Reaching new heights: Dekra Industrial’s new ‘one-stop’ service adds corrosion control via rope access

A vast range of South African industries require time- and cost-effective corrosion control services to ensure critical operational efficiency and minimal downtime during maintenance, repairs, scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns of assets and facilities; and during periodic NDT and inspection of associated equipment.

Accordingly, Dekra Industrial in South Africa has introduced a dynamic new niche initiative to complement their NDT inspection services: corrosion control via rope access. 

“In line with the continuous development of our offerings and capabilities, this new corrosion control initiative will elevate our strategic position from being a non-destructive testing (NDT) inspection services provider – to that of a holistic, ‘one-stop’ services provider of NDT inspection, corrosion control, welding and certification services,” says Dekra Industrial General Manager Eddie van Hansen.

“In recognising the need for agility and adaptability, we have tailored our services in line with market requirements. By pairing rope access with corrosion control, we can leverage the advantages thereof to limit impacts on clients’ plant production and performance. This effectively reduces – or indeed eliminates – the need for scaffolding or other heavy equipment – and means we can easily access areas at height or confined spaces,” he explains.

Van Hansen believes that in providing this carefully researched and designed ‘one-stop’ inspection, corrosion control and rope access integrated service, Dekra Industrial will strongly reinforce its strategic position as a differentiated and valuable asset to former, existing and potential new clients.

Dekra Industrial Cape Town Branch Manager Rudolf Vermeulen agrees: “By offering this holistic new ‘one-stop’ service – from surface preparation, sand / grit-blasting, corrosion control coating and the provision of advanced NDT inspections – clients have direct and convenient access to a single point of contact and experienced service provider.” 

Notably, this would obviate the inconvenience of sourcing and managing several contractors to perform different scopes of work on the same project. 

“To this point, Dekra Industrial – as the final point of contact in the course of the project – takes full accountability and responsibility for the service excellence and integrity of all aspects thereof,” says Vermeulen, who will offer high-level oversight of the initiative and drive new business opportunities. 

Vermeulen adds that Dekra Industrial can integrate and effectively manage the various resources for a streamlined process during surface preparation, cleaning/blasting, painting and any required NDT inspections. 

“Importantly, as rope access requires far less time to set up – compared to erecting scaffolding for example – the substantial time- and cost-savings achieved from corrosion protection with rope access really ensures this is a ‘stand-out’ service for clients with huge  benefits,” he enthuses.

Complementing these invaluable benefits is the significant safety value of rope access. Estimated to be almost one hundred percent safer than scaffolding, the use of rope access reinforces Dekra Industrial’s ethos of being the ‘global partner for a safe world’ in line with its Vision 2025 safety goals.

In addition to these major advantages, Vermeulen and Van Hansen believe that Dekra Industrial’s client safety track record, service excellence, quality of workmanship and expertise within the sector also differentiates the company’s approach:

“Underpinning Dekra Industrial’s technical experience and expertise is our long-standing reputation as a leader in the NDT, inspection, testing and safety sector – now with a Level 3 B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) accreditation – and concerted focus on delivering impeccable quality according to client requirements,” van Hansen says.

Since the appropriately-qualified and experienced staff are key to the success of this new value-adding initiative, seasoned industry expert Greg Fish has undertaken the role of Project Leader: Corrosion Control and Rope Access.

With his vast experience in inspection, blasting, painting and rope access – and close collaboration with fellow team members in previous capacities over many years – Fish has managed a varied portfolio of responsibilities, including successful operations and project management.

To this point, Fish highlights the importance of experience and expertise when performing these services: 

“Competent and certified employees with multi-disciplinary experience are required to perform this ‘one-stop’ service. As such, Dekra Industrial has qualified rope access technicians – with the required blasting and painting application certifications; as well as the desired NDT qualifications to proficiently and successfully execute these services,” he says.

While already well-known and active across a multitude of industries – including power generation, nuclear, oil and gas, construction, petrochemical, renewable energy and other sectors – the Dekra Industrial team believes that the new corrosion control with rope access service is expected to generate significant new business for the company.

“Providing a competitive advantage, the corrosion control is a crucial key to unlocking the door of opportunities in a great number of vertical industry sectors,” Vermeulen points out.

Further elaborating on market demand, he emphasises that over 95 percent of industries require corrosion protection; as well as legislatively-driven risk-based assessments (RBAs) on a regular basis, to enhance and extend the lifecycle of storage facilities and associated infrastructure for operational continuity – thereby ensuring consistent demand for these services. 

“Owing to the limited availability of credible and qualified corrosion control service providers locally, Dekra Industrial is extremely well-positioned to offer this service,” he says. 

With this initiative primed to commence, Dekra Industrial has registered as a member of the Corrosion Institute of Southern Africa (CISA); and is also in the process of finalising registration with the Southern African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)-recognised Institute of Work at Height (IWH). 

The first Dekra Industrial service technicians have also undergone IWH-approved rope access training and certification; while fall-protection planners have been appointed at the various company branches.

Offering yet more service differentiation, the corrosion control with rope access offering will include advanced NDT services; and will also tie in with drone NDT inspections in future, says MC Liebenberg, Dekra Industrial Advanced Technology Manager and Level 3 custodian.

With a broad knowledge of the NDT field, including multiple inspection methods, Liebenberg has a determined drive to promote the synergies of the company’s new initiatives:

“Dekra Industrial will be able to provide allocated corrosion mapping via rope access using phased array inspection, for example – since our rope access-qualified NDT technicians will be able to reach and accurately identify areas of corrosion. Clients can then accurately plan and conduct maintenance services by order of priority and in the most cost-efficient manner possible,” he points out.

Furthermore, to align with the required American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) codes and inspection requirements for boilers and pressure vessels, Dekra Industrial’s rope access technicians can conduct phased array inspection, or automated Ultrasonic Testing (UT) inspection in lieu of radiographic inspections, Liebenberg adds.

“Our new corrosion control with rope access offering effectively elevates Dekra Industrial’s complement of core NDT inspection service offerings. It provides our clients with a service that exceeds their quality and safety requirements, while ensuring the shortest turnaround and downtime. Through our ‘one-stop’ shop service, clients can really reach the heights of productivity, efficiency and easily accessible sustainability!” van Hansen concludes.