The future of pump technology may be in optimal system integration as opposed to the pump itself, says pumps solution company Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) MD Franscois Steenkamp.
This being the case, MRS now offers improved motor and variable-speed drive technology that provide solutions for varying load or demand patterns on pumping systems.
“We have worked tirelessly to improve and match a pump’s performance to a client’s overall system requirements. “Although a huge amount of money is spent globally on research and development to design pumps and products, we are now reaching a point where product efficiency should be closely linked to system efficiency,” he explains.
In further driving system efficiency, the company has designed and manufactured its own innovative MRS mobile pump-set to control the water levels in an openpit coal mine for mining activities to proceed. The mobile pump-set can also be stored in close proximity to operations, which increases productivity while drastically reducing water-management transport costs.
The company recently launched a mobile borehole trailer, commissioned by a mining house, which eliminates the need for hiring a crane to sink borehole pumps weighing more than 2 t. “The ease of use and mobility of the unit, as well as the elimination of crane hire ensures a massive cost saving for the client,” says Steenkamp.
He notes that the continued rise in energy, labour costs and the decline in profits from the mining industry – to which the company supplies its products – has forced mining companies to consider cost efficient solutions to make up for the deficit.
“To differentiate yourself in an industry where most suppliers are offering similar equipment, the real differentiating factor is the service, innovation and support you offer with regard to the products you supply,” Steenkamp highlights.
Moreover, MRS is a distributor of South Africa-manufactured Amandla Pumps. Amandla Pumps currently offers the Varkie and Jenny ranges, each with 15 different models, depending on the client’s needs and demands.
Steenkamp says the Jenny series of vertical submersible pumps were specifically designed to meet the challenges of dewatering clean and dirty water. He explains that series consists of eight models ranging between 4 kW and 90 kW, with the 90 kW pump unique to the range, as it can be used in either the vertical or horizontal position.
“With the success of the 90 kW pump throughout sub-Saharan Africa and establishing its footprint globally as a high head and high flow dewatering pump, Amandla Pumps has shown an average growth of 30% a year.”
Steenkamp indicates that the company is looking for industry partners who share the same level of commitment, and passion for growth and quality service.
Steenkamp says local pumps manufacturers face more competition from foreign-based manufacturers as the result of the globalisation in the market.
“The increased competition has led to improved customer service levels while putting downward pressure on pricing. The issue facing South Africa, though, is being price competitive with countries where labour costs are much lower than those of South Africa.”
Steenkamp believes that, on the technological front, South Africa is lagging behind regarding the Internet of Things (IoT), which is set to change the local pumps industry in number of years to come. “The deployment of IoT will increase operational efficiency by nearly 45%, but will also be a threat to labour and job security.”
Steenkamp says South Africa has not yet adopted to digitalisation and digital monitoring, which are gaining traction in the international market; however, there is a future market for software-controlled pump adjustments and vibration sensors that could prolong pump life through the early detection of possible pump or system failure.