As part of its sustainable development programme, the Chryso Southern Africa Group has built a new plant for the dustless manufacture of cementitious powdered products at the Boksburg premises of a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals, which is part of the Group.
The new state-of-the-art powder plant, which started operating at the end of November last year, replaces a 30-year-old production facility that required modernisation and is, unlike its predecessor, almost fully automated.
Mario Marais, a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals GM: Operations, says many of the products a.b.e. supplies to the construction and hardware retailing sectors were first produced more than 70 years ago. “Over the years, the need to produce the products with meticulous care to achieve top quality has remained unchanged, but globally there is today a far greater emphasis on respecting the environment and the safety of the company’s staff.
“Dust levels are a major concern at power plants so, as a safety precaution, extractor fans were installed in the new factory and all a.b.e.® employees working in the plant now have to wear respiratory masks. As the dust levels were very high, additional safety measures were required and a new dust-free ribbon blade blender was installed and dust-free modifications made to the plant’s other ribbon blade blender and two plough blenders. To prevent the escape of dust, the plant’s conveyor belts had to be enclosed and the plough blenders, sealed. The new bagging unit is also enclosed.”
Marais says as a further commitment to staff safety and producing dust-free products for customers, the plant’s plough blenders are fitted with atomisers that convert liquid to a vapour-like fine spray.
To reduce manual input, the new plant’s nine silos are fitted with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). The silos (of which three are brand new, and the others extensively refurbished) release the exact required amounts of raw materials on to the enclosed conveyor belts linked to the hoppers where the products are batched.
“There is only a minimum degree of manual labour involved as certain compounds and pigments have to be added manually as they are not stored in silos. a.b.e.® has also substantially reduced the need for staff to manually lift heavy bags of product, thereby reducing occupational health and safety hazards.”
As a result of the increased automation and new equipment, the plant’s production capacity will now be double – or even higher than double – that of previous output levels, without the need for an increase in staff numbers.
a.b.e.®’s new powder plant is located behind the present factory in Boksburg and future plans include the conversion of the old powder plant to a liquid production facility.
Marais says the investment in the new powder plant, coupled with the upgrading of the company’s Isipingo plant – where a.b.e.® bitumen-based products are manufactured – form part of the Chryso Southern Africa Group’s continuing commitment to investing future growth and sustainable development.
“The plant is another example of the Group’s major emphasis on supplying dustless products. a.b.e.® is now the only company in its sector supplying dustless mortars, grouts, plaster and self-levelling products in Africa. The ‘dustless’ concept has been devised and patented by the Parex Group, a subsidiary of the Chryso Southern Africa Group’s holding company, the Materis Group in France.
“We regard these exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute dustless products as a major advantage over competitors in the ‘green age’ the industrial sector is now experiencing,” Marais adds.
Issued for a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals, Boksburg / Further info: Kirsten Kelly, tel 011 395 9700 / za.chryso.com