Steinmüller Africa upgrades Eskom’s high-pressure heaters

Steinmüller Africa, turnkey solution provider for high-temperature and pressure static equipment, has received two orders to upgrade Eskom’s Mpumalanga-based sister plants, Tutuka and Duhva power stations, with a total of 14 new high-pressure (HP) heaters. 

As specified by Eskom’s requirements, these header-type HP heaters will range from 12 to 14 meters long, with 2 m diameters. Using Steinmüller Africa’s customised designs, the heaters will achieve various pressures, ranging from 1.5 to 30 MPa and handle very high temperatures, between 230 to 300°C. 

U-Bends of a tube bundle on a HP heater.

The project requires six new designs, three process and three mechanical, which have been developed swiftly, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. To meet the tight design and planning deadlines, while also adhering to Covid-19 protocols, the Steinmüller Africa team worked 12-hour shifts around the clock, some remotely and others in the office. This was all achieved using 3D modelling software, Inventor. 

Now well-into material procurement phase, the company has begun initial fabrication on Tutuka’s HP heaters and Duhva’s are due to follow in the next few months. Receiving the orders in August 2020 and February 2021, Steinmüller Africa expects to complete all HP heaters by 2024, as both power stations’ equipment is reaching mid-life status and require replacements. 

Steinmüller Africa completed extensive preparation and testing procedures to ensure Eskom’s exact specifications were met. The engineering team completed various iterations, modifying procedures and production of the header to nipple welding. By re-developing their processes of drilling, re-aligning, fit-up, welding, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and Ultrasonic Testing (UT), the company created a new process and set of protocols based on existing European methodologies. 

The company also extensively tested the best-suited machinery to meet requirements when bending snake or serpentine tubes. Automated, semi-automated and manual machines were all tried-and-tested for best-fit. Furthermore, the tube bending process also required specific heat treatment, which is currently being tested and proven in its efficiency. 

“All of our pre-fabrication preparation and testing methods are incredibly important to meet our clients’ specific requirements. Through mock-up testing for the header to the nipple welding and heat treatment for tube bending, we are now confident that we can deliver top-quality final products” explains Warwick Ham, Boiler Process Engineering Group Leader at Steinmüller Africa. 

These HP heaters come with both a manufacturing and engineering guarantee, which are confirmed by an external reviewer on fabrication and design completions, respectively. Steinmüller Africa’s HP heaters are expected to perform for over 30 years, which can be extended with the help of their repairs and maintenance services. 

Serving the petrochemical, power generation, sugar and steel industries, Steinmüller Africa offers end-to-end solutions for any utility scale company using turbines, boilers and HP heaters. The company can also meet any design code, including ASME, EN, British standards, API, HEI, TRD and TEMA. “We engineer, design, test, fabricate and install all necessary boiler and HP heater equipment using our in-house experts and leading services,” concludes Patel.

With the help of Oerlikon Automatic Welding and Cojafex Induction Bending machines, unique to the African continent, alongside other world-class machinery, Steinmüller Africa offers a unique set of customised products and services. Additionally, with an internal logistics team and crane division, which offers load capacities of over 100 tons, both materials delivery and on-site installation can be achieved across Africa. 


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