Centurion-based, family- owned pumps solutions company Hazleton Pumps’ Hippo flameproof submersible pumps range received increased interest, particularly from US coal mines, at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM) Convention in Vancouver, Canada, last month.
“There were companies from the US that specifically came to look for us,” says Hazleton Pumps MD Thys Wehmeyer, noting that, while the company has been attending the CIM convention since 2014, there seems to have been an increased attendance by the US mining industry this year.
He attributes the interest from the coal mining industry and numerous enquiries regarding the pumps to US President Donald Trump’s drive to stimulate the US manufacturing industry. This, in turn, appears to be fuelling the need for an increased supply of electricity, and power plants that ceased to supply power now need coal to become active again.
Further, many of the attendees aimed to establish whether exhibitors from previous years were still operational and followed up on quotes and potential orders. This is one of the main reasons why Hazleton continues to attend the event, Wehmeyer says. “Our continuous participation at international [mining] shows has ensured that mining companies now know us better, and come back to make sure we supply what they need.”
The Hippo range, which, according to Hazleton Pumps, has earned the reputation as the safest flameproof submersible pump in the world, complies with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60079 series of flameproof regulations.
The IEC 60079 series of regulations sets guidelines for the conditions in which equipment can operate, such as the temperature of the environment, explosive dust and gas atmospheres, and pressurised atmospheres.
The Hippo range has special controls that ensure the pumps cannot cause any damage, should the mechanical seal fail. The pumps can also run dry continuously, as the stator housing is oil-filled, which dissipates heat from the electrical winding so that the stator winding never overheats and burns out.
The pump enclosure is under vacuum pressure and monitored by a pressure transmitter, which prevents potential electrical flashes. Further, thermistors detect any mechanical failure of the bearings, and vibration sensors are fitted to the 2-pole pumps.
Wehmeyer says the flameproof pumps are used only in underground coal mines, hence, the interest from the US coal mines. These mines tend to have 200 m between the different levels, subsequently requiring certain pump heads that can operate at a duty of about 200 m.
As the Hippo range of medium- voltage pumps was developed to pump high heads of up to 300 m, the range can be quoted to the majority of underground coal mines in Canada and the US.
“Allegedly, many US coal mines were stripped completely of equipment when they shut down after power plants were taken off line,” Wehmeyer says. “The mines need to be dewatered to evaluate the viability of their operations and the coal quality, for which they require the Hippo pumps, he explains.
“We will return to the US before year-end to follow up and carry out site visits and demonstrations,” Wehmeyer concludes.