Mines around the world are faced with many challenges on a daily basis, but the...
At a time when the Zero-Water Usage principle is becoming more and more prominent, consider the innovative new Power Nozzle – the locally manufactured washing nozzle, which allows for the use of recycled or grey water.
Mines are especially focused on recycling their water, aiming for the point where production doesn’t require any potable water – and only recycled (rain, sewerage, run-off and excess underground) water is used.
Associate Professor at the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand Craig Sheridan said: “Waterless mining is where water is consistently recycled and reused in a closed circuit – (this) is the end goal of being water efficient.” (Closing the Loop by Toni Miur; Mining Decisions issue #2 – February 2018.) Recycled water usage, however means that the water is likely to contain sometimes large particles of solids. Enter the solution: the Power Nozzle, which works in such a way that water can be circulated and reused, even if it contains solid debris.
Traditional spade nozzles block easily and in almost all cases a shutdown of the immediate process area is needed to clean these. This means that the use of recycled water on the plant will result in many hours of downtime and reduced productivity. The Power Nozzle however, is completely self-flushing, ensuring a constant spray of wash water on the product. And because the Power Nozzle can be remotely cleaned, use of this innovative equipment eliminates the hours of downtime for cleaning, thereby optimizing productivity and benefiting the bottom line of any mine or plant.
Functional extras of the Power Nozzle include the following:
- Adjustable orifice to cater for a range of high to low volume spray applications
- 60% Hollow cone-shape design that allows for a double-washing action
- Stainless steel material, which means no corrosion, and therefore maximum return on investment
- The units are fully serviceable, which means that one unit has the potential to be in service for years – offering another great return on investment
Fully automatic, low maintenance and highly effective – not to mention entirely locally designed and manufactured: it’s no surprise that Afri-Tech walked away with both the South African Innovation Award as well as the Overall Innovation Award at the 2018 Electra Mining Africa Exhibition. For both environmental as well as productivity reasons: this is the kind of game-changing innovation that we love!
Gus Basson from Afri-Tech Mining Supplies took us through the details of the amazing new Power Nozzle:
Q: How did the Power Nozzle concept come about?
A: The product is the brainchild of Richard Arends, director of Afri-Tech Mining Supplies. The mining industry has many challenges and spray nozzles are one of them. Work started on a prototype over two years ago, and the product evolved from there. The research and development on this product, proved to be a learning curve of balancing client expectations and realistic deliverables! Finally a prototype was installed on a carbon-washing screen and within a week, the client was very happy with the results – they immediately purchased another Power Nozzle. After the prototype installation, further refinement and modifications where made to decrease the size of the unit as well as making it more serviceable. The aim: to manufacture a self-cleaning spray nozzle that can be made to be automated and serviceable. The purpose of the product was to save time and money, and to keep the design and operation as simple as possible.
Q: Tell us a bit about Afri-Tech?
A: Richard Arends started the company in 2007, with a background in solids/liquid filtration. Richard found that the industry needed a specialist in the screen and filter cloth industry, and so Afri-Tech was born. Our company’s core business is screen and filter cloth however, over the years we have moved into products and spares for the same machines for which we supply cloth, so innovation is definitely a part of our DNA!
Q: Tell us about the various spray nozzle applications?
A: What we’ve found is that this product is so revolutionary that our clients are dictating where they want to use these nozzles. There is clearly massive potential for a large range of applications. The Power Nozzle has an adjustable orifice to cater for different needs: some clients need to use more recycled water in order to wash their product (set the orifice larger by means of a setting screw) and others – for instance for foam suppression – need a finer spray (set the orifice smaller by means of a setting screw). The interesting part is how clients are able to now determine what they would like from the product
Q: Which other industries would use the Nozzle?
A: Mining is our core industry focus, but other growing markets include wastewater works, paper and pulp, the food industry and we’re now exploring new areas where the demand is growing, such as the energy industry.
Q: How has this product changed the nature of your industry?
A: Water usage and environmental impact is always an issue in any big industry. The Power Nozzle will assist in achieving environmental goals at a more affordable price. Personally I feel the biggest problem with the environmentally friendly industry is that if something is labeled “Green/Environmentally friendly” it is automatically made more expensive. People charge more for the “green” label, where our product is fairly priced for its use. The Power Nozzle is intended to facilitate a more environmentally friendly site by aiding the usage of recycled water and minimizing unnecessary shut-downs, reducing down times, in a nutshell, saving clients money and assisting them in achieving environmental goals at the same time: an achievement we’re very proud of!
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