Published: March 8, 2015

Turnkey vessel and container solutions prove popular

Local vessels, tanks and containers supplier Metal Tank Industries (MTI) is commissioning a highly specialised turnkey process unit for a Johannesburg-based pharmaceutical company.
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“The specialised skid-mounted 1 m³ vessel possesses specific types of mixing actions and is entirely self-contained,” says MTI MD Rob MacGregor.

He explains that the vessel is self-heated through an internal heating system and weighs itself through the use of load cell technology, while control units monitor its speed.

The vessel was manufactured using a specialised SAF 2205 duplex stainless steel alloy, instead of the standard stainless steel grades 304, or 306, because the pharmaceutical company will use highly corrosive chemical compounds to manufacture a new line of product.

MacGregor tells Engineering News that the company has been awarded several contracts during the last 18 months to supply vessels and containers to a brewery with beverage plants, which are producing opaque beers, in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania.

MTI delivered a new turnkey beverage plant in March for manufacturer and marketer of food and beverage products Dairibord, in Harare, Zimbabwe. The plant included ten vessels, with a capacity of 10 m3, pipeworks, instrumentation, electric units and cooling systems.

Further, the company also supplied a large turnkey beverage plant to a Zambian food and beverage producer. Thirty vessels, each with a 15 m3 capacity, were delivered from April to June. Plant commissioning is scheduled for the end of August.

Meanwhile, MTI sales director Brad Roberts points out that MTI is also receiving more orders from mining companies in Southern Africa.

“In January, we supplied a Zambian copper mining project with 30 leaching vessels, each with a capacity of 30 m3, specialised piping, pumps and filters for the copper-leaching section of the mine,” he states.

Roberts also believes that there will be continued growth in the African food and beverage processing industry, as well as in the mining industry’s chemical processing sector, which will “both require a range of container and vessel products”.

He adds that water containment is another segment of the market in Africa that may grow over the next five to ten years, owing to the increasing need to supply water to rural communities and remotely located mining operations.

Operational Activities

MacGregor highlights that the export of product to African countries has always been an integral part of company operations.

“Currently, about 40% of our revenue is produced through the sale of goods to African countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mauritius, Nigeria and Ghana.”

Further, he says a significant portion of the company’s business is repeat orders by companies to which MTI has been supplying products since the company was founded in 1996.

MacGregor asserts that this is “a clear indication that the company has established a positive record with clients”.

Business Upswing

“We have recorded a significant increase in export volumes in the last two years, predominantly as a result of the devaluation in the rand and many African companies operating in dollars, which has made it cheaper for them to buy goods from South Africa,” MacGregor states.

He highlights that the recent revival in, for example, the engineering and mining sectors in countries, such as Zambia and Zimbabwe, has contributed to the increasing demand for vessels and container units.

Meanwhile, MacGregor points out that MTI’s turnkey solutions offering have been well received locally and internationally, as “this simplifies the process for small and medium-sized enterprises”.

He adds that the company encourages all its customers to visit its Benoni-based facility, on the East Rand, before a product is delivered to ensure that their specifications and expectations have been met and, if need be, alterations are swiftly made.

“It is important for clients to see the product before it is delivered to site, as it becomes significantly more complex to alter a vessel’s or container’s design on site.”

Refurbished Offering

Roberts points out that MTI also buys used stainless steel vessels and containers that it refurbishes and sells to customers.

He explains that, owing to the challenging economic climate, “there is a growing demand for second-hand units, which are significantly cheaper than new ones”.

Roberts adds that the demand for refurbished units exists in the local and export sectors.

Propak Africa 2016

Roberts notes that the company exhibited at the 2013 Propak Africa packaging, food-processing and labelling tradeshow, which took place at the Nasrec Expo Centre, in Johannesburg, last year.

“MTI made many contacts at the 2013 event, many of which have since translated into business transactions. Owing to the success MTI had at the 2013 event, we are looking forward to exhibiting at the next one,” he enthuses.

The 2016 edition of Propak Africa will take place at the same venue from March 15 to 18.

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