With the recent market move towards installing original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) pumps in the Southern African mining sector, industrial pumps distributor Integrated Pump Technology asserts that the previous trend of sourcing cheaper replicated pumps has been turned on its head.
“Owing to the current difficulties in the economy, it is tempting to buy lower-cost capital equipment without conducting a full assessment. The assessment includes the actual owning and operating costs, which should include aspects such as performance, reliability and after market support,” says Integrated Pump Technology MD Colin Adams.
He adds that any short-term cost saving will rapidly fade into insignificance if the pump does not meet the required hydraulic performance; this situation will be exacerbated if an inferior component fails and causes significant damage.
The high cost of unplanned downtime because of a failed pump installation can impact directly on an operation’s productivity and profitability, Adams notes.
“This is a scenario that we have often seen over the past few years, where end-users have bought pumping equipment that is not engineered to cope with the harsh African operating conditions.”
Adams highlights that Integrated Pump Technology is an official Southern Africa distributor for the well-respected Grindex range of electrical submersible pumps and the Italian manufactured Faggiolati Pumps brand.
“Both are OEM pumps brands and, as such, have strong legacies when it comes to product research and development (R&D),” he points out.
Adams mentions that OEM pumps brands generally ensure good operating performance, reliability, durability, increased wear life on wearing parts of the pump, and pumps that are engineered for specific duties.
He asserts that OEMs’ conduct of ongoing R&D ensures that the latest technology is incorporated in the product. Products are manufactured under strict quality controlled environments that are certified to ISO 9001, besides other standards, he adds.
Moreover, Adams emphasises that product development is essential, as this includes the incorporation of the latest hydraulic technologies and construction materials to ensure that pumps meet operational requirements.
“This is something that maintenance personnel at mines are fully cognisant of and this knowledge needs to be transferred to buyers and management who might not always consider the performance and reliability approach when making the decision to buy.”
He explains that an example of technology being leveraged in Grindex pumps is the unique air valve that has been integrated into the dewatering pumps range. This enables the impeller to pass air instead of water past the motor in a dry-run condition.
Another feature in the dewatering range that ensures optimal operational performance is the patented SMART motor protector, which provides thermal overload, phase loss and phase rotation protection.
The Grindex sludge range has all the advantages of the dewatering range, coupled with a recessed vortex impeller and split hydraulics with replaceable rubber linings. This makes these pumps capable of greater solids handling with increased abrasion resistance.
“There is so much more than just the purchase price that must be considered when buying pumps and the most basic question that needs to be asked is whether an operation can afford the risk of buying cheap,” Adams concludes.