Zan-Tech Supplies Oxygen-Generation Solution
By: Nelendhre Moodley
The rising death rates in the United Kingdom and United States are moving the fatality rate beyond the one million mark and local entities are working around the clock to find solutions to best contain the effects of the pandemic. The South African mining sector has also been hard at work, targeting and rolling out solutions at its field hospitals which cater to its workforce.
Mining major Anglo American and platinum producer Siyanda Bakgatla Platinum recently put out a tender for a containerised solution for the supply of medical grade high-flow oxygen and medical-grade high-flow breathing air for their respective existing and newly built field hospitals.
Air drying and purification equipment specialist Zan-Tech was recently awarded a contract to design and build a bespoke mobile solution that would deliver medical- grade oxygen and medical-grade breathing air to Pharmacopoeia European standards. The company has been working tirelessly to meet the tight timeline of six weeks for the contract awarded in August, for delivery at the end of September.
“We designed and manufactured a portable containerised solution, which we equipped with the required oxygen and breathing air. What is unique about this project is the sheer size of the system which produces high-flow medical breathing air and oxygen at a minimum of 93% Fi02,” says Zan-Tech founder and MD Warren Massey.
The air purification equipment specialist uses various components to compress, refine and purify air from the atmosphere for use as medical-grade oxygen and medical-grade breathing air.
“Our forte is breathing air, compressed air and gasses. We have been involved in breathing air-related solutions for numerous years and worked on many types of breathing applications around the country for both large industrial-scale and small-scale applications. However, this solution has been tailored around the specific event of COVID-19 and entails the supply of a turnkey solution for the high-flow continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) breathing devices designed for COVID-19 patients,” says general manager Brandon Grey.
The contract is for the development and supply of four portable solutions – two solutions earmarked for Siyanda Bakgatla Platinum mine’s newly built 80-bed field hospital in Swartklip, one solution for the existing Siyanda Bakgatla Platinum Health Hospital and one for Anglo American Platinum’s Amandelbult mine’s existing and fully refurbished hospital, located in the Waterberg District Municipality, Limpopo province.
Among the contractors involved, Collaborit was awarded the main tender for the newly built Amandelbult Hospital; LOG Industrial Automation and Control was responsible for the instrumentation and control philosophy; and Denemic Engineering for on-site quality control.
According to Grey, the containerised system has integral components built into it, including an online webserver, which allows for the entire plant room to be viewed and monitored remotely.
Key personnel are able to monitor elements including pressure, alarm system, oxygen content, dew point, air temperature and system parameters/controls which are broadcast via webserver. The webserver is linked to the hospital and to the mechanical and backup staff which allows key personnel to keep a close eye on the equipment at all times and helps to reduce downtime and failures, and ensure increased productivity.
Tied to the challenge of meeting the extremely tight timeline was the task of ensuring that imported items arrived timeously.
“Eighty percent of the critical items used in the project, such as generators, tanks, breathing air purifiers, generators and special biological filtration, were imported from Germany and Turkey. But as Zan-Tech is the official sub-Saharan national agent for the companies from which the equipment was purchased, the process was made a little less stressful,” says Massey.
Locally purchased items included compressors, air conditioners and fans.
Grey notes that while employees’ spirits were high, “the limits of our staff in terms of productivity have been pushed beyond expectations. However, the team pulled together to get the work done on time”.
Before being delivered to site, the mobile units were initially tested at Zan-Tech’s facilities, where pre-commissioning and setup were required before tie-in to the hospitals and final commissioning.
“Given that the containerised solution is a movable asset, it can be used at hospitals or plants after COVID-19 facilities shut down to prevent it from becoming a white elephant,” says Grey.
The contract has been an important one for the company as it allows Zan-Tech, which celebrates 30 years in business, to showcase its capabilities on a much larger scale in terms of breathing air and oxygen supply.
“This project shows that even though we are a small company, our capabilities are extensive. In fact, not many companies in South Africa have the history and experience in the breathing air sector that Zan-Tech currently has. We have been doing work of this type for over 30 years and are well versed in all the requirements necessary for such an application. This type of project requires a broad understanding of not only compressors, filtration and compressed air itself, but all the medical air, oxygen and sizing requirements that the hospitals/facilities need. There are companies that are experts in individual fields but being able to apply the lateral knowledge required needs the specialist know-how with which Zan-Tech is equipped,” says Grey.
The turnkey solution is the first of its kind in the country.
“It is certainly exciting to be at the forefront of an innovative development which is the first of its kind on home soil. And while we delivered on a large-scale project, our application can be reduced to cater to smaller hospitals,” says Massey.