Southern Africa’s summer rainfall regions, where much of the mining industry is located, face a seasonal risk from heavy rains – and must be ready to rapidly dewater sites.

Now is therefore a good time to conduct a full check on all pump installations, according to Justin Bawden, internal sales at Integrated Pump Technology. As the southern African distributor of Grindex submersible dewatering pumps, the company is dedicated to helping customers prevent flooding and disruption.

“Weather patterns have become less predictable, with some regions experiencing drought conditions for extended periods,” says Bawden. “Parts of the country may experience heavy rainfall consistently that creates great demand for pumps, while other regions may see more arid conditions in which case pumps go unutilised for some time.”

He stresses the importance of pumps being checked for performance and reliability, as they must often be put into service at short notice. Grindex pumps are well known for their applications in dewatering as well as sludge and slurry pumping. One of his concerns is that some pumps are left unused in applications where solid particles can clog up components through sedimentation.

“In a muddy application, for instance, particles should not be allowed to thicken around a pump over a period of months,” he says. “If a pump is restarted under these conditions, it could lead to the impeller shaft snapping.”

He urges pump owners to take stock of which pumps they have available at the various dewatering ‘hot-spots’ around their sites. By re-assessing the demands that the rainy season will soon place on each of these points, they could check that the pump capacities are well aligned.

“Our Grindex agents are strategically located around the country, and across border with many undertaking regular site visits,” he says. “This helps customers to ensure the right pumps are in place, and to identify any problem areas that might need more attention.”

It is vital to understand the key aspects of each pumping application – from the required flow rate and vertical head to the pipeline and the nature of the material being pumped. This makes for cost effective choices that provide the necessary duty when heavy rains arrive, he says.

The Grindex submersible pump range includes smaller units up to 10 kW that can be easily carried by a single person. For many of the larger units from 18 kW and up, Integrated Pump Technology can also offer trolleys that make mobility of the units easier for those on site tasked with installation of these units.

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