With no drastic changes over the last 100 years in the design of the pneumatic cylinders specified by the mining industry, these components are easily replaceable, thereby preventing costly production stoppages at mines, explains Africa-focused branded parts manufacturer and distributor Torre Parts & Components (TPC).
TPC product manager Eugene van der Lith says the standardised design of pneumatic cylinders has proven beneficial for the company, owing to the fact that TPC now supplies a similar product to the market, which it initially only supplied with metric cylinders, having expanded to include the supply of pneumatic imperial cylinders, predominantly used in the mining market.
He notes that, generally, mines require the seals of these cylinders to be interchangeable to avoid the delay of operations due to a part not being readily available. Therefore, the fact that the pneumatic cylinders supplied by TPC are similar to those of its competitors, allows the company to obtain a considerable amount of repair work and requests for the replacement of cylinders.
Van der Lith highlights that, although the company attempts not to change its pneumatic cylinder design too much, it is also able to custom build pneumatic cylinders to allow interchangeability with competitor designs.
“We mainly distribute cylinders and control panel boxes to open and close shoot boxes installed at underground mines,” he notes, adding that the company also supplies pneumatic rotary actuators, cylinder stop block devices, fittings and tubing, instrumentation products and various types of programmable control parts.
TPC, which has branches in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, imports and supplies the complete product range of Italy-based pneumatic automation component manufacturer Pneumax.
Van der Lith illustrates that the Pneumax product range, which includes the Pneumax pneumatic imperial cylinder, is mostly manufactured and imported from Italy but kept in South Africa at Torre’s manufacturing facilities in Modderfontein, Johannesburg, and conform to the standards of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).
“All the products supplied by Pneumax are manufactured in accordance with the company’s quality system, which is compliant with the Vision 2000 and ISO 14001 environmental management standards, which are intended to formalise procedures for managing and reducing environmental impacts,” he says.
Van der Lith points out that TPC has also supplied a range of steel barrel pneumatic cylinders, which is an in-house product to meet the demand from the mining industry, supplementing its fibreglass barrel pneumatic cylinder offering, which is light weight and noncorrosive.
“The demand from the industry, specifically for underground mines, has always been for steel barrel pneumatic cylinders. Therefore, we have in the last year and a half been supplying our cylinders with the option of either fibreglass or steel,” he concludes.