In a first for Bosch Rexroth South Africa, Group Company Hytec Services Africa (HSA) conducted its first online-based commissioning of a 3 000 kN thickener drive for a Madagascan-based mine. The power pack had been purchased in 2019, but due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions in that country, technical personnel were unable to commission the system on site.
To prevent any further system downtime caused by travel restrictions, HSA and the mine agreed to a virtual commissioning process, carried out in February this year. In a two-day online process using video call technology, the system was fully commissioned and operating optimally.
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 five of the mine’s technical staff. Hytec South Africa Service Technician Frans De Klerk used the remaining day-and-a-half to instruct and guide these 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 Potter. “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.”
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 was able to provide immediate assistance using virtual platforms,” Potter 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 Potter. “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.”
HSA supplies world-leading hydraulic, pneumatic and automation brands throughout Africa, offering the Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group’s entire technology and service portfolio to mines and industries across the continent.