Air compressor, pumps and generator rental supplier Rand-Air has introduced two robust and durable pump ranges suitable for use in a variety of applications, including within the mining sector.
The new ranges include the Weda electrical submersible pump, which features low to medium heads, and the PAS/VAR diesel-driven variety, explains Rand-Air business development manager Henry Fourie.
“The impellers on the pumps are coated and highly durable, making them able to withstand corrosive materials, to a point. They also offer good high and low flows, with high heads which enable easy evacuation of material up an incline. This makes them very appropriate for use in mining [as well as] many other applications.”
Further, he adds that while the pumps have been available as part of Rand-Air’s business line since about 2014, they were originally only available as a purchase option.
In an article that was published in Mining Weekly in September last year, Fourie explains that the rationale behind this decision is that “the rental option preserves capital for the customer”, and is a particularly useful option given the sharp economic downturn caused by the outbreak of Covid-19.
“Another benefit for the customer is that Rand-Air takes on the cost of pump maintenance,” he says, noting that this can help guarantee uptime for customers and provide access to the latest technologies.
“Rentals also remove maintenance and downtime concerns.” To this end, Rand-Air offers a 24/7 standby service, scheduled inspections, substitute equipment when necessary, maintenance, parts, labour and travelling costs – all as part of its “renowned” customer-centric service offering.
“The Weda range of electric submersible pumps features a built-in starter and motor protection system, along with optional automatic level control. Besides a conveniently modular design, they also feature a unique sealing system, making for flexible in-field applications and ease of maintenance.
“Adjustable wear-resistant rubber diffusers and hardened high-chrome impellers ensure robustness in the harsh opencast mining environment.”
Various lightweight electric submersible pump options are available, he notes.
These pumps are designed with the largest apertures to facilitate handling of sludge, slurry-pumping and drainage applications required on mines. These are also available in global voltages.
An additional advantage of the Weda range is that, as they are manufactured from aluminium instead of cast iron, and feature a slimmed-down design, they are 40% lighter than other pumps of similar specification.
Currently, Rand-Air supplies the pumps to many opencast mines, with several Weda S pumps operating in gold mines for sludge-pumping applications; while demand continues to grow in the coal mining sector for deployment in dewatering pits and the transfer of water from one dam to another.
Further, the PAS/VAR diesel-driven pump series is capable of handling solids of up to 100 mm, with heads of up to 120 m and maximum flow rates of up to 2 100 m3/h.
“The PAS range was introduced because of significant demand from the opencast sector for high-pressure units, with the latest addition to the range capable of handling up to a 200 m head.
“These pumps meet the needs of the opencast mining industry for high-head pumps, which allow for easy evacuation of material up an incline.”
The VAR range’s open impeller and solids-handling abilities make it ideal for deployment in medium construction and flood-control applications, he observes.
“Being diesel-driven, these hard-wearing, robust pumps are ideal for areas where power is not [easily accessible] as they can be taken to site, off-loaded with a crane truck and can start working immediately.”
Also, where a pump has gone in for repairs, Rand-Air can hire out a provisional replacement pump that can run 24/7, Fourie highlights.
“These pumps can run uninterrupted as long as there is fuel in the system, because they were designed for continuous operation.”
Moreover, he explains that when it comes to rentals, the company provides TUV-certified oil-free, diesel or electric air solutions. The company also offers power and lighting solutions and, more recently, pumps from international parent company Atlas Copco’s Power Technique business.
The underground mining sector is not currently a focus for Rand-Air, owing to essential and specific criteria for the deployment of equipment underground, such as the necessity for units to be explosion-proof, flame-proof and spark-proof.
While the company is considering the sector as a potential focus area, Fourie says that demand for underground rental is typically not as high as that within the opencast mining sector, especially for electric- or diesel-driven pumps.
Looking ahead, he says that despite the constrained economy and markets being more price- and service-conscious as a result, local industries still require air, flow and power solutions to support their operational activities.
“[Rand-Air’s products] will always be in demand and [it] will be there with value-adding and customer-centric solutions aimed at addressing customers’ application challenges and requirements,” Fourie concludes.