Custom design makes for reliable shutdown schedule

Custom design makes for reliable shutdown schedule

Leaders of a Chilean copper mine looked for a supplier that could help them maintain a more reliable shutdown schedule, minimize expenses, and meet a high safety standard. The supplier developed a mill pump that can run for at least 4,000 hours without shutdown.

GIW Industries Inc. helped a customer in Chile to achieve what it thought impossible: not only did GIW experts meet the customer's need but their improvements to material developments in the MDX-750 high wear wet end components will save this massive copper mine an estimated $6 million USD per mill line.

Customer-focused engineering Before GIW engineers were tasked with this industry-leading pump project, employees dedicated upfront time to familiarize themselves with the mine's operations while helping its owners overcome issues with cyclone-feed pumps in their concentrator plants.

"GIW responded to the customer's appeal by custom-designing an improved suction liner and impeller to be installed inside the existing competitor pump, providing improved hydraulics and wear life," says Hernan Palavecino, GIW South American regional sales manager. "During the initial run of the new GIW technology the customer saw an "almost new" suction liner after first inspection at 1300 continuous hours. Keep in mind that the customer was accustomed to failures at 800 hours with their old supplier."

After this improvement in performance, mine personnel noticed the presence of tramp balls in their process. Out of fear of a catastrophic failure which could impact worker safety, they again turned to GIW. As a result, GIW designed and built a complete jacketed casing in two months to resolve this potential issue.

The customers decided to replace the entire competitor 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.

New target Since that time, the professionals at GIW have installed seven total MDX-750 pumps in the mine's concentrator plant. Once the lines were upgraded to GIW technology, the customer set another 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 the severity of the mining conditions, this was a huge undertaking — 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.