Concrete brick, block and paving machinery manufacturer Pan Mixers South Africa (PMSA) supplied a new PMSA VB4X plant to Dukathole Brickworks, in the Eastern Cape, that will manufacture M9, M6, M4, Maxi, Stockbricks, 80 mm paving, 60 mm paving and 50 mm paving for the project.
The company details that the success of the latest Dukathole project will result in more materials becoming available for construction that may arise from government-initiated projects involving Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing, which, in turn, will result in a boost for the civil and construction sector as a whole.
Having supplied the machine in September, PMSA marketing and sales manager Quintin Booysen comments that the company added the new PMSA VB4X machine to the two other VB4X and two VB1X machines already stationed at the site.
“Bricks and blocks manufacturer Dukathole Brickworks started manufacturing blocks 17 years ago, making 500 M6 stock bricks a day. Six years ago, they were making 8 000 M6 a day, but then they expanded every year since then and production capacity is now over 60 000 M6 hollow blocks a day,” he notes.
Moreover, Booysen says that the software used in the PMSA VB4X machine integrates the control of the speed and positioning of all the mechanical machine functions and an improved user touchscreen programming display, making it easier for the machine operator to make setting changes to respond to changes in material and moisture.
He explains that the hydraulic system in the machine has been upgraded through the addition of improved filtration to ensure longer hydraulic pump and valve life. The filters are fitted with clogging indicators with an electronic output to the machine’s programmable logic controller (PLC) that has a notification display on the machine operator’s programming display to notify the operator when hydraulic filters require replacement.
Booysen explains that the hydraulic control system has been changed from a load sensing to a position sensing control system with the addition of an accumulator to ensure faster machine response times and better control of the proportional speed, as well as positioning of all the machine components.
He adds that the closed-loop control system, which includes linear and rotary encoders that track the movement of all the machine components continuously and through the PLC, instructs the high-proportional hydraulic valves to adjust their speed to maintain the speed and position as programmed during the moving of every single operation.
“All these enhancements make for even faster machine operation and lower cycle times whilst reducing wear and tear. This results in an even higher machine output capacity than the existing machines, which already produce in excess of 29 000 hollow blocks, 390 mm × 190 mm × 140 mm, or 140 000 stock bricks per nine-hour shift,” he details.
Moreover, Booysen asserts that the total capital cost, including plant, machinery and infrastructure, was R11-million. He adds that Dukathole funded the previous expansions through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). “The IDC funding provided was at such favourable terms and the role the IDC played in our growth was so significant that we were able to self-fund the current project.”
He emphasises that one of the major benefits from the Dukathole project for the area is the employment opportunities it brought to the community. He notes that 25 new Dukathole employees as well as ten new Dukathole support personnel – management, administration and security – were employed as a result of the VB4X plant acquisition. “Fifty indirect jobs were also created at our suppliers of raw material, and transport capacity had to be increased, as well as the personnel requirement, in order to meet Dukathole’s new demand.”
Moreover, Booysen concludes that, in addition to these impacts, the area in which the company is located will benefit, owing to the fact that there is a need for RDP houses. He explains that Dukathole supplies the blocks that go into about 7 000 RDP houses every year, noting that the new plant will enable this to increase to about 9 000 houses a year.