Since 2008, Shanahan Engineering has had an ongoing relationship with Rotek, the dedicated maintainence arm of Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned electricity provider. In late 2012, Shanahan Engineering’smaintenance solutions division won a competitive contract to supply turbine supervisors, senior supervisors and turbine artisans to various Eskom power stations across South Africa including Camden, Lethabo, Kendal, Matimba, Kriel, Duvha and Komati.
As winter approaches in the southern hemisphere, the crucial challenge facing Rotek and Eskom is to ‘keep the lights on’ to ensure consistency of electricity supply during South Africa’s coldest months and to avoid the worst case scenario of wholescale blackouts as experienced in 2008. With power generation running at spare capacity supply of between half to two per cent above demand, a policy of Integrated demand management has been implemented to minimise outages from mid-May to end-August.
Finding the skills locally to ensure effective power station maintenance and repair is a huge challenge. South Africa has a skills gap between a new generation of young apprentices coming into the power generation industry and the older, highly qualified workforce. Rotek selected Shanahan Engineering to help fill this gap providing expert hands on supervision and advice to the existing workforce.
Thanks to Shanahan Engineering’s thorough sourcing, interviewing and training processes, the maintenance solutions division was able to mobilise over 70 supervisors and fitters for Rotek to a very tight deadline – with a 96 per cent test pass success rate. Men are deployed at individual power stations to suit the Rotek Outage Programme which extends to March 2014.
In July 2011 when Hitachi Power Africa needed assistance changing the contract structure on the new Medupi power station in Limpopo Province, South Africa, Shanahan Engineering was more than happy to help. Upon completion, the new dry-cooled coal fired power station with its six boilers each powering an 800 MW turbine producing 4800 MW of power will be one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Shanahan Engineering was subsequently brought in to kick start the construction of boiler six, the first boiler to be commissioned, including responsibility for the complete mechanical erection. From two consultants to a current team of over 100 highly skilled engineers, Shanahan Engineering is set to be on site until 2015.
Prior to Shanahan Engineering’s involvement with the Medupi project, milestones were not being met and cost overrun was a major problem. In particular, there were challenges regarding productivity of labour, scheduling, work planning and meeting targets.
Shanahan Engineering also brought in a group of young engineers to complete the steel work erection planning, including pre-assemblies and work packs. The engineering and construction management team also engaged 30 specialist steel erectors to work alongside and train local personnel at Medupi in the current internationally accepted process of steel erection.
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