GIW Pump Design Improvements Boost Reliability

GIW Industries Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of heavy-duty centrifugal slurry pumps and parts, recently helped a mining customer in Chile achieve what was previously thought impossible: developing a mill pump that can run at least 4,000 hours continuously without shutdown. In addition to meeting the customer’s needs, improvements in materials used in the pump’s high-wear wet-end components could save the copper-mining customer millions of dollars per mill line, according to Georgia, USA-based GIW.

Advances in component metallurgy used in GIW’s MDX-750 pump greatly increased the time between required shutdowns for one of its mining customers.

GIW said that before its engineers were tasked with the pump project, its team had familiarized themselves with the mine’s operations while assisting it in tackling issues with cyclone-feed pumps. In 2009, after years of dealing with poor performing mill pumps, resulting in a costly mill outage every 800 hours, mine management began looking for a solution that could help maintain a more reliable shutdown schedule, minimize expenses and meet a high safety standard.

“GIW responded to the customer’s appeal for help by custom designing an improved suction liner and impeller to be installed inside the existing competitor pump, providing improved hydraulics and wear life,” said Hernan Palavecino, GIW’s South American regional sales manager. “During the initial run of the new GIW technology, the customer was astonished to see an ‘almost new’ suction liner after first inspection at 1,300 continuous hours. Keep in mind that the customer was accustomed to failures at 800 hours with their old supplier.”

Later, following this improvement in performance, mine personnel noticed the presence of tramp balls in the process flow. Fearing a catastrophic failure, the mine again turned to GIW for a solution. In turn, GIW designed and built a complete jacketed casing in just two months to resolve the potential safety issue. The customer, impressed, decided to replace the installed other-brand pump with a complete GIW MDX-750, the world’s largest mill pump, which provided 2,000 hours of reliable wear life and reduced plant outages to just four per year.

Since then, GIW has successfully installed seven MDX-750 pumps in the plant. Once the lines were upgraded to GIW technology, the customer set yet another new target: to extend the operational cycle and reduce plant outages from four to two annually. To accomplish this goal, they would need cyclone feed pumps that could run 4,000 hours between shutdowns with no operational interruptions.

Due to the size of the pumps and severity of the mining conditions, this was a huge undertaking, according to GIW—one that had never been accomplished in the industry. However, GIW experts put their knowledge of the customer’s systems and their advanced metallurgy to good use to find a solution.

GIW said it has long been dedicated to improving performance of its pumps in cyclone feed applications, with the main focus on use of advanced metallurgy and variable geometry for the wet end during operation. For instance, users now can alter the geometry of a GIW pump’s suction liner impeller interface while the pump is operating, using its adjustable suction liner technology.

Ultimately, GIW engineers developed a brand-new material technology called Endurasite, claimed to be capable of resisting the effects of abrasion for extended periods. When applied to the MDX-750 high-wear, wet-end parts, this white iron alloy is said to vastly improve pump wear life and, in turn, extends time between shutdowns.

Creating this solution from scratch was a complex undertaking, and both GIW and the customer were aware of the potential pitfalls of testing a new material in an active mine. “This was not only difficult for the customer but a challenge for GIW as a supplier,” explained Palavecino. “Because this was an unprecedented project in the market, every extra hour of operation was a discovery and the risk of unexpected failure or shutdown was present every step of the way.

“We set a target of 4,500 hours for the first test cycle, but during the campaign, we saw that it was possible to extend the cycle over 5,000 hours without operational risk,” he said. GIW said it not only achieved the customer’s goal, but also managed to exceed it by cutting annual shutdowns in half and drastically improving the total cost of ownership with an estimated savings of $6 million per mill line.

“Reaching this target is the result of several years of continuous improvements and focusing on the customer,” explained Palavecino. “It was achieved and exceeded because of the commitment and teamwork between the customer and supplier.”

Metso to Deliver Plant Equipment for Major Asian Copper Project

Metso announced in October it will supply key minerals processing equipment to Tibet Julong Copper for one of the largest greenfield copper projects in the world. The scope of the order to be delivered to the Qulong copper mine covers engineering, minerals processing equipment and advanced process controls. Equipment on order includes six crushers, eight semi-autogenous grinding mills and eight ball mills, eight stirred mills, four vertical plate pressure filters and 16 vibrating screens, plus installation, startup, commissioning and technical services. The total value of the deal was not disclosed.

The Qulong mine, owned and operated by Tibet Julong Copper Co. Ltd., has a proven copper metal reserve of more than 7 million tons. The in-the-pit mining and concentrator operations will be located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The mine is being built in three phases during 2016-2018. After completion, it will be China’s largest and most modern copper mine with an annual design production capacity of 560,000 tons of copper and a daily processing capacity of 300 kilotons of ore. The mine is scheduled to begin production in 2018.

Tibet Julong Copper Co. Ltd., founded in 2006, is a privately owned company headquartered in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, with registered capital of 3.5 billion RMB. The company owns the Qulong and Zhibula copper mines, both located in Maizhokunggar County.

Outotec Books Orders for 2 Solvent Extraction Systems

Outotec has been awarded two orders, worth a total of 25 million, for its new VSFX Modular Solvent Extraction technology. The contracts, said the company, were booked in its 2016 third-quarter order intake.

Outotec will deliver detailed engineering and a complete technology package for a modular copper solvent extraction and electrowinning plant for Sardich MC in Kazandol, Macedonia. Production is expected to begin in mid-2017.

Another contract, this one with the Italian engineering company Desmet Ballestra S.p.A Milano, calls for design and delivery of a solvent extraction plant to purify fertilizer phosphoric acid before evaporation. The plant will be built in connection with the El Nasr Co. for the Intermediate Chemicals (NCIC) fertilizer plant in Egypt. Outotec’s supply includes VSFX technology, licensing, equipment for crud treatment and a cooling tower. Outotec’s deliveries will take place in the end of 2017, and the entire plant is expected to be operational a year later. In June, Outotec contracted for delivery of two sulphuric acid plants for the same project.

This model view of Outotec’s VSFX solvent extraction system illustrates the modular construction approach used to tailor installations to customer needs.