Coal-mining operators rely on submersible slurry pumps to handle punishing conditions. Among the harshest environments for pumps, coal slurry quickly abrades their metal components. Inferior pumps lower mine output and increase operating costs. How can you extend pump lifespan and raise job productivity? Below we discuss the most cost-effective wastewater pumping equipment for coal-mining applications.
Coal-Mining Pump Issues That Increase Your Costs
There are three coal-mining issues that plague slurry pumps and shorten their lifespans.
Coal itself is a highly abrasive material. A coal slurry is a muddy, acidic mixture of water, coal chunks, coal fines, dust, dirt and rocks. Coal fines are coal particle size usually less than one-sixteenth of an inch. These are especially abrasive to a pump’s internal components. These materials combined wreak internal havoc on pumps, causing clogs and failures.
Acid Mine Drainage
Acid mine drainage is also known as acidic abrasion or dilute sulfuric acid. Coal-mining (and mining for other sulfide materials) forms this highly acidic water. It causes serious wear to submersible slurry pumps and other metal equipment.
Some pumps used for heavy duty slurries only dewater the slurry. This leaves the solids behind to accumulate around the pump. When the pile collapses, a high concentration of solids enter the pump at once. “Slugging” creates strain on the pump impacting its performance and risks job productivity.
Select the Right Pump to Reduce Costs
To mitigate the issues above, you need durable submersible pumps proven to withstand the harsh coal-mining environments. The features below are the starting point for what you need in a reliable pump that will lower your costs. Work with a pump supplier who has experience with coal-mining applications to fine tune additional features for your specific needs.
Hard Metal Slurry Pumps
Hard metal pumps offer better abrasion resistance than cast iron pumps (even rubber-lined). Hardened high-chrome iron protects the entire component. Rubber-lined pump components offer some protection, but only to the depth of the liner. Better protection helps your pump last longer with fewer repair and maintenance needs.
As an example, BJM constructs KZE and KZN Series submersible slurry pumps with hard metal to handle these tough applications. The impeller, agitator, and wear plate feature 28% high chrome iron to resist the abrasives that decrease pump performance.
To help prevent solids buildup, some slurry pump models feature a built-in agitator. The agitator mixes the liquid around and beneath the pump to keep solids from settling. This helps the pump to continue operating and prevents clogs.
Submersible pumps without agitators risk blockage from slugging. This leads to increased downtime from pump failures.
As with pumps, look for agitators made of hard metal to better withstand abrasives and last longer.
Seal-fail circuits are helpful in prolonging the life of the pumps. A seal-fail circuit, such as BJM’s Seal Minder™, will alert operators if moisture enters the pump chamber. This allows users to maintain the equipment before water damages the pump motor.
What’s Your Next Step?
Contact an expert who is familiar with the type of slurry you’re pumping. BJM Pumps has expertise in designing submersible pump solutions for coal-mining. Working with our customers since 1983, we, and our highly-qualified distributors, can help you select the right pump for your unique needs. We give our customers unparalleled service from specification to installation and throughout the life of the pump. Contact us or call 860-399-5937 for more information.