Pumps: Improving energy use and efficiency

Achieving the lowest total ownership cost (TOC) on plant
  and equipment is essential to the profitability of any operation. Centrifugal slurry pumps lie at the heart of many operations in mineral processing, tailings and sand and gravel applications. Over the years Weir Minerals has been improved the hydraulic efficiency of the Warman® centrifugal pump range. New longer-wear materials are employed to provide even longer part life (Fig. 1). Much of this innovation has been a result of either direct customer feedback or from observing how customers use the product.

At their Pump Design Centre of Origin (DCO) in Sydney/Australia, Weir Minerals has dedicated teams of engineers and technicians focused on Warman® pump R&D and the development of advanced alloys and elastomer materials. Meanwhile the design centre in Madison, Wisconsin/USA – as well as in another 19 DCOs around the globe – is home to additional teams of engineers and designers working on the Warman® MCR®, MCU®, HTP, XU, MDC and GSL pump product lines.

At the DCOs, new Warman® products undergo extensive lab testing using test rigs, as well as virtual testing using modern computation techniques such as computational fluid dynamics and modelling. This virtual testing means Weir Minerals can evaluate numerous variations of the Warman® pump range before manufacturing commences. This product development and testing has resulted in many innovations that have lowered customers’ total ownership cost. One such example is the Warman® MCR® mill circuit pump, used in mill discharge, cyclone feed and wet crusher applications.

The new Warman® MCR® pump was designed with an easily adjustable throatbush that has helped reduce wear and save on downtime (Fig. 2). The full-face adjustment capability of the throatbush is designed to decrease wear. Meanwhile the clam-shell quick change procedure can help reduce the total wet-end change out time for the large MCR® 550 or 650 pumps by 50 %. Because the mill circuit demands a longer wear life, the MCR® pump is equipped with extra-thick interchangeable metal or rubber liners that allow customers to optimise different materials for their application.

Beyond the mill circuit, Warman® pumps include a number of other innovations that optimise performance for lowest TOC. The Warman® froth pump featuring a continuous air removal system (CARS) is designed to provide problem-free pumping of the most tenacious froths in mineral circuits. Warman® AHPP pumps for tailings applications are designed to achieve the highest possible pressure transfers. And the Warman® WBV® pump range features integrated impeller agitation vanes to prevent sump blockages.

The new Warman® WBH® pump is designed for heavy-duty process, feed and tailing applications (Fig. 3). The WBH® pump features a one-point throatbush adjustment that can be easily operated while the pump is running. Because the throatbush can be kept close to the face of the impeller without shutting down the pump, both wear and downtime are reduced. The wear components of the WBH® pump are designed and optimised using state-of-the-art Computational Fluid Dynamics methods. The WBH® pump also offers long wear life thanks to features like large capacity bearings, commercial labyrinth-style bearing end cover seals, encapsulated high-pressure rubber seals and high-pressure metal and rubber liners.

Streamlined impeller and volute design flow paths improve efficiency and energy use and provide outstanding slurry handling. And a large diameter Warman Hi-Seal® expeller seals effectively even under high-pressure intakes. Meanwhile the Warman® WRT® impeller-throatbush combination increases wear life by an average of 30 to 50 % compared to the standard Warman® AH® pump impeller-throatbush combination. Its lower NPSH requirements also contribute to extended wear life thanks to the enhanced hydraulic performance. The WRT® impeller-throatbush combination is also designed to reduce power consumption and cuts costs. Rubber and metal part combinations are available. And updated Warman® WRT® parts can be easily retrofitted to the existing Warman® pump.

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