In recent discussions with SAFPA member companies, mention was made of a slight uplift in the outlook for 2017. The last quarter of 2016 experienced an increase in business activity. Economic indicators paint an improved picture for the year ahead. The recent recovery in resource material prices will lead to downstream spending levels which will translate to increased spend in hydraulic and pneumatic equipment.
Proposed pressure vessel legislation
A meeting was held during January between two SAFPA committee members and a leading Authorised Inspection Authority (AIA) consultant who is a member of the SANS 347 committee. In the current draft of the SANS 347 legislation that has not yet been published, a bladder type hydraulic accumulator has been classified as a pressure vessel accessory.
SAFPA raised two concerns about this change in classification:
• There would be no requirement for certification of the manufacturing process off accumulators, either imported or locally manufactured.
• There would be no in-service inspection requirements for accumulators as they would now not fall under the pressure vessel regulations of the OHS Act.
The outcome of the meeting put our concerns to rest. It allowed us to move forward on a positive note to address the issues raised by the end-users of accumulators regarding the in-service inspection requirements of such equipment. As a pressure vessel accessory, an accumulator will still be required to have a certified manufacturing process, depending on the category it falls into. It will also still require an in-service inspection. The complete installation of a hydraulic accumulator can be subject to a risk assessment of its operating conditions by taking into account pressure range, cycle times, type of fluids used and operating temperature, for example. The risk assessment will determine the in-service inspection requirements.
The meeting was concluded with a plan to meet again in the near future once some research had been done into the in-service requirements that are applied to accumulators in other countries.
Education and training
SAFPA has endorsed educational facility, JFa2 College as a training centre for MERseta accredited unit standards. Six students have enrolled at the college and they commenced their training in mid-September. Once these students have completed their theoretical studies, they need to commence the practical module at companies within our industry. We appeal to member companies to take on a student for this phase of their training. This will stand our market in good stead for the future with an increased skills base.
A full story will appear in a future edition of Motion Control regarding this exciting development.
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