12 Oct Locally manufactured for the global market
With a history of delivering large engineering projects globally, Iritron has over 20 years’ experience in designing motor control centres (MCCs) built to the highest international specifications, says CEO, Alwyn Rautenbach.
Iritron is an engineering, integration and manufacturing company providing solutions in the fields of electrical, instrumentation and control systems and decision support systems.
Rautenbach highlights that the company is driven by quality standards: it holds ISO 9001:2015 quality management system accreditation and, with respect to the wellbeing of its staff, customers and contractors and of the environment, it also holds ISO 45001:2018 (Occupational health & safety) and ISO 14001: 2015 (Environmental management systems) accreditation. Iritron’s panels also carry the SABS mark.
“We always engineer solutions that contribute to the effectiveness of operations according to the client’s specifications. Investment needs to be justified in terms of the return it delivers, and that is where Iritron excels,” he adds.
As a member of the Electrical Switchgear Association of South Africa (ESASA), Iritron is a custom panel and MCC manufacturer with a manufacturing facility in Gauteng; and as a level 7 Engineering and Procurement (EP) company registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (cidb), provides construction installation management.
Rautenbach says the company is recognised for its professionalism and quality compliance, and for its successful execution of multifaceted projects.
Internationally, Iritron has completed a number of complex control and automation projects that have included the design and manufacture of custom panels and MCCs.
A multimillion rand project in Gabon
Among these is a recently completed expansion project for a manganese mine in Gabon. The mine is the world’s second largest producer of high-grade manganese. Iritron has more than 20 years’ experience in the manganese mining sector, starting in South Africa and expand into other African countries and abroad.
In Gabon, the project – designed by a global multidisciplinary EPCM consultancy – tasked Iritron with delivering a solution that encompassed several engineering disciplines within tight deadlines. Electrical MCCs, a control system, CCTV and network cabinets formed part of the delivery. Rautenbach says the project was awarded to Iritron based on its proven engineering expertise in this type of delivery.
“A project of this magnitude included some unique challenges. The company was affected by worldwide semiconductor shortages and supply chain disruptions that created logistical challenges. At the time, the ongoing pandemic and port congestion compounded the problem. This required the Iritron team to turn their operations ‘upside down’, in the literal sense, to keep to timelines,” he explains.
The team worked on the MCCs in reverse sequence – activities usually scheduled for the end of a build were completed first.
“This meant the engineering team wasted no time in waiting for equipment to arrive. Using their technical expertise and proven design methodologies, they reduced overall project risks posed by the supply chain bottleneck. Iritron successfully delivered the project on time and within budget, and in the process, secured additional larger projects.”
Makeover for packaged goods plant
This estimated R7.5-million project for a major South African packaged goods company required refurbishing and upgrading a plant with the latest optimised control systems. The scope of work revolved around replacing the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for 11 wheat mills, with one Siemens S7-1500 PLC. The PLC panels were replaced by remote IO panels. The old PLC programs were reverse-engineered and reprogrammed into the new Siemens PLC.
The eleven-storey plant comprises more than 4 000 instruments which are all connected to the control system. Iritron was responsible for replacing all the panels, switchgear and PLCs connecting to the original supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. New communication cables and power cables were supplied and installed.
Redundant PLCs and other equipment were replaced with modern equipment, ensuring a modern plant control system with available spares. The new equipment will reduce unplanned downtime resulting from control equipment failure, and will increase plant reliability and throughput. It also ensures a reduction in control equipment and potential points of failure and maintenance over the long term.
“New technology was implemented, for example, in the roller mill electrical works, with a new MCC designed, manufactured, fitted, supplied and installed by Iritron. The MCC is equipped with automation company ABB’s switchgear and OEM-supplied free issue variable speed drives (VSDs). The MCC is equipped with 45 direct online starters and 26 VSD starters,” Rautenbach highlighted.