Sand and grit won’t stop slurry pumps at rare-mineral processor
Problem: A rare-mineral exploration, development and production company in south Texas extracts raw minerals from a sandstone formation. On-site groundwater fortified with gaseous oxygen is pumped into injection wells drilled deep into sandstone. The solution dissolves minerals from the host rock; it is recovered and brought back to the surface via production wells. The water in the sumps — loaded with sand, mud and other grit — must be pumped to the wastewater system to filter any solids before pumping to a deep disposal well for reclamation. The facility’s small submersible pumps were insufficiently powered and had rubber wear plates and other components that failed under heavy use along with the barrage of the abrasive solids.
Solution: In 2010, Texas Process Equipment replaced the pumps with KZN37 Heavy-Duty Submersible Slurry Pumps from BJM Pumps. These 5 hp pumps have built-in agitators that fluidize solids into slurry for complete pumping. They also have hardened components, including high-chrome iron agitators, wear plates and impellers to resist abrasive materials.
Result: The pumps have run flawlessly since their installation, keeping up with the demand even during heavy rainstorms and easily resisting grit. By early 2012 the company was using four KZN37s at the facility and was so impressed with the pumps’ performance that it had specified the KZN Series as the standard pump for the sumps in its operations. 860/399-5937; www.bjmpumps.com.
Heavy-duty pump withstands saltwater exposure
Problem: Oil riggers in the Bakken rock formations in North Dakota needed a cost-effective pump with material construction that could handle saltwater exposures without corroding and be able to transfer the freshwater and salt water into suction lines for disposal by positive displacement pumps. In the past, plunger and end suction centrifugal pumps were used to transfer the salt water from the holding tanks to the pressure tanks. The expensive repairs, replacements costs and inefficiency of the pumps encouraged oil companies to look for an alternative method.
Solution: Crane Pumps & Systems, in partnership with distributor Pump Systems, introduced several local oil companies to the Burks Regenerative Turbines. The pump is designed with a cast iron casing, suction strainer with stainless steel screen, and a copper alloy impeller with monel blades. The cost of construction materials and capability to pump low volume and high pressure makes the pump a fit for the application.
Result: The pumps provide efficient, economical, low-pressure pumping that withstands saltwater exposure. 937/778-8947; www.cranepumps.com.
Grinder eliminates midstream flow challenges
Problem: Suncor Energy of Alberta, Canada, had been experiencing pipeline clogs and blockages within its oilsand processing application. Because oilsand doesn’t flow like conventional crude oil, it must be mined or heated underground before it can be processed and the oil extracted. The oil extraction process involves several phases in which the oilsand is heated and mixed with water, causing the oil and other parts of the mixture to separate and break down. During each extraction phase, more raw materials — like wood, roots and other organic matter — become separated from the oil. That biomass would then cause the pumps at the extraction facilities to clog and create problems and unplanned downtime throughout the production line.
Solution: Understanding the gravity of this continuing problem, a millwright at Suncor contacted JWC Environmental about a solution that would eliminate the constant clogging. A JWC sales rep recommended the 4-Hydro-I grinder. The unit has an extra-large cutting chamber designed specifically for processing tough, high-volume solids in large-scale shredding applications.
Result: Since the installation, the millwright has reported zero clogs or system downtime. 800/331-2277; www.jwce.com.