BMG – one of South Africa’s leading engineering solutions specialists – has enhanced its support to the food and beverage sector, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from the supply of necessary engineering consumables and components, industry requires ongoing maintenance and refurbishment services, to ensure efficient productivity, particularly as lockdown levels start to shift towards level 1.
“The BMG team, remains committed to making sure industry is able to continue operating as safely and efficiently as possible during this challenging time. It is absolutely critical – while we are all vulnerable – that extra care is taken by companies to maintain pristine hygiene standards during food and beverage manufacture, storage, packaging and transportation,” says Mark Barbour, Group Product and Sales Manager, BMG. “We are currently working closely with our customers in all sectors, including the food and beverage industry, to ensure that each plant is well-prepared for optimum productivity. According to authorities, this virus is going to be with us for a very long time, so we all need to comply with new, stricter operating conditions. Even small faults in design, operation and maintenance can have huge negative impacts on the quality and safety of food products.
“BMG’s solutions for the food and beverage sector extend from processing, where raw ingredients are transformed, to packaging, where products are enclosed and protected for safe distribution. Our engineering solution services help our customers deliver on food safety and environmental and energy-efficient initiatives, through the supply and support of components for light materials handling, belting products, gearboxes, motors and variable speed drives (VSDs), bearings, seals and gaskets, power transmission components, valves, tools and equipment, as well as fasteners, food-grade lubricants and maintenance chemicals.
“Added to this, BMG – through its ‘Boer Slim’/Smart Farming initiative – offers local farmers sustainability solutions that focus on effective food production, to ensure there are adequate supplies of fresh foods for an anxious and vulnerable population, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This agricultural programme – which involves assisting farmers with the correct use of quality-branded equipment and the importance of investing in advanced technologies – has never been more important. Our people rely on the dependable supply of fresh food, which our farmers are under enormous pressure to keep producing.”
BMG’s distribution centre in Droste Park, Johannesburg, is operational and fully-stocked during the lockdown period, to help and support customers around the country and into Africa. A comprehensive range of equipment and components comprises bearings, seals and gaskets; power transmission; hydraulics and pneumatics; fluid technology and filtration; drives, motors and controllers; materials handling; fasteners and tools.
Assessment of equipment and plant procedures
A cornerstone of BMG’s service to the food and beverage sector is reliability engineering – starting with an assessment of a plant’s operating processes and budgetary parameters. BMG’s initial design concept is enhanced by technical expertise for product specification, custom-design capabilities for improved productivity, timeous delivery of components, installation and commissioning, as well as support and maintenance of equipment. BMG also offers extensive customer training.
Selection of the appropriate FDA-complaint equipment
Through BMG’s assistance with careful and accurate product selection, correct installation methods and appropriate care of equipment, substantial savings can be made in reduced maintenance costs and minimal downtime.
Maintenance is critical
Apart from the supply of all components and accessories needed to maintain critical food and beverage processing and handling, BMG offers field services to customers in need of assistance.
These services include mobile breakdown, repair and maintenance support, that ensure production plants are up and running as quickly as possible following a breakdown.
During the lockdown period, BMG’s Fluid Technology Low Pressure division has assisted with numerous breakdowns at bakeries, bottling plants and food preparation facilities. These repair projects involved pneumatics, valves, filtration, lubricants and lubrication systems, as well as instrumentation and pumps.
The team is currently working with customers in preparation for resumption of a full start-up by identifying possible problematic areas within the plant, to pre-empt possible breakdowns and thus save the plant from downtime and loss of production.
Why lubrication is critical
According to BMG specialists, the introduction of a structured maintenance management programme, which can be implemented in-house, or partially out-sourced to a professional organisation, is critical to maximising production efficiencies.
Conditioning monitoring identifies lubrication problems, misalignment and vibration troubles and also helps in identifying the causes of the damage, so that equipment can be fixed before further damage occurs. This means reduced downtime, efficient production and substantial cost savings.
The effects of friction and the resulting wear of moving components in food and beverage production, are significantly reduced by effective lubrication.
Through a wide range of synthetic oils, lubricants and bespoke lubrication systems and the support of a technically competent team – food and beverage plants can achieve energy-savings, minimise downtime, reduce maintenance requirements and achieve extended service life of components.
Although a general multipurpose grease is adequate in many applications, food processing machinery demands the careful choice of the correct food grade lubricant and lubricating system.
Personal protection equipment (PPE)
BMG recommends the use of workplace safety-matting and floor safety products, for enhanced protection in food processing and bottle plants, kitchens, canteens and shower rooms. Durable under-foot safety products not only improve safety, but also reduce fatigue from prolonged standing. Regular cleaning of floor areas is critical to ensure surfaces are free of wet and dry contaminants, for greater safety underfoot.
The importance of floor level safety in the workplace should not be under-estimated. Research shows that Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – which are conditions affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and other soft tissues – as well as slips, trips and falls, are major causes of workplace absence. Preventative measures to reduce these risks is the responsibility of the employer. The investment in anti-fatigue matting encourages regular foot movement, promoting healthier circulation and the installation of anti-slip matting, flooring or coatings, significantly improve safety underfoot.
Apart from essential floor safety products, BMG recommends the installation of PVC strip curtains to partition areas for the control of temperature, humidity and energy-efficiency. Locks and lockout safety and security solutions – including safety padlocks, accessories and signage materials – prevent accidents that could occur during servicing and repairing of equipment. Other recommended PPE includes facemasks, coveralls and gloves.
The BMG team is also currently assisting essential service customers in other sectors, including water and waste water treatment facilities, coal mines and petrochemical plants. The company also works closely with service providers to power generation and pharmaceutical plants, as well as in ports, rail and road facilities.