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Company restores pumps at platinum mine

PUMPS SOLUTION Pump and Abrasion Technologies was hired to evaluate the readily available slurry pump equipment at the mine and to supply and install other necessary equipment

IMPROVED PERFORMANCE Among other interventions, Pump and Abrasion Technologies replaced the metal-lined 6x4 Quick Release pumps used at the mine with similarly sized Battlemax International Series polyurethane-lined pumps

12th June 2015

By: Kimberley Smuts

Creamer Media Reporter

  

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Heavy-duty pumps solutions manufacturer and supplier Pump and Abrasion Technologies in March restored 37 pumps at a South African platinum mine to original-equipment manufacturer specifications in less than two weeks, says Pump and Abrasion Technologies GM Francois de Villiers.

He explains that the Limpopo mine was mothballed after violent strikes in 2012 but there has been a recent change of ownership. As a result of increased platinum demand, owing to growth in the global automotive market and the emergence of fuel cell technology, there is now more activity in the platinum mining industry and the specific mine has been recommissioned.

Therefore, Pump and Abrasion Technologies was hired to evaluate the readily available slurry pump equipment at the mine and to supply and install other necessary equipment. The project was completed on time and within budget.

During the project period, the company’s team worked on site in harsh weather conditions and often into the night.

“Working on this platinum mine raised a combination of challenges, such as the time pressure, challenging working conditions and the plant being dense in terms of its construction,” De Villiers notes.

He adds that all pump components had to be stripped and fitted by their five-person team. Bearing assemblies were shipped complete from Pump and Abrasion’s Centurion base, while all other work was done on site.

Similarly, Pump and Abrasion Technologies worked on a maintenance shutdown at a South African coal mine in April. The company stripped out the pumps at the Mpumalanga mine and sent them in batches to its Centurion workshop, where the pumps were rebuilt and returned to site for reinstallation before the allowed fourteen-day window closed.

Further, in April last year, Pump and Abrasion Technologies worked with another coal operation in South Africa, whose pumps had been failing every few weeks.
“We went to the mine, assessed the pump and material selection and, by making some changes, we increased the life cycle of the pumps from three weeks to 12 months,” says De Villiers.

Among other interventions, Pump and Abrasion Technologies replaced the metal-lined 6  4 quick release pumps used at the mine with similarly sized Battlemax series polyurethane-lined pumps, which delivered the required performance and longevity.

Also, at another coal mine in South Africa, Pump and Abrasion Technologies conducted a full plant survey in late 2014, analysing the mine’s slurry pump system by assessing densities, flows, heads, pressures and other process parameters.

“. . . one of the pumps ran way off the efficiency curve, running too fast and using more electricity, while producing less product flow,” says De Villiers, adding that, without changing the pump system, the pump speed was corrected to the original design specification. This resulted in a 20% increase in efficiency and a 30% increase in the flow rate. “The savings from reduced spare part usage and electricity consumption is estimated at R 1.6-million per year.”

Pump and Abrasion Technologies is also involved in rolling out a consignment of vendor-managed pumps spares inventory for customers at specific sites.

This business model is currently in operation at five sites in South Africa, which entails the customer and the company agreeing on what the entry level of spares will be. Based on consumption, Pump and Abrasion Technologies will invoice and replenish what was used, with the company also managing the customer’s inventory situated on the mine.

De Villiers notes that managing customers’ inventory gives the company insight into customer usage patterns from the customers’ perspective, which allows for even more effective collaboration and service delivery over a period of time. “We are delighted with the savings and operational improvements this business model yields for our customers and we are excited to roll it out to more operations in the near future.”

Edited by Leandi Kolver
Creamer Media Deputy Editor

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