December 17, 2017

Fibreglass heat accumulator tank technology

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Efficient water heating 50% cheaper

Progressively, low-pressure fibreglass heat accumulator tank technology is penetrating the steel boiler-dominated market. Speaking to African Mining Brief, Franco Diederiks of EMS Heat Pumps foresees it revolutionising water heating in Sub Saharan African mines.

The maintenance of steel boilers for ablution facilities has been a huge liability to operations of mines, from safety, environmental and financial standpoints. Now, Franco Diederiks, the managing director of EMS Heat Pumps, views the new low-pressure fibreglass heat accumulator tank technology as the practical solution to this problem.

“The product suits the contemporary needs of mining in which costs won’t just stop rising and regulators are more stringent about compliance with legislation,” Diederiks says.

Operational advantages

The low pressure heat accumulator tank fibreglass technology has been scientifically verified to provide advantages which include low installation and maintenance costs, durability, safety and environmentally friendliness.

  • Lower maintenance costs

While steel boilers have high maintenance costs, high corrosion resistance means that fibreglass alternatives have significantly lower maintenance costs.

More to the point, high heat retention ability makes a fibreglass boiler more energy efficient, as it requires considerably less kilojoules to maintain the water temperature to the required level.

  • Durability

Though the inside of most steel boilers is epoxy-lined, with time, it is prone to rusting which leads to leaking. Usually discovered way too late, this becomes difficult to contain.

In contrast, at approximately half the price of steel boilders, corrosion resistant, fibreglass boilers can last up to 30 years, if managed properly.

  • Safe and healthy

Typically, a fibreglass boiler runs at low pressure. Inside, there is a stainless coil which, cumulatively, can heat water up to 60 degrees Celsius. The tank can handle a maximum of 90 degrees Celsius.

So, as the tank is low pressure and the coil is high pressure, there is no bursting risk. What is more, the tank’s fibreglass and PVC pipes are both UV resistant and stable.

The safety factor is that, since water goes in and out regularly, there is no stagnant water which can easily be contaminated by hard water. Hard water normally blocks pipes and corrodes the boiler inside, something which is often occurs in steel boilers.

Above and beyond, routinely, every six months, a fibreglass boiler’s coils can be flushed with vinegar to prevent build up of corrosive white substance.

  • Easy transportation and installation

Transportation costs are significantly lower from different perspectives. Most importantly, there is no need for heavy lifting equipment or rigging as light fibreglass sheets can be cut into different parts, each piece rolled like a carpet and taken to a site.

Above all, the volume of heated water needed determines the number of stainless coils to be used. In the main, this is driven by customer requirements. It is also noteworthy that the heat pump is sized to heat water in the shortest time possible. Treatments like different forms of cladding can also be done appropriate to a customer’s specifications.

German-designed, locally modified

The accredited supplier in the whole of Sub Saharan Africa, EMS has adapted low-pressure fibreglass heat accumulator tank technology to suit rugged Sub Saharan Africa conditions. Pre-reinforced raw materials are imported from credible suppliers overseas.

Industry approval

Didericks discloses that some bluechip mining companies in South Africa are already using the fibreglass boilers, and, thus far, after purchase feedback has been positive. Furthermore, the company is already taking its technology to Sub Saharan Africa, with Zambia the first destination.


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