Mon, 29/04/2019 - 08:59
Current Issue 71
Klomac Engineering has risen to the fore of African utilities, enabling the implementation of effective water treatment and chemical processes
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Krisha Canlas
Africa faces the daunting challenge of feeding 1.5 billion people by 2030 and two billion by 2050, but it’s one that the continent intends to meet having already made numerous strides.
“As most West African countries are net food importers, food security became a concern and the region went through a period of agricultural transformation around 2011/12,” reveals Siviwe Ngubentombi, highlighting the region’s evident awareness and the proactive measures being taken.
Drawn into this transformation, Ngubentombi himself began to parlay relationships to supply mechanical agricultural equipment and enable agricultural modernisation, procuring licenses and partnering with international engineering firms to deliver decentralised flour mills, abattoirs and the like.
“I quickly sparked an interest in general infrastructure and supply chains, particularly regarding what interventions could be made to address the asymmetric transformative value of food and harness the socioeconomic multiplier dividend inherent in mechanised decentralised agricultural processing activities,” he adds.
“I also began to look at the water purification space as another catalyst for poverty alleviation. The best western water purification technologies that I found were very expensive, mainly geared towards the oil and gas industry, and required a high level of re-engineering.
“This coincided with the onset of severe drought in South Africa, and I felt a calling to return home and get involved in an industry that would deliver practical and tangible socioeconomic and health benefits to the region through ongoing innovation and on the ground activity.”
Resultantly, Ngubentombi left behind his self-founded grains, foodstuffs and medical sourcing business in Cyprus and moved back to South Africa to join Klomac Engineering as its Managing Director – a role he has held for the past year and a half.
A company at the forefront of helping South African municipalities and private and public industrial companies implement effective water treatment and chemical processes, Klomac Engineering has become a fundamental player in the nation’s wastewater ecosystem.
“Essentially, we’re a water solution engineering business,” Ngubentombi reveals. “We market a turnkey solutions package which includes the building, refurbishing and maintenance of water treatment works, package plants, pumps, pipes, telemetry controls and auxiliary equipment throughout Southern Africa.”
Further, the firm’s services equally extend to process design, in-house machining and fabrication facilities, reliable aftersales maintenance services that includes the supply of hazardous water treatment chemicals.
These capabilities are then focused on the design, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance of water works, pump stations, steel fabricated pipes, valves and water tanks. The firm’s quality assurance system is ISO 9001:2015 accredited, to ensure the best curated rural and urban clear and waste water solutions.
“By leveraging our dynamic workshop facility, we have the freedom, flexibility and propriety equipment to create fully integrated turnkey solutions across the hydromechanical and steel works spectrum,” explains the MD. “These involve the fabrication of products tailored to any client’s needs.
“What’s more, our commitment to excellence requires strong organisational and planning skills, often away from any resources. We design, fabricate, assemble and thoroughly test all mechanical works at our facility in Durban. They are then disassembled and readied for transport with all the components to site for installation and commissioning.”
Such emphasis on providing esteemed and extensive services has seen Klomac Engineering gain reputed status across the continent, status that has facilitated the firm’s seamless expansion into new regions.
This in mind, the company’s footprint now spans across Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, from Tanzania and Uganda to Mozambique and Mauritius.
Coupled with this growing presence is an influx of new, flagship projects, the latest being its work as the mechanical and electrical subcontractor to Stefanutti Stocks Construction for the installation of Hitachi’s advanced water treatment demonstration facility at the Central Wastewater Treatment Works in Durban.
“This particular project involves the construction of a demonstration plant for technology which combines seawater desalination and wastewater recycling. The technology is known to the market as the remix water system, and this is the first time that it’s being used in Africa,” reveals Ngubentombi.
“The purpose of the demonstration plant is to test the technology, prove its ability to reliably produce potable water quality and optimise the design for it to be considered for larger commercial-scale implementation.”
Set to help highlight South Africa as an exemplary resource economy, this goal is just one of five key ambitions that the Managing Director has outlined for Klomac Engineering for the year ahead.
He continues: “We’re also seeking to further market our in-house electrical and automation solutions; implement a value chain strategy to increase eco-friendly water purification supply by 20 percent; seek new partnerships to address project funding barriers in the current economic climate; and optimise production and increase our supplier and emerging qualified subcontractor network.”
These are realistic albeit challenging targets in the face of multiple pressures on the industry, coming from commercial agriculture, cyclical droughts and increased resource demands from the continent’s growing population. However, in the eyes of Ngubentombi, water will be crucial to African economies becoming resource efficient – an ambition that Klomac Engineering will be key to achieving.
He concludes: “Having spent most of my youth in the former Transkei Homeland in the Eastern Cape, I’ve gained an acute understanding and perspective of the reality faced by rural and peri-urban households and businesses.
“And, in my opinion, reliable water infrastructure will be fundamental in helping to build strong and sustainable rural communities, fulfil gaps in catalyst commodity value chains and transform life expectancy and hunger alleviation simultaneously.”