Having secured the first installation of its Victaulic Series 795 knife gate valve (KGV) – which is under way at diversified miner African Rainbow Minerals’ Modikwa platinum mine, near Burgersfort, in Limpopo – mechanical piping systems supplier Victaulic has sold two 3ʺ KGVs to a platinum mine located west of Polokwane.
Victaulic South Africa mining territory manager Arrie Nel notes that, as the concept of its Series 795 KGVs, introduced earlier this year, has been understood and accepted by existing clients, it is expected that the broader market will respond favourably. He emphasises, however, that it is too soon to tell how the market will react.
He further notes that most mines have maintenance contracts for their existing valves, and keep a reasonable amount of backup stock. This means that securing new contracts with mining clients has been challenging. Despite this, Victaulic has secured two installations of its Series 795 KGVs. Nel adds that the company is “working hard to achieve more sales”.
He notes that innovative products are key to saving costs and, as a result, one of the key trends in the valves industry is to develop products that are easier to install, manufacture and maintain. This strategy would increase suppliers’ profit margins by reducing labour intensive installations.
This strategy also benefits clients, as reducing downtime – owing to unplanned maintenance – is an important priority for mines, which are under immense pressure to cost effectively enhance production. Nel points out that the Victaulic KGV allows for more efficient maintenance because of improvements on the conventional Victaulic KGV design.
“Traditional KGVs must be removed from the pipeline to be maintained or repaired, which can take up to four hours. Victaulic’s Series 795 KGV uses an advanced technology that encloses all wear parts in one seat cartridge kit, which can be easily replaced in about 20 minutes,” he explains.
Moreover, the use of grooved valves further increases the speed of installation because other valves are designed with a flanged system, which takes longer to install.
The Victaulic Series 795 KGV comes with options of pneumatic, hydraulic or manual actuators, depending on the application. It is used in high-wear applications and fluid lines containing solids and abrasive materials, and operates up to ten bars of pressure.
Nel notes that Victaulic is always assessing methods of ensuring that clients implement the best possible solution for their specific application. He cites another ongoing project, which includes the installation of a piping system for a platinum miner near Mashishing, in Mpumalanga, as an example of the company’s commitment to providing the best possible solutions.
The client has installed flanged wafer-type valves for their system and, while this specific project includes a high initial capital cost, “when the client understood the advantages of the Victaulic Series 795 KGV, they agreed to put it to trial”, says Nel.
He points out that innovation is important to Victaulic, highlighting the commitment of the engineering and research and development department at its US-based head office to continuously develop and improve products.
He concludes that this ensures that the Victaulic brand is considered to be at “the forefront of mechanical joining solutions, internationally”.