Botswana’s decision to diversify its economy away from diamond mining towards coal resources and base metals beneficiation should prompt businesses to adapt to service the changing needs of the market to remain relevant, emphasises vacuum recovery and conveying technologies original-equipment manufacturer Hencon Vactech.
Based in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, Hencon Vactech is part of the Netherlands-based Hencon Group, a global supplier and manufacturer of special mobile equipment for heavy industries, which has subsidiaries in Mozambique, Russia and India. Hencon Vactech GM David de Oliveira says a business, such as Hencon Vactech, has to ensure its relevance in the mining industry by “constantly improving and ensuring that we always add value to our customers’ businesses”.
He states that this aim is achieved through the company’s after-sales service maintenance and training initiatives. This includes using software to simulate a customer’s potential needs to avoid bottlenecks and production downtime on their part. It is essential in the African mining industry that value is added to a customer’s business, points out De Oliveira, adding that “the industry cannot afford to have suppliers that are not true partners”.
Dedicated partners in mining aim to grow the industry, he tells Mining Weekly, adding that improved efficiency levels are the biggest opportunity for growth in the African mining industry. He stresses that improved efficiency will allow the mining industry “to become more resilient in the face of the constant changes and challenges”. In addition to facilitating adaption to change, greater efficiency will also result in better production and investor confidence.
Hencon Vactech aims to make its business more efficient by keeping up with the latest technological trends such as mechanisation, automation and the Internet of Things.
Incorporating these technological advances in its operation also requires Hencon Vactech’s workforce to adapt. Therefore, to mitigate the impact of mechanisation, De Oliveira explains that the company is attempting to “foster a culture of constant learning within our entire team”. Involving more than just skills training, this initiative is meant to promote thinking that allows the company’s employees to see beyond the norm and constantly consider new approaches to mechanisation.
In adapting to change, De Oliveira explains that Hencon Vactech is developing products and services related to vacuum recovery and conveying technology in line with mining industry trends.
“Our heavy-duty vacuum systems can be custom-built to meet the exact requirements of clients to handle the toughest mining environments in the gold, platinum, nickel, copper and other similar industries.
“These vacuum systems are proven to be highly efficient in the recovery of high-grade material that is generally very fine and cannot be collected and transported with conventional equipment,” explains Hencon Vactech.
The company’s heavy-duty Robot Mole cleaning technology is designed to vacuum dust and dirt in unsafe or hard-to-reach spaces. The product is controlled with an electric remote and is powered by an external energy source such as a generator, battery pack or suitable transformer unit. It is equipped with lights and video camera capabilities and can be configured according to the customer’s requirements.
Another heavy-duty vacuum system is Hencon Vactech’s under belt cleaning vehicle (UBCV). De Oliveira explains that the UBCV was originally designed to clean under conveyors at rock phosphate mines, but can also be used as an independent vacuum vehicle for cleaning spillages, as well as for high-value material recovery. The UBCV has a 3 m3 capacity and uses a 150 mm pipe, which can handle particles up to 80 mm. It is designed to be used in harsh underground mining environments.
Hencon Vactech’s vacuums and accessories for mining applications include smaller vacuums for light plant cleaning and dedicated belt cleaning systems and robotic mechanised hose control for access to hazardous and confined spaces.
Systems can be customised to meet a client’s stringent requirements, with standard vacuum machines available in an electric – from 15 kW to 110 kW – or diesel version – from 37 kW to 230 kW.
Electra Mining Botswana
Hencon Vactech will exhibit its Robot Mole, UBCV, diamond mining and processing products, as well as its mechanised nozzles and related equipment, at the 2017 Electra Mining Botswana exhibition and conference, from September 12 to 14, at the Gaborone fairgrounds, in Botswana.
Organised by trade show organisers Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, in collaboration with Botswana-based communications company Soapbox Communications, this year’s Electra Mining Botswana will mark Hencon Vactech’s first time exhibiting at the show.
De Oliveira hopes that, through the show, Hencon Vactech will make contact with mines and other prospective clients in Botswana that it has not targeted in the past.
In light of uncertainty in the African mining industry, he believes attending the event will also allow businesses the opportunity to gain a comprehensive overview of the status of the industry.