AZ-Armaturen South Africa (AZ), a subsidiary of the German operation, AZ-Armaturen Group, is a manufacturer of high-quality, sleeved, self-lubricating slurry plug valves which are intended primarily for use in the aggressive and abrasive environments of the mining industry.

In 2007, AZ supplied plug valves to a mineral sands operation in South Africa, where they were used to control sand slurry being pumped from the pit to the plant. The AZ valves delivered excellent performance, and exceeded the client expectations.

Now, the initial mine has reached the end of its life, and a new deposit is being brought into production. AZ has supplied the mining company with new valves ranging in size from 50 mm to 500 mm nominal bore for the sand slurry application. The plug valves comply with an ANSI 300 - 600 pressure rating to a maximum of 100 bar.

As the valves will be used in corrosive coastal conditions, the exterior of the plug was covered in a special heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant coating.

All AZ plug valves are fitted with a PTFE sleeve. This allows AZ's valves to operate in the harsh sand slurry environment without failures. An important factor in the reliability of AZ plug valves is the absence of internal cavities, which eliminates damage to moving parts.

The absence of cavities in the design of the plug valve also ensures a smooth slurry flow. As the PTFE sleeve is self-lubricating, the plug will not seize, even after not being used for extended periods. In these instances, the valve can be operated without risk of damage.

AZ's plug valves' design complies with internationally accepted standards, and the factory is ISO 9001 compliant. The castings for the new valves were manufactured by the South African foundry, Steloy Castings. This company has been producing castings for AZ for many years, and has the ability to meet AZ's quality standards.

For users of sleeved plug valves in South Africa, AZ offers the advantage of local manufacture and support. This is backed up by a substantial inventory of spare parts.

"In line with South Africa's designated valve policy, at AZ-Armaturen, we are proud that these plug valves are almost 100% locally manufactured," explains AZ-Armaturen general manager Erich Ermel.

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