Since 2013, the Lower Blyde Pipeline Network (LBPN) has been operated, maintained and administered by MBB, on behalf of Rand Merchant Bank. The pipeline, originating from the Blydepoort Dam, supplies pressurised irrigation water to 122 farms over an area of approximately 8 000 ha of high-value citrus and mango orchards, amongst others.
In late June 2020, during a routine shut down, a faulty Ø800 mm butterfly valve was discovered on the pipeline, near Jonkmanspruit. A decision was taken to replace the valve.
Following a lengthy procurement process, in which pricing from local and foreign suppliers was investigated, a replacement valve was sourced and imported directly from a supplier in China. In all, it took 5 months to procure the valve (order, transport 12 000 km by ship to Durban harbour, before being transported to Hoedspruit). This was a first for MBB and much has been learned regarding the importation of materials from foreign countries.
The valve was installed during the last routine shut down of May 2021. Owing to its weight, size and working in a limited space, it was not an easy task, but with the concerted effort of the maintenance team, the new valve was installed by mid-afternoon the following day. The new valve is now working well. The old valve will be refurbished and kept in stock as a spare.
Congratulations to the maintenance team for the commissioning, and the support staff involved with the planning and arrangements necessary, for the successful replacement of the valve.