The development and use of pilot plants within industries has drastically increased and become more sought after. Implementations spreading from mining processes to chemical and agricultural testing laboratories as well as personal care and pharmaceutical laboratories, the need for this equipment is on the rise. Pilot plants and bench plants are small modular industrial systems, which are designed and implemented to generate information and understand particular behaviours during test or trial periods. This is usually done before building the large full-scale plant, which entails large capital outlays as well as major risks associated with the process. The use of the pilot or bench plants enables one to make a calculated and informed decision on whether or not to move forward with the full-scale operation. It equips the client with freedom to run tests accurately as well as change and modify procedures on the smaller scale.

AFX can offer you complete operating solutions for pilot and bench plants, focusing on the projects deemed “too small” for larger manufacturers and project houses. Utilising the expertise of our engineers as well as the fine-tuned skills of our staff, we build and assemble the complete unit. We have a compulsory test run which we carry out to complete the quality checks as well as to ensure that all components, electrical and mechanical operate as they should. AFX have had successful bench and pilot plant installations in the bacterial leaching studies, liquid fertiliser processing, new product launches with personal care industries to name but a few. AFX can provide you with the peace of mind with a complete solution. Guaranteeing the mechanical as well as process design is supplied to address the required aspects of your requirement. Having had successful process testing in the past, which led to full-scale plants being built and AFX being elected as the supplier to provide the agitator and pump solutions, we are confident that we will supply the best tailor-made product for you.

In applications where the induction of air / gas is required and the process goal is to achieve maximum mass transfer, AFX are able to provide the client with the necessary gas induction equipment, which works hand in hand with their agitator design. Applications of this nature are often most commonly found in chemical, pharmaceutical, environmental technology and biotechnology industries.

Having a track record of successful installations as well as successful problem solving ventures, where we assisted clients with their problematic plants, AFX design and fabricate the sparging systems with their equipment to ensure that the process requirements are achieved. Using these systems in conjunction with our agitators, with their gas dispersion impellers, we avoid process issues such as impeller flooding, cavitation and vortices.

AFX boast a range of specialised sparges, which have been developed as a result of the technology and processing changing and calling for measures to be taken where traditional ring sparges cannot be utilised.

AFX’s research and development department designed and developed an innovative non-clogging nozzle. The design was fuelled by a common cause to find a solution to eradicate wear and blockages typically experienced with the standard nozzles.

These non-clogging nozzles are inserted into the process selected sparge system and are usually selected for systems which are susceptible to blockages. These spring loaded nozzles act as a one-way valve. The line pressure forces the ceramic head open, allowing the free flow of the air or gas into the process. When the air or gas flow is switched off, or interrupted, the ceramic heads return back to the nozzle, closing the air or gas line, thus preventing the slurry or chemical compounds from entering.

Applications where the induction of air or gas is required and some dosing applications are ideal for the use of these non-clogging nozzles.

These nozzles are adjustable and are low maintenance, as they have only a few wearing parts. The nozzles are suitable to different types of gasses, liquids and other corrosive components.
The nozzles are available in varying sizes to suit the process requirements and stipulated or desired flow rate. The nozzles are suitable for both low and high pressure applications.
The nozzles are manufactured from high grade stainless steel as well as the internals; the high wearing ceramic tips comprise the head. They are designed to perform well under high wear applications and can be requested in exotic type materials as well.

BAFFLES are used in tanks or mixing vessels, most often cylindrical, where the product is not very viscous, but there is a large swirl or vortex being created by the mixing action. The installation of baffles promotes a much desired top to bottom mixing pattern. This flow pattern is conducive to good mixing. Baffles can be spec by the tank or mixing vessel supplier, or you may contact AFX to assist with the sizing, fabrication and manufacturing of the baffles, which can be made from a selection different steels and exotics as well.

Baffles are usually not installed into very viscous processes or applications where the mixing vessels are square or rectangular. This however, does not mean that it is true for all applications. Where the processes demands are high in rectangular or square tanks, the installation of baffles will illuminate the larger fillet build up, often observed in the corners. In very high viscosity applications, the materials usually do not vortex, however there may still be a large swirl component. Such applications are still required to have some baffling, and in most cases we are able to assist you with the correct baffling configuration to ensure that your process requirements are met.


Baffle coils are used in applications where the process demands internal heating or cooling. The cooling coils are designed according to the cooling / heating rate required for the process. Taking into account all factors which affect this rate, the cooling coils are then designed, appropriately sized and manufactured. In some applications the cooling coils are also utilised as the baffles on the internals of the mixing vessel, but in applications where the cooling coils are not wide enough, the baffle will make up for the missing width. The baffles and cooling coils are one unit; where the baffle will form the last components of the cooling coil.

Having worked closely and employed the expertise of one of our consultants and process specialists, AFX has been able to develop and supply cooling / heating coils to many clients. Applications spanning from agriculture where the client was manufacturing liquid fertilizers; to larger applications with bacterial or copper leaching, our cooling and heating systems provide a comprehensive solution to your desired application and process.

Mounting bases and pedestals are critical in ensuring that the gearbox of the agitator is correctly aligned and mounted to the supporting beam structure. Our pedestals and bases are designed to significantly reduce the potential of twisting or flexing within the gearbox housing; which is often a common cause of some gearbox failures.

Some agitator manufacturers bolt the gearbox directly to the mounting structure. This machined surface bolted to a fabricated structure often sees the stressing of the gearbox casing and of the feet, which may result in the gearbox cracking or failing.

Where a processing plant is experiencing problems with gearboxes cracking or other related failures, the problems could be as a result of the gearbox being inadequately sized for the agitator loading or the gearbox being mounted inadequately.

In these instances, AFX can provide accurately designed and machined pedestals and bases to retrofit existing equipment. AFX has had great success in these retrofit’s particularly with a large Gold Plant in West Africa, and a major Platinum plant in South Africa.