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Home » Fine-tuning O & M and empowers plants to work productively and cost-effectively – Part 1

Fine-tuning O & M and empowers plants to work productively and cost-effectively – Part 1

There are optimistic signs that the imperative need for operations and maintenance (O&M) is at last firmly under the spotlight around the country, with regards to the ongoing national power crisis. This is Part 1 of a two-part article.

Dennis Williams, Commercial Director at AES. photo by AES
Dennis Williams, Commercial Director at AES. photo by AES

At the same time, O&M is of crucial importance at individual plant level, and this is where experienced local steam and boiler operations and maintenance service provider Associated Energy Services (AES), is well able to hold its own with the best in the world, even going so far as to guarantee its clients’ operational uptime.

This is according to Dennis Williams, AES Commercial Director, who explains: “AES operates across a broad range of industrial sectors where we promote optimised steam processes. We fine-tune clients’ industrial processes, assist in operational risk mitigation and asset care, and upskill operations staff. Notably, we also offer our clients an uptime and operational efficiency commitment and guarantee, which sends a powerful message of peace of mind and trust, as they know we are co-invested in the smooth operation of their energy plants.”

Williams adds that AES’s O&M offering is key to the overall performance of the entire plant, which has an impact on the company’s uptime and costs: “O&M provision is critical in driving an energy plant to achieve successful and sustainable operations, allowing our clients to benefit from the availability of steam and the ongoing reliability of assets at an equitable price.”

Clarifying plant operation and maintenance

Williams clarifies that plant operation includes the managing and controlling of the equipment within the industrial energy plant, to produce the desired energy supply.

“Its scope is broad,” he notes, “and includes aspects across a wide spectrum relating to operational personnel, technical management, and the execution of functions directly and indirectly related to the energy plant.

“This includes its actual operations as well as a training component, fuel and services procurement and the technical oversight and planning requirements – right down to the on-site provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). Reliable delivery and operational safety are imperatives – injuries in this environment can be very severe when working with pressure vessels such as boilers.”

He adds that maintenance, in turn, refers to both routine maintenance – for example ongoing checks and record keeping, servicing of valves, tensioning of belts, and preventative maintenance – as well as emergency repair. Regulatory compliance must also be factored in.

“Plant O&M is important,” clarifies Williams, “because we want to deliver good quality energy – meaning, for example, steam at the correct temperature; electricity at the right frequency and voltage – and we also want to deliver this when it is actually needed.

In this current economic climate, it is critical to maximise efficiencies, which requires being highly cognisant of risk factors. Environmental issues must also be addressed. O&M assists our clients in safeguarding their plant operationally, and thereby also their ultimate profitability.”

Risk mitigation and first-to-market uptime guarantee

AES’s purpose as a company is to assist industrial plants that wish to optimise their energy production processes and achieve energy usage best practices. AES’s entire business is therefore geared towards an improvement in energy efficiencies as well as operational risk mitigation, and it creates a bespoke solution for each client.

AES Managing Director Chris Paterson adds: “Optimal plant operation is critical, and it is imperative to minimise downtime. This aim of minimising downtime is linked to the asset care status of the plant, which is also key to AES’s operations. We are passionate about facilitating our clients’ operational risk mitigation and reducing plant downtime through effective operations and maintenance – all of which also necessitates proper care of assets.

We provide commitments on efficiencies and performance with regards to the fuel-based energy that is used to generate the plant’s required energy streams. We were the first in South Africa to introduce an uptime and operational efficiency guarantee to the market.”

AES has created its own remote monitoring system (RMS) which offers significant technological input into plant operations – allowing AES to collect data from the plant via multiple streams. Williams clarifies: “We collate and analyse the data to maximise the operations of the plant and its performance going forward. The RMS allows AES to ensure that the plant can be monitored at any time, from anywhere.”

Continued in part two…