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Solving the challenge of mine dewatering
Interview with Ryan Ng, Regional Business Development Manager
Dewatering and Rental Business Manager Philippines, Xylem Inc.
Many of the challenges for pumping in mines remain predictable. As mines become more mature, we have to dig deeper, and pumps have to overcome higher static head.
When the medium being pumped gets more corrosive, abrasive and heavy, it also poses challenges for pumps. These issues are straightforward (though not easy), and can usually be solved by engineering design to either upsize the pump or recommend the correct material selection.
Partnering with a good pump company helps mines optimize pump selection: not just in the correct sizing, but also the type and materials for reliable operation and cost efficiency.
What is more challenging is the unpredictability of the flow requirement, due to two key factors: mining operations and weather. On one hand, government regulations and commodity prices influence the miners’ decision to continue mining or increase their output.
On the other hand climate changes are bringing unpredictable weather patterns, with peak rainfall unforeseeable amidst dry periods.
The ability to adapt to the different requirements of flow while ensuring efficiency is difficult since we do not buy hundreds of pumps just to wait for that five-day monsoon.
What must suppliers do to stay relevant?
Xylem’s tagline is “Let’s solve water”. We are partner-focused and do not envision ourselves to be just an equipment supplier.
We believe in providing application support that adapts to the customer’s unique needs: to be on site and understand from where to where the end-user wants to pump, and provide the right solution.
This solution should not be just about pumps, it should encompass suggestion to piping, fittings, accessories and even labor to operate the pumps.
The next step is to be local. Being local helps us get to the customers faster when they have problems. It helps us understand the local culture and local practices and be more intimate.
It helps us deliver faster, service and maintain the equipment more effectively.
Xylem believes in building relationship based on trust. We strive for recurring and sustainable partnerships.
How can Xylem help save Operation Costs in Mines?
Here are a few key principles to save costs: minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs and improve efficiency.
Xylem works with our customers on their existing pumping solutions. Through system audits, we can answer some of the concerns:
- Are the pumps sized properly? Pumps operating outside their optimum range waste energy and are subject to faster wear and shorter service life.
- Where are the pumps operating relative to their Best Efficiency Point (BEP)?
- Do the pumps’ general age and condition warrant overhaul or replacement?
- What are the pumps’ maintenance and repair history?
- Would a different type of pump perform more effectively in the application? For example, are we using a vortex pump for clean water application? Pumps no longer compatible with the water’s physical or chemical properties can be at risk of premature failure, causing costly, unplanned downtime.
- Could an upgrade to a premium efficiency model be cost-justified? Older pump hydraulic designs and fixed-speed installations may consume far more energy than the latest premium efficiency units with variable frequency drives (VFDs). Energy costs far outweigh the CAPEX costs of acquiring the pump in the Total Life Cycle.
- What are the consequences if the pumps were to fail?
- Do we need standby pumps to ensure reliability? Stoppage in mining operation far outweighs the cost of the pumps?
By answering the above questions, pump by pump, system by system, energy wastage, downtime and incompatible equipment are eliminated and thereby cost savings are achieved.
What is Xylem’s presence in the Philippines?
Xylem has been serving the Philippines’ market with our distinguished brand Goulds Water Technology for over 50 years. We will soon expand our manufacturing and sales footprint by opening a new pump rental and service business in Calamba, in the province of Laguna. The hub will serve the growing demands from both the municipal and industrial sectors, particularly in flood control, mining and power supply operations.
Xylem’s proposition is unique, as we are the only global company operating in the dewatering space that manufactures, rents, sells and services its own equipment. The hub in Calamba is the gateway to access 24/7 the world’s largest rental fleet of 20,000 assets.
Our customers can acquire a broad range of market-leading dewatering technologies and high quality pumping services in bite size, instead of incurring high CAPEX cost.
In addition to solving our customers’ water issues, Xylem is passionate about helping communities through our corporate social responsibility program, Watermark. In the Philippines, our employees and customers are actively involved in building aqua towers that provide clean water to schools and communities. (end)