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Weekly Features
Submersible slurry pumps in high demand
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17th June 2005
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Having been awarded the South African Design Excellence (Disa) award for two of its products last month, Pretoria-based Hazleton Pumps also indicates that it is currently developing the largest submersible slurry pump to date.

The South African Bureau of Standards presented the Design Institute’s Disa awards to the company for its Hippo submersible slurry pump range and its vertical-spindle froth-slurry pump. According to Hazleton Pumps marketing and sales director Johan de Jager, the Hippo submersible slurry pump range is its most popular pump range on the market.

“This is due to its exceptional reliability and life expectancy,” he says.

It is the only South African designed and manu- factured submersible slurry pump range capable of pumping corrosive as well as abrasive slurries.

“The awards are industry’s recognition of our achievements,” says De Jager.

In the latest development, the company, with the assistance of Alstom, is busy developing the first high-voltage submersible slurry pumps ever to be produced in South Africa. The company indicates that it has lately received several requests from mines, locally and internationally, to manufacture high-voltage submersible pumps with the capability of pumping high volumes. The pumps are required mainly for process and stormwater management, high-volume pond desilting and mine dewatering.

“The necessity for quick and effective emergency pumping, in times of power failure and mine flooding, has become an issue that many clients are tackling,” says de Jager. The first pump, which will be a 450 kW pump and operate at 3 300 V, will be completed and operational by August. This pump was ordered by the consulting engin- eering company Dowding Reynard & Associates for emergency mine dewatering at one of South Africa’s leading platinum producers. The greatest advantage of the high-voltage motor is the reduction in the physical size of the pump and the power supply cables.

In addition, the company indicates that it delivered two vertical-spindle froth-slurry pumps to Russia last month.

The order, valued at R1-million, was supplied to the Apatit phosphate-mine.

According to de Jager, the company was approached a few years ago by one of the largest phosphate mines in the world, based in Russia, to design and produce a vertical-spindle froth-slurry pump to pump froth at a capacity of 555 l/s.

“Within a period of four months we designed and manufactured the largest vertical-spindle froth-slurry pump ever to be produced,” he says.

Since then, the company has received numerous orders for the product.

“With the coal-mines being our most significant customers, we are currently manufacturing flame-proof submersible pumps for underground use,” De Jager notes.

“These can be mounted either on skids or trolleys,” he says, adding that one of its main clients is AngloCoal.

“This configuration of pumping is already expanding into the other mining sectors,” he states.

Submersible pumps, valued at R1,4-million, were delivered in April to the Everest Platinum Mine in Rustenburg. In response to the pressure faced by marginal gold-mines to reduce the cost of pumping, the company has developed a low-cost reliable ver-tical spindle pump using an electrical motor, which is manufactured with a steel enclosure.

“The steel motor eliminates repair costs associated with standard cast-iron motors, which often crack or break when transported underground,” says De Jager.

“The new pump design involves the use of a single support column pipe, which supports a twin discharge casing,” he says, adding that the configuration proves economical when manufacturing the pump in stainless steel for the pumping of acidic liquids. The low-cost vertical-spindle pump, which pumps up to 500 l/s, can be manufactured in any cast material required. “Although the coal-mining sector has always been our main supply base, the recent growth spurt in the platinum- and chrome-mines is seeing them gaining on the coal-mining sector,” says de Jager, who adds that a growing portion of pumps are exported; primarily into mines on the African continent as well as to Russia and Canada.

He also indicates that growth in sales, which has more than doubled in the last six months, has forced the company to expand beyond expectation and has resulted in the employment and training of additional staff in all areas, especially in the manufacturing department. “The increase in production of large-capacity pumps has resulted in the procurement of additional equipment for the machining facility and has placed the need for additional factory space high on the agenda,” he states.

“In addition, the strengthening rand has been a challenge with which we had to contend,” says De Jager.

“In order to remain competitive we had to make our manufacturing facilities and methods more efficient,” he explains. The company’s productivity improvement effort was rewarded by the National Productivity Institute (NPI) in October last year, when it won the NPI Productivity Award for outstanding achievement in productivity improvement in the emerging category. According to De Jager, one of the problems faced by the local pump industry is the high cost and low quality of castings and the associated long lead times compared to international standards, which has led to the unprecedented growth of pump and parts imports from Eastern countries like China and India. “The impact is that local pump manufacturers are reducing their manufacturing capacities and customers will definitely pay more in the long run when taking into account the total cost of ownership,” he says.

“Our main objective is to continue developing new products and to improve existing ones and to continue with our success in Russia and Canada and strengthening our position in these markets,” concludes De Jager.
Edited by: Nelendhre Moodley


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