Manufacturing, Delivery And Commissioning Of The Port Hauler (Terberg)

The commissioning of 10x Terberg engines for Transnet Port Terminals in Richards Bay is an intriguing tale of supply chain complexity.

These engines, which are refurbished by Transnet Engineering, play a pivotal role in machinery that is responsible for moving bulk cargo like coal, manganese, and chrome for export. However, the journey from manufacturing to commissioning was far from straightforward.

At first, a competing company was awarded the order to deliver these engines, however, our client soon realised that the supplier couldn’t meet the requirements after the first attempt to deliver. The project was then reassigned to Beapo. This transfer entailed an extensive six-month review of specifications, parts, additional features, and serial numbers. The purpose of this scrutiny was to confirm that we were able to deliver on our promises and that we could fulfill all their specifications.

When the time came for commissioning, the prototype faced numerous issues, although the engines themselves were fine. They had to address electronics, piping, gearbox, and engine configuration before they were ready to be commissioned.

One significant takeaway from this project was the discovery regarding the Engine Control Unit (ECU). It turned out that this critical component (ECU) required the original manufacturer’s (Terberg) software to work and Terberg was reluctant to provide the software without the ECU. This created a dilemma. The client needed to purchase an additional ECU with the software installed. The ongoing challenge for Beapo was finding a way to connect with the client with the OEM to resolve this issue.

Another stumbling block was the lack of clear definitions for roles such as quality manager, project manager, and operations lead. With numerous people involved, collaboration became challenging, hindering the utilisation of lessons learned from counterparts who successfully commissioned similar engines.

The issue of unclear project scopes and timelines also emerged.

The final stumbling block was when one part, specifically a water pump, was perceived as secondhand due to corrosion over time. We commissioned an OEM (NMI) to assess, and it turned out the only reason why the part picked up corrosion was because the engine was kept in stock for over a year. Additionally, we had to provide a significant amount of evidence and technical explanations to reassure the client of the product quality. This taught us that a thorough quality check before delivery, including a dyno test, could have prevented this.

Since this lesson, we have learned the importance of checking products meticulously before delivering them to clients.

Ultimately, while our technicians could commission the engine, the client’s team struggled. This underscores the importance of involving experts early in the specification process to save time and prevent unnecessary expenditures. This journey teaches us that in manufacturing and delivery, technical precision, clear communication, and collaboration are paramount for success.

Today, we celebrate the first successful commissioning of the Terberg engines, and we are proud to have been part of the solution for our client.

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