BPH Pump & Equipment Inc., an Illinois-based distributor of industrial pumps, has supported a Midwestern manufacturer since 2013 when they opened a mining operation that produces a range of silica proppants. Proppants are solid materials, such as treated sand or ceramic particulate, that are typically used in the hydraulic fracturing process to keep an induced hydraulic fracture open for optimal oil and gas extraction.
When this proppant manufacturer needed pumps for sumps in their facility, they contacted BPH Pump & Equipment Inc. for recommendations. Having initially installed a KZN submersible pump in one of their sumps for a basic dewatering application, the proppant manufacturer contacted BPH again in 2015 to discuss sourcing another KZN pump for a new sump.
Reclaiming Frac Sand in a Closed-Loop Water System
The proppant manufacturer operates the mining facility with a closed-loop water system in an effort to reduce the facility’s water consumption by as much as 73 million gallons of water each year. This closed-loop system allows their wash plant to operate without discharging process water into dry runs, local wetlands, and nearby creeks. Instead the water and sand is collected in sumps and recirculated through a filter press to press out all the moisture from the sand. This frac sand reclamation process dictated specific requirements for the sump pump:
- The pump would have to be resistant to abrasion. The sump was collecting a significant amount of very fine sand, which can be quite abrasive to the internal components of submersible pumps. It was critical to select a pump that was designed to handle abrasive slurries.
- The pump needed to be able to reliably transport a thick slurry. Thick slurries can clog some types of submersible pumps; so a simple dewatering pump would not be reliable in this specific sump application. It was important to identify a submersible pump engineered to handle heavy duty slurries.
- The pump must be capable to run 24/7 continuous duty. The sump pump needs to run continuously while the filter press is operating; so it was important to select a submersible slurry pump rated for continuous duty.
After reviewing the critical requirements with the proppant manufacturer, Curt Grant, the sales engineer at BPH Pump & Equipment Inc., recommended a BJM KZN75-460T Submersible Slurry Pump. Grant reviewed the following features of the KZN submersible slurry pump to address the manufacturer’s main concerns:
- Abrasion-Resistance – there are three specific attributes that make the KZN submersible slurry pump more resistant to abrasion:
- The KZN utilizes a 28% Chrome Iron Agitator which is designed to suspend sand, silt, and mud so those types of materials can be efficiently transported from one place to another.
- The KZN has a High-Chrome Semi-Open Impeller which is ideal for handling sand, silt, and muddy slurries with concentrations of solids as high as 50% by weight.
- The KZN is built with a Replaceable Chrome Iron Wear Plate on the suction side to counter the effects of erosion, which can cause a loss of pump performance. The replaceable high-chrome wear plate helps to improve overall pump life by providing higher endurance for abrasive applications.
- Reliable Pumping –
- The KZN is designed with Superior Motor Protection, relying on double silicon carbide mechanical seals housed in a separate oil-filled seal chamber and a heavy duty lip seal for additional protection. The motor is protected with Class H motor insulation as well as built in amperage (FLA) and temperature overload protection.
- The KZN has a Slim, Top Discharge Design allowing for easy installation, pumping of the sump down to within inches of the bottom, and motor cooling by the pumped liquid (a side discharge pump without a cooling jacket must stay submerged to avoid overheating, leaving as much as 3 feet of un-pumped slurry).
- The KZN is offered with a Seal Minder® Moisture Detection System which includes a sensor probe inside the oil chamber that would alert the facility’s maintenance staff to any potential problems that might occur during operation.
- The KZN is engineered for 24/7 Continuous Duty. Every KZN submersible slurry pump has a stainless steel shaft and shaft sleeve to reduce shaft wear from abrasive slurries. The pump volutes are cast from hardened ductile iron, which at 300 Brinell hardness, are twice as resistant to abrasives as standard ductile iron. The hardened ductile iron volutes are cast with extra thick walls at the point where the pumped slurry enters the discharge, which adds durability to these pumps that run continuously while the filter press is operating.
After thorough review, the frac sand manufacturer agreed the KZN75-460T was the best choice for the application. The KZN submersible slurry pump was installed in November 2015 and has been operating well for over two years. “The KZN was perfect because that chrome iron impeller and wear plate really help when it comes to pumping abrasive slurries,” explains Grant. “The agitator on that KZN keeps the sand stirred up in the sump so it can be pumped, and is designed to keep the slurry away from the eye of the impeller – meaning it will have a long life – much longer than other pumps available to the market. And that’s important for this company as they supply a special type of frac sand to high-demand shale basins in Western Canada.”