Weir Minerals improves safety with automated adjustment systems

Image: Weir Minerals

The wear rate of a slurry pump’s throatbush has a major impact in the overall efficiency of slurry pumps.

However, these adjustments are often performed while the pump is in operation to avoid impacting the plant’s production.

The task poses safety implications to workers, especially those working at the front of the pump unit.

Recognising that throatbush is the component that has the shortest life compared to the impeller and liners, Weir Minerals has come out with a solution: by developing a rotating and axial adjustment technology.

The adjustment systems speed up this maintenance process, allowing for more frequent adjustments with minimal effort.

“Manually adjusting an alloy throatbush on a large pump requires several people and is labour intensive,” Weir Minerals global product manager for centrifugal pumps Marcus Lane said.

“It requires mechanical tools to adjust the four pusher bolts, one at a time, in order to reduce the gap between the throatbush and impeller.

“We wanted to find a safer and quicker way to extend the wear life of the pump with regular adjustments, which led us to the development of this technology.”

With Weir Minerals’ automated adjustment systems, all four bolts can be adjusted at the same time. This ensures even adjustment and accurate positioning, improving the wear life of the throatbush.

And by mechanising the adjustment procedure, personnel are removed from the line of fire and the accuracy of axial movement is increased.

This technology is available for pumps fitted with either rubber or alloy throatbushes on Warman slurry pumps used in the most arduous applications.

For adjustments of rubber throatbush, Weir Minerals has developed an automated rotating solution, which maintains an optimum gap between the throatbush and impeller front shroud for the particles to flow through without catching and tearing the rubber.

“The localised surface wear is usually near the discharge position,” Weir Minerals application engineer Claudio Needham said. “But by slowly rotating the throatbush, we even out the material loss over the entire face.

“Field results have been very positive, showing an average of 40 per cent increase in wear life.”

For the smaller Warman slurry pumps used in medium to heavy duty applications, Weir Minerals offers a single point adjustment mechanism, providing both axial and rotational repositioning. This allows one individual to safely stand to the side of the pump while making the adjustment.

Weir Minerals has taken its adjustment technology one step further by also integrating it with its IIoT Synertrex platform to offer predictive maintenance feedback.

“This is made possible through machine learning,” Lane said.

“Over time Synertrex learns from past adjustments, recording how many times the throatbush was adjusted and the magnitude of adjustment each time.

“This trending data is collected and analysed by Synertrex to communicate future adjustment requirements. Through automating all adjustments, we can successfully communicate remaining useful life, and inform customers of optimum times to adjust the pump to increase efficiency and maximise wear life.”