Africa Outlook - - Front Page - Writer: Matthew Staff Project Man­ager: Dono­van Smith

As­sist­ing cus­tomers to re­alise their dreams

Metix (Pty) Ltd en­joys op­ti­mum back­ing in the min­ing in­dus­try cour­tesy of lead­ing global plant and en­gi­neer­ing ser­vice provider, SMS Group, and has lever­aged such sup­port to the full in South Africa across its turnkey fer­rous and non-fer­rous op­er­a­tions.

Serv­ing the py­romet­al­lur­gi­cal in­dus­try, its team of pas­sion­ate and skilled en­gi­neers have de­vel­oped spe­cialised patented equipment for all types of fur­naces as a stand­alone busi­ness unit; sub­se­quently en­trench­ing its flat hi­er­ar­chy into the fabric of na­tional in­dus­try, and into the plants and fa­cil­i­ties of nu­mer­ous loyal cus­tomers.

“We are flex­i­ble, fast and straight­for­ward in our of­fer­ing,” Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Andrew van Niek­erk opens. “We fo­cus on in­no­va­tive strength, ef­fi­cient met­al­lur­gi­cal plants, cost com­pet­i­tive­ness, sus­tain­abil­ity and the de­vel­op­ment of high cal­i­bre em­ploy­ees.

“As a re­sult, the Ger­man-based

Metix is mak­ing the most of its par­ent Group’s sup­port and ex­per­tise in or­der to be­come a key in­dus­trial cog, both in South Africa and fur­ther afield

par­ent Group, hav­ing an an­nual or­der in­take in ex­cess of €3 bil­lion and a global re­source team of more than 13,500 em­ploy­ees, gives Metix the free­dom to thrive in the South African mar­ket and glob­ally with the most re­cent projects in Malaysia.”

All told, Metix’s one-stop shop re­mit caters for ar­eas of fer­rochrome, fer­ro­man­ganese, sil­i­con man­ganese, fer­rosil­i­con, fer­rovana­dium, fer­ronickel, fer­ro­nio­bium and pig iron; while non-fer­rous ac­tiv­i­ties en­tail cop­per matte, plat­inum matte, cal­cium car­bide, il­menite, sil­i­con metal, pre­cious met­als, high pu­rity alu­mina and fused mag­ne­sia.

And across each ev­ery strand, a host of be­spoke, state-of-the-art tech­nolo­gies, an­cil­lary sys­tems and so­lu­tions are ap­plied to com­ple­ment a core equipment base that com­prises ev­ery­thing from fur­nace elec­trode col­umns to power dis­tri­bu­tion, fur­nace roofs, charg­ing bins, hy­draulic power, fur­nace shells, re­frac­tory lin­ings, DC fur­nace an­odes, tap hole blocks, com­bus­tion ducts, safety de­vices, and much more be­sides.

Con­se­quently, “Metix project for­mats in­clude En­gi­neer­ing, Pro­cure­ment and Con­struc­tion (EPC), En­gi­neer­ing Pro­cure­ment and Sup­ply (EPS), EPCM, con­struc­tion su­per­vi­sion, com­mis­sion­ing and plant op­ti­mi­sa­tion, fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies, ex­port fi­nanc­ing, con­sult­ing as­sign­ments, and a host of other value-add ser­vices”, van Niek­erk con­tin­ues.

“And all of this, along with the in­te­gra­tion of the SMS Group’s tech­nolo­gies and fi­nan­cial back­ing has re­sulted in Metix be­ing awarded an EPS con­tract for a cop­per smelter in Zam­bia, a $330 mil­lion EPC or­der in Malaysia for a com­plete new smelt­ing plant, and an EPC or­der for a blast fur­nace stove.”

Re­li­able tech­ni­cal ser­vices

Now clearly a thriv­ing in­dus­try op­er­a­tor, Metix’s ori­gins go back 15 years to 2003 when an ex-team of Sa­man­cor Cr, Ti­taco and Bate­man in­cepted the idea. Since then, the ex­po­sure to nu­mer­ous fer­rous projects has helped and al­lowed the Com­pany to evolve its wide range of ser­vices and equipment, con­se­quently mak­ing it a pre­ferred supplier of such plants and equipment in South Africa.

“The Com­pany has de­vel­oped sound re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal clients, in-depth process knowhow of lo­cal in­dus­tries, patented tech­no­log­i­cal equipment, and the abil­ity to ex­e­cute big projects in var­i­ous con­tract­ing for­mats,” van Niek­erk says. “This track record is based on re­li­able tech­ni­cal ser­vices, lo­cal and abroad, for new and ex­ist­ing clients; and the ISO 9001:2008 Com­pany now com­bines more than 140 years of ex­pe­ri­ence with the knowhow of more than 700 smelter projects world­wide.”

De­tail­ing the ap­ti­tude and achieve­ments of each com­pleted project would take longer than the 15 years that Metix has been in op­er­a­tion, such is the scope of its present day port­fo­lio. One that stands out though has been the F4PS2 project com­pleted for Her­nic Fer­rochrome back in 2005; a sign of what was to come from a qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency per­spec­tive.

Van Niek­erk de­tails: “The brown­field project con­sisted of a 350,000 tpa pel­letis­ing and sin­ter­ing plant as well as a 78MVA sub­merged arc AC fur­nace with pre­heat­ing, ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 164,000 tpa HC FeCr. Metix per­formed the EPCM ser­vices for the project and sup­plied key equipment to the fur­nace core. The project was com­pleted in a record time of 19 months due to a no-frills approach by the owner’s team, the use of re­fur­bished sec­ond-hand equipment, and accelerated or­der place­ments.”

Sub­se­quently, Metix has gone on to man­age six of the seven pel­letis­ing and sin­ter­ing projects in South

Africa, build­ing up to its flag­ship EPC achieve­ment in 2016 - the Sakura Project - which was com­pleted in con­junc­tion with nu­mer­ous mar­ketlead­ing part­ners and saw the busi­ness over­come nu­mer­ous chal­lenges across the ex­pan­sive Green­field plant.

“All the above projects have man­aged to achieve their per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters, with the Sakura fur­naces ex­ceed­ing theirs by more than 20 per­cent,” van Niek­erk em­pha­sises.

“And although Metix has been for­tu­nate to have con­ti­nu­ity be­tween large projects, the Com­pany has also re­mained close to its cus­tomers and has com­pleted var­i­ous fur­nace up­grades and re­built projects in the process.”

Af­firm­ing Metix’s preva­lence in to­day’s in­dus­trial do­main, its lat­est projects in­clude a 4,500 tpa high pu­rity alu­mina plant in Jo­hor; a new EPC ex­e­cu­tion for a stove on one of ArcelorMit­tal’s blast fur­naces in con­sor­tium with Paul Wurth; in­volve­ment in a va­ri­ety of fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies; a role in nu­mer­ous cool­ing liq­uid ap­pli­ca­tions of ILTEC on be­half of its non-fer­rous SMS sub­sidiary, PolyMet So­lu­tions; and also work in Ur­ban Gold in con­junc­tion with the SMS Group and Met­top.

Ex­treme own­er­ship

The lat­ter en­cap­su­lates a re­cy­cling tech­nique that uses met­al­lurgy to re­cover rate el­e­ments and pre­cious met­als from elec­tronic waste such as mo­bile phones; high­light­ing a piv­otal value in­grained into Metix in the form of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and a will­ing­ness to adapt to con­tem­po­rary trends.

“Be­ing a project house and an orig­i­nal equipment man­u­fac­turer (OEM), Metix has con­tin­u­ously had to

In a competitive en­vi­ron­ment with low com­mod­ity mar­kets and very lit­tle projects, the Com­pany’s main strat­egy was to do things more eco­nom­i­cally, safer, faster and with less re­sources while not sac­ri­fic­ing on qual­ity

im­prove its ser­vices and tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess,” van Niek­erk af­firms. “Metix started in 2003 with some con­sult­ing work fol­lowed by some EPCM project ser­vices and re­cently the EPC ex­e­cu­tion of var­i­ous projects to the value of bil­lions of rand.

“In a competitive en­vi­ron­ment with low com­mod­ity mar­kets and very lit­tle projects, the Com­pany’s main strat­egy was to do things more eco­nom­i­cally, safer, faster and with less re­sources while not sac­ri­fic­ing on qual­ity. We have em­bed­ded philoso­phies of car­ry­ing lessons learned from project to project, fo­cus­ing on de­sign for con­struc­tion and util­is­ing the lat­est ad­vance­ments in Build­ing In­for­ma­tion Management (BIM).”

And this has all been achieved in the face of fluc­tu­at­ing in­dus­try re­quire­ments and co­pi­ous chal­lenges re­lat­ing to labour costs and equipment specifications. Metix has there­fore re­sponded by im­prov­ing its plant de­signs through op­ti­mis­ing mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion and the use of ap­pro­pri­ate fab­ri­ca­tion ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques.

“To de­sign and con­struct plants faster with fewer re­sources Metix had to take a step back and re­visit all project ex­e­cu­tion tools. Through ex­ten­sive train­ing the Com­pany now ap­plies a whole suite of soft­ware pack­ages that pro­mote BIM and al­lows for a multi-dis­ci­plinary work­flow, 3D de­sign in­ter­fac­ing, clash de­tec­tion, trans­parency and 4D plan­ning,” the MD con­tin­ues. “The Com­pany has sound Project Management Pro­fes­sional (PMP) prin­ci­ples and con­trols in place backed by proven con­tract for­mats that can be cus­tomised ac­cord­ing to clients’ needs.”

Be­ing a competitive OEM re­quires con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment of de­signs but more im­por­tantly an abil­ity to lis­ten to its ever-grow­ing list of clients. Re­sul­tantly, Metix equipment has now op­er­ated suc­cess­fully for more than a decade in very harsh fur­nace

...Metix is prof­it­ing from the SMS Group, which has al­ready in­tro­duced var­i­ous pro­cesses like ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing or print­ing of var­i­ous parts, mainly spare parts, which re­sulted in op­ti­mised de­sign for spe­cific ap­pli­ca­tions

con­di­tions, per­form­ing well above its guar­an­tees; and the Com­pany now plans to cap­i­talise on its com­bined ex­pe­ri­ences and ref­er­ences to im­prove the equipment even fur­ther for the next campaign.

“Our big­gest im­prove­ment strat­egy was the sus­tain­able in­cor­po­ra­tion of the SMS Group’s ‘tool box’ since 2011,” van Niek­erk says. “This is an on­go­ing process en­acted to en­sure that Metix would not just be­come a post box for other global tech­nolo­gies within the Group.

“We had to ap­ply “ex­treme own­er­ship” in or­der to ex­e­cute the projects with author­ity and to as­sist clients with quick de­ci­sion mak­ing. Var­i­ous SMS Group tech­nolo­gies have now been trop­i­calised for lo­cal con­di­tions and other con­ti­nents.”

A sus­tain­able, grow­ing com­pany

An ad­van­tage for Metix in com­pound­ing its commitment to di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and ex­pan­sion has been the fact that it has grown si­mul­ta­ne­ously to many of the re­quire­ments of the in­dus­try, es­pe­cially in the realm of sus­tain­abil­ity. The Com­pany has a strong fo­cus on re­source-ef­fi­cient tech­nolo­gies, en­ergy sav­ing, re­cy­cling and re­cov­ery to epit­o­mise these am­bi­tions.

“Be­sides on­go­ing op­ti­mi­sa­tion re­quire­ments of plants and pro­cesses, In­dus­try 4.0 ac­tiv­i­ties with dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing are the key words of the cur­rent trends in the in­dus­try,” van Niek­erk aptly adds, “and Metix is prof­it­ing from the SMS Group, which has al­ready in­tro­duced var­i­ous pro­cesses like ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing or print­ing of var­i­ous parts, mainly spare parts, which re­sulted in op­ti­mised de­sign for spe­cific ap­pli­ca­tions.

“The Group is also in the po­si­tion to pro­vide en­tire lines for ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing start­ing from pro­duc­tion of the pow­der, re­quired for 3D-print­ing, and the print­ing lines with all trans­port and han­dling fa­cil­i­ties as well.”

Metix has full ac­cess to SMS Group’s never-end­ing gen­er­a­tion and us­age of mod­ern tech­nolo­gies, sub­se­quently tai­lor­ing each one in align­ment with the needs of its own lo­cal cus­tomers. And fa­cil­i­tat­ing each ex­am­ple is a work­force that is equally in­no­va­tive, equally dy­namic, and most im­por­tantly - equally lo­cal.

Van Niek­erk con­tin­ues: “The Com­pany strives to pro­vide the leadership, re­sources and train­ing to its staff nec­es­sary to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in which ev­ery mem­ber of the Com­pany can con­trib­ute towards the ef­fi­cient de­liv­ery of cus­tomer projects with the highest pos­si­ble qual­ity.

“We believe in shar­ing the suc­cess of the Com­pany and we are very proud of our last decade in terms of per­son­nel re­ten­tion and con­sis­tency.”

The MD con­cludes, look­ing to how such sta­bil­ity will aid Metix in its goals for the fu­ture: “We have forged Metix through in­ten­sive project ex­e­cu­tion and in­volve­ment with our clients. We do not back down or give up.

“Metix is a sus­tain­able, grow­ing com­pany with en­thu­si­as­tic peo­ple man­ag­ing and own­ing the com­pany. We now have ac­cess to the full tech­ni­cal knowhow as well as the fi­nan­cial and sourc­ing sup­port of the SMS Group; and in the next three-five years Metix will pro­vide its ser­vices world­wide and will be ex­e­cut­ing two to three more multi­bil­lion rand projects.”

A fo­cus on in­no­va­tive strength, and ef­fi­cient met­al­lur­gi­cal plants

The F4PS2 project com­pleted for Her­nic Fer­rochrome back in 2005

The Tswelopele sin­ter­plant project for Xs­trata SA in Rusten­berg show­cases Metix’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties

Con­tin­u­ously evolv­ing fa­cil­i­ties and so­lu­tions

Metix is con­tin­u­ously im­prov­ing its de­sign and ser­vices based on in­ten­sive di­a­logue with cus­tomers and we are proud to an­nounce new equipment de­vel­op­ments in cop­per cool­ers, tap­hole blocks, laun­ders, pres­sure rings (5yr guar­an­tee, acid re­sis­tant),...

Re­source-ef­fi­cient, en­ergy sav­ing tech­nolo­gies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.