GLOBAL Pumps’ new mechanical seal, the SlurryPro Elite, is a completely flushless seal that doesn’t require any form of seal water to stay lubricated.
Based in South Australia, the company supplies mines and industry around the world with innovative pumping technology.
Its new seal, the SlurryPro Elite, can be retrofitted into all existing pumps and will eliminate extraneous gland water pumps, water injecting, contaminated water storage and constant management issues
The addition of the seal will also reduce unplanned downtime of the slurry pumping process on sites.
The secret to the design is explained by Global Pumps Sales Director Darren Seeley.
“A patented conical design, engineered in Italy, circulates the slurry around the seal, and uses the slurry itself as the cooling mechanism,” he said.
“The aim is to incorporate all the flow-on effects and band aid solutions to the problems encountered and then eliminate them.”
The Global Pumps SlurryPro Elite achieves this aim and more, getting rid of the requirements associated with leaking glands, the safety aspect of regularly tightening gland packing on live equipment, the addition of gland water distribution through the slurry pump, and the need for removing the water further down the process stream
Eliminate the extras
With the SlurryPro Elite, Global Pumps has removed the undesirable flow-on effects of the slurry process.
In a traditional slurry pump process, using either a gland pack or a regular mechanical seal, flushing water needs to be sourced from a dam or reservoir on site or transported and piped from elsewhere.
This separate source of water is injected into the pump and consequently dilutes the slurry.
In some cases this water also leaks out from the back of the pump, creating an environmental and health and safety hazard.
Slurry pumps are typically mounted in a bunded area containing a sump pump which obviously runs to extract the leaking gland water, consuming energy.
The majority of the gland water ends up in the slurry stream which must be later removed or evaporated.
The SlurryPro Elite seal does not require an extra source of process water, removing the entire piping infrastructure, clean up and storage process.
Water is the new gold
In the current dry conditions, mines have limited access to our precious resource.
The injected water that is required to flush the gland packing or traditional mechanical seal needs be sourced from somewhere.
A lack of regional water has resulted in a competition between mines, farmers and towns for the sparse resources available especially in Queensland and NSW.
Several mines have lowered production and at least one has shut purely due to the lack of water.
The search for water is affecting mining around the world, not just Australia, exasperated by the fact that mining tends to occur in the driest and most extreme landscapes.
Water has become a prime and growing concern for mining companies – it is the new gold.
Anglo American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani and Gold Fields Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland are among those who have expressed concern over water shortages.
“Investors say to us: ‘don’t talk to us about returns’; they want to know how we’re managing water,” Mr Holland said.
Without a SlurryPro Elite seal, a small 3” slurry pump requires a minimum of 15 L of water per hour, equating to 7.884 million litres of water annually and mine sites typically run much larger pumps and multiple of them.
Obviously, in those quantities, water is one of the greatest constraints to new supplies of mined products across the industry.
Taking out the need for these enormous quantities of water takes away a good deal of the prohibition in starting a new mine or considering further exploration within an existing one.
Installing a SlurryPro Elite can give investors the assurance that water usage in the slurry process will be minimal and will not affect production of the overall mining project.
As the junior mining model begins to look shaky, the introduction of technology that can greatly reduce water consumption, is a definite incentive for investment in the project.
Less water, less downtime, smaller footprint
On site, limited access to fresh water not only adds to production and operational expenses but can cause delays in slurry pumping – restraints which are eliminated with the installation of the SlurryPro Elite.
The water that mines are allocated or can source is often contaminated and of poor quality.
The poor water quality introduces further complications to the pump, affecting the reliability, and contributing to pump corrosion.
“Because they are injecting dirty water, miners say that often the shaft or shaft sleeve wears out first because the water is such bad quality,” Mr Seeley said.
“This is such a problem that one site is considering putting in additional fresh-water tanks just to have a source of clean water to use in the slurry pump.”
Global Pumps SlurryPro Elite can achieve six times the service life of traditional cartridge seals.
With the installation of the new seal into existing pumps, mining operations can immediately experience savings in water, increased safety, and reduced maintenance.
The main point of differentiation for the SlurryPro Elite is the design of the seal facing.
Gland packing is still used in many pumps due to its low initial outlay, however when you factor in the ongoing maintenance, scheduling, lock out, downtime and loss of production, a repack can become quite expensive.
Mechanical seals result in limited downtime, very low leakage and greatly reduced environmental impact.
They consist of mechanical mating faces that stop the slurry getting out rather than a rope that hugs the shaft tightly.
As opposed to gland packs, users will find fewer bearing failures from leaking fluid, no excessive wear on the shaft sleeve from packing, no continual adjustment, and a safer workplace.
The Global Pump SlurryPro Elite is a mechanical seal with a difference.
The fact that it does not need flushing water has transformed the entire slurry pumping process.
The construction of the conical seal faces is silicone-carbide with diamond coating.
As we know diamond is the hardest material in the world meaning it is less susceptible to abrasion, however some of the lesser known attributes of diamond is that it has an extremely low coefficient of friction and is a very good conductors of heat.
To put this into context, it is four times faster than copper.
That means that not only does it generate less heat in a dry run scenario, but it can quickly dissipate it.
The result of the conical faces combined with the properties of the diamond coating is an innovative process that requires no extra liquid lubrication beyond what the slurry itself provides.
In summary, the patented conical faces allow greater circulation around seal faces, they increase the misalignment tolerance, produce very high thermal conductivity and a faster disbursement of heat during dry running.
The SlurryPro Elite does not require flush-water, has an extended life span and is easily and quickly repaired.
A wise investment
The initial capital outlay will result in dramatic reductions in the site’s water usage and environmental footprint.
The long-term benefits will be felt across equipment, personnel, safety and environmental management.
Retrofitting to all brands of pumps is part of the value of the SlurryPro Elite, as the only investment that needs to be made is the seal itself.
Global Pumps will come to site and discuss how the SlurryPro Elite can make your slurry process safer and easier.
Phone: 1300 145 622