TLT-Turbo Africa says its customised and proactive approach to ventilation solutions, combined with a new range of auxiliary and booster fans, have provided substantial electrical cost savings to a major global gold and platinum producer.
The latest installation comes just three months after installing a customised pair of TLT-Turbo Africa’s fans at one of the miner’s South Africa sites.
TLT-Turbo Africa was approached by the ultra-deep mining operation, in Gauteng, requiring a recommendation for a suitable fan solution to be installed in a section of its mine.
“Following numerous engagements, our engineering and research and development teams set out to develop a customised solution utilising our high efficiency A&B fan range,” Vusi Madlopha, TLT-Turbo Africa Head of Sales & Business Development, said.
TLT-Turbo Africa’s solution was purpose-designed to meet the requirements of the mining operation. At the time, the operation was using multiple installations of auxiliary fans to deliver the required volume and pressure (these auxiliary fans were consuming circa-630 kWe). The mine was also operating three main surface fans, each consuming around 2 MW of power.
“The client’s main objective was to ensure that a sufficient volume of ventilating air was provided to the underground operations while reducing power consumption,” Madlopha explained. “To meet their needs, TLT-Turbo Africa was required to supply two fans, each capable of moving 71 cu.m/s of ventilating air at a pressure loss of 3,000 Pa.”
These requirements fell comfortably within the design ranges of TLT-Turbo Africa’s A&B fan offering, the company said.
Based on an assessment of the mine’s needs, the final recommendation made by TLT-Turbo Africa was for two MC1600AP-160 kW dual-stage fans from the newly launched A&B fan range (specifically 1,600 mm diameter, dual-stage fans, each fan driven by two 160 kW high-efficiency motors).
There was another challenge TLT-Turbo’s team was required to resolve; the selected fans (as per standard, off-the-shelf design) would be too large to pass freely through the shaft and horizontal infrastructure to reach their installation site.
To overcome this obstacle, TLT-Turbo Africa’s R&D team custom designed the fans to be modular thus allowing transport of the fan components through the shafts and access tunnels of the mine. Once on site, the fans were easily assembled, according to Madlopha.
The complete product offering also included broadband silencers, self-closing doors and other fan ancillaries. For this project, TLT-Turbo Africa also provided locally manufactured Direct On-line starter panels.
“TLT-Turbo Africa offered the mine a solution well suited to the tough underground mining environment,” Madlopha said. “This solution would ensure a reliable supply of ventilation within the section of the mine in which the fans were to be installed.”
Three months after the installation and commissioning of the supplied fans, conditions underground at the shaft have improved noticeably, according to Madlopha. This is particularly the case in the previously warmer upper levels.
The installation and commissioning of the TLT-Turbo Africa fans described above has allowed the mine to permanently stop and remove 14 other auxiliary fans (with a total rated power of 630 kW). In addition, the mine has also been able to permanently stop one of the main surface fans, resulting in a direct energy saving of more than 2 MW of power, providing an annual electrical cost saving of more than ZAR14 million ($921,504). The capital payback period on this project has been less than three months, according to TLT-Turbo Africa.
“With the lifespan of this project exceeding 10 years, the implied electrical cost savings of this solution are massive,” the company said.
According to Madlopha, the success of the ventilation equipment at this mine can be attributed to the innovative design of the company’s A&B fan range, and the ability of TLT-Turbo’s experts to customise these fans even further to meet client and site-specific requirements.
“The system supplied was customised and optimised for that particular operation,” Madlopha said. “The design point, layout and robust structure provided an overall fan system which is not only efficient, but also reliable.”