During the third and final phase, the team assesses and ranks the suggestions for improvement. It also plans the next steps, including assessing whether any further on-site support is required. “We have decided to extend our collaboration with Linde and Thomas Riebe,” explains Lwazi Mkhandabila, Head of Bulk and On-Site Plants at Afrox. “We are really impressed with the results – the outcomes have certainly exceeded all our expectations.” Riebe’s proposals identified significant optimization potential for the Witbank standby plant. Fine-tuning the expansion turbine in Pretoria reduced liquid nitrogen consumption by 27 tons a day without necessitating any changes to the operating conditions.
For Riebe, the Vula project demonstrates perfectly how LINDE PLANTSERV® is in synch with customer needs and how the resident engineers team up with plant operators on the ground to meet these needs in the most effective way possible. “Our goal was to ensure that Afrox could continue to operate its portfolio of assets in a safe, reliable and more efficient way. It was not about selling as many parts or revamps as possible,” adds Riebe. Afrox wanted Linde’s experts to assess the functionality, efficacy and safety of its plants – and not necessarily benchmark them against the latest cutting-edge technologies. Riebe's team remained focused on this philosophy throughout the entire Vula project. This was another reason why Afrox chose to continue working with the team. The figures given above are conclusive proof that the project was a resounding success. They also show that sound advice from LINDE PLANTSERV® cannot be expressed in terms of costs – it’s a valuable investment in future profitability.