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KZN Textile Manufacturer Protects Boilers And Business Through Preventative Maintenance

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Fibertex South Africa (Pty) Ltd. is a local manufacturer of nonwoven materials with operations in Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal. It’s key business areas include automotive, bedding, filtration, furniture and geotextiles. Creating nonwovens requires using roller cards to process staple fibres. These rollers must first be warmed up using steam. With boilers operating to create this steam 24 hours a day, boiler maintenance is a critical element of the company’s operations. Fibertex therefore works with Allmech, a leading South African manufacturer of boilers and supplier of water treatment components, to maintain and protect its boilers.

Fibertex first contacted Allmech in 2009, ahead of setting up its factory, to enquire about the supply of an electrode boiler capable of supplying 470 kg/hr steam. Arno Pieters, Allmech’s KwaZulu-Natal Branch Manager, explains that the Allmech team recommended an AHP-300P electrode boiler with a duplex water softener because Fibertex operates 24 hours per day. In 2018, Fibertex required another boiler for its raw material plant, Fiberline. Allmech supplied a second electrode boiler of 100kw (AA-100) to replace a non-Allmech unit, which was giving trouble.

“Allmech electrode boilers operate on the principle that electricity passed through any resistant material causes an increase in that resistant material’s temperature,” says Pieters. “In this case, the resistant material is water. The use of this principle ensures no external heating mechanism is required and it renders the boiler safe under all operating conditions. In other words: no water, no resistant material and no increase in temperature.”

Boiler water treatment is critical to ensure that the machinery functions correctly for as long as possible. Effective boiler feed water treatment systems work by both removing harmful impurities prior to entering the boiler as well as controlling the acidity and conductivity of the water.

“When impurities exist in the boiler water, they can foul the system and create lasting damage that will shorten the life of the equipment and reduce its efficacy, which translates to higher bills for the same performance,” says Pieters. “Our water treatment equipment was introduced via two operating principles. The first is water filtration by means of water softening, which reduces the amount of calcium and magnesium scale than enter the boiler. Scale directly impacts on the energy requirement of the boiler. Just 

1mm of scale increases electricity demand by 10%. The second operating principle is chemical treatment. Our Allmech A-101 electrode boiler solution contains oxygen scavengers, polyacrylate dispersants and scale inhibitors to ensure the boiler is kept clean.”

Victor Joubert, Maintenance Supervisor at Fibertex, says the relationship the company has with Allmech has endured for 14 years thanks to the excellent level of service Allmech is able to provide. “If I have any problems, I can call Arno and he will help.”

Joubert says he’s able to buy the water treatment chemicals from Allmech and the company also undertakes monthly water testing and regular monitoring and inspections of the boilers so it can adjust treatment or provide maintenance as required, which means he is working with a “one-stop-shop”.

“They help us to ensure we get the full lifetime out of the boilers,” he says. “And, if the chemicals aren’t right, the water is hard and then the boilers can’t work efficiently.”

For example, as a result of changes in the water quality and an increased rust detection in the internals of the rollers, Allmech developed its A103 electrode boiler solution, which offers additional condensate protection properties.

“South African regulations require that vessels and boilers/steam generators are inspected and tested at prescribed intervals,” says Pieters. “Boilers and vessels require inspection every three years. During the past 14 years, our Fibertex inspections have indicated no internal corrosion, which is the result we want to see.”

About Allmech

Allmech was founded in 1995 and has grown over two decades to become one of South Africa’s leading boiler manufacturers and suppliers to the water treatment industry. Allmech offers a comprehensive range of electrical, gas and oil-fired boilers with water treatment to suit.

With a customer base stretching from its head office in Benoni, Johannesburg, throughout Southern Africa and beyond, Allmech has become recognised as an experience end-to-end provider for clients requiring boiler plants, steam supply of all types, cooling towers, water treatment equipment and associated chemical programmes. Aside from sales to direct and distributor clients, the company’s services include technical support, repairs and maintenance, and spares sales.

Allmech is also the only authorised South African agent for Runxin valves, produced by the global Wenzhou Runxin Manufacturing Machine Co., headquartered in China.