2023 … another milestone for Aussie Pumps
Australian Pump Industries (Aussie Pumps) celebrated their 30th year in business in March 2023. This dynamic Australian company continues to develop great products for the Australian mining industry. Their philosophy is simple. Analyse what the customer needs, research existing methods and, come up with something which provides a safer, faster and smarter solution to meet the requirements.
2023 resulted in a number of milestones apart from the 30th anniversary of the company.
Here we celebrate some of those major breakthroughs that have served the Australian mining industry so well over the last three decades.
Monsoon protection … Aussie flood busters
Seeing flood catastrophes cause major disruption to mining operations made Aussie’s Chief Engineer realise there was a requirement for simple, virtually maintenance free pumps, that could move loads of water fast.
Aussie’s solution was the big 6” QP60TD self-priming pump delivering 240,000 litres per hour. This simple pump, provided a maximum delivery head of 35 metres and the ability to draft water through a 7m vertical lift.
At the time of its launch, it surprised the market with its versatility, low cost and uncomplicated design.
“A big open impeller operating within the pump housing and a monstrous priming tank designed into the cast iron body gave us phenomenal efficiency in moving large volumes of dirty water fast”, said Aussie Pumps’ Chief Engineer, John Hales. “It’s now equipped with E-Stop, battery isolation, heavy duty lifting bar and fire extinguisher for mine site applications”, he said Hales went on to comment that it was the performance of the pump and its simplicity that won over the market.
“We fitted it with an oil lubricated Tungsten carbide seal, a wear resistant volute and the ability to handle 40mm spherical solids. The easy clean out port can be opened up and the pump internals cleared of obstructions in a matter of minutes”, Hales said.
It has a 60 litre fuel tank integrated to the pump skid, enabling the Kubota diesel engine that powers the pump to have a run time of ten hours between refills. The machine was developed initially for Australia’s mining industry but has since been used on construction sites, public works duties for local government and of course for flood mitigation!
Big flood fighter
Requests for even bigger capacity pumps, but in the same simple, “wet prime” design, resulted in the introduction of Aussie’s big 6” Deutz powered pump. Called the Aussie MQ600TD, it will produce a maximum of 6,000 litres per minute, that’s 360,000 litres per hour or 8½ million litres per working day.
The pump is perfectly matched to the 80hp Deutz air cooled engine. That four cylinder, electric start engine also boasts a LOFA Control System that monitors oil pressure and temperature, and manages V-belt failure shutdown.
The pump is designed for the toughest of applications on mine sites handling both contaminated and abrasive liquids. It is also fitted with an oil lubricated Tungsten Titanium Carbide seal as standard equipment.
The impeller is a ‘big throat’ design with clean out port built into the front of the body for easy clearance of chokes.
“It’s a monster with an integrated 152 litre fuel tank that enables it to run without refuelling for up to ten hours”, said Hales.
Like the smaller 6” pump, this unit comes with as either a heavy duty site trailer mount or skid mount, both with integrated lifting bar.
The control panel is shock mounted in a water resistant housing and includes an hour meter, ammeter, tachometer and alternator failure light.
The response of the mining industry was significant. These pumps are now being used on alluvial gold mines not just in Australia but throughout the South Pacific.
“They do a mighty job and are all based on our experience and feedback from the field”, said Hales.
Portable fire pumps
The Aussie Fire Chief is a portable high pressure fire pump with a reputation for quality and performance. Supplied for non-mine applications with Honda engine, it was also quickly adapted to suit a Yanmar or Kubota diesel engine drive.
“No mine wants a fire on a machine or in the processing of the product”, said Hales. “We took a standard diesel powered Fire Chief and modified it into our Mine Boss configuration.”
Fitted into a heavy duty stainless steel frame, complete with integrated lift bars, the unit is equipped with E-Stop and battery isolation and of course the proverbial essential safety fire extinguisher.
From a single impeller Fire Chief, with 75 metre head and 450 litres per minute flow, the company developed twin impeller pumps. The capability of these “twins” means they can also be used to move water long distances, and even for plant wash-down.
The popular Mr T twin impeller fire pump has now evolved into a 3” x 3” pump that will shift 12,000 litres an hour, at 80 metres head. It sounds incredible but it turned out to be a real breakthrough for the mining industry.
Aussie goes hydraulic
14 years ago, Aussie Pumps introduced their range of hydraulic drive, cast iron semi trash pumps. The first units were 2” x 2” with a delivery of around 600 litres per minute and heads of around 25 metres.
Today the product range has grown substantially with big 4” pumps delivering 2,200 litres per minute and built with big open impellers to handle solids in suspension.
The hydraulic motor means that these pumps can be driven from the hydraulics systems of water carts or drill rigs.
These pumps are now found on exploration rigs, water well rigs and even vertical boring machines.
The hydraulic concept really works as it means there’s no small engine requires maintain.
Keeping it clean
Contact with the mines taught the Aussie team that there was a real opportunity for a top-quality range of high pressure water blasters. The company was already building machines for the commercial market but realised that the “Mine Boss” concept could also be applied to pressure cleaners.
The result is a range of heavy duty range of machines built for mining applications from 2,000 psi all the way through to 7,300 psi!
Some of these machines are class B and require operator RTO certification under Australian Safety Standards AS/NZS 4233.1
These machines are used for a wide range of applications from corrosion control at the mine processing plants, cleaning down mobile equipment and even hydrostatic testing where required.
Jetters for mines
The company discovered that there are a wide range of maintenance applications in mining that require regular cleaning out of pipes and tubes.
Once done with rods, this was both a dangerous and labour intensive process.
Aussie’s range of high pressure Jetters, originally designed for commercial applications, were converted over to diesels for mine spec compatibility.
The Mine Boss Jetter range now includes pumps that deliver 5,000 psi and 25 litres per minute or, optionally, 31 litres per minute at 4,200 psi.
There’s not much that will stand up to those kinds of pressures.
The kit includes lightweight, 5,000 psi rated sewer hose and a variety of jetting nozzles suited for various chokes.
Hydrostatic Testers … Integrity counts
Pipelines must be structurally sound and able to withstand their maximum operating pressure. Their integrity is tested by filling with water and increasing the pressure up above the maximum allowable operating level. The pressure is then held for up to 8 hours.
Any drop in pressure indicates an issue to be resolved. By blocking of sections of the pipe in turn with inflatable plugs the location of the leak can be determined.
Feedback for the market led to Aussie developing a range of hydrostatic test units with flows to 150 litres per minute and pressures up to 500 BAR (7,300 psi).
For high pressure applications, as required for gas pipelines, the heart of the system is a ‘Big Berty’ Bertolini pump. These heavy duty triplex pumps are slow speed and designed for continuous running applications.
Aussie hydrostatic testers are fitted with an adjustable regulator that enables the operator to set the required pressure. They are equipped with a double lock off valve system and two pressure gauges.
This enables the operator to isolate the pump from the job and check the line pressure is maintained.
The units are trolley mounted for ease of movement on site.
The standard range uses top quality industrial diesel engines.
The range also includes petrol, hydraulic, electric and flame-proof electric drive units.
Machines with pressures of up to 40 bar are commonly used for testing water supply lines and similar relatively low pressure systems.
Aussie Pump use rugged diaphragm style positive displacement pumps to provide pressure and flow for these applications.
This means they can be used to fill the pipes and well as pressure test them.
Hydrostatic testing is also very effective in proof testing pumps, valves, pressure vessels and other liquid system products.
For example, Aussie Pumps uses them to test for leaks after assembling or servicing pumps.
So where from here
The company has achieved its goals in becoming a major supplier to what is Australia’s most essential industry.
Their success is based on listening to customers, absorbing, questioning and developing products that will be safer and more efficient than current methods.
“Our job is to support the industry and learn as we go. For example, drill rigs are essential for the mining, but, in spite of our success in that area we are still learning about how to build the perfect mud pump!” said Hales.
Further information is available online at www.aussiepumps.com.au or by calling 02 8865 3500