As industries have developed, customers’ equipment demands have increased. As such, equipment and solutions provider Weir Minerals Africa has found that continuously engineering product solutions to meet these industry trends and demands has positioned it uniquely within the engineer-to-order (ETO) space.
In conversation with Mining Weekly, Weir Minerals Africa pump products GM Marnus Koorts explains that ETO solutions lend themselves to a variety of application solutions. This particularly includes pit or underground dewatering, as these applications “are not always straightforward and require insight into the challenges faced”.
Weir Minerals Africa is comfortably positioned at the forefront of implementing ETO solutions in the mining sector. An in-depth understanding of processes as well as an extensive reference base of proven pump installations operating in arduous conditions gives customers assurance, says Koorts, who notes that insight and technical expertise are critical for solutions-driven service delivery.
While this is applied to the company’s entire portfolio of equipment and solutions, Koorts focuses on pumps, commenting that ongoing research and development has been vital in ensuring continuous product improvement.
From this perspective, Koorts notes that Weir Minerals continuously invests in the optimisation of its products. One key area of development is the research done on hydraulic efficiency, as this “translates into low energy consumption and has a direct monetary impact on site operations”.
“Aspects such as materials of construction and hydraulic efficiency translate into pumps that are durable, operate reliably under arduous operating conditions and consume markedly less power. All this is considered important as it results in a significantly lower total cost of ownership to end-users.”
Within this scope, he highlights the company’s ETO Multiflo Mudflo hydraulic submersible slurry pump. This features a hydraulically-driven wet end specifically designed to reprocess and relocate tailings ponds, maintain water retention dams and manage slime and sludge ponds efficiently and safely.
Casting this pump with Weir Minerals’ Ultrachrome alloy facilitates high wear resistance, while a suction strainer prevents large particles from clogging the pump, both ensuring high levels of uptime.
The Mudflo 200 pump is capable of pumping between 150 m3/h and 1 200 m3/h, up to maximum head of 82 m, which makes it ideal to the transfer of sludge out of mining operations.
Different configurations and materials of construction provide solutions that cater appropriately for varying conditions. Koorts adds that each component of the ETO solution was uniquely selected for the Mudflo dredging application.
The use of the Multiflo Mudflo pump at an Indonesian operation saved the project an estimated R1.1-million a day owing to recovered production while in use, saving on average, about R2/m3 of mud pumped.
Without the Mudflo pump, mining operations that are restricted by mud would likely need to use the truck-and-shovel method, which Koorts says is much more labour intensive, not to mention more expensive.
The resulting improvements are “significant”, which Koorts says is indicative of the company’s more than four decades of experience in supplying mobile dewatering equipment globally.
Looking at the various ETO solutions, and how these can be customised for each application, the solution would simply not be possible without Weir Minerals’ holistic approach to problem-solving. This is thanks to its large suite of products at its disposal to engineer the solution according to a customer’s requirements.”
In conclusion, Koorts states that Weir Minerals’ business model is not “just a singular focus on creating a product, but creating a solution that could add value to their customers’ needs”.