Pumps can be too big or too small for the job, pipes can wear out quicker than expected, and valves might not stand up to tough applications. Take advantage of the tools, products and technologies that can help avoid most of these problems.

By Russell A. Carter, Contributing Editor

Science fiction writers commonly assign human characteristics to computers, robots or mechanical systems as a literary tool to stoke reader interest. Let’s give it a try: Picture a mining operation as a living organism. Logically, the operation’s pumps, valves and pipes would correspond to the human vascular system, metering and transferring valuable fluids where they’re needed most and delivering depleted or unwanted constituents to disposal mechanisms, similar to how the human heart, arteries and veins function.
Taking the analogy a step or two further, human health depends heavily on the vascular system’s basic design and inherent efficiency, but almost as importantly on care and attention. Likewise for a mining operation’s piping, pumps and valving, good basic design, proper selection of components and regular upkeep are essential for best performance.
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