Finish Thompson, Inc. has proven that its sealless mag drive chemical pumps are far safer and more reliable equipment for moving corrosive fluids in the mines compared to other types of pumps including the conventional mechanically sealed pump.
The mining industry is a booming business that provides valuable minerals, essential metals, and precious stones to many other trades. Palladium, for instance, is widely used by electronics manufacturers. Construction and technology businesses require industrial and base metals such as copper, steel, aluminium, and zinc in their processes. Likewise, copper and steel are critical ingredients in manufacturing, particularly in China and India. And of course, jewellers use various stones and metals where gold, silver, diamond, and gems are most popular.
The extraction of these materials isn’t as simple as it seems, though. Before any metal or mineral becomes ready for use by other industries, tons of boulders need to undergo multiple processes where chemicals play a vital role. Leaching is one of the several techniques for dissolving metals from the ore. Cyanide leaching, which uses toxic sodium cyanide, is a preferred extraction process for gold and silver. On the other hand, acid leaching, which uses sulphuric acid, is the most common method for recovering base metals like copper, lead, and zinc.
Following these extraction processes, industrial pumps are indispensable instruments in the mining industry. They not only save workers from all the toxic chemicals necessary in stones, minerals, and metal extraction but are also supposed to protect the environment from hazardous leaks.
That said, the mining industry is being very particular in its choice of pumps. However, the top criteria in selecting pumps should no longer highlight robustness, energy efficiency, and performance only. Taking safety and reliability should also be at the top of its priorities. But with so many options available on the market, the hunt for the perfect equipment is almost always arduous.
Centrifugal Pumps For Mining Applications
From materials processing to fluid conveying and site dewatering, mining industries rely heavily on the power of centrifugal pumps for many applications in the field. This type continues to be the most utilized fluid transfer equipment in the mines because of its robust construction that can withstand excessive abrasion and corrosion, which are common in moving slurries and other kinds of fluids.
Then again, centrifugal pumps come in many sub-categories. However, they are more commonly divided into mechanically sealed or sealless mag drive types.
SEALLES MAG DRIVE PUMPS VS MECHANICALLY SEALED PUMPS
As we mentioned earlier, chemicals play a vital role in many processes in the mines. However, most of these chemicals are hazardous to both humans and the environment. And with the mining industry’s obligation to preserve the environment around its mining sites, the pumps it uses should ensure minimum to zero leaks.
A conventional centrifugal pump that uses mechanical seals can’t guarantee this, though. While high-tech mechanical seals claim no leak condition, some chemicals always will cause leaks over time. And that is due to the wear that strong chemicals inflict on mechanical seals.
Taking away the seal.
The emergence of sealless magnetic drive pumps solved this long-term problem of mining companies. Compared to mechanically sealed centrifugal pumps, mag drive pumps are not coupled directly to the motor using a shaft, so no mechanical seals are needed. Consequently, there are no more risks of leakage.
But what else is there in a mag drive pump that mining companies should replace their sealed pumps with it?
Here are some more advantages that mag drive pumps have over mechanically sealed pumps:
1. ZERO-LEAK DESIGN
Without a shaft, mag drive pumps are practically leakless equipment. There are no risks of leaks with mag drive pumps, and they have total control of fugitive emissions. This characteristic makes these pumps environmentally friendly and a clear option for handling toxic and hazardous chemicals used in the mines.
SEALED PUMP: With a shaft connecting the motor and the pump, there is obviously a big hole where the leak may happen. Mechanical seals are used to minimize the occurrence of leaks. However, mechanical seals are bound to wear and fail over time. This will cause the tolerance between the shaft and the seal to loosen. It is then required to have a regular check-up to see whether the seal already needs to be replaced.
2. EASY INSTALLATION. MINIMAL MAINTENANCE
Mag drive pumps do not require external piping for flush seals. They don’t need complex seal support systems too. This makes it easier and quicker to install a mag drive pump. As for maintenance, the contact-free power transmission design of mag drive pumps means there are no seals that will break and cause sudden pump downtime. This frees operators from unscheduled repairs.
SEALED PUMP: Mechanically sealed pumps should be constantly lubricated to avoid dangerous dry running. For sealed pumps, dry running may cause damage to the mechanical seal. This means the plant operator has to provide appropriate extra flushing connections and constantly monitor fluid levels.
3. LESSER MONITORING NEEDED
There is no additional monitoring of the magnet coupling needed in mag drive pumps. This is because the pumped liquid also serves as the lubricant that cools down the magnetic drive. However, it is recommended for the operator to monitor the temperature inside the containment shell.
SEALED PUMP: Apart from temperature, it is also required to monitor the pressure of the barrier fluid in the mechanical seal.
4. MORE COST-EFFECTIVE TECHNOLOGY
With no risks of leaking and a lesser need for monitoring and maintenance, mining companies using mag drive pumps are bound to enjoy maximized pump efficiency and substantial savings over the life of the pump.
SEALED PUMP: Mechanical seals will wear and fail. This results in costly maintenance, replacement, or repairs and longer downtimes.
5. LOWER BEARING LOAD
Mag drive pumps have a two-parted shaft. That means there is lesser mechanical loading handled by both shafts as well as the bearings, thereby minimizing overall pump wear.
SEALED PUMP: High bearing loads, consequently causing the mechanical loading of the shaft. This could cause the grinding of the impeller in the pump casing or even more leakage of the mechanical seal.
6. SAFER OPTION
Overall, the elimination of dynamic seals makes mag drive pumps safer and more robust equipment for moving chemicals on mining sites. Also, their short design length creates a natural frequency of the pump shaft which is normally higher than the pump speed. That means mag drive pumps rarely vibrate.
SEALED PUMP: Mechanically sealed centrifugal pumps are normally designed to leak to lubricate themselves. That means there is unavoidable fugitive emission that may jeopardize working conditions in the mines. Also, the overhung impeller results in a natural frequency of the pump shaft that’s relatively lower than the pump speed. This results in dangerous vibrations during the pump start-up and shut-down.
FTI Chemical Magnetic Drive Pumps for Mining
The Finish Thompson Ultrachem® ANSI dimensional magnetic drive pump is among the most used fluid transfer equipment by the mining industry. It is engineered for extreme reliability in chemical process applications that are vital in the mines. The range comprises 17 different models and hundreds of configurations for highly efficient performance in diversified chemical processes.
Product Features and Specs:
- Max Flow: 250 GPM
- Max TDH: 90 ft
- Max Temp: 250 F
- Inlet Size: 3 in
- Outlet Size: 2 in
- No mechanical seals, no leaks
- Safe run dry
- Corrosion-resistant Tefzel lining (wetted area)
- Tough ductile iron casing
- High-strength rare earth magnets to create high-powered impeller action
- Easy replaceable shafts
- Comes with precision molded and carbon-filled ETFE liner with external containment shell
- Equipped with steel clamp ring to minimize barrier stress under pressure for maximum reliability
Meets ANSI requirements
For field-proven performance, Finish Thompson, Inc. came up with a case study that details the true-to-life advantages of the ULTRAChem mag drive pump as seen in the mines and mining-related businesses.