Tag Archives: Kwatani


As the most transformed business in its class of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Spartan-based vibrating equipment specialist Kwatani achieved Level 1 B-BBEE status in January 2019 by becoming 51% black women-owned.

According to Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin, the new black and female shareholding offers a sustainable partnership with entrepreneurial passion and a vision to create value; the total female ownership of the business has now reached over 63%.

“This level of transformation is of huge benefit to mines in terms of their compliance with the Mining Charter,” says Schoepflin. Kwatani now provides its customers the maximum possible procurement points with 135% of claimable spend. She explains that this is an enormous advantage for the industry as each Rand spent will also be fully recognised under the category of black owned company and black women owned company spend.

“The Charter also requires that 70% of mining goods procured by mines must be locally manufactured, and we rate strongly on this score.”

She highlights that Kwatani has been supplying the African mining industry with vibrating equipment for more than 40 years, with tailor-made products engineered and fabricated in-house to suit customers’ specific application and processes.

“We have invested significantly over the decades in our facilities and our staff, expanding our manufacturing capacity, technology and expertise to become world class,” says Schoepflin. “What differentiates us in the local vibrating equipment sector is that we are the only OEM that is completely independent of any overseas company. Our technology and products are South African, and we import very few components or material.”

Most of Kwatani’s raw materials are sourced from within 10 km of its headquarters in Kempton Park, and all key production processes are in-house. The company’s supply chain contributes importantly to its B-BBEE score and is actively fostered by working collaboratively with suppliers on their respective transformation efforts and by procuring from and supporting the growth of small businesses.

“This demonstrates our commitment to the local economy and to advancing business opportunities within South Africa,” she says. “It also allows us to control quality more closely, and to improve our lead times on the equipment we build and refurbish, while being somewhat shielded from fluctuations in the value of the Rand.”

She emphasises that keeping abreast of latest technologies has required the company to constantly upgrade skill levels through extensive training that optimises the value of its productive assets. As an independent OEM, Kwatani invests heavily in its own research and development into engineering technology and fosters the skills to apply this research in its value-adding products and services. It has also earned the ISO 9001-2015 quality accreditation, one of only 5% of South Africa’s manufacturing companies to achieve this to date.

“Our commitment to transformation extends to internship programmes in collaboration with universities to advance young black engineers, as well as a training and placement programme for disabled persons,” she says. “Our social contribution focuses on education, supporting black teachers in maths and science.”


The recent orders won by vibrating screen and feeder specialist Kwatani have cemented its reputation as the leading South African original equipment supplier (OEM) with a truly cross-commodity footprint.

Kwatani’s custom engineered products are now in some of the world’s largest mines, and many customers have standardised on their screens to ensure lowest cost of ownership and high performance, according to general manager sales and service Jan Schoepflin.

“While our base and core market are in Africa, the global demand for Kwatani products has grown rapidly. A leading diamond mining company in Russia is very pleased with Kwatani screens at their newest operation and specified Kwatani for future projects,” Schoepflin says.
In another order from a large diamond operation, this time in South Africa, the customer also replaced the last of their competitor screens with a Kwatani unit Schoepflin say this is because they have enjoyed years without unplanned stoppages by using Kwatani screens. “It has shown that our equipment and service are just as effective in unusually harsh climatic conditions.”

At a local brownfield diamond expansion project, the company’s multi-slope banana screens were matched to the available plant footprint, raising throughput from 250 to 500 tonnes per hour and later breaking the mine’s tonnage record.

While screening in heavy minerals is Kwatani’s stronghold, the company has moved extensively into coal, supplying the country’s leading coal producer with no fewer than 45 items of large screening equipment, including out-sized 4,3 metre wide units. Other recent coal-related orders included run-of-mine screens for a medium-sized coal mine in Mpumalanga. Again, competitor equipment was replaced by custom designed screens with optimised deck angles which significantly increased tonnage. The positive results achieved with the Kwatani equipment also led to additional orders for the mine’s expansion.

For world largest zinc mine, Kwatani was contracted to supply all the screens for the world’s largest zinc mine. At Africa’s largest iron ore mine, the company has recently completed two projects, renewing existing equipment with up-to-date solutions and replacing 24 items of competitor equipment.

The platinum sector is also keeping Kwatani busy, not just in South Africa but over the border in Zimbabwe too. A recent turnkey solution focused on the platinum by-product chromite, where the company supplied a complete solution which included feeder, dryer and screen to treat chromite of 45 micron size at 15 tonnes per hour.

“Our screens have been a popular choice for modular gold plants going to West Africa as well as Central and South America,” he says. “We also supplied to two of Africa’s largest copper producers in Zambia, to a tanzanite producer in Tanzania, and repeat orders to a manganese mine in Ghana.”


While multi-slope screens – also known as ‘banana’ screens – are commonly used in various screening applications, they need to be carefully designed with the specific purpose in mind, according to Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin.

“Multi-slope screens have been in use since the 1970s and have a significant reference base, becoming very fashionable mainly because of the benefit they offered in terms of higher velocity leading to higher capacity ,” says Schoepflin.

At the top of these screens is usually a first slope with a deck angle of at least 35 degrees – allowing material velocities of over 3 metres per second – curving down to end at about 10 degrees.
This original layout, however, is not always ideal for many operations today.

“When we design a banana screen at Kwatani, we are careful to understand exactly what the application is, so that we can align the number of slopes as well as change the angles of each slope to achieve better efficiencies,” she says. “In this way, we have been very successful placing these designs in diamond and coal applications, mainly in dense media circuits as well as for diamond scrubber plants for degritting.”

Failure to adapt the design appropriately to the application can lead to a number of challenges, says Kwatani COO Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers.

“Material velocity is exponentially linked to the wear rate of the panels, and this high panel wear will lead to frequent and costly maintenance,” says Mayhew-Ridgers.

Another design strategy to reduce panel wear is to create a more continuous curvature profile along the screen, with a higher number of slopes making for a gradual change of direction for material.
This is based on the simple principle that the greater the change of direction, the more the panel will wear.

“Insufficient drainage of water can also be an issue at these high deck angles, particularly with apertures of less than 1.0 mm which most are,” he says. “Where retention time on the screen is low, there could be too much carry-over of water to the next phase of processing, with wet product going onto conveyors and into silos, creating various problems related to moisture content.”

Schoepflin highlights that, in dense media processes, it is also important to recover as much of the medium – such as magnetite – as possible, which the steep slope may not allow.
To maximise recovery of the dense medium, the slope and material velocity may need to be reduced.

“The feed arrangements are also critical, as the material is being fed onto a steep angle,” she says. “The material needs to be fed at a low velocity onto the screen, and the application of water needs to be carefully controlled.”

A cost aspect that needs to be considered is that the physical height of a banana screen layout can also add to the screen infrastructure, as this structure also needs to be heightened.
In addition, this height can make the screen more difficult to access for maintenance purposes. All these factors need to be considered by a user when deciding upon whether a multi-slope screen is optimal and – if it is – exactly how the design needs to be fine-tuned.


Leading vibrating screen and feeder OEM Kwatani will be showcasing customised products big and small at this year’s Electra Mining Africa exhibition, with live demonstrations showing the value of their laboratory test screen.

With a replica of the nose of its widest screen at its exhibition stand, visitors will sense the scale of these large ‘beasts’ currently at work in the mining industry.
They deliver solid performance not unlike rugby star Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, whose image will grace the stand. These large screens measure 4,3 metres wide and 11 metres long and are operating in the most arduous screening conditions.

“The design and construction of these screens is a clear indication of Kwatani’s technical capability, with quality ensured by our ISO 9001:2015 certification,” says Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin. “Not only must they be robust and fit-for-purpose, but they must also achieve continuous tonnage at the lowest cost of ownership.”

In addition to desktop simulation in the design of customised screening equipment, Schoepflin also emphasises the importance of physical testing to ensure that the equipment delivers the results expected.
A versatile test screen will therefore be on show – a metallurgist’s dream – to give visitors an appreciation of how material can be tested as part of designing the optimal solution for the most challenging screening applications.

The test screen allows all the key screening parameters – such as the speed, deck angle, drive angle, amplitude and screening media – to be changed as part of the research process.

On the other end of the size scale on the stand will be 30-inch round separator, demonstrating the gentle, effective spiral screening motion that reduces breakages in products of high value.
At Electra Mining Africa, however, visitors will be able to sample the separated products: sweets.

This unit is part of Kwatani’s range of smaller screens and separators for industrial and food-related applications, now processing almost 50 different materials and products from sugar and rice to gold slurry and bunker sand.

Schoepflin highlights the importance of suppliers aligning with the Mining Charter: “We are proud to be the first – and still the only – manufacturer of vibrating equipment to be black-owned, allowing us to make a valuable contribution to our mining customers’ transformation efforts.”


Known mainly for its large screens and feeders for mining, Kwatani has in recent years expanded substantially into various industrial and food sectors – currently providing screening solutions for almost 50 different materials and products.

According to Warren Mann, Kwatani’s business development manager – industrial division, the company is involved in screening a wide range of materials and foodstuffs from wax beads, carbon and bunker sand to tea, coffee, pet food and rice.

“Our strength is the ability to test the customer’s product or material in our own materials testing laboratory,” says Mann. “This is part of our solution-focused approach to deliver a customised machine that will add optimal value to the customer’s operation.”

These in-house facilities are vital in selecting the correct separator for each application.
By analysing and testing under simulated production conditions it is possible to determine the appropriate machine size and configuration as well as the optimum screen openings.

He highlights that Kwatani has for decades invested heavily in its local design and manufacturing capacity.
In 2012, it also acquired the assets of Lockers Engineers, and continues to supply Lockers customers with the full product range including vibrating screens and feeders, electromagnetic super feeder drives, controllers, vibrating trough conveyors and fluidised bed dryers.

The company’s rectangular R-type separators have a typical application in the sugar industry and are capable of screening 50 to 200 tonnes per hour of sugar to remove lumps and foreign material before grading and packaging.

“Spices and tea processing are other applications where we are actively involved, providing sizing and scalping screens that can handle up to 10 tonnes per hour,” he says.

Food safety comprises a key element in the design and manufacture of the screens that are used in food-related applications, and Kwatani has standardised on using stainless steel.
In addition, its workshop facilities have been optimised accordingly to achieve cost savings in the final assembly.

“We use high-grade stainless steel for any food contact surface, as mild steel tends to rust when exposed to excessive moisture and is not suitable in many food processing applications,” he says. “There are also specific plastics we use that are non-toxic and food-safe, adhering to hygiene and quality standards.
We offer a bonded screen mesh with food-safe epoxy, rather than a bolt down screen mesh, in order to eliminate the risk of bolts coming loose and entering the product stream.”

Kwatani’s S-type round separators are highly versatile and used in many different industries and have a special application in high temperature environments and liquid separation such as removing foreign particles from hot cooking oil.

Industrial products handled by Kwatani screens include the sizing of wax beads that are used in exfoliating creams. Clays such as bentonite and kaolin are also scalped.

“We have screens that can clean the sand in bunkers on golf courses, removing contaminants like grass and soil that have been tramped in by golfers,” says Mann. “In this instance we provide a mobile solution, so the screen can be easily moved to site, and powered by a small generator.”

The range of fine-screen meshes – with apertures of just 38 microns in size – can even separate blood from water and are used in environments like abattoirs.

Kwatani has a low-profile separator option with lower heights than the standard design. This allows it to fit into spaces too small for the standard design where installation space is limited.

Kwatani separators can also be used as safety screens as a last line of defence to remove off-spec product before it is packed.
This reduces the volume of returns and raises satisfaction levels among end-users.

“Manufacturing our own products promotes job creation and skills development, and also gives us the ability to offer high levels of product support, we know the products inside out,” says Mann.