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Company forges on as pumps leading supplier

MC PUMP The Warman MC pumps are designed for mill circuit duties in aggressive applications

GRINDING Enduron high pressure grinding rolls are used in mill circuit crushing duties in tough ore applications

24th March 2023

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

     

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Weir Minerals remains a leading supplier of slurry pumps as it continues to pioneer some of the sector’s latest developments and advancements.

This, says Weir Minerals Africa pumps GM Marnus Koorts, can largely be attributed to the company’s early involvement with projects. This allows the company to understand the detailed requirements of the project, and also provides it with an opportunity to process all the information necessary to find the optimal solution.

Koorts highlights that the company’s involvement in customer projects begins as early as the concept stage. By assisting customers in conceptualising various options and developing flow sheets and plans before funding applications, Weir Minerals Africa enhances the project’s success levels. He states that the company is well-equipped to gather precise insights, enabling it to understand the customer’s project requirements, desired outcome and project constraints.

He notes that this is where Weir Minerals Africa’s engineering team and technical experts are one of the company’s major strengths. The company works across Africa with customers to understand specific requirements and provide customised solutions for slurry pump needs.

“An important aspect of our contribution is the sophisticated method of sharing information through our product management teams within each region,” he notes. “They communicate on a weekly basis, sometimes more often, to apply best practices and arrive at solutions that suit customer requirements.”

He explains that this field information is then filtered through to technology hubs in its main regions, globally. The technology hubs are responsible for specific slurry pump models, using information from the field to conduct further research and development. This work continuously improves Weir Minerals’ product portfolio for the global market.

“Our expertise to help the customer to develop a solution, combined with our wide and customisable product portfolio, places Weir Minerals Africa in a good position to assist seamlessly with their projects,” he says. “It is important for our solutions to be customisable, as a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.”

Infrastructure in Africa often adds unforeseen challenges to projects and operations. However, Weir Minerals Africa also has assembly capabilities at all its branches across the continent, which allow it to ensure complete control of its supply chain. It also enables easier and more efficient aftermarket support.

“We believe in being part of the local region, and therefore have local infrastructure that supports us and the communities within which we operate,” he comments. “As a result, we can execute our plans much more efficiently than our competitors.”

Adding to the reliability of Weir Minerals Africa’s supply chain is the company’s own original-equipment manufacturing facilities in South Africa. This includes the Weir Heavy Bay Foundry in the Eastern Cape, and its Isando-based manufacturing facility in Gauteng, which manufactures smaller pump components.

Successful Project Implementation

This capacity gives Weir Minerals Africa the ability to successfully tackle greenfield and brownfield projects. In a recent greenfield project, the company helped to develop an entire solution to a client’s mill circuit upgrade.

“This was a lengthy project built on strong relationships and we were able to provide the necessary solutions for this project,” he says. “The project now has an Enduron HPGR (high pressure grinding rolls), a site feeding system, Cavex hydrocyclones, Warman process pumps, Warman vertical spindle pumps, as well as Envirotech chemical pumps and more. Everything we could provide to the client, we did.”

He reiterates that the success of Weir Minerals Africa’s contribution is based on understanding the needs and the desired outcome.

Brownfield projects are quite often more complex, as things change over the years since the mine or project started; engineering drawings, for example, may no longer match exactly what is found on-site.

He referred to one such project with which the company recently assisted, where it needed to install additional pumps in the mill discharge area. As part of the site assessment, three-dimensional scans were conducted of the entire surrounding area. This information was used to develop a few optimal scenarios, which were then shared with the project owners.

“This collaboration meant that we could arrive at one design solution which satisfied the customer, and we could proceed with the necessary engineering work.”

Weir Minerals Africa assisted with infrastructure support for the plant’s new 30-t mill circuit pump, and collaborated with its valves department to configure an Isogate valve solution that allowed the pumps to operate optimally. It also ensured that the flow fitted into existing infrastructure without affecting the pipe work.

Secialised Offering

The company further provides localised support and maintenance services, which Koorts says enhances the response time for customers – as local technicians are available in-country.

“Because of our branch infrastructure across the continent, we’re close to our customers and have niche service offerings, which makes it easier for our customers to do maintenance,” he explains. “On the one side, we have service exchange agreements, where we replace your pump and refurbish the old one.”

Alternatively, customers can consider rand per tonne agreements, where Weir Minerals Africa maintains all pumps on site for an agreed rate for each tonne of ore processed.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features

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