Business: New Polysius Centre Opened
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Polysius, German multi-national and global specialist with comprehensive know-how and experience in the design and supply of innovative and proven processes, plants and system configurations for the cement, mining and metallurgical industries, celebrated the official opening of its new Service Centre in Chloorkop, Midrand, on 26th March 2009.
The development of the Service Centre is in line with Polysius’ worldwide initiative to extend the application of high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) to a broad range of industries. “Polysius was established in Johannesburg 42 years ago and this major investment confirms our ongoing commitment to Southern African industry as well as our support to our substantial Polycom High Pressure Grinding Rolls customer base”, says Polysius Managing Director, Ralf Hesemann.
The Polycom concept was patented around 1980 and the cement industry was the first to use this technology. ”It did not take long for HPGR technology, with its advanced process benefits, to find wide acceptance in the minerals industry with more than 500 installations operating globally”, remarks Hesemann.
“We were determined to put our technology in abrasive ore applications to work so we pushed the envelope and worked through a steep eight year development curve to arrive at the right, cost effective, energy efficient solution for this sector. HPGR technology includes studded roll wear protection tyres which improve reliability and allow the rolls to run at well over 90% availability; the autogenous layers of powdered and pressed ore form a protective layer over the roll surface. Thanks to our extensive investment in R and D, HPGR’s advanced technology now delivers the dual benefits of increased production and significant energy savings of up to 30%”, explains Hesemann.
HPGRs are ideally suited for comminution in hard rock mineral processing in diverse mining applications with a high profile in copper, diamond, gold, iron ore, molybdenum, nickel and platinum. “Consequently, we have been noticing that mining houses are steadily moving toward Polycoms and it is clear that this advanced technology has been instrumental in significantly changing the face of the mining industry over the past few years,” says Hesemann. This distinct and continuing upward trend in demand for HPGRs in South Africa and Africa gave rise to Polysius considering the viability of a local Service Centre to support the growing customer base with refurbishment on HPGR wear parts.
“Our one stop Service Centre is designed to meet essential requirements and is fully equipped to support HPGR equipment with a comprehensive stock of spare parts. Additional services include maintenance as well as machine manufacture. Moreover, services are not limited to HPGR technology and will be extended to support other equipment”.
Hesemann points out that while refurbishment always plays an important role, it becomes even more key during tough economic times.
According to Hesemann, an added value to the services is the fact that the cutting edge equipment is operated by highly qualified technicians. “Our artisans have to complete a three year training program based on the German model which includes theory as well as practical hands on applications. Our team is prepared to stand by with technical advice, maintenance and spare parts, supported by our German head office.”
Apart from the 2000m2 factory which stands 15m in height, some of the state-of-the–art machinery it holds are the largest of their kind in Africa. In addition to a 220 ton gantry overhead mobile crane, the Centre is equipped with a massive vertical lathe that boasts a chuck diameter of 3.5m, a maximum work piece diameter of 4.0m, a maximum work piece weight of 100 tons and a 2,2m height under the tool. The horizontal milling machine, with a 3.2m diameter rotary table, a 7m bed length and 3m bed width, can also handle a maximum work piece weight of 100 ton.
Commenting on the current state of world economics, Hesemann believes that, as a principal supplier of HPGR technology, Polysius has every reason to remain confident. “We would be failing in our duty to local industry if we do not invest in developing our infrastructures in preparation for the inevitable economic upturn. South African industry has always been resilient and projects are still continuing regardless. With our formidable reputation for ongoing improvement by utilising the most advanced technology to research, develop, engineer and manufacture to world best standards, equipment of this caliber will always be in demand for applications where complete reliability, efficiency and performance are priorities, and even more so in adverse economic climates”, predicts Hesemann.
Polysius Service Centre Manager, Hannes Maritz, shares Ralf’s confidence. “We have already serviced some roll units and manufactured new ones so we are optimistic and expecting good growth”. According to Maritz, new HPGRs will also be manufactured. “We will use some local sub-contractors, who adhere to our strict code of excellence”. However, the main components such as bearings, gearboxes and forgings are supplied by our German head office.
Apart from supplying a service to the local market, the Service Centre will be taking overflow from the factory in Germany. From mid 2009 non-Polysius equipment will be accepted for repair, refurbishment and machining.
The new Service Centre is the only one of its kind in South Africa and part of the company’s global service centre network in South America, Australia and Germany.
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