Risk-based maintenance ideal for sugar industry – company

An image of Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu

MOEKETSI MPOTU A risk-based maintenance plan will improve productivity and ensure that production requirements are met at critical times

7th April 2023

By: Leah Shelene Asaram

Features Reporter


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Industrial valves and pump specialists Brimis Engineering is sourcing an engineering solution for various pumps at a sugar mill in eSwatini.

The project involves specialised coating, maintenance and engineered parts to ensure maximum performance of the pumps.

The maintenance of pumps is a critical component of any successful plant maintenance strategy.

Good maintenance of pumps in the sugar industry is even more critical,  as this is a “price sensitive” environment, says Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu.

Risk-based maintenance for the sugar industry will reduce unplanned plant breakdowns and reduce system inefficiency – it is the recommended maintenance process, he says.

A well-managed risk-based maintenance philosophy will result in improved plant availability, better pump performance and reduced system losses while ensuring the right spare parts are available when required.

“A risk-based maintenance plan will improve productivity and ensure that production requirements are met at critical times,” he adds.

In addition, such maintenance improves overall plant safety, as any deterioration in plant performance is quickly arrested and the plant can be restored to safe and reliable operation.

Lack of OEMs Maintenance

Mpotu adds that original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners have very stringent maintenance regimes for their pumps to ensure the best performance for clients.

“It is, however, important for a client to take certain considerations into account before selection of its preferred OEM partner.”

The first consideration is the OEM aftermarket support in a client’s region, he says, adding that many reputable and world-class manufacturers are based outside Africa, with no footprint to support local operations expeditiously.

When OEMs are not locally based, clients should contact accredited aftercare partners for support. It is imperative that the repairs are approved by OEMs to avoid the use of substandard parts.

With over ten years’ experience in the aftercare market, Brimis Engineering works very closely with pump OEMs to support its clients across the country.

Various pumps – such as gear pumps, split casing centrifugal pumps, centrifugal pumps and submersible pumps – are used in the sugar industry.

Mpotu adds that pumps are used to pump flocculants, massecuite, syrup melt, lime, magma and other high-viscosity mediums; thus, maintenance on these pumps is vital to enhance productivity.

Pumps maintenance should be a daily task, and performed by plant maintenance teams.

This starts with good daily plant performance monitoring of key variables such as pump vibrations, coupling vibrations, glands leak monitoring, acoustic monitoring and oil analysis.

“Brimis Engineering is a future-facing alternative, specialising in aftercare and obsolete pumps and valves maintenance. In instances when the OEM is unable to service valves and  pumps, Brimis Engineering has a dynamic team of engineers and technicians, with mobile and repair capabilities, to support any client at short notice.”

The company offers specialised pump repairs on site and at its workshop, in Middleburg,  and maintains strong partnerships with key global pump OEMs, with OEM parts guaranteed.

Brimis Engineering recommends a risk-based approach in the sugar industry, which offers reliability maintenance that is supported by a service exchange programme to ensure that there is no downtime for critical plants.

The company also has one of the widest range of mobile safety valve testing equipment in South Africa, consequently enabling the company to perform critical valve repairs at any time and any location.

This reduces costs and improves plant availability while relieving critical plant personnel of unnecessary travel, Mpotu concludes.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features





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