Since introducing Jetfloat at the beginning of 2006, BET has successfully penetrated the local market for floating platforms and walkways required for applications that include mining and industrial process operations, as well as jetties and marinas for various marine, fishing and recreational purposes.

“Before we introduced Jetfloat users of floating walkways and platforms had to make do with constructions mounted on metal or plastic fuel drums, or similar improvisatory solutions,” says BET spares and services manager Paul Davies.

“Not being modular or purpose-designed,” he points out, “these are difficult to assemble and dismantle, their reliability is not assured, they do not last very long unless they are regularly maintained and repaired, and sometimes they can pose a hazard to the environment.”

Users, especially in mining and other industries, are reported to have welcomed the advent of Jetfloat. “It is one of the fastest growing technologies, and has been widely adopted, resulting in Bateman becoming a leading supplier into this diverse market within a year of its introduction,” Davies claims, “but it is still in its infancy and has the potential to grow a lot more.”

Jetfloat modular pontoons are assembled like a Mecano set, as they are bolted together to the required configuration and size, and can be quickly dismantled. “In one instance, at a diamond mine, the jetty system had to be temporarily removed to make way for blasting operations,” Davies explains. “With Jetfloat this was easily achieved, and when the blasting had been completed the system was reassembled without any trouble.”

Bateman pump

A close-up of the pump, supported by
the platform pumping process water
from the dam to the mine’s
processing plant

EACH PLATFORM IS TAILOR-MADE
Other advantages of the system – for which BET has the exclusive distribution rights in Africa from Jetfloat International of Austria – include virtually no repair or maintenance costs, long life running into decades, and resistance to degradation from weathering, material fatigue, acid, salt water or UV rays.

BET designs, fabricates and supplies all platforms, walkways and other accessories according to specific required applications.

Late last year BET was commissioned by a mining infrastructure project management and design consultancy to install a Jetfloat platform and walkway, fitted with aluminium footplates and hand railings, on a dam used to supply firewater to the processing plant of a major new platinum mine near Steelpoort, in Limpopo Province. The Jetfloat system provides access for mine staff to the strainer of the firewater system’s main feeder pipe.

“They provided an excellent service,” a spokesman for the consultancy says. “They installed the complete system within two days of the order being placed. We were also impressed by the fact that the pontoons left intact the exposed portion of plastic lining on the edge of the dam, which is quite sensitive and easily damaged by contact with conventional floating platforms.”

In a completely different application, the Zululand Multisport Club at Richards Bay in Kwazulu-Natal made use of Jetfloat to good effect when it became the first club in Africa to host a Triathlon World Cup contest.

“The two big advantages of using this system were that, firstly, it enabled all the contestants to get off to a flying start at the same time, and secondly, it made the event more exciting for the spectators, because the pontoon was positioned at right-angles to the shore, so they could view the start clearly,” explains club president Casper Kriel.

In another recreational application, a boat club on Hartebeespoort Dam in North West province – Pecanwood Country Club – installed an extensive Jetfloat system to replace its old jetty system, which had been constructed of a heavy steel structure supported on fuel drums.

“The Jetfloat jetty is far superior, very versatile, simple to work with and easy to reconfigure if you want to, and it also requires no maintenance whatsoever,” says club general manager Gareth Westerdale.