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Digging Deep: How Wilden® AODD Pumps Optimize Mining Safety

by Wilden | May 06, 2024

Since prehistoric days, mining has been essential in providing some of the world’s most valuable commodities. Today, the mining industry remains as crucial as ever — and is expected to grow significantly in many regions around the world.

While mining may appear to be nothing more than digging holes with heavy machinery and explosives to some, many complex and delicate operations must be performed carefully with the highest level of attention. One of the primary concerns is the ever-present threat of safety risks that jeopardize the well-being of personnel, the integrity of communities, and the health of the environment.

For miners, being as safe as possible means scrutinizing the reliability, efficiency, and safety of one of the most important machines in their operations — their pumps.

A Pit Full of Pumping Problems

For years, the most popular pumping technologies for mining operations have been centrifugal and progressive cavity. However, these pumps lack the performance capabilities that liquid-transfer applications demand — from dewatering and press filtering to everything in between. 

The Cost of Centrifugal 

Although centrifugal pumps can generate the necessary high flow rates, they present several challenges that limit their effectiveness, including:

  • Excessive motor speed requirements

  • Inability to self-prime or run dry

  • The need for specialized seals to prevent leaks and special linings to handle solids

  • Increased maintenance costs

Not Progressing with Cavity Pumps

Progressive cavity pumps, like centrifugal pumps, have several operational shortcomings for mining operations, such as:

  • Inability to reliably manage liquids containing high levels of abrasives 

  • Accelerated wear on costly stators and rotors, which require eventual replacement

  • Overall higher purchase, operating and maintenance costs

While ineffective pumps are always a concern to productivity, the danger they pose to safety — such as hazardous product leaking onto operators or contaminating surrounding areas — is the most alarming.

Faced with these pumping challenges and detrimental risks, which technology can operators turn to for reliable and safe service in critical liquid-handling mining operations?

The answer is simple — air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps.

Wilden® AODD Pumps: The Gold Mine of Safety

Specifically, Wilden® AODD Pumps overcome the limitations of centrifugal and progressive cavity pumps by consistently providing the necessary discharge pressures and flow rates for demanding pumping tasks while enhancing operational reliability and helping ensure safety for both personnel and the environment.

Wilden AODD Pumps offer the following advantages in mining applications:

  • Comparable low-speed operation

  • Dry-run, line-stripping, self-priming and deadhead capabilities

  • Increased operational safety in harsh and remote environments, even when submerged

  • Efficient handling of liquids containing particles or toxic/corrosive products

  • Light enough to be manually moved from location to location

  • Easily maintained and repaired to reduce downtime

For superior performance in product transfer applications in mining operations, Wilden offers the following specialized pumps:

Stallion® Series AODD Pumps for Portability and Durability 

Featuring a clamped design with carrying handles for lightweight portability, Wilden Stallion Series Pumps are designed with large internal clearances and flow-through paths for easy passage of large solids, eliminating clogging. Additionally, an altered ball/seat check-valve assembly further enables solids passage, while a polyurethane screen base at the inlet increases the pump’s durability. 

Brahma™ Pumps for Sturdy Reliability and Large Solids Handling

With its bolted configuration, Wilden Brahma Series Pumps are specifically built for applications requiring handling liquids featuring large solids. Brahma pumps have a unique top-inlet/bottom-discharge flow orientation and flap valves that allow the passage of large solids. This ensures there won’t be any damage due to product entrapment or the settling of solids within the pump’s internal flow paths. 

Pro-Flo® SHIFT® Series for Energy-Efficiency and Abrasive Materials

Available in clamped or bolted configurations, Wilden Pro-Flo SHIFT Series Pumps feature pump chambers made of different materials, including metal and plastics (even PVDF), which can handle high levels of abrasive and corrosive products common in mining processes. The Pro-Flo SHIFT is also the most efficient AODD pump in the market, reducing up to 60% air consumption while providing up to 34% greater flow rates than other AODD pump models.

Additionally, Wilden Pro-Flo SHIFT, Stallion and Brahma Series pumps can be outfitted with the widest selection of diaphragms on the market – including Chem-Fuse™ Integral Piston Diaphragms (IPDs), EZ-Install and Reduced-Stroke models – in an array of materials, such as Wil-Flex® (Santoprene®), Saniflex™, Bunalast™, Polyurethane, Buna-N®, EPDM, Neoprene, FKM and PTFE. 

Cost-Effective, Long-Lasting Mining Safety

With the new 51 mm (2") Pro-Flo SHIFT Series Bolted Metal Pump and 76 mm (3") Pro-Flo SHIFT Series Bolted Metal Pump, in addition to the availability of Chem-Fuse IPDs and Wil-Flex diaphragms in their respective sizes, operators can take advantage of improved performance compared to traditional diaphragms. This means extended mean time between failure (MTBF) and a higher level of durability to handle the toughest liquid-handling applications in mining operations.

With a simple design with the lowest number of parts for faster, simpler and safer repairs, as well as offering faster product transfer with lower air consumption and supreme leak prevention, Wilden AODD pumps outperform other pumping technologies in significant ways — making them an ideal choice for operators looking to keep cost in mind while making safety a priority. 

For a deeper look into how Wilden AODD pumps can be used in your mining operation, check out our case study: How AODD Pumps Can Satisfy All Demands in Mining Operations. For more information, visit our Mining Market Page or reach out to a Wilden pump expert.