This was seen at a precious-metal producer’s concentrator upgrade project, near Rustenburg, where VPSA was required to upgrade the thickener transfer pumps for higher production capacity, says VPSA consultant Daan Louw.
The upgrade was possible as the pumps are able to pump slurry with 1,7 specific gravity and at a flow rate of 60 m3/h over a distance of 690 m, with a height of 30 m. This was the most difficult application for a peristaltic pump that VPSA ever had to deal with, he says.
The VF125 thickener pumps resulted in cost savings and increased production capacity, explains Louw.
Process engineering company DRA (then Vhumbanani) was appointed project engineer on the project and approached VPSA to assist in the design of six thickener transfer pumps.
“No other pump on the market is able to transfer the slurry without a second pump station, which would come at a significant cost to the mine and would probably take more time to process,” says DRA project engineer Thys de Beer.
There are currently 24 VF125 pumps operating at 37 kWh at the platinum processing plant.
The design for these pumps included installing pulsation dampeners to help decrease the pressure build-up in the pipeline, says Louw.
The build-up in the hoses is eliminated by using rubber Verderflex hoses that are designed to increase life expectancy and production performance. The Verderflex hose pumps are designed to handle tough operating conditions; they reduce downtime, decrease maintenance costs and provide easy operation and reliable solutions in difficult pumping environments.
Industrial machinery and equipment company Robday Rustenburg provided the maintenance for the VF125 pumps to ensure efficient operation, he concludes.