Slurry pumps are a core component of a mine sites processes; if they aren’t running smoothly it can cause massive downtime and loss of production. To ensure they function optimally and reliably, it is crucial that sites implement frequent preventative maintenance schedules.
As some site operators may not be familiar with what exactly preventative maintenance measures slurry pumps require, Global Pumps have shared their knowledge!
Discover the recommended monthly, quarterly and half-yearly maintenance measures, as well as downtime requirements suggested by our team of slurry pumping experts!
Monthly maintenance checks for slurry pumps
Global Pumps recommend that the pump’s performance (head and flow) is verified monthly against the original or start-up duty point, as this will indicate the condition of the wearing parts. Our specialised Mining team also suggest the following elements be checked monthly:
As with all pump wearing parts, the components of the sealing system will require periodic checks to avoid inefficient pump performance. The frequency of this would depend on the application or the sealing system. However, a tell-tale sign is the amount of gland water leakage (for expeller and gland-packed pumps).
Global Pumps suggest replacing the gland packing when other main wearing parts are changed - to avoid any further downtime.
This can be adjusted forwards and backwards in the pump’s casing to compensate for part wear in abrasive applications. In order to ensure maximum efficiency and part life, the impeller should be adjusted frequently. Specific instructions are generally listed in the IOM provided by the manufacturer.
Periodically, wearing parts (impellers and liners) will need changing as their wearing condition will affect the performance of the pump. Changing these parts is generally the inverse of the assembling of the pump. It is crucial that you do not apply heat to the impeller hub or inlet eye, as the application of heat may result in the impeller shattering, injury or equipment damage. It is also important to note that wearing parts may have extremely sharp areas due to the wear and tear they endure.
Quarterly maintenance checks for slurry pumps
Global Pumps recommend the following quarterly slurry pump maintenance measures:
- Empty existing lubricant and replace with fresh lubricant
- Clean and oil stubs and threads on the motor base and gland
- Inspect the stuffing box for wear and re-pack
- Clean bearings and bearing houses, refill with fresh oil
- Inspect and flush drains as well as seal water piping
- Ensure pump and motor are aligned
When it calls for downtime…
Some slurry pumps, like the SlurryPro series, are designed for continuous use, however there are some instances when pumps are withdrawn or are stored during downtime. Or maybe you’re repairing the pump and it will be a while.
Global Pumps suggest the following storage tips to ensure your pumps are safe before, during and after the pump has been in downtime:
- Cover the suction and discharge flanges unless they are connected to pipework
- Thoroughly drain pumps of all pumped fluid
- Indoor storage is highly recommended, especially for Rubber-lined pumps (for period of more than 1-year, indoor storage is a must)
- If you must store the pump outside, cover it with a protective cover such as a tarpaulin and black plastic to prevent UV damage to the elastomers
- The pump needs to be protected from extremes in temperature and humidity, excessive dust, moisture and vibration
Maintenance during the downtime
Pumps require maintenance even during downtime! Global Pumps recommend:
- Every four weeks: turning the shaft several times to avoid jamming
- Every six months: purge the labyrinths with grease to prevent associated damage to the bearings
Before you start up after downtime, be sure to also check the gland packing’s state. For storage longer than 2-years it is highly recommended you replace the gland packing.
Want to chat to a mining expert about your application? Or discuss best practice when it comes to downtime or maintenance? Get in touch with Global Pumps today! Our team have over forty-years working with sites around Australia and can advise of specific solutions for your tough mining challenge.