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African Petrochemicals is South Africa’s leading quarterly print and digital trade magazine for the past 15 years. Featuring all the latest petrochemical industry news, special reports, technological advances and much more.


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SAIMC Tshwane Branch Technical Evening, presented by ESKOM on Boiler Control & Optimization

Please find enclosed some of the latest news from the Tshawne branch. For the month of May, we had an awesome presentation from ESKOM on Boiler Control and Optimization. To date this is possibly one of the presentations which is the most aligned with the idea behind SAIMC’s Technology Evenings. The focus hence was purely on philosophies and concepts.

Topics covered includes: 1.) Brief introduction to ESKOM, 2.) Typical “6 Pack” Power Station, 3.) Design principles & Hierarchy, 4.) Hardware principles, 5.) Regulations, 6.) Protection, 7.) Optimization Roadmap and Methodology to name but a few.

Some high-level points from aforementioned that stood out is that ESKOM presently has 42,8GW designed capacity being delivered by 28 Power stations or by 90 Boilers. Another 17GW is being brought online. The 700MW boiler which formed basis of discussion which is 80M “tall” typically expands up to 1M when in operation complicating cable layout, etc. This boiler runs at around 172Bar at 540 degrees C while the larger Medupi ones for instance goes as high as 242Bar and 560 degrees C. The boiler typically consumes 96Kg per second of coal. A boiler typically has up to 9000 IO and consist out of 500 Loops and 500 Control functions. In excess of 7 design principles are focused on and includes aspects such as safety, availability, etc. It was very clear that Automation along with how design is grouped hierarchal makes it possible for a single operator to control and monitor such a vast system which forms part of a Unit.

The VGB R170 standard is very comprehensive in defining guidelines on how to perform design of control systems. Typically, protection is performed by SIL Level 3 system(s). Off line more questions were asked such as level of qualification, KKS standard, challenges around procurement being a Government entity and how these are overcome. Cyber security and possibility of unit control remotely, which systems / software if any are used for “expert” or advanced control, etc. It is very clear that to be a “control engineer” one should also take an interest in the process and not only look at for instance hardware or software components of a system.

SAIMC Tshwane is very appreciative of Mr. Carel Potgieter (middle) and Mr. Nerino Baruffa (right) who displayed passion and experience for the topic and who drove all the way from Witbank and to Mr. Koos Veldman (left) one of the two remaining “grey beards” in ESKOM. Collectively the gentleman as in excess of 110 years of experience.

The topic presented could easily become a two (2) day plus workshop so definitely something to be considered. Another interesting topic to follow perhaps is Turbine control. These types of equipment is possibly right up there with some of the most advanced / niche control systems and having done these you could say “you have arrived” as not much else is as involved and comprehensive within our domain based on consensus from people spoken to.

Note Nico from E&H who is responsible for assisting with CPD point process is going to assist in applying for points for the presentation so attendees who are registered with ECSA can claim 0,1 CPD point.

Some brief feedback re past period:

EASTC: Nico and Petrus had a follow up meeting re way forward and about them becoming patron members. We have also received a quote for the process model(s) they build for training however more communications are envisaged around this.

FIRST SA: More meetings took place and it is hoped that the way forward may be firmed up during the next NAT Com meeting later in the month. So far, a NPC/O has been established and more works is needed on the “constitution” to ensure SAIMC and FRSA interests are protected.

MTA: Kindly be reminded to visit the show taking place at Nasrec from 9 to 12 May and to visit the SAIMC stand. Petrus also has a slot to present the SAIMC which is awesome to create more awareness about out cause. PS we are also very excited to announce that ABB will assist on our stand and will be displaying Robot which was on display at our last technical evening.

AAF: Also, be reminded about the event taking place from 6 to 8 June at “the Dome” with the “Connected Industries” event running concurrent to it and also our VIP breakfast taking place on the 6th. Should you have any senior people who you think we could invite who support our cause (and has some funds to invest in education) then kindly send us their details so we may engage with them. AFF2017 event organizers have also made some slots available for SAIMC to present at the event so please remember to visit our stand. As always, we need members and patrons so appreciate your support.

Other (satellite) branches: An invite has gone out to attend a function at Rustenburg (see below) and we are still working on getting the Witbank branch up and running.

Bloodhound Race: Kindly note the event has moved to 2018.



For more information please contact any one of the committee. We appreciate any new members so also please feel free to share.

Thank you kindly, Petrus Klopper

SAIMC Tshwane Branch Committee (Vice Chairman, Secratary & Technology) and

National Committee (Professional Service / Standards Sub-Committee)

082 559 7437 /



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