In aluminum processing, the bauxite ore – the raw material used, is first refined through the Bayer Process and becomes alumina, then goes through the smelting process before the final product – aluminum, is produced. These processes include very aggressive applications and equipment used should be capable of handling abrasive slurries and high temperatures.
In the Brazilian aluminum refinery case, the client was experiencing major failures with their pumping operations (competitors pump). There was an increase in moisture content of bauxite and level fluctuations in the filter feed tank. This generally leads to flow loss, high turnover of spare parts and frequent maintenance breaks.
The challenge of this case was to improve pumping operations by ensuring the constant pressure necessary for the process without replacing the entire system. In cases like this Metso’s conversion kits work exceptionally well, we offered our client the opportunity to convert their existing single adjustment pump into a double adjust pump with simple modifications while still keeping the same structural foundation.
Due to the aggressive application, specialized selection parameters and advanced skills was necessary to identify the opportunity for improvement. By utilizing the power end of the existing pump our experts realized that they could install our already existing design conversion kit to this power end. We fit an adapter plate onto the existing frame then fix our wet end onto that frame. By doing this the client is able to adjust the front and back clearances of the pump minimizing the possibility of slurry recirculation which reduces wear considerably. A larger diameter impeller was also applied to reduce the speed of the pump which also directly reduces wear.
This double adjust feature allows the client to adjust the impeller forward by simply moving the cartridge forward and by adjusting the locating lugs at the back they can move the back liner forward. This keeps both clearances to a minimal maintaining efficiency and reducing circulation which directly impacts wear.
These simple modifications solved the client’s original issues and contributed to significant savings in energy and maintenance costs. Only minimal pipe work modifications to the suction and discharge pipe were performed to install the conversion kit and no foundation modifications were necessary leaving a major advantage for the client.
Metso conversion kits are available as standard kits to suit certain competitors’ products. We generally have a larger diameter impeller and all have the double adjust feature so upon set up you already have a pump which has minimal clearances, enhancing pump performance. Clearance settings should be performed during general maintenance of the plant and can be performed with the pump in its operating position. In addition Metso can provide a quotation to use its’ Slurry Hose products which are very easy to install and can be cut to size in position and uses our patented quick release couplings.
Global Sales Support Director for Pump Technologies