Pretoria based engineering firm, Thuthukani Engineering was contracted by Exxaro to supply a gland water service system for their largest coalmine, Grootegeluk in Limpopo.

Grootegeluk has the world’s largest beneficiation complex where 8 000 t/h of run-of-mine coal is upgraded in ten different plants. To ensure long-term longevity and availability of the GG7 and GG8 mega-plant at Grootegeluk, Thuthukani Engineering deployed a turnkey, fully automated and centralised gland service water system.

Turnkey gland service water system for GrootegelukTo ensure long-term longevity and availability of the GG7 and GG8 mega-plant at Grootegeluk, Thuthukani Engineering has deployed a turnkey, fully automated and centralised gland service water system.

The GG7 and GG8 plant at Grootegeluk play a crucial role in the provision of coal, supplying directly to the Medupi Power Station. The plant comprises ten modules running 44 slurry pumps in total. “There were challenges with low availability and reliability of the pumps due to lack of a suitable gland service water system. Low availability of the plant impacts on increased maintenance costs, lost production tonnages and there are issues with higher risks of slurry pump failure,” says Tshifhiwa Ndouvhada, technical director at Thuthukani Engineering.

Thuthukani Engineering was tasked with the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of the gland service water system. Says Ndouvhada: “Thuthukani Engineering was contracted to design the whole system and we proposed a centralised system where you would have a tank with two supply pumps – one being operational and one on standby. Further to this, we also automated the whole system – complete with a PLC and SCADA system.”

Thuthukani Engineering will be providing support to Exxaro on the new system for the next year, although, says Ndouvhada, they believe the system to be both reliable and easy to maintain. Looking further ahead, Thuthukani Engineering took steps to ensure that the system will never lack support. “We selected equipment and components from high quality suppliers. All of the OEs that we chose to work with on this project have a background in the mining industry and a large local presence in South Africa – therefore technical support and stock availability will always be sufficient,” says Ndouvhada.

He went on to say that these systems will now become part of Thuthukani Engineering’s overall offering. “What we are offering is a total engineering solution that helps a client mitigate the risk of low plant availability and reduced maintenance costs. Our approach is different – we took on the challenge to provide a highly automated, turnkey solution for a larger system comprising 44 pumps, with the whole system having over a hundred electrical automation instruments built into the system.”

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