Skyriders has had a permanent rope access maintenance and inspection team at a large Eskom power station near Ogies in Mpumalanga for 12 years.
The rope-access specialist has assisted the electricity utility with various tasks such as internal boiler inspections, PF pipe inspections, coal bunkers, terrace bins, precipitator hoppers and ducting, Marketing Manager Mike Zinn explains. It has also carried out maintenance work on the roof and side sheeting, bucket elevators and smoke stacks.
In addition to a permanent crew, Skyriders also has a large multi-skilled team available to carry out other essential maintenance and inspection tasks during any planned or unforeseen outages at Eskom’s fleet. “What gives us our competitive edge is our extreme flexibility and responsiveness in this regard,” Zinn comments.
This has resulted in Skyriders enjoying a close relationship with Eskom for over 15 years, carrying out work at most of the electricity utility’s 13 power stations. While the more traditional means of access have been used in this sector, Zinn argues that rope access is the ideal solution, as it provides efficient and quick access to high-elevation structures. It also enhances overall site safety during shutdown periods.
“The rapid rigging and de-rigging of self-sufficient teams allows trained technicians the flexibility to complete tasks much quicker. Time is of the essence during any kind of shutdown situation at a power station, as it impacts on the national electricity grid,” Zinn emphasises. “Our technicians are responsible for the full remit. Rope access also allows a single team to undertake numerous tasks at various locations.”
Skyriders’ recent scope of work at various Eskom power stations has involved the application of protective coatings to two 250 m smoke stacks, steel-erection rigging and bolting, concrete repair and grouting on water-treatment plants.
Apart from the boilers themselves, power stations have additional structures that require regular inspection and maintenance. These include smoke stacks, cooling towers, turbine halls, ash-handling plants, coal storage facilities and piping.
Skyriders offers a variety of rope-access aided services to numerous industries, such as power generation, petrochemical, mining, heavy industry and facilities management. These services include non-destructive testing (NDT) and inspection, concrete inspection, maintenance and repairs, application of coating systems, work at height safety systems, welding, and confined space rescue and standby, to name but a few.