By: thamashni naidoo
11th August 2006
The company recently announced that it will relocate from its Spartan offices to a new multimillion-rand factory in the Chloorkop, east of Johannesburg.
Spirax acquired Mitech Actuators and Controls and Proportional Control Technology eleven months ago, company marketing manager Richard Ransome tells Mining Weekly.
“By the end of this year, thethree entities will be operating under one roof, ideally positioned to service the needs of the South African control-valve industry,”he says.
Ransome adds that it was dueto the success and acceptance ofthe acquisition in the local market that the Spirax-Sarco head officein the UK gave its approval for the new 6 120-m2 building to go ahead.
The new factory will manu-facture the Spirax-Mitech rangeof control valves, positioners,linear and rotary actuators andbespoke valves for both local and worldwide use.
According to Ransome, the company will be responsible for the sales of all products.
“The factory will also be the administrative hub for the coordination of the 45 direct sales personnel countrywide.”
The acquisitions Ransome says that much has been done since the acquisitions a year ago and the companies are pleased that many synergies have beenexposed.
The controls group of products is marketed under the Spirax-Mitech name.
“The objective is to provide the market with a comprehensive range of premium-quality products and a level of service previously unheard of in the industry.” The new group has sales branches around the country, with a total of some 50 peopleinvolved in direct sales.
“This alone will vastly improve the level of personal service that the group is able to offer.” Despite being occupied with its relocation, Spirax has also been busy with projects for mining houses, including De Beers, Anglo Platinum and Northam, for the supply ofslurry control valves, as well as various other valves, valued at an accumulative total ofsome R2-million.
The company product range has anestablished reputation in the mining industry,but Spirax is still designing new products, which will be released shortly.
Ransome says that the locally-designed products include a semismart self-calibrating positioner and a new labyrinth trim for severe service applications.
The company’s demand-flow technologyconcept reduces lead times from betweensix to eight weeks, down to only one week, greatly enhancing the company’s service toclients.
In addition to the various offices, manu-facturing plant and training facility, the new factory will have standby generators and will be self-sufficient in supplying waterfor its own industrial use.
With six existing CNCmachines in operation at present, Ransome adds, an additionalCNC machine valued at R3-million, is being bought with plans in place to have a total often machines by 2009.
Earthworks are complete and the official opening of the new factory is planned for February next year.
The locally-designed and -manufactured compact pneumaticlinear actuators in the Spirax-Mitech range have a double-acting or fail-open and fail-closed operation.
Ransome says that the product is compact in design and rated for 1 000 kPa.
“Depending on size, they have either an anodised aluminium or steel cylinder,as well as a stainless-steel shaft.” The fail-safe option can be achieved with either an internal or external spring-pack or a volume tank system.
Easy to mount, Ransome says that the linear actuators areoffered in various sizes and are suitable for diaphragm valves, pinch valves and gate valves.
Various options are offered, including pneumatic or electro-pneumatic positioners, solenoids, limit switches and proximity switches.
The units are also suited forposition indication, fail systems and hand-wheel override applications.
Another addition to theSpirax-Mitech range includes the pneumatic rotary actuator range, which is custom-designed to suita variety of applications.
“The low-maintenance units are available with either a double-crank mechanism for modulating control or a scotch yoke design for on-and-off control,” Ransomeexplains.
The main shaft assembly onthe double-crank design, he continues, is welded together eliminating the need for assembly and disassembly tasks.
Ransome goes on to say thatthe actuator is field-reversible from clockwise-to-close to clockwise-to-open and has Namur mounting for switch packs orpositioners on the top shaft and transfer case lid.
Adjustable end stops allowthe end position to be externallyadjusted in both the open and the closed position.
“The rotary actuators have a pneumatic piston design and are available in large sizes.” One of the company’s other products, which became available earlier this year, the Steri-trol,is a pneumatically-operated, two-port angle pattern clean-service control valve.
The angled design allows the valve to self-drain, eliminating probable contamination.
“Steri-trol is service-free and mechanically polished, resulting in a smooth finish that promotes cleanliness and the valve is later supplied with industry standard-control interface devices, including a stainless-steel positioner,” Ransome explains.
This product has been developed from the proven Spiraxrolling-diaphragm actuator range.
The actuator has a long lifedesign, resulting in reducedmaintenance and less interruption to the process.
The company’s Spira-trolrange, which is a two-port general service control valve, has simple assembly and helps to ensure that maintenance procedures do not compromise the valve’s highperformance.
The valves use a modulardesign to minimise the total number of components in the range.
“This lowers maintenance costs, enabling the duty of a valve to be quickly changed by replacing a few internal components, rather than sweeping the entire valve.” Spirax is an internationalcompany, which has built itsreputation on being a marketleader in the management of steam and energy.
Some years ago, the company decided to grow the controls side of the business and, in so doing,acquired two other companies.
“Our combined product range, the design and manufacturingcapabilities and the level ofmarket coverage, which is nowavailable, is unmatched,” Ransome says.
Spirax provides comprehensiveon-site support with dedicated service teams on hand to audit,install, commission and service all supplied products.
Edited by: thamashni naidoo