Smart solutions for smart customers

Rapid sales growth of 30 per cent per annum has resulted in Busch taking the market lead in most sectors where vacuum technology is needed. ‘The main factors for sustained growth is that we have shifted business interests. From previously only selling a limited range of vacuum pumps and doing basic service work, we are now the first line supplier for most sectors, including the food and beverage industry.

Busch Vacuum Pumps
The R 5 RD 0360 A, an energy efficient rotary vane pump will be unveiled at Propak Cape in October

‘The drive to market a full and comprehensive range of vacuum pumps and blowers, and by focusing on systems business has been a catalyst for growth, despite the economy experiencing tough times,’ Pieterse explains.

A focus this year is the launch of the R 5 RD 0360 A (R 5) rotary vane vacuum pump at the Propak Cape exhibition, which will be held from 24 to 26 October. This unit requires 20 per cent less motor power than previous models. The new vacuum pump is based on rotary vane technology and is further optimised to make energy savings possible.

Reducing thermal load

Vacuum pumps such as the R 5 range generate waste heat that can negatively affect production and processing rooms or air-conditioning systems. The waste heat can be drastically reduced and utilised. An oil/water heat exchanger on an R 5 rotary vane vacuum pump can significantly reduce waste heat and reduce energy costs. The heat exchanger can be used to generate warm water used during operation. R5 rotary vane vacuum pumps can be retrofitted with heat exchangers.

If four packaging machines operate in one packaging room and each is fitted with an R 5 rotary vane vacuum pump with 5.5 kW of motor power, the energy required for cooling is approximately 6.0 kW. If the vacuum pumps are operated with a heat exchanger, the energy requirement for cooling is reduced to approximately 1.5kW. During an operating time of 4 500 hours/year and an assumed electricity price of 0.18 euros/kWh, this results in annual energy cost savings of approximately R85 000.

Controlling packaging processes

The actual evacuation time in which the vacuum is required only accounts for one third of the cycle time. The rest is taken up by transportation, sealing, ventilation and sometimes treatment with gas. Using intelligent technologies in the vacuum supply chain, i.e. optimised control systems to frequency control offers several options for optimisation.

Companies that package foodstuffs on several thermoforming packaging machines, tray sealers or chamber machines should consider using a centralised vacuum supply. Energy cost savings of 50 per cent and more can generally be expected. This is possible as fewer vacuum pumps are required for this than for a decentralised vacuum supply. Performance control can be precisely adjusted to fit the requirements of overall operations. Centralised vacuum systems offer maximum reliability and safety as all systemically relevant components have a redundant design. If a vacuum pump fails or needs maintenance, full vacuum power remains intact. Busch central vacuum systems can be equipped with various vacuum pumps. In addition to oil-lubricated R5 rotary vane vacuum pumps, dry Mink claw vacuum pumps or Cobra screw vacuum pumps can also be used as components. The investment costs can be reduced during purchasing by including already existing vacuum pumps in the system installation.

What the future holds

‘The Busch South Africa staff compliment has doubled in the past three years and now includes five mechanical and chemical engineers with in-depth vacuum knowledge. We are well resourced for future growth and the only expected staff growth will be in area sales executives in outlying regions of South Africa. The South African economy is in recession. This means less capital expenditure and the need for plant and equipment to last much longer and still be reliable and efficient.

‘It is more important than ever for customers to partner with product and service providers that can add real value to them. Busch has positioned its products at fair and competitive pricing. We hold extensive stock of pumps and spares in South Africa. A differentiator is that we offer field service as well as service centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. An extensive fleet of loan units is also available to our customers when needed.

‘Busch has also shown strong growth outside the borders of South Africa. We’ve established agents in Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, Mauritius and Botswana. We are now finalising agency deals with Nigeria, Ghana and Angola. In 2018 we will appoint country managers into east and west Africa,’ Pieterse concludes.

Don’t be caught out

Busch only uses 100 per cent genuine OEM parts to service and overhaul its equipment. Technicians are trained in Europe to the highest standards of workmanship. In South Africa, there is a disturbing trend in the vacuum market where unqualified service technicians in fly-by-night companies are cutting costs by installing non-genuine knock off parts such as exhaust filters and vanes into high spec vacuum pumps. The result is often catastrophic failures leading to costly production downtimes for the customer. At best, these non-genuine parts result in inefficient vacuum pumps with regular downtime for customers. – Sean Pieterse