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Mechanical Technology: Carab Tekniva is Confident of Future Outlook Following Merger

Engineering consulting expert Carab Tekniva which was officially established following the merger of plant engineering consulting firm Carab Technologies and thermal and pressure component design specialist Tekniva in May 2012 is confident of entering new markets and expanding its geographical footprint moving forward as one single entity.

Carab Technologies is recognised as a leader in the supply of database software solutions that enable clients to ensure effective plant care, by primarily focusing on the inspection and maintenance history of power plant boilers, while Tekniva is renowned as a specialist in the design of boiler components, pressure vessels, heat exchangers and piping systems.

Carab Tekniva technical marketing and sales representative Billa Pansegrouw explains that by combining the expertise of the two companies under a single brand makes it possible to provide a comprehensive and entirely holistic engineering service that covers all aspects of power generation, process plants, industrial boiler and steam installations, refineries, sugar boilers and utility plants.

"The combined experience and expertise of the two individual companies has in a short space of time already led to Carab Tekniva gaining a reputation for being a leading multifaceted engineering solutions and services provider to the largest power generation and process plant operations across Southern Africa. This is evident in the fact that we have been commissioned by some of the most well respected high profile companies in South Africa, including Eskom, Sasol, Sappi, Tiger Brands, BHP Billiton, Anglo Platinum and Chevron SA", he explains. Pansegrouw highlights the fact that Bronkhorstspruit-based Carab Tekniva offers clients a full range of consulting services that cover IT solutions, project services, physical asset management and engineering solutions. "Our IT development, testing, and implementation team provides us with the ability to tailor industry and plant specific software and hardware solutions for a wide range of applications. Our plant care software and support system is divided into three modules, namely; boiler pressure parts, thick wall components and high pressure piping. This ensures that all critical systems in a boiler plant are comprehensively covered on an around-the-clock basis."

According to Pansegrouw, Carab Tekniva is fully equipped to design pressure equipment to a wide range on pressure design codes, such as ASME en European EN, in compliance with the Pressure Equipment Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and SANS 347. "We are currently contracted by Eskom to supply and maintain database software for boiler inspections and repairs at all of the power utility's 13 coal fired power stations nationwide. What's more, we also supply appointed technical engineers to manage the information received from the software, and to play an active part in all outage and maintenance processes," he continues.

Pansegrouw points out that Carab Tekniva provides a three-man team consisting of a plant care engineer, engineering technician and data technician - who ensure that the systems engineer and outage management team are provided with dedicated assistance as and when it is required. "During an outage inspection, for example, all technical results are fed into the database system, before Carab Tekniva employees work closely with the system engineer to analyse the findings. From there, a repair scope of work is drawn up to minimise the forced outages further down the line, by undertaking preventative inspection and maintenance on the boilers," he explains.

Carab Tekniva sets itself apart from the local competition by developing its software products in-house, thereby reducing overhead costs, while improving turnaround times related to after sales and technical support. This also provides the opportunity to tailor software to specific client requirements. "What's more, we are the only local company known to us that has developed a welding tracking software module, which allows repairs to be tracked in real time as the welding takes place in the boiler."

Another distinct advantage that sets Carab Tekniva apart from its competitors is the fact that the company specialises in four distinct services, namely; engineering consultation, software development, physical asset management and reliability engineering and project management - including safety, health, environment, risk and quality (SHERQ) services. "Most local companies only focus on one of these services, whereas Carab Tekniva boasts a comprehensive portfolio in all areas, thereby optimally balancing performance, cost and risk of assets over their whole life cycle."

Although Carab Tekniva focuses predominantly on the power generation industry, the company has developed plans to expand into the mining sector. "Some mines have their own power generating plants, and Carab Tekniva has identified this as the company's point of entry into this highly lucrative market, as the mines will not only require repair and maintenance services related to the power generation plant, but also additional mechanical engineering related services." By making use of Carab Tekniva as an engineering solutions services provider, Pansegrouw believes that a mining operation can be guaranteed optimal energy efficiency in its processing plant. "Mines, particularly in South Africa, are being placed under increasing pressure to create their own power, due to the fact that there is a shortage from the national grid. Furthermore, mines do not only aim to increase efficiency, they also need to install more capacity by generating their own power, which is cheaper than purchasing it from the national grid in the long term."

As a result of the ongoing global financial crisis, Pansegrouw admits that cost remains a major challenge to local projects, and a large number of companies are trying to save money on maintenance budgets. "This can prove to be a costly mistake, as it ultimately results in long term damage and unreliability that costs considerably more to repair, or even replace. It is, therefore, always important for large plants to focus on the total life cycle costs of physical assets, when it comes to long term maintenance."

Carab Tekniva is a Level 3 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) contributor and, as a socially responsible corporate citizen, the company is a regular contributor to a number of non-profit organisations that focus on social upliftment within underprivileged communities.

Contact Billa Pansegrouw, Carab Tekniva, Tel 013 932 5449 or email.