BMG – the advantages of lightweight thermoplastic valves for mining

SAFi thermoplastic valves used at an electrowinning plant on a copper mine
SAFi’s lightweight thermoplastic materials are integrated with a robust valve design for reliable performance, easy installation and low maintenance, reduced operational costs and extended service life. 

BMG’s Fluid Technology division works closely with the mining sector in sub-Saharan Africa to ensure that all valves, strainers and flow control equipment supplied, meets the exact requirements of every application.

“Fluid Technology installations in arduous mining conditions, demand robust products with very high levels of chemical and corrosion resistance, which can also withstand significant mechanical shocks,” says Willie Lamprecht, national product manager, Valves, BMG – exclusive distributors in sub-Saharan Africa for SAFi Thermoplastic Valves. “It is critical in mining operations that the correct valve is selected and properly installed, to ensure efficient operation, maximum safety and extended service life of each system. Failure of a valve and subsequent leaking of corrosive media can have devastating effects on the environment and be detrimental to the safety of personnel and equipment, leading to premature system failure and costly downtime.

“BMG’s experienced team, with a thorough understanding of fluid technology processes, keeps abreast with global trends and ensures the local market has access to the latest products, with advanced developments in design, materials and coatings.

“SAFi thermoplastic industrial valves – which were launched locally by BMG approximately 18 months ago – are gaining popularity over traditional alloy metal valves to handle corrosive materials in demanding applications.

“This trend is evident not only in the mining sector, but thermoplastic valves, that are about six times lighter than metallic valves, are also highly-regarded in chemical and petrochemical plants, mining, water treatment, transport and logistics, marine, food production, energy and agriculture.

“SAFi’s lightweight polymer materials are integrated with a robust valve design for reliable performance, easy installation and low maintenance, as well as for reducing operational costs and extending service life.

“Critical advantages of thermoplastic materials over conventional alloy metals, are resistance to corrosion of the most aggressive chemicals and high impact resistance. Plastic systems allow the safe transportation of a range of industrial fluids and aggressive chemicals, with no risk of deterioration and environmental pollution.

“The smooth inner-bore of plastic pipework ensures that there is no build-up of limescale, resulting in less frictional losses and ensures that a consistent flow rate is maintained throughout the life of the pipe system.

“Solvent weld plastic systems are also easy to install and do not require any specialist tools or equipment. Quick installation offers cost savings of up to 50% when plastic is compared to steel or copper as alternative materials. Plastic pipework systems also require less maintenance, thus reduced material replacement costs. Energy consumption is lower due to a lack of friction when pumping fluids throughout the piping system.”

The trend in the mining sector, to choose thermoplastic industrial valves over standard components, is evident in process applications that include electrowinning, solvent extraction and acid plants, as well as heap and in-situ leaching (ISL).

BMG’s SAFi range, which conforms to stringent international quality specifications, incorporates ball, butterfly, diaphragm and non-return valves, as well as strainers and tank fittings – all manufactured from highquality non-corrosive materials.

SAFI’s most commonly used material – Glass Reinforced Polypropylene (GRPP) – has excellent mechanical, chemical and UV resistance, good dimensional stability and it can be easily machined and welded. This material can withstand operation in temperatures from -10˚C to +100˚C.

Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) is a highly resistant thermoplastic, with a smooth surface, which prevents the development of micro-organisms. This material, with excellent UV, chemical and abrasive resistance, offers long-term stability at temperatures from -20˚C to +120˚C.

Polypropylene (PPH) materials, suitable for use in marine applications, have good chemical resistance, particularly to salts, acids and alkali. Other features include excellent mechanical and shock resistance and thermal stability from 0˚C to +90˚C.

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (C-PVC) and PPH thermoplastic with carbon fibres (PP-ATEX materials) are semi-conductive and compliant with ATEX specifications for safe use in hazardous environments and potentially explosive atmospheres. This is particularly important in the mining sector.

Unplasticised PolyVinyl Chloride (U-PVC) materials, with excellent chemical resistance, but low shock and UV resistance, can withstand operation in moderate temperatures, from 0˚C to +60˚C.

A recent SAFi installation in the hydro-metallurgical sector was at a copper mine, where thermoplastic valves provide an efficient solution for the storage and transport of sulphuric acid. The hydro-metallurgical process of copper extraction uses sulphuric acid in large quantities to dissolve the copper-ore on leaching heaps.

SAFi thermoplastic valves, with resistance to the chemical attack of sulphuric acid, large dimensions and excellent abrasion resistance, are ideal for this installation.

BMG specialists recommend SAFi thermoplastic ball valves for use in on/off regulation applications in mining. These thermoplastic ball valves are maintenance-free and have the ability to close faster than conventional valves, also ensuring extended service life.

BMG’s extensive range of components for fluid technology systems and general industrial applications, include valves, hydraulic hoses and fittings, accumulators, cylinders, heat exchangers, hydraulic motors and hydraulic plumbing, as well as pumps and reservoir accessories.

The company’s 24-hour process support services for production efficiency and reliability-centred maintenance, ensure optimum efficiency and increased service life of every system.


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