Merensky has placed its trust in Dolphin Bay to increase its production capacity in a major engineering operation that included dismantling, transporting, repurposing and recommissioning a treatment plant.
The plant was previously at Merensky’s Singisi site in KwaZulu-Natal, which the company closed. Merensky needed to move it to the company’s Langeni treatment site outside Umtata in the Eastern Cape, remodel and adapt it to efficiently treat both eucalyptus and pine.
Merensky owns a significant plantation area, making it among the largest private forestry owners in South Africa, and has a large supply of eucalyptus, which provides pole material. The company processes lumber at its own sawmills, treats timber and supplies treated pine – and now eucalyptus – to customers across the country.
Dolphin Bay participated in the complete overhaul of the plant at the Langeni site, taking Merensky’s specific requirements into consideration. “We are proud that we met this objective and are looking forward to continue adding value to Merensky’s business,” said Bertus.
“We are focusing not only on traditional sawmilling but also on value-adding, and it’s a huge opportunity to have a plant that can treat the two kinds of timber,” said Langeni sawmill operations manager Phillip Tshikhudo. “Now, when we have an urgent order for alternative products, we will be able to fulfil it.”
The large majority of timber treaters cannot chop and change between the two kinds of treatment as they require different concentrations of CCA. However, Dolphin Bay adapted the plant so that it could switch effortlessly between treating structural timber and poles.
“Dolphin Bay is one of the cornerstones of our business. There’s no way we would have gone elsewhere for this project.”
The overhaul included ensuring that the plant reached its maximum treatment capacity, to cater for the future growth of Merensky’s business. Some of the basic remodelling included adding a hydraulic door, replacing all the piping, increasing storage capacity, and streamlining the rail system. Merensky put considerable effort into the civil construction and surrounding infrastructure, to ensure the efficient operation of the plant. “It was a real team effort,” added Bertus.
Finally, we helped Merensky to certify the treatment plant and the treatment process, to ensure that the plant was operating optimally, and trained the operators.
“Dolphin Bay has been one of our cornerstones,” said Phillip. “Given the help they’ve previously given us through our whole treatment process, there’s no way we would have gone anywhere else for this project. Dolphin Bay is more willing to listen, to help and to come up with ideas than anyone – and put these together even before we see the opportunities.
“Their support structures have been amazing, and their project management for the plant upgrade and removal has been excellent.”
Dolphin Bay trained the operators at Langeni “at almost no cost to us because – and this is an important point – they see that such things benefit both our business and theirs,” he added.
Dolphin Bay’s Braam Rust said the technical work had initially presented a challenge as there was a lot to do, “but with the team, consisting of Merensky with Darren, Gareth and myself, we were able to overcome any difficulties. It was a real team effort and a very enjoyable process which gave us all enormous satisfaction.”