Kwekwe-based Delta Maltings has been forced to scale down operations by nearly 20% owing to the incessant power cuts which have hit the country.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Managing director, Lucas Rugano said the current power cuts had not spared industry which was now feeling the impact of the crisis.
“We have been operating at 100% capacity in the past, but due to the electricity shortages which have hit the country we have been forced to reduce production. Last week we were having 98%, but now it has been cut to an average of 82%,” he said.
Rugano was speaking during a tour of the plant by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development minister Jonathan Moyo, who was visiting the plant to see a boiler coal-weighing system, which was designed by Lawrence Moyo, a Kwekwe Polytechnic College student.
The system, worth $8 000 and the first of its kind in Delta operations, is used to measure the exact amount of washed peas (coal) fed into boilers at the plant.
Rugano said the system, which was part of Moyo’s project, had come in handy for the $30 million business per year in the management of coal stocks and future orders.
“We are now able to forecast our coal consumption and also measure the quality of coal from our suppliers because the more coal fed into the system means that the quality is low. In the absence of the system commissioned last August, the company used to relay on estimates by our most experienced staff,” he said.
Moyo also toured Sable Chemicals where the company has also put into use another invention by another Kwekwe Polytechnic College student, Raymond Ndlovu, who designed a magnesium oxide bracket elevator which since its introduction has saved the company nearly $240 000 a year by improving product quality.
Moyo said it was important for the college and its students to patent the inventions to ensure that they are protected from “intellectual shoplifting”.