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Commodities surge boosts demand

SUPPLY STRATEGY
AFS offers better lead times compared with those associated with imported products, by carrying more stock of components that generally have a lengthy lead time

SUPPLY STRATEGY AFS offers better lead times compared with those associated with imported products, by carrying more stock of components that generally have a lengthy lead time

5th August 2022

By: Tracy Hancock

Creamer Media Contributing Editor

     

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The global increase in commodity prices is motivating local mines to spend capital on new and existing projects, while the long delivery times of imported products have shifted their focus to South African-manufactured valves, says slurry-related valves manufacturer Abrasive Flow Solutions (AFS) GM Donald Morrison.

He notes that AFS’ diaphragm, wedge gate, pinch and knife gate valves are in high demand from the mining industry this year, but manufacturing challenges persist, owing to the Ukraine-Russia war, commercial flight shortages, shipping container scarcity and the fickle post-Covid-19 business environment.

Subsequently, in trying to benefit from the improved demand from the mining industry, manufacturers are having to overcome higher manufacturing costs because of an elevated direct material expense, recent wage and petrol price increases, as well as sea and air freight price hikes.

A Level 2 broad-based black economic-empowerment company, AFS is overcoming these challenges by ensuring the lean manufacturing of valves at its Benoni facility, in Gauteng.

“We have also tried, where possible, to absorb some of these costs,” Morrison tells Mining Weekly.

Supplying to local and cross-border mining projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo this year, the company has not had to deal with any challenges in fulfilling orders.

However, competing against more cost-effective, but inferior, imported products is always a challenge, adds Morrison.

To compete, AFS offers better lead times, compared with those associated with imported products by carrying more stock of components, such as manufactured, machined parts and castings, that generally have a lengthy lead time.

Built Tough

The AFS portfolio is particularly well-suited to use in harsh conditions in diverse industries, including mining, which relies on plant availability and the safe operation of valves used in mining slurry, tailings dams and acid pumping applications.

To ensure optimum safety, efficiency and the extended service life of every system, the selection of the correct industrial slurry valve is critical, states Morrison, adding that valve selection is based on various factors, including the size and shape of particles, pressure, temperatures and chemical content.

“AFS continuously enhances the design and production of its slurry knife gate valve range, ranging from 50 mm to 1.5 m diameter valves. The range includes flanged, wafer, lugged, urethane-lined and high-pressure knife gate valves.”

The company also distributes a locally manufactured range of abrasion-resistant valves on behalf of slurry valves manufacturer Dual Products International.

“The valves comprise an advanced rotating gate valve with sleeve design, developed specifically for heavy abrasive and corrosive slurries, and water and wastewater installations. This patented design enables the valve to cycle through heavy slurries without sticking. Wafer, flanged and high-pressure variants are available,” explains Morrison.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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