January 24, 2018

Amandla Pumps – designing the future -3D Technology allows 100% accuracy to drawing

Amandla Pumps, established in 2002, has a wide range of products manufactured in South Africa. They are specifically designed to meet difficult pumping needs and offer relevant solutions to the mining, sewage and power generation industries.

Their research and development team draws inspiration from market requirements and develops products to supersede these needs, with technologically advanced pumping technologies not seen in current market pump offerings.

SVA55 Final Design

Image courtesy of Amandla Pumps.

The challenge

Amandla Pumps recently gave their SVA55 pump a facelift to create the SVA55R model. These pumps are used in various applications to transport slurry type product with solids. Typical applications range from underground mine applications including fiery mines (in flameproof construction), raw sewage applications, and the transportation of paper pulp, to general industrial slurry pumping. Re-engineering of the pump included:

  • adding an expeller and vent holes around the mechanical seal to prolong the life of the seal;
  • increasing the outside surface area to provide better cooling;
  • minimising the wall section to dissipate heat faster to the product being pumped; and
  • changing part materials of the wet-end to give longer life of wearing components.

To do this they used Autodesk’s Product Design Suite Ultimate 2014.

The pump’s components were improved to reduce its weight and the overall size of the unit as much as possible. The cast parts were designed with minimal machining to reduce production times.

The lifting eye bolt was positioned on the unit after calculating the centre of gravity of the computer model. This ensured that when the unit is lifted it remains horizontal.

“To give an indication of how accurate this software simulation is, the calculated weight of the model was 155kg, and in the end the actual weight of unit was 154kg. It is fantastic to know that the data we generate with this software is so reliable,” says Gary Parker, the CEO of Amandla Pumps.

With the reduction of casting weight and machining times the production costs were reduced, which meant that Amandla Pumps was able to offer their clients the improved model at the same price as the original model.

The components are produced using sand castings for cast parts, which are then machine manufactured into the final components. All the patterns to make the castings were designed in Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD Mechanical. These solid models were exported to Edgecam to generate CNC programs for machining. The patterns were cut on CNC machining centres, complete with step joints to ensure decent mould location. The pattern material was an epoxy resin with good wear and water resistance and machinability. The wiring in the junction box was laid out in Autodesk Inventor to ensure good working space around the components, which is helpful when it gets as far as the assembly process.

The solution

The use of this software afforded Amandla Pumps the opportunity to stay ahead of the competitors by reducing production costs rather than increasing market prices. At the same time other improvements were also incorporated into the design to create a superior product to its predecessor.

The time of development and accuracy of the final product has also significantly improved. The use of inventor has reduced the CAD time by at least 60%. The change from manually made patterns to CNC machined patterns from solid models has also reduced the pattern making time by approximately 70%. The accuracy of working from a solid model ensures that the patterns of the components are 100% to drawing. This also eliminated the need to rework “handmade” patterns that might have human errors and not be quite accurate with regards to the design.

The focus of the project was to work with world class methods and standards to achieve a high quality production processes to manufacture the product. The main difference with this project is that it was done with the use of technology as much as possible. This included the 3D solid modelling of the product, the design and manufacture of the patterns on CNC machining centers and the machining of castings on CNC machinery.

The result

The challenges were to enhance the unit as much as possible and at the same time design a product pleasing to the eye with better functionality. These challenges were achieved by reviewing and optimising the design, and repeating this process until it was sound. The hydraulic end was also challenging with some development trials to tweak the impeller design.

Amandla Pumps management has already identified another area for improvement and has purchased the first Autodesk Simulation CFD Package in the country for the design and development process.

 

 

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