Sofis agent in South Africa, Zonke Engineering Ltd, adopts a local approach to service support, in line with the Sofis strategy to increase its local presence. Within this approach, one of their major clients is offered a made to measure mechanical valve interlock maintenance contract. This contract offers flexibility and allows minimizing on unplanned maintenance and thus increases process uptime.
Regional offices ensure local ‘round the clock’ service offerings
Zonke Engineering (Pty) Ltd was established in 1997 to provide complete technical solutions to large companies in the mass and heat transfer markets, such as petrochemical and oil & gas industries. As a highly trained Netherlocks certified service partner, Zonke is capable of efficiently executing installation and maintenance of valve interlocks. The company aims to create partnerships with their clients, providing a turnkey approach resulting in a reduction in the total cost of ownership. Zonke’s head office is located in Johannesburg. 2 regional offices in Sasolburg and Secunda, located close to important industrial areas, ensure ‘round-the-clock’ service offerings to their clients.
Minimized response times and fixed service rates
The service maintenance contract offered to one of Zonke’s clients applies to all on-site valve interlocks and revolves around two important aspects. Firstly, all service interventions must be carried out within predefined time frames. Secondly, these interventions are always charged according strict price ranges, offering transparent cost prices at all times. Within this approach, each valve interlock can be traced by means of a unique code, while fixed service rates apply to a number of standard interventions related to these interlocks.
Introductory training for new operators
After a service request is made, a Zonke engineer will directly establish the nature of the problem on-site, after which a repair proposal is drafted straight away. Upon approval of this proposal by the client, service will be offered directly. Notably, small service interventions are not charged by Zonke and whenever a problem is caused due to inexperience of (new) operators, a short introductory training on using valve interlocks is provided on the spot.
Apart from offering direct site service support, preventive valve interlocks maintenance is another important element of the total maintenance service as provided by Zonke. This takes place in the form of an annual inspection; a fixed price visual inspection in which all valve interlocks and related key cabinets are visually inspected and tested. Any irregularities are immediately solved and recorded in the annual maintenance report. In case of a safety system that cannot be accessed for maintenance purposes, the client will be obliged to inform Zonke on another suitable date for inspecting the related valve interlocks.
For this client, on-site support related to valve interlocks maintenance is available 24 hours and 365 days per year, always within a couple of hours after the initial service request. In order to guarantee this high level of service, a dedicated Zonke service engineer is always standby to intervene. Service calls are directed to a special ‘hotline’, which number is displayed on all Sofis key cabinets. Most often, Zonke’s service engineers are available within 1 hour after a service request and remarkably 95% of all service interventions are directly solved on-site. Service engineers visit the plant of this particular client on a regular basis, with an average of 5 visits per week. As a result, they have gathered a clear overview on all issues related to their valve interlock systems. Moreover, they are regarded as fully fledged valve interlock specialists, approached by staff for advice on a wide variety of issues related to valve safety. According to Zonke, this substantially contributes to optimizing service support. Also, it will undoubtedly lead to more appreciation of process interlocking as an effective and integral part of plant safety.
Zonke’s tailored approach to service is aimed at offering maximum availability and increases process uptime, ensuring valve interlocks to be operable 100% of the time. Since Zonke brings in all valve interlock expertise, operators can concentrate on what they do best and have peace of mind on the status of safety and operational systems.