After experiencing exponential growth since its launch in 2009, the concept store of Weir Minerals Africa’s pump rental business in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, relocated to a brand new 1,200 m2 purpose-built facility adjacent to the company’s Middelburg sales and service centre in Vaalbank. This central office manages pump rentals for customers throughout Africa and maintains a rental presence at Weir Minerals Africa branches in Rustenburg, Phalaborwa, Steelpoort, Mokapane, Wadeville and Zambia. There are currently plans on the table to expand rental fleets in these and other key industrial centres, as well as into Mozambique and Ghana.The new Middelburg premises include a wash bay, shot blasting area, spray booth and compressor section with provision for flammable liquids and gas cylinder storage areas. “Irrespective of the logistics of operating in Africa, Weir Minerals Africa has continued to roll out our strategy of being where our customers need us,” Ian Farquhar, Product Manager Dewatering at Weir Minerals Africa, says. “The rental concept has worked incredibly well and the growth of our rental business has been nothing short of phenomenal. We started out in 2009 with 12 pumps, about ZAR400,000 stock, one bakkie, one delivery vehicle and one diesel set. Within three months we had achieved the ZAR1 million milestone in our annual turnover and by 2010 we started turning over ZAR1 million every month – eventually exceeding ZAR3 million per month in turnover by the end of the first quarter of 2012. This beyond-expectation success can be attributed to the high level of customer service we deliver across the continent as well as to having the appropriate pump stock for customer applications, the ability to come up with solutions to specific customer problems, having the appropriate level of skills and our team’s willingness to go the extra mile in every respect when customers find themselves in crisis situations.”Weir Minerals Africa was the first company in the Weir Minerals Group to introduce a dedicated rental business and this model is already being replicated in other Weir Minerals geographies around the world. Today the rental operation runs a fleet of vehicles including a four ton truck, a 4X4 towing vehicle and six rental service vehicles. The rental fleet currently comprises some 300 units, including submersibles (ANZE, SHW, SJ and high head submersibles); “Water Spider” pontoons and other small pontoons; diesel driven self-primer low head and high head pumps (WSP, DWU, Multiflo CF’s, MF and ME, skid, trailer and pontoon mounted) as well as lighting plants, trolleys for the submersibles, Linatex, HDPE and lay flat hoses; and diaphragm pumps, as well as the associated labour. Rental pump stockholdings differ from region to region and are generally commensurate with customer requirements in each area. Farquhar stresses that pump rental is not a static type of business and stockholding is reviewed on an ongoing basis and developed in accordance with each market’s specific demands. For instance, the Middleburg rental fleet was recently boosted with the inclusion of diesel driven high lift units to meet a specific application.