Tag Archives: knife-gate valves

Neles looks for added mining and metals exposure with Flowrox transaction

Just over a year after being spun off from Metso, Neles is looking to gain further exposure to the mining and metals industry with the planned acquisition of Flowrox’s valve and pump businesses.

Neles has signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire the valve and pump businesses of the Finland-based technology company, saying the transaction will “complement Neles’ offering and exposure” to the industry in question.

The purchase price of the valve and pumps businesses is €40.9 million ($48.3 million), payable in cash at closing, with an additional orders received-based earn-out consideration of up to €3 million for a one-year period after closing, also payable in cash.

Neles, itself, is due to be taken over by Finnish engineering firm Valmet after a previous failed takeover attempt by Alfa Laval.

“The mining and metals market is expected to have strong short- and mid-term growth for the next decade, driven by the increasing demand for metals, ore depletion and underlying investments into more efficient processing,” Neles said. “With good long-term fundamentals, service intensity and a different cyclical nature balancing out cycles from currently served industries, mining and metals is an attractive industry for Neles. The acquisition will enable Neles to better leverage growth opportunities in minerals processing applications.”

Flowrox specialises in flow and process control, filtration, environmental technologies and industrial automation solutions, with its valve and pump solutions including pinch valves, knife-gate valves and peristatic pumps, among others.

Olli Isotalo, President and CEO, Neles, said: “Diversification of our customer industries is a key component of Neles’ growth strategy. This acquisition is an excellent fit for Neles as Flowrox is a well-known niche player in flow control within mining and metals and it has the right offering and very strong competence and know-how. Going forward, we plan to continue developing the transferring businesses as a platform for growth in a strategic focus industry.”

Jukka Koskela, President and CEO, Flowrox, said: “In recent years, Flowrox’s operations have expanded in many areas through product development and acquisitions. Now it is time to focus. This business transaction will enable us to advance the remaining businesses to the next level. We see Neles as a great partner and a company who can further develop valve and pump businesses.”

In 2020, Flowrox’s valve and pump businesses had sales of about €30 million, with the businesses’ sales in the 2021 fiscal year 2021 expected to remain at the same level.

The profitability of the carved-out businesses is comparable to Neles’ in terms of adjusted EBITA margin, according to the company. The transaction also includes the Flowrox brand.

The acquired businesses employ some 110 people and have manufacturing in Finland, Australia, South Africa, and the US, as well as well-established sales channels in over 80 countries.

The closing of the acquisition is estimated to take place in November 2021.

Weir Minerals Africa on the importance of application-specific valves

Weir Minerals Africa has stressed the importance of using quality original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products “engineered specifically for their application” when it comes to using valves in abrasive and corrosive slurry conditions.

Without such components, valves can be quickly worn out and costly downtime can occur, the company said.

Ronald Govender, General Manager – Process Equipment at Weir Minerals Africa, said: “With our comprehensive range of slurry valves, we can help customers select the right equipment to suit the pressure of their system, the chemical make-up of their slurries, and the physical nature of the solids they process.

“We can provide the right wear options, actuation mechanisms and control accessories that will ensure optimal plant uptime.”

Weir Minerals’ Isogate® range of slurry valves is proven to be reliable and versatile, according to Weir, operating under wide pressure and temperature ranges. “For longer life, valve sleeves come in a variety of materials including genuine Linatex® premium abrasion-resistant natural rubber. To reduce downtime and overall cost of ownership, all wear parts are easily replaced in the field,” the company said.

The range includes mechanical pinch valves, with open or closed body, and pneumatic pinch valves with one-piece sleeve or two-piece liner. Isogate knife gate valves are known for their heavy-duty performance, even in coarse slurries, with pressure ratings from 10 to 51 bar, Weir said. These are uniquely designed with both ease of maintenance and low overall cost of ownership in mind and are engineered to handle the harshest and most abrasive process flow conditions, according to the company.

Weir Minerals’ check valves are single, non-return units that benefit from 20 years of in-field experience in the most arduous slurry applications, Weir said. Within this range, Autoball® valves, which are actuated with differential pressures, enable quick changeover between duty and standby pumps.

“An exciting addition to our offering is the Delta Industrial™ range of knife gate valves, which set the standard for high performance in slurries,” Govender said. “These valves guarantee zero leakage, due to their unique transverse seal and shear gate design.”

The design protects the primary elastomer seal from the slurry flow to avoid wear, while a precision-machined metal seat provides a secondary seal. “The transverse seal features an upper and lower scraper, with an elastomer that is energised by a pliable compound – even while the valve is in service.”

Designed for the most demanding processes, Delta Industrial valves have been in use for over two decades in mill circuits, tailings transport, mineral separation and leaching applications for slurries up to 120 bar working pressure.

“We bring a full basket of valve solutions to customers,” Govender said. “Other valves in our liquid service range include butterfly, diaphragm, globe and trunnion-mounted ball valves.”

Metso Flow Control highlights mining and mineral processing valve expertise

Metso’s industry-leading crushing and grinding technology status is well known throughout the mining world, but its valves expertise is, perhaps, not as familiar.

Complementing both the minerals processing and pump technology the group produces, Metso has been engineering valve solutions for over 90 years. One of the group milestones was the establishment of Neles Oy in 1956, with a focus on Finland’s pulp & paper sector flow control solutions.

Neles®has since become a household name across multiple industries, famous for premium engineered metal-seated valve solutions. The company also acquired the Jamesbury® business some decades ago to add a premium-performance soft-seated valve solution to the portfolio.

Ville Kähkönen, Director, Industry Management, Metso Flow Control, told IM on site at the company’s Hakkila facility, close to Helsinki-Vantaa airport, Finland, that there is a clear distinction between the two product families.

“Jamesbury valves are used in temperatures below 260°C,” he said, adding that the Neles metal-seated valves are the best choice for higher temperatures or when the process media includes abrasive fluids and solids like sand.

Touring the facility and hearing from Kähkönen and Heikki Kärki, Industry Manager, Mining & Minerals Processing, Metso Flow Control, IM discovered just how many of these valves have found their way to mining operations around the globe.

The company manufactures not only the valves, but also the actuators and smart controllers; a fact that sets it apart from many of its competitors supplying just one or two of these elements.

On average, in a minerals processing plant, there can be around 10,000 valve installations across an operation each serving a specific purpose, according to Kärki.

He told IM it is not only Metso knife-gate valves – used for isolation purposes in the mill circuit – that are found in the separation and refinery stages of mining operations; the company provides several types of valve solutions that can be tailor made to the specific application.

This wide-ranging expertise is reinforced by a quick scan of the number of valve installations Metso has carried out over 2000-2018. During this period, the company’s supplied base has covered all but one continent (Antarctica the exception), with applications across what it terms “slurry, utility and severe services”.

In addition to being one of the few companies able to supply the complete valve assembly, including the valve, the actuator and the intelligent valve controller, Metso is rare in having the capability to custom-engineer valves for the harsh, abrasive and acidic conditions that come with autoclave processing. This is a field that has been growing in the nickel, copper and gold space in recent years, Kähkönen said. Standard valves last a matter of weeks in these applications – where pressures can exceed 30 bars, temperatures can exceed 200°C and concentrations can be highly acidic.

A materials technology team with decades of experience, plus an on-going relationship with an autoclave manufacturer, has enabled the company to come up with valve solutions offering a robust coating specifically designed to outlast other solutions in the autoclave market.

The company was also keen to highlight its digitalisation capabilities within the valves space during the visit.

Metso launched its first NP™ series pneumatic positioner already fifty years ago. A digital valve controller – the Neles ND9000 – was introduced by Metso all the way back in 1995 and, since the launch of this product, the company has established smart controllers that collect data to be analysed by Metso’s in-house team or the client themselves, the latest being its Neles NDX® controller.

These controllers have gained such a reputation that other valve manufacturers regularly acquire them to complement their own valve solutions.

Hakkila, which focuses on the Neles engineered valves and intelligent positioners, is one of several Metso valve technology centres worldwide. Its Shrewsbury factory, in Massachusetts, in the US, caters to demand for the Jamesbury valves, while its Horgau, Germany, facility specialises in high performance Neles butterfly valves.

Chungju, in South Korea, looks after Neles globe valves, and its two plants in the Mumbai area, India, concentrate on Jamesbury EasyFlow valves and Neles scotch yoke actuators manufacturing for the India and global markets.

On top of this, it has a second US facility in Minnesota (Fergus Falls), a service and supply centre in Brazil (Sorocaba), a technology hub in Shanghai, China, which manufactures standard Neles and Jamesbury products globally and provides service in the region, and a technology centre in Jiaxing, China, set to open next year.

Annually, Metso delivers around 400 000 valves to different process industries. Additionally, Metso completes over 20,000 valve overhauls and 3,000 site visits. It also carries out over 250 major planned valve shutdowns a year – an element that is important to ensure valves keep working for as long as possible.

And, the company has recently enhanced its valves manufacturing process with the ability to use 3D printing in certain valve components. This is a process offering previously unavailable engineering options that can, for example, improve some of the design features and decrease the weight of valve components.