Mechanical seals, pumps and complementary pumps products supplier Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) has added rental mobile pumpsets to its core business offering.
The company had its first rental enquiry at the end of November last year and officially launched the service on December 1.
“Upon launching the service, we immediately had an uptake and managed to send out the first mobile pump unit on the first day of the service being made available,” MRS MD Franscois Steenkamp tells Mining Weekly.
MRS was asked to urgently supply a four-cylinder, air-cooled self-priming rental unit, capable of delivering a 30 m head with 180 m³/h flow, for a dewatering application to a Mpumalanga power station.
“It was fortuitous that [. . .] we were able to supply them right away. Our mobile pumpsets have previously been used at various mining operations for dewatering purposes,” Steenkamp explains.
Having gained extensive knowledge in refurbishing mobile dewatering units for clients over the years, MRS launched its own mobile dewatering unit in 2017.
It was designed using the “best pump selection” as per customer needs and incorporated a heavy-duty double axel with agricultural wheels, which significantly reduces the risk of power hopping and soil compaction.
“Since we first launched our own mobile pumpset, we gradually started building on the process of 100% in-house manufacturing and engineering of the mobile units, incorporating different pumps and motors, depending on the needs of our clients.”
Steenkamp adds that the exposure of the mobile units led to more enquiries and a steady flow of mobile unit refurbishment projects from various clients wanting to incorporate the MRS design philosophy into their own mobile units.
“We recently commissioned a mobile unit [for a] Namibian diamond operation. The unit consisted of a pump specified for applications with coarse or fine particles –from solids-laden waste to aggressive slurries of an abrasive and corrosive nature.”
He says all MRS’ mobile units are designed after a thorough consultation and needs analysis with the client. This involves selecting the most appropriate pumps, sealing equipment and trailer configuration.
Manufactured for rental or purchase, the MRS mobile pumpset can not only control in-pit water levels but can also be stored in close proximity to operations, thereby increasing productivity while significantly reducing water management transport costs.
To be optimally productive while keeping an eye on the cost of a dewatering solution, mines must constantly monitor the water level and use a solution that can be rapidly deployed, stored on site and be as cost effective as possible, Steenkamp says.
He notes that, if planned and executed well, dewatering is a seamless part of the excavation process. However, in an emergency situation, such as a breakdown or unexpected event where water rapidly rises, the MRS mobile pumpset enables clients to move the unit around as needed.
However, Steenkamp points out that there are new challenges when offering rental as a service, which differs from sales.
“For example, it is quite difficult for some clients to determine for exactly how long the rental unit will be used. There are also some clients who might offer to buy the rental unit because it’s already built, in action and has proven itself over time,” he explains.
The company is building up its rental endeavour, which means that more mobile rental sets will become available, with pumps and engines of various sizes that cater for different applications.
Steenkamp says that, while the mobile pump venture is the “new kid on the block”, MRS continues to see significant demand for its complementary pumping products.
As an African agent for German-made Straub pipe couplings, MRS is involved in several projects where mining operations are switching from traditional pipe joints to the Straub system.
The Straub pipe coupling system can replace welded, flanged, threaded or grooved type pipe joints “in a matter of minutes”, Steenkamp says.
MRS is also in consultation with mining operations that are specifically considering water-saving measures by incorporating pump systems and products that are designed to address water wastage.
“In a single project, we identified a series of pumps at a platinum mine that were losing more than 252 000 𝓵/y of water. We replaced the existing pump’s gland packing with AESSEAL single cartridge seals. This not only addressed the excessive water loss but also improved the reliability and efficiency of our client’s plant,” Steenkamp concludes.