Diesel-powered emergency ventilation fans
Many mining companies are introducing emergency diesel-powered ventilation for their underground operations to enable the safe evacuation of mineworkers in the event of unscheduled power cuts.
The new trend has been brought about by the increased risk of power cuts arising from South Africa’s currently overstretched power generation capacity.
ACTOM Mechanical Equipment, a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of axial flow and centrifugal ventilation fans for underground mines, has manufactured and installed a batch of diesel-driven ventilation fans in some of the underground mines of leading platinum mining houses for emergency evacuation when power cuts occur.
Since 2009 the company has executed contracts of this kind for major platinum mining groups Impala Platinum, Anglo Platinum and Lonmin. The first was for the design, manufacture, supply and installation of two direct coupling 1,4 m diameter centrifugal fans powered by Volvo 6 diesel motors at Impala Platinum’s No. 17 shaft. This was followed by a contract for four belt-driven 2,2 m diameter axial flow fans powered by V6 Deutz diesel motors at Anglo Platinum’s Khuseleka Shaft and Thembelani Shaft and at its Union mine’s Spud Shaft and 12A Shaft.
These were turnkey contracts, which included the sourcing and purchasing by ACTOM Mechanical Equipment of the diesel motors, as well as supplying in each case two batteries for start-up, high current cables and 500 litres of diesel fuel on a trailer, which is towed to site when needed by a bakkie or similar vehicle belonging to the mine concerned.
In May this year the company was awarded a contract for Lonmin via Blumburton Engineering (BBE) consulting engineers for the design, manufacture and supply of a 2,65 m belt-driven axial fan powered by a 200 kW diesel engine for installation in Lonmin’s Saffy shaft. This contract was completed in September.
“In all these installations the emergency fans are T-ed into the existing ventilation system so that they can be quickly deployed to supply the essential ventilation needed in the underground roadways in the mine used for evacuation when a power outage occurs,” commented Kobus Cilliers, ACTOM Mechanical Equipment’s Project Manager responsible for the contracts.
At Khuseleka Shaft a crane had to be used to lift the existing vertical ventilation outlet diffuser located at the top of the shaft to enable installation of the emergency fan. “In this case the existing electrically-powered fan is located at the bottom of the shaft because of the need to suppress the noise that would otherwise disturb a nearby community settlement, therefore necessitating use of the discharge diffuser at the head of the shaft,” Cilliers explained.
“Our contract included installing a damper blade into the diffuser to close off the diffuser outlet when the emergency system kicks in.”
Wynand Marais, Mechanical Project Engineer for Powertech IST Industrial, Anglo Platinum’s engineering and contract management company, said that among the reasons why ACTOM Mechanical Equipment had been selected for the emergency diesel-powered ventilation fans contract was that the Fläkt Woods fans the company supplies are world-class and have proven themselves as efficient and reliable in numerous mine ventilation applications.
ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is the largest manufacturer and distributor of electrical equipment in South Africa, employing about 6 000 people and with an annual order intake in excess of R5bn. It is a black empowered company with 33 operating units, 27 production facilities and 28 distribution centres throughout South Africa.
ACTOM partners Alstom France for environmental equipment and in serving the maintenance, upgrade and retrofit market for larger boilers, as well as for railway transport activities.
ACTOM holds exclusive distribution, technology and representation rights for Alstom Grid (formerly the Transmission business of Areva T&D) in Southern Africa and maintains management, technical and commercial links to Alstom Grid business units in Europe.
Following the acquisition by Schneider Electric of the global Distribution business of Areva T&D, the distribution, technology and representation agreements that existed between ACTOM and Areva will remain in place until such time as a new agreement has been concluded.
ACTOM formerly traded under the name Alstom South Africa and re-branded to ACTOM in September 2009.
For further information contact Craig Johnston, ACTOM Mechanical Equipment
PO Box 1300, Germiston 1400
Tel (011) 871-6789 Fax (011) 871-6677
Press release compiled by Julian Kraft, J Kraft Public Relations
PO Box 2826 Wilropark 1731
Tel (011) 472-6686 Fax 086-613-9657
Date: October 10, 2011
Caption: Diesel Emergency Stanby Fan – The picture shows the outlet diffuser at Anglo Platinum’s Khuseleka Shaft being raised aloft by a crane to enable Mechanical Equipment to install the emergency diesel-powered ventilation fan that T’s off horizontally from the main vent system.