel anchors.
With a capacity of more than 1,6-million tons of ferrochrome a year, Xstrata is currently the largest and lowest-cost ferrochrome producer in Southern African.
The capital expenditure committed to Project Lion was recently increased to R1,67-billion and, with a production capacity of 360 000 t/y, the project will increase Xstrata’s ferrochrome output by 22%.
Xstrata Alloys expects its first ferrochrome production from Project Lion in the second half of this year, with full production being scheduled for the first half of 2007.
Xstrata further plans to undertake twoexpansions of Project Lion, with each of thephases bringing additional capacity of 360 000 t/y,resulting in a total ferrochrome productioncapacity of one-million t/y.
DMCE Projects and Services, a member of the Dickinson group, has been awarded the mechanical-erection contract for PPC’s Batsweledi cement-capacity-expansion project by FFE Minerals.
The Batsweledi order, which forms part of the R1,23-billion investment by PPC for a new kiln and related infrastructure at its Dwaalboomcement factory, is situated in the Limpopoprovince.
The contract comprises the erection of 7 050 tof mechanical equipment and platework components, including refractories, with the refractory installation being carried out by Dickinson group’s refractory-installation division. DMCE was also recently awarded a contract for the demolition and rebuild of the No 1 rever-beratory furnace at Ongopolo Mining’s copper smelter, in Namibia.
The project includes the turnkey project management of the demolition, mechanical dismantling and reconstruction of furnace buckstays, roof beams and other mechanical equipment, as well as the installation of more than 1 000 t of refractory material into the furnace.
The project is scheduled to be executed in less than four weeks and is unique because the cooling down prior to demolition and blasting will be done without the use of liquid nitrogen.
DMCE has also assisted Ongopolo with the procurement of new pressure parts from South Africa for the waste-heat-recovery boilers and will provide assistance with the boiler rebuild during the furnace shutdown.
Dickinson says the group’s furnace-demo-lition division renders a professional demo-lition and removal of furnace linings service to the mining, minerals processing and metallur-gical industries.
The division uses state-of-the-art Brokkremote-controlled machines, enabling theoperator to move freely and work at a distance in the case of hazardous operations, which ensures safety and efficiency.
The electrically-powered Brokk demolition machines are highly versatile, with small outer dimensions, low weight and high power-weight efficiency, and are able to operate in confined, hot and difficult conditions.
The use of mechanised methods to execute the demolition of furnace linings reduces downtime of production units, ensuring cost-effectiveexecution of the works, says Dickinson.
He tells Engineering News that the com-pany, in conjunction with Dickinson Refractory Services International, has executed theinstallation of refractory materials to numerous initial construction and furnace rebuild projects throughout Africa and the Middle East, includingSouth Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Israel, the UAE and Iceland.
On the potential threat posed by cheaperimports from the Far East, Dickinson says that the company views the trend as a opportunity rather than a threat.
China has vast resources of key materials, such as magnisite, which enables Chinese firms to offer cheaper refractory solutions.
However, Dickinson points out that theincreased transport and logistical costs will eventually weigh on the margins for Chinese imports into South Africa, as well as the rest of the continent.
Further, South African companies will not be able to wait for material to be shippedduring emergencies.
On the question of labour, Dickinson says that the company has experienced the effects of the skills shortage and is already sourcing andemploying from its international affiliates.
“We are are also continuing with in-housetraining programmes to ensure that both Dickinson and South Africa are able to sustain long-term growth,” he concludes.