Hytec Services Africa conducted the Group’s first online-based commissioning of a 3 000 kN thickener drive for a Madagascar-based mine. The power pack was purchased in 2019, but due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions at the time, technical personnel were unable to commission the system on site.
Preventing any further system downtime caused by travel restrictions, HSA helped the mine complete a virtual commissioning process in February 2021. Using video call technology, the online commissioning process took 2 days to complete, delivering optimal system operation.
Louis Potter, African Development Manager, explaining the system’s schematics and working principles via videocall technologies.
Louis Potter, Africa Development Manager, headed the video-based virtual commissioning process, using half of the first day to explain the system’s schematics and working principles to 5 of the mine’s technical staff. HSA Technician Frans De Klerk used the remaining day-and-a-half to instruct and guide the same personnel through the drive’s commissioning process.
“During the commissioning, the client made use of video call on their phone to show us the power pack,” explains Louis. “This allowed us to be ‘hands-on’ from a virtual perspective so we could see what they could see, and the technology allowed us to provide images to aid their engineers in identifying key componentry they required.”
Ongoing virtual repair services
Due to the success of the virtual commission, the mine contacted HSA within 24-hours of project completion, seeking assistance with technical issues experienced on other mine equipment. “Our team provided immediate assistance using virtual platforms,” Louis enthuses. The mine has also increased its system spare parts stockholding, pre-empting the success of future virtual servicing.
“This has been a great learning curve and opportunity for us to experiment carrying out engineering tasks using virtual platforms,” says Louis. “It has enhanced our repair service offering and allows us to serve our customers’ requirements even when physically not on site,” he concludes. “It’s another great way that we can get closer to our customers and reduce potential downtime.”
Frans De Klerk, Service Technician, directing and instructing the mine technicians through the commissioning process.