With much of the world being tested to its limits by the Covid-19 pandemic, it resulted in an increased demand for pumps and related accessories, says specialist pump company Integrated Pump Technology sales manager Jordan Marsh.
He explains that, with mines being considered as “hot spots” for the coronavirus, mining companies were quick to return to their local roots by supporting South Africa-based pump operations.
Integrated Pump Technology exceeded its expectations for 2020, based on these factors, and was able to meet the requirements of miners while providing after-sales services, Marsh says.
Further, using stainless steel pumps is becoming more prevalent in local mining, as the quality and quantity of water continues to deteriorate.
Marsh explains that using stainless steel ensures longevity, as the material “is not going to be eaten up, eroded or corroded, owing to a harsh pumping environment”.
Damage is also often caused by highly acidic water and low pH applications, he adds.
Therefore, Integrated Pump Technology urges mining companies to use pumps from the Grindex range – of which Integrated Pump Technology is the sub-Saharan Africa supplier – as the range is “resilient” and is often used in tough environments, including mines, marine applications and construction projects.
The range is built to withstand the arduous conditions that these areas can present and designed to be environment-friendly, with low emissions. The range comprises submersible slurry pumps, electric submersible pumps, portable mini-pumps and even large drainage pumps.
Inox pumps in this range are manufactured completely from stainless steel Grade 316, compared with other pump brands that often use stainless steel Grade 304.
Integrated Pump Technology also offers a 30-month warranty on the range, which Marsh says is indicative of the company’s commitment to providing a quality product for the industry.
Owing to the difficulties of having to maintain access to and providing services for mines across sub-Saharan Africa, Integrated Pump Technology intends to expand its network of 12 distributors through the appointment of new distributors.
The company is aiming to appoint distributors in key areas, including Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, this year.
Currently, distributors are based in South Africa, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Lesotho.
“This year we’ve embarked on a drive to ensure that our distributors are fully supported and that they have all the marketing materials and technical knowledge,” Marsh comments.
Supporting distributors is an essential cornerstone of Integrated Pump Technology’s operation, and the company maintains stockholdings that enable distributors to respond rapidly to customer requirements.
While this includes new pumps, accessories and spare parts, Marsh explains that this also ensures that distributors are in close proximity to mines, can provide after-sales service and deliver on quick lead times on pumps, “which is extremely important” as mines often cannot afford to have extended or unexpected downtimes.
Distributors are provided with a service partnership through a distributor agreement, which is re-evaluated on a year-on-year performance basis.
The appointment of additional distributors not only falls in line with the company’s growth objectives but is also born from an increased demand for quality pumps and accessories.
“We find that there are many entry-level pumps suppliers that come onto the market that try to compete with us, and are appealing to the mines based on price,” Marsh laments, noting that Integrated Pump Technology’s 30-month warranty on the Grindex pumps “appeal to the mines based on their life-cycle cost being far more effective”.
The company aligns itself with the transformation goals of the industry sectors in which it operates locally, with its most recent distributor appointment being that of Level 1 broad-based black economic-empowerment company Acorn Projects of Kathu, in the Northern Cape.
A large part of this initiative is aligning the company with up-and-coming companies that show potential, while “giving back to local communities and locally based companies”, says Marsh.
“The idea is for Integrated Pump Technology not to remain stagnant and a one-off, as we have every ambition of growing and ensuring that we have coverage in all major mining areas in sub-Saharan Africa,” he concludes.