Air Products South Africa Pty (Ltd) is carrying out a major expansion and refurbishment project at its Newcastle plant which will cost in the region of R280m, including installation of a new, fully assembled ‘cold box’.

Air Products’ Newcastle plant has been providing a continuous supply of large volumes of oxygen to the ArcelorMitttal steel plant for the past 38 years and to produce such volumes, the cold box is extremely large, weighing in at 160 tonnes.

A significant aspect of the expansion and development plans involves the shipping of an enormous new cold box (54m long, 5.5m wide and 4.4m high) from Acrefair, North Wales to Richards Bay, with the unit among the largest of its type to ever be brought into South Africa. Once offloaded, it will be transported by road to Newcastle.

The new cold box cryogenically separates air and, in the process, extracts oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. Costing in excess of R30m, the unit contains specialised distillation equipment, and is being brought into the country fully-assembled.

“We work closely with the Road Agency, local authorities and police forces to ensure the safe and smooth transit of our loads,” says Harry Van Lieshout Projects Manager.

It will be off loaded at Richards Bay harbour on 29th July, before being taken on special multi axle trailers to Newcastle. Rob Richardson, General Manager On-site, has indicated that the cold box is scheduled to come on stream by the end of the year.