Coal Age

JUN 2019

Coal Age Magazine - For more than 100 years, Coal Age has been the magazine that readers can trust for guidance and insight on this important industry.

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June 2019 25 slurry pumps continued tem in need of reconfiguration due to operational changes. "Maintaining an adequate [Net Pump Suction Head Available (NPSHA)] across multiple, distributed pumping stations was critical to successful operations," Walters said. "An engineering firm in Australia modeled this in AFT Fath- om and was able to demonstrate five years of successful operations." Fathom requires only a laptop running Windows. "Pretty standard stuff," Walters said. The company offers updates and technical support from partners in 35 countries. "When customers lack time or expertise, we offer consult- ing services to assist them," Walters said. "And we teach regular training classes in our office in the USA and around the world," he said. "I myself have personally taught on-site train- ing classes to engineers in the min- ing sector in the U.S., Canada, Peru, South Africa and Australia." That the software is developing inroads to the coal mining and pro- cessing space is a sign of the times, Walters said. "Currently, the sector has many economic pressures due to environmental and health concerns. Miners have to evolve in order to sim- ply exist." Facilitating that is a part of AFT's mission, he said. "AFT is a company that is passionate about helping en- gineers around the world design and operate fluid systems that are safer, more reliable and more cost effective." Ensuring Durability Flowrox showcased its peristaltic pumps and pinch valves, both of which it described as the most abra- sion-resistant on the market. The pinch valve "is really the right product for the most mining custom- ers," said Todd Loudin, president, North American operations, Flowrox. When it comes to valve design, there are two ways to combat abra- sion, he said. "One way, if you are dealing with metal components, is to make them harder, for example with tungsten carbide or stellite," Loudin said. "The other way is to go softer. We utilize rubber. Just like rubber-lined pipe, we have a rubber sleeve inside of our valve." When the valve closes, it chomps down on the rubber sleeve on both sides, closing the middle. "The rub- ber is really excellent for the abra- sion," Loudin said. "The other really fantastic feature of it is, it is a relative- ly inexpensive part to replace when the rubber actually does fail at some point down the road." Valves made of metal components are comparatively expensive to re- pair and replace, he said. "Instead of taking a metal-seated ball valve or a really expensive knife gate that has a stellite or tungsten carbide-coated ball or gate, which would have a really big price tag, ours doesn't have a big price tag," Loudin said. "You could take it and replace it very quickly and easily. It is one of the simplest valves to repair in the industry today." The company's heavy-duty pinch valves are advertised as helping im- prove efficiency and productivity, helping reduce maintenance, and of- fering greater control. The construc- tion materials of the sleeve, body and actuator "can be tailored to suit your process conditions," Flowrox reported. The company's general line pinch valves are described as "extreme- ly wear resistant," offering reduced maintenance, extended longevity, and availability in dimensions rang- ing from 50 mm to 250 mm, "with manual, pneumatic or electric actua- tor," Flowrox reported. Flowrox's most popular pinch valve is available in siz- es 25 mm-1,000 mm. Loudin said the company's peri- staltic pumps stand out in that they are capable of pumping as much as 80% solids. "A centrifugal pump may be limited to, in an ideal situation, roughly 35% solids," he said. "Some of them will go up to 50% or 55% sol- ids." At those concentrations, "the wear inside of those pumps becomes astronomical and it costs a whole lot of money." The peristaltic pump can handle those concentrations and higher at 24/7 operations, he said. The pump employs a rubber hose and a roller, which mashes the hose. "Basically, it pushes the liquid through the rubber sleeve," Lou- din said. "It discharges out. Once the compression is off of it, the hose opens back up, sucks more slurry into the hose, and it just continues to pump all day long." Loudin said ease of maintenance is the foremost selling point of the pumps. "Again, the main wear com- ponent is the rubber hose," he said. Typically when a hose is breached, it starts as a pinhole. Slurry ends up inside the pump casing. "We've got a hose leak detector on every pump," Loudin said. "Once the level rises to a certain point, this level detector will pick that up and send a signal to your PLC or the VFD, saying shut the pump down," he said. "Then all they've got to do is come and remove this access cover, put a new rubber hose in, and they're back in business." The entire process could span as little as 20 minutes and can be done by a routine maintenance crew. Among other things, the pumps were designed to speak to a miner's need to reduce both opex and capex, Loudin said. The pumps save electricity by as much as "40% compared to a con- ventional hose pump," Flowrox re- ported. Savings on spare parts costs could be higher. Over time, those savings can dra- matically improve the bottom line. "There is one case down in Mex- ico using really big pumps by a com- petitor," Loudin said. The miner was on the hook for $4 million per year in replacement parts. "Whereas if they had our pumps in that same applica- tion, they would spend a quarter mil- lion dollars per year," Loudin said.

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