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The AODD Pump Solution For Challenging Mining Applications

by PSG | Apr 20, 2023

Since its beginning in prehistoric times, the mining industry has become a widespread commercial enterprise responsible for recovering an exhaustive list of valuable commodities around the world. Although the mining industry is made up of rough-and-tumble operations that rely on digging holes with heavy machinery and explosives, these operations actually depend on complex and intricate liquid-handling applications that require efficient, reliable and precise pumping technology. Let’s first break down the common obstacles in these challenging liquid-handling mining applications to understand which pumping technology is ideal for these operations.

The Many Obstacles of Mining Applications
Overall, mining operations require easy-to-maintain and repair pumps that can reliably strip lines, dry-run, and operate at lower speeds while still delivering high flow rates and efficiently handling large particulates and a range of viscosities. Mining operations also require pumping technology that is light enough to be manually moved from location to location within mines in harsh and remote conditions. However, these aren’t the only requirements that need to be considered. Several other obstacles must be tackled, including mine dewatering issues, corrosive liquid handling, the potential damage from press filters, product transfer reliability and general service that can affect the pump’s ability to perform properly.

Mine Dewatering 
Mining operations produce excess water constantly, and the water that is recovered is full of particulates that can be as large as 3-4 mm (0.12-0.16") in size. Most pumping technology in these types of applications requires costly materials of construction to protect against impeller wear. That’s assuming the mining pumps are even dry-run capable to handle the particle-laden water.

Corrosive Liquids
On top of removing particulate-laden liquid, mining applications are exposed to corrosive liquids. These corrosive liquids can destroy the wetted parts of most pumping technology and progressive cavity pumps, even with mechanical seals that are not only an added expense but also require frequent maintenance and costly downtime.

Press Filter
Press filters are used to clean the solid-laden liquids that are produced in mining operations. However, these solid-laden liquids can damage the internal components of pumps if they are manufactured with less expensive materials of construction or lining. Additionally, the discharge pressure variation created by press-filter operation can force many pumping technologies to operate far away from their Best Efficiency Point (BEP), leading to a shortened service life.

Product Transfer
Transferring products in mining operations is crucial, whether oil, fresh or fouled water or other chemicals. With this increased volume of product transfer through loading and unloading from transport trucks, pumping technology has a greater potential to dry-run and become damaged from the discharge pressure variation. Even with seals, centrifugal pumps that are not dry-run capable will eventually lead to pump failure. 

Some pumping technologies, like centrifugal pumps, can handle some of these challenges. Still, they require special and costly materials and additional equipment that require extra maintenance and downtime. Even with these additions, centrifugal pumps will only satisfy some of the requirements for mining applications. That’s why when it comes to reliably, efficiently and safely solving all of the challenges of mining operations, there’s no other pumping technology like air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps.

A Simple Mining Solution
In general, AODD pumps are the ideal solution for mining applications because of their unique method of operation, which allows them to easily handle variable flow rates and pressures while being dry-run anc line-stripping capable. AODD mining pumps are also versatile enough to transfer liquids that are shear-sensitive or have high-viscosities, as well as slurries and other large particulates. Specifically, the unique and simple design of Wilden® AODD pumps outperforms other AODD technologies because they require the lowest number of parts for easier, faster and safer installation, maintenance and repairs while maintaining high levels of efficiency and reliability.

Brahma® Series AODD Pumps
Brahma pumps feature a bolted configuration and are designed to handle liquids with large solids, like those common in mining applications. The unique inlet/bottom-discharge flow orientation and flap valves allow large solids to flow through without risking any damage from product entrapment or solids setting within the internal flow path. The flow-rate range for the four available Brahma pumps is 166 to 258 gpm (628 to 882 l/min) at pressures up to 125 psi (8.6 bar) with solids-handling capability ranging from 2"-3" (51-76 mm).

Stallion® Series AODD Pumps
Stallion mining pumps feature a clamped design with carrying handles for lightweight portability, which is perfect for manual movement in mines. The Stallion design features large internal clearances and flow-through paths for easy passage of large solids with no chance of clogging. Solid passage is further enabled by an altered ball/seat check-valve assembly, while the pump’s durability is increased with the polyurethane screen base at the inlet. Flow rates amongst the six available models range from 57 gpm (216 l/min) to 232 gpm (878 l/ min) at working pressures up to 125 psi (8.6 bar). Solids sizes that can be handled range from 1/2" to 1" (13-26 mm).

Pro-Flo® SHIFT Series AODD Pumps
For greater conservation of energy, increased productivity and maximum mean time between repair (MTBR), Wilden AODD pumps outfitted with the Pro-Flo SHIFT Air Distribution System (ADS) are capable of reducing up to 60% air consumption while increasing 34% greater flow rates — becoming the most efficient AODD pump technology in the market. The Pro-Flo SHIFT is available in clamped or bolted configuration and features different chamber materials, including metal and plastics, even Kynar, which is capable of handling the high levels of corrosive and abrasive products common in mining applications. These pumps have a product range from 1.5" to 3" and flows from 2 to 271 gpm (8 to 1026 l/min).

All three of these Wilden AODD pumps are only enhanced with a full range of durable diaphragm styles, including Chem-Fuse IPD, EZ-Install and Reduced-Stroke models, which are available in a variety of materials that can handle the solid-laden liquids and corrosive products in mining applications.

Regardless of the specific mining operation, these Wilden AODD pumps can provide the simple solution needed to tackle the many obstacles of mining applications. To learn more, read the whitepaper: How AODD Pumps Can Satisfy All Demands In Mining Operations.