The entry from Impala Platinum was one of 42 submitted from across South Africa, and it also won the best stainless-steel product award.
“Implala Platinum’s massive new autoclave is described as a breakthrough in the leaching process in the mining industry. It was entered into this product category, the biggest and most varied category of all, and it aroused the most debate,” said judging panel chairperson Michael Coulson.
The second-stage leach autoclave was manufactured by engineering firm Metso ND Engineering, and was completed in 2007. The autoclave was the first of its kind in the world, and made use of duplex SAF2205 stainless steel, which far outclassed the performance and reliability of older designs.
Coulson noted that, overall, the entries were generally of a high standard, reflecting a surprising versatility in the use of what to the layman, would seem a fairly limited material. He added that in both scale and function, the designs traversed the gamut from small domestic appliances, to huge pieces of industrial material.
“The high quality of work completed within an increasingly challenging environment, is a testimony to the capability of the South African stainless steel industry,” said South African Stainless Steel Development Association chairperson Sampie van Rooyen.
“The astounding number of entries goes to show that the industry is dedicated and enthusiastic in promoting their innovative thinking. This level of enthusiasm is encouraging for a stainless steel market.”
The best stainless steel project award was given to engineering firm Rebcom for the Timeball Tower, while the best stainless steel services award was given to exhaust manufacturer Gillet Exhaust Technology, trading as Tenneco.
The innovation award was won by pump manufacturer Hazelton Pumps for its high voltage flameproof submersible pump.