African Fusion visits SAIW’s Material Testing Laboratory and talks to the Institute’s new technical services manager, Riaan Loots.
Born and bred in Pretoria, South Africa, Riaan Loots studied metallurgical engineering at the University of Pretoria and graduated with a BEng in 1997 and an MEng in 2003. “I started specialising in welding during my MEng, which involved research for Eskom on creep resistant materials for power stations: ½Cr½Mo¼V; 2¼Cr1Mo; X20; and P91. I looked at aspects of welding these materials, more specifically, at the post-weld heat treatment procedures to overcome concerns with respect to reheat cracking,” he informs African Fusion.
SAIW’s technical services team, from left: Surekha Krishnan, project manager; Confidence Lekoane, welding consultant; Riaan Loots, technical services manager; Nicoline Kgoedi, material laboratory assistant; and Kegomoditswe Letlole, materials laboratory technician.
Between 2000 and 2003, Loots spent some years with Philip Doubell at Eskom’s Rosherville Research and Innovation Centre and, after a short period away from welding, he returned as a contractor to do replica evaluation work – analysing etchings of microstructures lifted from in-situ pipe surfaces for creep damage.
“In 2008, I joined Zwane Inspections, a replication lifting and NDT company, and in 2012, I completed an honours degree at Tukkies and received the IWE diploma. From 2013 to 2016, I worked as a lecturer at the University, first under Madeleine du Toit and then under current head, Pieter Pistorius,” he says. Loots joined SAIW in August 2016 as a senior welding consultant in technical services and he was appointed to his cur- rent post as technical services manager in April 2017.
SAIW’s technical services offering
Through the technical services department, the full range of technical skills at SAIW’s disposal – welding; material and NDT testing; weld inspection; and all of the engineering analysis and investigation skills – are made available to members and non-members for productivity and quality improvement, problem solving and research and development work. “We offer consultancy services in several specialist areas, which include: failure analysis, welding related research and development, welding consumable evaluation, weld procedure qualification, welder qualification, post weld heat treatment and positive material identification,” Loots notes.