Maintainability of Pumps Increases Reliability of the Process
Terrafame Ltd. is a Finnish multi-metal company specializing in nickel and zinc production by bioheapleaching at its mining site located in Sotkamo, North of Finland. In August 2015 Terrafame acquired business operations and assets of Talvivaara Sotkamo Ltd. from its bankruptcy estate and is now continuing with mining operations.
Eight Flowrox LPP-T65 pumps have been in operation at Terrafame site since start of production almost 8 years ago. During ownership change the pumps were shut down for almost 3 years. “Clear benefit in Flowrox LPP-T pumps is that they can handle even longer offline periods and still operate in full capacity 24/7 when put back into operation,” states Matti Saloranta, Area Sales Manager from Flowrox. “They only require flushing of hoses and loosening hose compression of the rotor. Pumps have been designed for continuous duty and can even manage a dry run without damages and overheating,” Saloranta continues.
“We have been extremely satisfied with Flowrox pumps. They are easy and carefree to use,” states Jarmo Juutinen, Terrafame Maintenance Operator. “Flowrox LPP-T hose pumps are pumping cake wash water for Outotec Larox RB-SV rubber belt filters. After washing the cloth, water is recycled back into the process through suction boxes. From there it is pumped back for the next cake wash. Our intention is to save fresh water. Even though pumps are not a critical part of the process, they must function flawlessly,” Juutinen adds.
Efficient and Resourceful Flowrox Pump Services
Juutinen has been working at the mine site for 9 years and has a thorough understanding of process including Flowrox pumps and valves. “Even if pumps are easy to use, some training is still needed to get the best out of the process,” Juutinen adds.
“Flowrox provided on-site training at Terrafame to teach us how to maintain valves and change hoses and bearings for pumps. The training helped us increase longevity of our entire system. Primary maintenance for pumps have been hose changes. On few occasions we also changed the bearings, but only as a consequence of hose failure. Hose lifetimes vary, but on average, we perform a hose change around every 6 months,” tells Juutinen.
“Bearings are not challenging to change. However, due to lack of resources at Terrafame, we sometimes use off-site Flowrox pump services. In these cases, pumps are delivered to Flowrox. We do not always have the right parts and facilities to manage it ourselves, so this kind of service is very convenient,” Juutinen reveals.
“If the pump is a critical part of the process, Flowrox can even provide a spare pump to utilize it during maintenance of the primary pump,” adds Tero Tiukkanen, Flowrox Service Manager.
Easy to use, operate and maintain
Designed for heavy duty industries, Flowrox peristaltic hose pumps are capable of pumping and dosing wide range of slurries: abrasive, corrosive, viscous, even crystallizing media. It does not matter if consistency of slurry changes during operation of the pump. “From operator’s point of view, Flowrox pumps are easy to use, operate and maintain
. Viscosity and quality of wash water pumped through our system is inconsistent. In addition, we are not in continuous run and from time to time we stop the operation,” Juutinen explains.
Even though Flowrox pumps can run 24/7, they are also prepared to stop with operation at any time without risking backflow. “Another clear benefit of Flowrox LPP-T pump is reverse run capability and design which prevents backflow. This is advantageous if process needs to be stopped,” explains Saloranta.
Flowrox Pinch Valves Prevent Jamming
“As an employee of Terrafame, I see we are moving forward and are confident in our progress. We have been making changes in the process, for example changing many ball valves for Flowrox pinch valves to avoid jamming. Pinch valves are better
when slurry is more viscous, especially in the zinc process which is not in continuous run,” Juutinen tells.
“Valve design is robust but simple as only the sleeve in contact with the medium. Flowrox pinch valves excel in applications that tend to get jammed and stuck. In applications where solids tend to build up on the sleeve wall, any crystallized particles automatically flake off the sleeve surface when sleeve is compressed. These crystals would clog traditional ball valves,” Saloranta explains. “Flowrox valves are easier to use and maintain which is highly appreciated in maintenance,” Juutinen adds.
“The most challenging part of my work are larger valves. They are difficult to access, thereby create poor working positions in awkward places. Our work is dirty, dusty and often requires helping tools in lifting or moving,” Juutinen reveals. “Work of operators can be eased by outsourcing maintenance work of valves or pumps to Flowrox who offer on-site or off-site services,” Tiukkanen adds.
“I could recommend Flowrox valves and pumps to other metal producers. The best part of our cooperation with Flowrox have been on-site and off-site trainings, where all my questions about reliability of operation, adjustments and control were answered,” Juutinen concludes.