J.P Lake
President
PowerPrime Pumps
/
View from the Top

Rental Set to Allow Pumping Business in Mexico to Prosper

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 18:54

Q: How does PowerPrime Pumps’ product portfolio allow it to stand out in the Mexican mining industry?

A: In Mexico, our product line revolves around portable centrifugal pumps. The company has an exclusive partnership with Cornell Pump Company as the exclusive packager of its pump technology into portable systems. Cornell is known for offering more hydraulic efficiency than its competitors, which translates into fuel and energy savings for mining companies, specifically those facing significant water challenges at depth. We are known in the US for our rental business that offers very durable and robust products that are highly efficient. We are currently looking for two types of distributors in Mexico: resale distributors and companies interested in the rental sector. In addition, we are trying to find people who understand pumps and understand their applications in various markets and industries. We are approaching this in a different way to other companies by looking for partners within each specific industry, rather than those based on geographical locations.

Q: How are you planning to expand in the Mexican mining market?

A: We are already present with Grupo Mexico, Rio Tinto, Goldcorp, and some of the smaller players as well. Our new business development director has been actively setting up distributors for us in Mexico. In the past, we sold pumps out of our rental fleet in the US. While this technique did lead to new products being exported to Mexico, it is exciting to have a member of staff dedicated to growing our business here. One aspect of our expansion into Mexico is that we are conducting training sessions for our customers, distributors, and end users. The risk for our pumps is that they can break if used incorrectly. Furthermore, their portability increases the opportunities for improper use. We are using our rental experience in the US across ten different industries to deal with these potential issues. That knowledge will allow us to transmit indispensable expertise to our Mexican mining clients.

Q: What makes your company’s and Cornell’s technology particularly adaptable to mining applications?

A: Cornell is a very innovative company and is continuing to expand its product line. Its equipment is able to pump higher solid content than some of the older style pumps, without sacrificing any efficiency. Additionally, the company also has newer technology for pumping slurry, using techniques that no other company has used. Many offerings from competing companies are older designs that have been around for 20 or 30 years. At a time when mining companies are increasingly looking for more modern technology, Cornell is on hand to offer that to them. For our own products, we offer a guarantee of two years or 2,000 hours of operation. Typically, the main failures are due to misuse of the pumps, when those using our equipment try to pump something that it was not designed to handle. A common problem is when they try to pump slurry with a too high or too low pH value. It can also happen that companies try to pump slurry with too much sand or grit in it using a regular centrifugal pump instead of a proper slurry pump. The Cornell pump has a semi-open impeller, allowing it to handle solids from 1.5 inches to three or four inches in diameter.

The pumps we offer are either driven by diesel or electric motors. With a diesel-driven pump, the efficiency is measured in terms of how the energy from the diesel fuel is converted into moving water. Some of the products can reach efficiencies as high as 80%, which is very good for a high head pump. For instance, our HH125 model, which is commonly used in mining, can reach 85% efficiency. Many older pumps have efficiencies of 60-70%, so our models can provide significant savings. The same logic applies when using an electric motor, since less power is used to drive the pump. Electric models tend to be more efficient as mines have low electricity costs. On the other hand, they are less portable and have to be plugged in when they are used. Diesel pumps offer maximum flexibility.

Q: What needs to be done here in Mexico to push the growth of your rental business?

A: Rental has been growing worldwide in the mining industry, due to the amount of investment required to obtain the necessary equipment for a mining operation. There are certain portable pieces of equipment that are needed during a specific phase of a project, making rental a far more efficient allocation of capital. However, at the moment, the Mexican market is less developed for rental. This is due to remaining challenges in terms of asset ownership and the legal framework surrounding how rental transactions work.