Afri- Tech Engineering (Pty) Ltd is a relatively newly formed South African engineering business, very proud of its BBBEE status and its focussed effort to empower its people. An interesting case study shows how it fulfilled its mandate to ‘empower’ one of its clients as well, by creating a bespoke product to solve a specific problem that was happening in the Eastern limb of the rich platinum belt of South Africa.

The area

Afri-Tech Engineering (ATE) is situated in the Gauteng region of South Africa, but services customers nationally and this case study falls within the Bushveld Igneous Complex (better known as the BIC). There are three richly veined platinum ‘limbs’ that stretch over four of the nine provinces of South Africa. Due to the excellent platinum reefs in all three of these limbs there is a heavy concentration of mining houses in the area and ATE’s client, who is situated within the ‘Eastern limb’, is one of them. They approached ATE to see if they could come up with a solution to assist them with a common problem experienced by many of the area’s mining houses.

The problem

Essentially the problem being experienced was with sticky reef not flowing through the floatation section of the plant. As a result, the floatation cells would overflow and platinum would literally be spilled out onto the floor. Our client suggested that the existing Afri-Tech Power Nozzle available at the time might be exactly what they were looking for to solve the flotation section blockages. The problem however, was that platinum bubbles are so sticky that they stop the process flow. What was needed was to burst the bubbles with a light spray of water, being careful to not add too much water in the process. So, unfortunately the existing nozzle, as with most nozzles that had previously been available, sprayed too much water and couldn’t be flushed.

The solution

With a slight adjustment to the Afri-Tech Power Nozzle design, ATE was able to supply their client with a unit that perfectly suited their needs. With an adjustable nozzle orifice they were able to adjust the spray finely enough to solve the client’s problem. The added advantage of using the Power Nozzle in this environment is that it can be installed in a relatively inaccessible area. Regular maintenance can be performed remotely, either from a manual control panel, or the plant control room. When the Power Nozzle becomes blocked, due to debris in the water, it can be flushed simply at the press of a button! This unique design is responsible for massive time and money savings due to the fact that no stoppages are needed in order to unblock the Power Nozzle. Another advantage is that, with the large adjustment range available, the Power Nozzle can be used in high or low volume applications.

The happy ending

Afri-Tech Engineering’s success on the Eastern Platinum Limb of South Africa has had a hugely positive impact. So impressed are their clients, that initial trials are being carried out on 30 floatation cells which, if successful, could lead to the implementation of Afri-Tech Power Nozzle installations as a group standard on all plants. For more information please contact Afri-Tech Engineering (Pty) Ltd at