The transition to an environmentally sustainable and healthier South Africa, ultimately, comes down to collaborative inputs by government, industries and citizens, says air pollutants control and removal company About Air Pollution GM Anton Wentzel.
“For businesses – which might not always reap financial gain in their efforts to clean the air largely polluted by their activities – there is a definite return on investment in the sense that the people living around these businesses are healthier.”
Wentzel further mentions that there is a need to leave a clean legacy for future generations – that is of the utmost importance. “We cannot have a future scenario where the air is no longer breathable, and the situation is getting progressively worse. Therefore, industry’s mindset must change and the first step in this is in wanting to be a part of the solution.”
About Air Pollution’s services range from the design, manufacturing, supply, installation and commissioning of various types of dust-extraction systems for industries ranging from the food industry and the heavy furnace extraction sector to the mining sector. These are offered both for wet and dry solutions.
Other services include factory ventilation, extraction systems for spray booths, shot blast booths, pneumatic conveying systems, vacuum systems and welding station extraction, as well as the supply of ducting and sheet metal components.
The company has successfully completed work for various ferrous and nonferrous castings suppliers, tile and adhesive manufacturer Norcros and powder coatings supplier FERRO SA.
They have designed, fabricated and supplied various baghouse extraction systems, ducting and ancillary equipment from various furnaces for recycling company Fry’s Metals and other companies which are part of industrial and base metals producer Zimco Group.
“Recently, Fry’s Metals experienced a breakdown, requiring replacement of the ducting feeding into their fume extraction baghouses, stopping their production. We fabricated and installed 15 t of ducting and recommissioned the plant to full operation in three days. This was a dedicated 24-hour site service to ensure the client’s production resumed as quickly as possible.”
About Air Pollution also designed, fabricated and installed a 19 m3/s baghouse filter unit, extracting dust from various bagging stations and transfer points for the Norcros project’s Johnson Tiles’ TAL Plant. The plant’s filter unit replaced an existing, defunct filter unit. The supplied filter has been operating effectively for several years, not requiring any filter change to date, testament to a well-designed and efficient baghouse.
“Recently, this filter experienced a breakdown on a baghouse. We secured a 160 t crane to prevent additional problems by stabilising the baghouse in position, rebuilt the new frame and got the client’s production back online in less than five days’ turnaround time,” he adds.
The FERRO SA project involved the design, fabrication and installation of a reverse-pulse baghouse to replace various defunct extraction systems.
“Emphasis was placed on energy saving, and we achieved a direct energy saving of more than 70% after commissioning through the application of a variable speed drive and pneumatically controlled dampers at various integral points. All dampers supplied in the project are being controlled from the client’s supervisory control and data acquisition system,” Wentzel enthuses.
In terms of the various challenges associated with improving South Africa’s air quality, he highlights the high cost of cleaning air, which is required to enable local companies to meet legislative requirements for carbon emissions.
“Cost is the biggest hurdle that we are facing because efficiently cleaning air is not a cheap exercise, by any means. “Bigger corporations that have the available capital to do it are more inclined to allocate the money to acquire the equipment.