South Africa’s mining and industrial sector operates in diverse weather conditions: heat, cold, rainy or sunny.
While mining operations in the typically hot Northern Cape operate mostly in hot, dry conditions, the province has experienced unusual and prolific rainfall since late last year – with the resulting water volumes and flooding affecting several mining and industrial operations.
To mitigate the effects of this exceptional rainfall – and to ensure vital operational continuity – a Northern Cape mine recently required a fast and efficient dewatering solution on site.
Established leaders in the field of portable air, power, flow and lighting solutions, and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division, Rand-Air took to this challenge like a duck to water, supplying a quality solution – the high-performance PAS150 HF 300 dewatering pump.
“Flooding, either via the ingress of ground water, or surface run-off and on-site pooling through unprecedented rainfall (as in this particular case) can cause significant losses to equipment, productivity and revenue. Even more seriously, severe flooding could also result in loss of life, as well as environmental damage,” advises Rand-Air sales representative Denise Olivier.
“With this in mind, we dived right in – providing an agile and robust solution for the customer in the form of the PAS150 HF 300, thereby ensuring access to a safe and dry site; as well as smooth operational continuity – ‘uptime’ secured!” she says.
“The PAS150 HF 300 high-flow vacuum prime centrifugal pump is extremely versatile, and suitable for many industries, including general dewatering and emergency applications, such as flood clean-up operations – which is exactly what the customer required in this instance,” emphasises Olivier.
The pump, which was originally hired for a week in mid-December, has been in operation at the customer’s site for the past two months. Pending further rainfall and potential flooding conditions, the pump will remain in operation indefinitely.
“True to Rand-Air’s ethos of making agility count for the customer, we were able to deliver the pump with a fast, same-day turnaround without delays; and we also provided additional support to reduce delays in production,” says Olivier.
“The customer was very satisfied with the reliability, as well as the high-flow, volume pumping capabilities of the PAS150 HF 300,” she adds.
“This pump, which has been designed and developed with reliability and ease of use in mind, also features another important advantage – a high-flow performance of 510 m³/h, or 8 500 ℓ/min,” Olivier points out.
She further explains that the pump features a high-efficiency pump wet-end, which is equipped with a diaphragm vacuum pump and separator. The centrifugal pump and separator enable air to be separated from the liquid and to be sucked by a vacuum pump. These components allow for an automatic and fast priming process and trouble-free operation.
Moreover, even if the on-site operations have suction heights of several meters, the machine rapidly evacuates the air from the suction pipe and starts to pump.
Meanwhile, the pump’s modular design offers flexibility in terms of transportation and manoeuvrability, while the easy servicing of the wear components allows for less downtime and more pumping.
Other features of the pump include a dry running system, and a control panel. The pump unit also has an integrated control and power cubicle, comprising a digital controller with standard warnings, shutdown, stop/start function, an emergency stop, as well as easy-to-access and read diagnostics.
Furthermore, a configurable set point via transducer controls the pump’s Stage 3B engine speeds.
As part of Rand-Air’s service offering in providing comprehensive technical knowledge, Olivier advised and supplied the customer with the correct information regarding the appropriate class of discharge pipe matching the pressure of the pump.
This particular hire is the second long-term pump hire by Rand-Air since the company introduced the pumps offering to its existing rental equipment portfolio.
Despite the PAS range of pumps only recently being made available, Olivier – in keeping with her proactive and energetic approach – reached out to customers when the first drops of rain hit the Northern Cape, to better inform and educate them about Rand-Air’s pump offering.
“Our sound industry knowledge and inherent intuition in sourcing and providing appropriate equipment – tailored to the customer’s specific needs – complements our proactive approach in anticipating new needs as they arise – and having the required equipment available.
“This is demonstrated by our pump performing a critical dewatering function in this instance – and also proving that no matter the customer’s challenge, Rand-Air can rise to the occasion with excellent product quality and service,” says Olivier.
In a further reflection of the company’s innovative approach, Olivier notes that Rand-Air currently has two pumps on hire; the second pump was recently rented out to a customer in the iron-ore mining sector.
“Currently – due to water or rainfall affecting operations throughout the country, we are receiving enquiries about our pump rental solutions; and customers are becoming increasing aware – and confident – of our pumps’ capacity and performance.
“To this end, Rand-Air continues to ensure that our solutions will keep customers’ operations dry, safe and ‘afloat’,” Olivier concludes.