Weir Minerals Provides Slurry Pump Maintenance Tips

14 January 2020

Weir Minerals has recently made alternative options available to tackle the maintenance of a slurry pump, which minimizes downtime through the use of ready-to-install components. While there are many options available to operators, choosing the right slurry pump maintenance strategy for a mine site requires careful consideration.  

In-Situ maintenance: repairs are made and worn out components are exchanged right there on the spot.  As maintenance generally involves replacing key wear components within a pump’s wet end, in-situ maintenance often requires maintenance fitters to disassemble and subsequently reassemble the entire wet-end.

Clamshell maintenance: this method is significantly faster. Instead of disassembling the pump and replacing each component, the entire wet-end, or clamshell, is exchanged with a spare from storage. By simply exchanging the entire wet end of the pump on site, this method improves safety by minimising the direct interface between people and pump.

Bare shaft pump changeout: similar to clamshell maintenance, bare shaft pump changes out the entire pump with a pre-prepared spare. This method does require extra capital investment, although that can be relatively modest when compared to the productivity gains from reduced periods of downtime compared to in-situ repairs. 

Back Pull Out (B.P.O.): in cases where only the rotating assembly requires maintenance, B.P.O. can substantially cut down the time required to perform in-situ repairs and refurbishment. This maintenance strategy is ideal in clear waste water applications. In the waste water industry “ragging”, where debris becomes entangled around the impeller is a common maintenance problem, B.P.O. makes it easy to access the impeller and remove the debris in these situations.

Stand-by equipment: when performance is critical to operations, there’s no substitute for a stand-by pump. While it does increase the upfront cost of the solution and occupies additional space, the ability to switch rapidly to a stand-by in case of a pump failing can save tens of thousands of dollars in applications where an unplanned shutdown needs to be avoided. Most stand-by pumps can become operational in a number of minutes, while more complex installations may require an hour or more to make the switch. Once the switch is made, engineers can repair the duty pump in-situ more safely at a less pressured pace.

Image credit: Weir Minerals