MechChem Africa

Gemü Valves Africa offers a flexible range of rugged customised solutions that are fine-tuned to best suit customer applications and to maximise reliability and valve life. MechChem Africa talks to Francois van der Merwe about the company’s soft-seated butterfly valves and a successful application at an AfriSam blending and packing plant.

AfriSam offloading system Gemu butgerfly valveAccording to Van der Merwe, Gemü has a long history of making valves that last longer, particularly when used in the harshest applications. “Our valves are different in that each one is specially designed and then adapted so that it will perform reliably for much longer,” he begins.

“Before we supply valve, we go into the details. Starting with failure analysis, we identify problems and resolve them to ensure that our valves last longer, particularly when conveying wet slurries or for the pneumatic conveying of dry powders, which are often used for transporting highly abrasive media,” he says, adding that “every valve we produce needs to help clients towards lower operating costs, better uptime and more profitability.”

Gemü is a family owned business from Germany with some 52 years of experience in the design and manufacture of valves and valve solutions. “We are the world market leader for the pharmaceutical, food and biotech industries and we also offer a highly competitive industrial product range,” he says.

As well as valves, Gemü also produces control, measurement and instrumentation equipment to allow the valves to be managed to best suit the demands of the applications. “We also offer a full range of actuators, including manual, pneumatic or electric options,” he adds.

“Our valve solutions are supported by over 400 000 combinations of different products. Each valve can be supplied in all the common sizes with different connection options, different disc sizes and pressure classes. Because of our product variety, we have the flexibility to define a best-fit solution for any application,” he notes.

From a production and distribution perspective, Gemü has six manufacturing facilities worldwide and 28 sales subsidiaries. “Globally, we are active in more than 50 different markets worldwide and we have the capacity to network inside the group: from Germany for technical, design and admin support and from any of our production sites for manufacturing and logistics”.

Van der Merwe goes on to highlight Gemü Valves’ local presence. “We are a service oriented company. Our strong local presence enables us to offer customised solutions for our client’s applications, which, to prove the benefits, we will often develop, install and test prior to finalising the contract.

“In addition, the local office enables us to better control delivery times, technical and contractual aspects and to develop better understanding of our customer’s needs,” he says.

Industrial solutions and the AfriSam solution

Strong products on the industrial side in South Africa include the Gemü diaphragm and butterfly valve ranges, which are routinely used for controlling wet slurries or dry powders, respectively.

“Every conveying application is different. We can support the conveying of coal, cement, clay, flour and hundreds of other materials and powders. Some are sticky, some are abrasive and some might even be explosive. At the end of the day, the valve used needs to be well adapted to the application.

“In the industrial space, we focus more on abrasive powders rather than the sticky powders. When our valves last two months instead of the usual two weeks, it helps operators to save costs. This also offers huge advantages with respect to the safety of the operation and the protection environment, which are currently increasingly important focus points for industry,” Van der Merwe tells MechChem Africa.

Ultimately, however, the use of high quality, well-designed valves that are finely tuned to suit the systems in which they operate results in massive cost savings for the operation.

“Industrial plants are wasting money hand over fist because they are using the wrong technology and they are not willing to adopt more modern solutions,” he argues. “Cheaply made, low quality valves that use the wrong materials are often being used. These wear out and break down very rapidly, because the construction simply cannot cope with the abrasive wear inherent in the application. In some cases, butterfly valves are being changed every three months or sooner,” he notes.

Describing a recent success at AfriSam, Van der Merwe says that Gemü Valves Africa was trialling its four-inch soft-seated butterfly valve at one of AfriSam’s cement blending and packaging plants.

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Title: Editor
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