High-performance fan-design and manufacturing company MechCaL and leading environmental solutions provider I-CAT have announced that they will join forces to develop an optimised evaporation canon, the I-VAP 500. The first completed units are destined for Douglas colliery.

MechCaL’s low-pressure, high-flow fans will be used to evaporate mine water.

The I-VAP 500 units in progress at MechCaL’s manufacturing facility in Pretoria
The I-VAP 500 units in progress at MechCaL’s manufacturing facility in Pretoria

The companies will work closely to leverage MechCaL’s technical leadership in the use of composite materials with the I-VAP 500’s ability to perform in harsh environments while providing remarkable evaporation capability.

The aim of this cooperation is to further the efforts of both companies in bringing high performance energy efficient evaporation products to the mining industry.

MechCaL MD Professor Jan du Plessis predicts that the joint venture will enable both companies to benefit from a simpler yet highly effective process for manufacturing products that are used in the evaporation of excess mine water.

“MechCaL is focused on providing the best mining ventilation and cooling solutions to help mines achieve high efficiency with lower energy usage. We expect that our collaboration with I-CAT will streamline the process for our clients by providing them with a dual solution that is custom designed as opposed to having to secure these products separately,” says Du Plessis.

He added that MechCal product’s quality design and manufacturing also increase the product life as well as increasing the mean time before failure while reducing maintenance requirements.

The two companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding, with I-CAT being designated as the sole distributor. Six evaporator/fan units were produced at MechCaL’s manufacturing facility in Pretoria during October and final assembly of the units with the intelligent weather control system was undertaken by I-CAT at their facilities.

I-VAP specifications

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The I-VAP 500 will ultimately manage excess mine water through evaporation but will also be adaptable for use in dust suppression

The I-CAT I-VAP 500 was originally developed following the identification of a need for an effective and environmentally safe evaporation system that can be applied in reducing excess waste water at mines. After thorough research and development done in conjunction with the environmental department at I-CAT, a prototype of the I-VAP 500 was designed and built for trial use.

The I-VAP 500 is capable of handling 500 m3 of water per twelve-hour day. The evaporation rate is measured as between 60% – 65% depending on ambient weather conditions. In order to ensure that the unit is light, durable and mobile as well as being resistant to rust it must be constructed from composite materials – the use of which is one of MechCaL’s areas of expertise.

The high energy efficiency unit will have an inlet cone and nozzle configuration that is made from composite materials. The nozzle itself is designed using computational fluid dynamics coding to assist in an optimum flow pattern and droplet throw distance.

The MechCaL manufactured I-VAP 500 will also incorporate MechCaL’s patented nose and tail cones and state-of-the-art Stator design that improves air flow by reducing turbulence and assisting in laminar flow being achieved.

The units are designed to be ‘fit-for-purpose’ with an emphasis on energy, evaporative efficiency and noise reduction. Working within harsh environments, the I-VAP 500 will ultimately manage excess water through evaporation but will also be adaptable for use in dust suppression as well as potential fire fighting applications by changing the water nozzle and pump configuration.

“I-CAT is a prime example of an innovative company that seeks continuous improvement in environmental applications and thus the innovative nature of our two companies is a hand in glove fit, says Du Plessis.

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