Cost-effective submersible pumps replace vertical spindle pumps

The mining sector’s growing need to reduce costs without hindering operational efficiencies or reliability has led to a marked trend towards the use of submersible pumps as opposed to vertical spindle pumps, says pumps supplier Integrated Pump Technology (IPT).

The company notes that submersible dewatering pumps offer major advantages over vertical spindle pumps; the most important being that the submersible pump will operate directly in slurry removing the need for infrastructure construction. The range’s compact design facilitates quick and easy installation with IPT sales and marketing GM Klint Bawden explaining that this ease of installation enables customers to begin pumping operations almost immediately.

He adds that the cost savings achieved extend to the actual operation, as submersible pumps are known to be more efficient than vertical spindle units. IPT’s range of Grindex Bravo submersible pumps has been engineered to pump slurry and fluids with a high content of abrasive solids and with particle sizes up to 50 mm. The range offers reliable pumping performance and the pumps are fitted with a cooling jacket and an agitator for effective slurry handling, eliminating the issue of silt build-up.

The range’s robust construction, with all hydraulic components manufactured from NiHard 4, ensures optimum wear life. The Grindex Bravo pumps operate over the complete pump curve, not just on specific duty, and can handle up to 130 ℓ/s at a maximum head of 45 m. Meanwhile, the unique Grindex SMART motor protection feature prevents pumps from single phasing, overheating and backward rotation.

The pumps also incorporate Grindex’s patented Air Valve system that allows the pumps to run completely dry without damage. The valve allows the impeller to pass air over the motor, while the newly designed hydraulics section with a closed impeller reduces performance drop caused by long-term wear.

According to Bawden, the impeller is easily adjusted ensuring stable dewatering for the entirety of the pump’s operating life. In addition, all the electrical switchgear is installed inside the pump, thus there is no need for a control panel, and the pump can operate without supervision. Further, Grindex’s patented Spin-Out design protects the outer seal by expelling the abrasive particles from the seal chamber and the Active Seal feature ensures zero leakage, which increases the overall reliability of the pump in all dewatering conditions.

Bawden describes slurry handling as one of the most demanding pumping applications, and adds that, if an inappropriate pump selection is made, there will be insufficient agitation in the sump, leading to a build-up of solids that a vertical spindle pump is incapable of dealing with, as it will only pump the water component in the sump. Further, Bawden states that “removing excess sediment or silt from a sump can become labour intensive and costly” – a situation easily avoided by using a submersible pump from the onset. IPT’s most recent installations of Grindex submersible pumps to replace the vertical spindle pumps have included a gold mine dewatering application and a sand aggregate operation. Both customers were able to increase the reliability of their dewatering application, while reducing the associated costs in terms of unplanned downtime and nuisance issues, such as silt build-up, the company says.

IPT is the sole importer and principal distributor for the Grindex range of dewatering, slurry and sludge pumps for Southern Africa. Its network of 16 strategically located, specialised pumps distributors ensures effective service and customer support. Headquartered in Johannesburg, a newly built 1 200 m2 service facility supports this distribution structure in terms of sales, repairs and rental offerings.

The property houses a state-of-the-art, automated, 90 kW test-tank facility. IPT distributes Grindex pumps to Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe. Grindex is the third-largest submersible pumps manufacturer worldwide. Grindex pumps have been available in South Africa for 25 years

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