Pioneer Pump opens South African assembly plant

By Murray Pollok08 February 2011

Pioneer Pump's new facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim is to assemble 60 pump sets in it

Pioneer Pump's new facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim is to assemble 60 pump sets in its first year of operation.

Pioneer Pump opened a pump assembly facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of 2010. The plant will assemble portable pumps for the rental and mining markets in southern Africa.

The first pump from the new 500 m2 facility was delivered to rental company HEMS Engineering, based in Secunda, Mpumalunga. HEMS rents pumps to clients including SASOL, the South African national oil company.

The Johannesburg operation will assemble pumps using US-made pump ends with locally produced bases and trailer sets. Engines are being sourced from a South African John Deere dealer. The expectation is that around 60 pumps sets will be produced in the first year of operation.

The assembly model is similar to that used by Pioneer Pumps Ltd in the UK, using pump ends manufactured by its sister company in the US, Pioneer Pump Inc. Simon Ruffles, managing director of Pioneer Pump in the UK, has led the project to open the African facility and is managing the operation.

Mr Ruffles told IRN that Pioneer had been supplying pump rental companies in Southern Africa since 2003, using pumps packaged and exported from the UK; "With a growing fleet of pumps owned by rental companies such as Bovu Pumps and HEMS Engineering, it was a natural move for Pioneer to open a facility to stock finished pumpsets, pump ends and spares for the market, much as they do in the US and UK operations".

The Johannesburg factory can build portable pumpsets in both trailer and skid designs up to 500 kw in size, with flows of over 3500 m3/hr and pumping heads of more than 200 m.

Mr Ruffles said these characteristics made them "ideal for the Southern African pump rental market where renting of pumps into the mining market is a key sector, particularly in the wet season from October to March."

He said that over the medium term Pioneer would "target specific rental markets such as the construction equipment, mining and industrial pump rental companies that operate outside of the EU and NAFTA regions."

Pioneer said its strategy was to adapt products for local markets, with locally designed packages using local suppliers and resources. "The South African factory is the second of our international operations and will be joined by others in the Middle East, Asia and South America over the coming years", said Mr Ruffles.

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