November 6, 2020
Rand-Air’s reputation for customer-centric service and excellent equipment hire solutions has made them the rental leader across a variety of industries. As such, the company is renowned for supplying products and services which meet the most stringent standards required by industry – particularly those of the mining sector – where its equipment forms an integral part of overall mine safety.
Recently, a South African gold mining customer announced a seven-year, unbroken safety record – and Rand-Air’s rental equipment and technical support played a significant part in this accomplishment.
Neil Bezuidenhout, Regional Supervisor for Rand-Air and Team Leader on the gold mine, explains that the mine’s seven-year injury-free record – in an industry fraught with potential danger – is very impressive: “Given the inherently demanding conditions of mining, this safety record is a remarkable achievement!”
While the company’s long-standing relationship with the mine goes back many years, he has been servicing the customer’s requirements since 2014.
“I have been with Rand-Air since 2014, starting as a technician. In terms of this particular customer, we service the section which does conventional mining on this mostly trackless, 24/7 gold mine.”
As this is the largest of several mines owned by the mining company, he explains that the responsibility is immense, and is all centred around safety.
“Safety is the foundation of all we do at Rand-Air and – along with exceeding customer expectations – it is at the very heart of our company ethos and culture. This is because we practise safety in all that we do: in the office, on site at the customer, on the road and at home. It is a way of life,” Bezuidenhout points out.
“We therefore ensure we provide safe, reliable and high-quality machines; as well as an on-site team on standby 24/7 – running two shifts – and available to fix any mechanical problems which may arise, thereby minimising any downtime for the customer.”
Bezuidenhout explains that the mine requests both surface and underground compressors for different applications. He describes how the underground units have been modified to withstand the rigorous below-surface conditions:
“While all the compressors are standard units, the underground compressors are deployed in a tougher environment than those on the surface. We therefore have to protect them and make sure that they are more robustly-shielded from inadvertent damage – as they are a vital part of production and safety. We therefore enhance the compressor’s robustness by adding thicker steel framework; as well as protective side-panelling, which also extends their underground life. Unlike in coal mines, the compressors do not however require fireproofing, as there is no hazard from sparks in a gold mine,” he adds.
Rand-Air’s equipment plays a fundamental role in the safety of the mine: “Mines have return airways that supply and circulate fresh air into the mine, with the used air extracted from the other end of the airway. With above-ground compressors, Rand-Air supplies life-sustaining air to the underground refuge chambers that are the appointed gathering zones for workers in the event of an underground hazard, such as a rock fall or other life-threatening events,” he elaborates.
While the mine currently hires compressors, Bezuidenhout notes that Rand-Air’s recently-launched submersible pumps are also creating interest in the mining sector.
“Our equipment is robust, safe and reliable; and our variety of machines and accessories are used in many mines across the country. Recently, there has been a growing interest in our Weda range of submersible pumps, designed specifically for drainage, sludge and slurry-pumping applications. Because underground water is sediment-rich, this line of pumps is ideal for this application, owing to their excellent solids-handling capabilities,” he points out.
“I am really proud of our loyal and customer-focused technical service team, which has contributed so profoundly to the safety of this mine; and of Rand-Air as a company, which has contributed to the safety and productivity of the mining industry overall, for 47 years.
We will continue doing all we can to make a positive contribution to mine safety for many years to come,” he concludes.