MechChem Africa

MechChem Africa visits thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions South Africa and talks to Bruce Bassett, senior manager for Special Projects, and Process Industries GM, Neville Eve.

Engineering excellence from Process IndustriesBruce Bassett, senior manager for Special Projects, and Process Industries GM, Neville Eve.

Process Industries is one of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ six global business lines and, from its Sunninghill offices in Gauteng, the company services South Africa’s process plant needs through thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions SA (TKISSA) and, through its matrix structure, installs plants across sub-Saharan Africa.

“There are a number of business units (BUs) within Process Industries,” Eve explains. “From the Fertilisers (FER) BU, we develop plants for the manufacture of ammonia- and urea-based fertilisers using proprietary technology, as well as phosphatics under license.

“Through our Electrolysis and Polymers (ELP) BU we offer proprietary Chlor-Alkali and HCl technologies, which are widely used to manufacture chlorine, hydrochloric acid and caustics, and the Industrial Specialities (SPC) BU has a broad project-driven chemical and engineering design focus, centred out of India where a huge amount of greenfield plant work is being done,” he tells MechChem Africa.

“Globally, we acquired a company called Edeleanu, a specialist in clean fuel technology for refineries. Through SPC, we have completed a lot of work in Europe, converting refineries to meet Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions standards, and we have done similar design work on improved technologies in Secunda to remove sulphur and benzene,” Eve adds.

The Process Industries Business Line specialises in plants that require gases as feedstock; “hence our involvement in ammonia-and urea-based fertilisers and polymers, which are all processed from gas as a feedstock.”

A recent success for thyssenkrupp Process Solutions in South Africa has been adding the capability for modular design, which has been implemented on the Coal Tar Filtration plant currently being constructed by Sasol in Secunda. “This plant was originally designed as a purely ‘stick-build’ onsite construction, but the price of onsite construction proved excessive. In collaboration with Jacobs Engineering to find a cheaper way, the engineers came up the modularised approach and we re-designed the plant accordingly.

“While we are very proud of our contribution to this project, modularisation is not a panacea,” Eve cautions, “because it raises logistics challenges and costs” – massive cranes are required, for example. “For the Coal Tar Filtration plant, it was the piping density that makes stick build construction very difficult, so it was more efficient to construct modules in a workshop. But every project is unique and the approach always needs to be backed by a thorough appropriate methodology and best practice analysis,” he advises.

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