The emergence of aquaculture, or fish farming in South Africa has seen many benefits not only to the economy or the provision of an alternate sustainable food source, but also to the bigger manufacturing value chain.
In a recent project local pump distributor Mechanical Rotating Solutions teamed up with HCP Pumps South Africa using their combined expertise in supplying axial flow pumps servicing the Recirculated Aquaculture System (RAS) of an aquaculture farm situated in the Eastern Cape. Augmenting the RAS system with the right equipment enables this unique system to control the overall environment ensuring optimum water quality and water temperature that guarantees optimal growth of fish and production of fish in a sustainable manner.
According to Franscois Steenkamp, CEO of Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS), the Recirculated Aquaculture System is a land based state of the art aquaculture unit that circulates, cleans and recycles, in this case saltwater, achieving the least possible volume of water used whilst avoiding spills and pollution.
“The recirculation of the water means that pumps are the most crucial element in the aquaculture system. Considerably thought goes into selecting pumps suitable to work in this specific aquaculture environment. This specific situation called for the use of axial flow propeller pumps working together with centrifugal pumps, and single stage end suction pumps.” ” Says Gerhard Swart, Managing Director of HCP Pumps South Africa.
HCP L-250A pumps coated with Belzona 581
Due to the design of the RAS system it is important that the pumps chosen in this operation ensures an effective volume and constant flow through the RAS system mimicking approximately the conditions of the fish natural environment. For this application HCP chose its L-series of axial flow pumps. These large volume transfer pumps are ideal for flood control and irrigation out of canals as well as water supply or drainage in agriculture and aqua culture. These highly efficient pumps move 5500 litres per minute at 4m head ensuring optimal flood control for the specific application.
Due to the nature of the project and the known corrosive effect of saltwater HCP teamed up with Mechanical Rotating Solutions using MRS’s expertise in engineered coating applications to ensure that the wet ends of the five HCP L-250A pumps can not only withstand the impact of the corrosiveness but also prolong the lifespan of the pump elements.
As the wet end of the pumps dictate the hydraulic performance, MRS chose Belzona 5811 immersion grade epoxy coating to protect these parts as it is specifically formulated for corrosion and chemical protection of equipment operating under immersion.
“Belzona 5811 is a 2-part epoxy coating which provides outstanding chemical resistance and protects equipment operating under immersion in aqueous solutions up to 50°C from the effects of corrosion by chemicals as well as sea water and crude oil.” Says Steenkamp.
This solvent-free material can be applied to virtually any metallic and non-metallic surface, simplifying maintenance works as it can be applied by brush or spray and cure at room temperature without the need for hot work.
“Our range of Belzona products are designed to improve efficiency of pumps, pipes, valves and other fluid handling equipment while protecting them from the effects of erosion and corrosion. This high performance product is proven to reduce energy consumption, provide excellent chemical resistance and lower maintenance costs. While erosion, corrosion and physical damage pose a threat to many industries, the real issues are downtime, efficiency decline, profit loss and safety hazards created by the root problem. Belzona products are manufactured to resolve these problems by reducing labour by eliminating the need for disassembly, welding, and post weld heat treatment and enhancing safety by allowing in-situ cold work with solvent free materials.” Says Steenkamp