Turnkey Plastic Piping ServicesWed, 10/19/2016 - 22:04
As a global company working in the safe transport of liquids and gases, GF sees a plethora of opportunities in the Mexican mining sector, according to the company’s Managing Director Christof Blumer. “GF Plastic Piping Systems have been relied on for decades to convey media, whether it is water, slurries, or hazardous chemicals used in mineral processing,” he argues. “Wherever plastic piping systems are a suitable material of construction replacing traditional metal piping, we see opportunities, making Mexican mining an excellent fit for our company.” GF is adept at identifying the challenges end users face and helping them to design non-corrosive fluid handling solutions to help increase operator productivity, and to save long term costs.
Blumer identifies the main opportunities existing in water distribution, specifically in pressure and drainage, chemical dosing and distribution, compressed air, safety showers and eyewash stations, power stations, and water treatment. Corrosion, he says, is no longer a problem when choosing the appropriate GF piping and fluid control system. “We have developed different plastic materials depending on the chemicals to be conveyed, the pressure, and the temperature,” he comments. “For mining applications, we have eight different plastic piping solutions that cover the different needs and characteristics of each mine.” GF’s National Sales Manager Oscar Puente discusses a solution the company is currently offering in Zacatecas, called Double-See. “This is a double containment system, a pipe within a pipe, designed for cyanide transportation,” he explains. “If, during the conveyance of the chemical there is a leak the second pipe will contain it, helping the company firstly by avoiding extra costs and providing safety to the employees, and secondly by complying with environmental protection laws.”
During the sales process, GF places a great deal of importance on a significant amount of time spent with the engineering companies. “If specifying engineers are knowledgeable about our solutions, they will suggest them when a mine is being built,” Blumer clarifies. For Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine, the largest open pit mine in the country that contains gold, silver, lead, and zinc, GF supplied HDPE piping solutions and manifolds. “We always look to add value during the specification process, including custom fabrication capabilities,” he states. “At GF Piping Systems our focus is on specifying and delivering a complete solution.” With more than 30 R&D centers around the globe, the company is aiming to produce standard products that can be used in many different applications across different industries. When talking to engineering companies, it is important to firstly try to understand what the customers are trying to accomplish, according to Blumer, and the company can then help them make the most appropriate choices for the piping material. “A solid example is a mine in Chile, where it was necessary to measure the amount of water that ran through the pipes,” Blumer explains. “One option would have been to simply sell the instrument but we went beyond and assembled the sensor, the instrument, and the saddle around the pipe in order to simplify and accelerate the installation process.”
For Blumer, the most significant challenge in assembling and providing these solutions is usually in logistics and pre-assembly of piping systems for remote locations. As a company that works with the end users and organizes transportation from the manufacturing facility to the assembly location, and finally to the point of installation, there are various factors that must be considered. “Our production plants, our sales and support centers, and our GF distributors all play an important role in the supply chain to satisfy customer needs,” he comments. “There are numerous reputable competitors in our industry, and each one of them is specialized in a part of the piping system.”
“Quality plays an important part in the construction segment and in the mining industry, so our customers are acutely aware of the risks involved in buying or obtaining the cheapest product,” Puente maintains. “Selling into this market is extremely demanding and the process is complicated due to its length.” Ultimately, Blumer believes the differentiating factor provided by GF lies in the long term cost and benefit to the end user or operator. “We distance ourselves from a price driven business model since our focus is quality and added value,” he explains. “Our direct work in many different market segments gives us the opportunity to sell quality, reliability, safety, and environmental confidence.”