Heavy-duty industrial vacuum manufacturer Hencon Vacuum Technologies (Hencon VT) has expanded its service offering from only selling and manufacturing vacuum equipment to also providing cleaning services through a subsidiary called Afriveyor.
Afriveyor GM Elaine Pretorius tells Engineering News that Afriveyor was established in September last year to diversify Hencon VT’s offering.
“The benefits of expanding Hencon VT’s service offering through Afriveyor include extra income, avoiding being solely dependent on selling and manufacturing equipment and meeting a customer need that was previously not met.”
Hencon VT GM David de Oliveira adds that offering a cleaning service using the company’s manufactured vacuum equipment, such as vacuum trucks, provides an opportunity to get instant feedback about the equipment and its performance which allows for continuous product improvements, as well as increased opportunities for testing new technology and equipment.
Afriveyor currently uses Hencon VT’s vacuum trucks and a crew to clean up spillages, most often for mining applications and processing plants.
Pretorius points out that Afriveyor provided cleaning services for diamond miner Petra Diamonds at a cemetery that had been affected by the company’s operations, in September.
Afriveyor had to remove dust generated by the mining operation that had settled on the graveyard. De Oliveira highlights that this project improved the wellbeing of the environment, adding that the crew also found historical items of importance during the cleaning process.
The company used one of its vacuum trucks for this project, as they can vacuum any wet or dry material and are also suitable for use in power generation plants and cement factories.
Afriveyor is in the process of attaining a black economic empowerment (BEE) Level 2 certification.
“Not having the required BEE level can be challenging, owing to mines and processing plants preferring long-term suppliers and/or vendors that are at least a Level 1 or 2 benefactor, especially for this type of service,” says De Oliveira.
Afriveyor also had to convince mines and processing plants that the vacuum trucks are an efficient, albeit more expensive, cleaning method, compared with the traditional cleaning methods that require using intense manual labour with shovels and wheelbarrows.
Pretorius points out that mines sometimes believe that this cleaning service replaces the manual labour requirement and therefore reduces employment, however, she says it actually improves safety as it removes mines’ cleaning crews from the danger zones such as cleaning in confined spaces underneath big conveyor systems.
She adds that Afriveyor also provides training for existing mine cleaning crews and that the company often recruits a crew from a plant’s own staff complement when they are available.
Afriveyor also offers high-risk cleaning services, which entails cleaning in high-temperature areas – such as furnaces, where fumes or gases are present – as well as cleaning at heights.
De Oliveira explains that the vacuum trucks have tracking devices installed using global positioning technology, but adds that Hencon VT is developing the technology further to provide information for a client regarding the spillages the trucks have been cleaning up, including how long they have worked and how much material has been recovered.
He expects this development, which includes installing weighing systems on to the trucks, to be done in the first quarter of 2018.
“We give customers evidence and peace of mind that we are doing the work properly.”