Global mechanical pipe-joining systems manufacturer Victaulic launched its Series 795 knife-gate valve onto the South African market in August. The valve is designed to contain all the parts subject to wear in a single cartridge kit that can be replaced without needing to replace the entire valve, significantly reducing maintenance time.
“It can take between two and three hours to loosen and replace current valves that are in operation, Victaulic Africa regional manager Barry van Jaarsveld notes, adding that the cartridge design of the knife-gate valve can cut maintenance time to between 15 minutes and half an hour.
“Mines lose money every minute production is halted. For example, a mining client recently told us that every hour the plant stands still effectively costs R250 000 in lost production. This means that reduced maintenance time when replacing a Victaulic knife-gate valve can save the client up to R700 000 in downtime savings,” he asserts.
Meanwhile, Van Jaarsveld highlights that the company’s pipe-joining solutions offer an alternative to using flanges or welding to connect piping systems, and drastically reduce the time necessary to install and maintain these connections.
“In the current environment of low commodity prices, the mining industry is under immense pressure to contain rising costs. Simultaneously, there is still a widely held perception that pipe-coupling technology can be used only on a temporary basis, but Victaulic offers a permanent and much more cost-effective alternative,” he notes.
Van Jaarsveld says Victaulic’s coupling systems enable mines to install piping systems in 15% of the time it would have taken to install a flanged system.
He adds that mines are starting to think more holistically about the total installation costs of piping: “Mines are considering the cost of not only the fittings they are installing but also labour [and] potential health and safety risks, as well as transporting workers underground to install pipelines.”
He notes that, because the Victaulic coupling system requires fewer people to carry out maintenance installation, costs and safety risks are significantly reduced during maintenance.
“It is also very important to take into account the opportunity cost of dragging out expansion projects longer than necessary. The sooner a plant can begin operating, the sooner it can start being profitable,” Van Jaarsveld avers.