With clean, uncontaminated fuel being the key to optimal fuel system performance and longevity for modern diesel engines used in the mining industry, filtration designer and manufacturer Cummins Filtration is ensuring that its products and services cater to this.
This entails the proper maintenance of bulk fuel facilities, delivering fuel that is of acceptable quality and ensuring that the “best-in-class technology fuel filtration is fitted to the engine”, Cummins Filtration mining leader Tinus Naude indicates.
Diesel engines have changed “drastically” over the past few decades to provide higher power density, better fuel efficiency and greater reliability, he notes, adding that engine architecture has, subsequently, evolved to use high-pressure common rail fuel systems, which require an “unprecedented” fuel cleanliness level.
Further, these fuel systems require increased pressures of up to 2 000 bar, or 30 000 psi, and tighter tolerances. “Fuel system component degradation can occur when organic and inorganic contamination enters the fuel. Protection against these potential threats is vital to maintain engine uptime and decrease maintenance costs.”
Naude references the World Wide Fuel Charter, which states that about 50% of world diesel supply does not meet the ISO 4406 cleanliness code of 18/16/13 at the retail pump. “Reports indicate that diesel fuel is getting dirtier.”
He warns that contamination is the “enemy” of diesel fuel for several reasons, adding that the biggest concern is water because it is the most common. Water can be introduced into the fuel during the refuelling process – either through condensation inside the fuel storage tank or as a result of poor housekeeping practices.
Naude says the effects of water in diesel fuel can be serious, causing corrosion, engine injector tops to blow off and reduced fuel lubricity, resulting in premature wear to pumps and injectors.
Naude further highlights organic contaminants of asphaltenes and paraffin wax, which are residual components from the refining process, and will cause blockages in screens, strainers, filters and possibly even hoses.
There is also the risk of dirt and sediment build-up in the fuel, which will cause a blockage of the filter and increased wear in the engine fuel system.
Cummins offers the Fuel Pro, Diesel Pro, Industrial Pro, and Sea Pro fuel processors product range to the mining market to manage fuel contamination and enhance engine performance.
The Fuel Pro, Diesel Pro and Industrial Pro ‘all-in-one’ single, double (duplex) and triple (triplex) processors are suitable for mining applications, as well as on-highway, off-highway and construction applications.
Naude enthuses that the processors are ideal products for fuel/water separation and particle removal, operating at 680 ℓ/h. The processors contain StrataPore synthetic media inside. StrataPore media reduce contamination and support longer service intervals. Each processor offers a unique feature, such as water-in-fuel sensors to monitor fuel cleanliness, fuel heaters to maintain required temperature and ‘seeing is believing’ patented technology that informs users when the filter needs to be changed.
The StrataPore media provide better protection for engines in terms of fuel-related maintenance issues, such as fuel, injector and fuel pump failures, which subsequently increases component and engine life.
Meanwhile, Cummins Filtration conducted a fuel trial for a copper mining house in Zambia this year. The haul truck fleet at the mine was unable to achieve 350 h service intervals, and had fuel injector and fuel pump failures. Cummins has also recently provided a similar solution to a coal mine in South Africa.
Cummins recommended and fitted upgraded Industrial Pro housing as first-stage filtration and its NanoNet media technology for the Zambian mine as a second-stage filtration. Naude acclaims that this enabled the mine to achieve 1 800 h of fuel filtration while delivering cleanliness of 12/9/6 in accordance with ISO 4406.
NanoNet media technology leads to greater protection of the fuel injection equipment, which, in turn, leads to longer fuel injector life expectancy and a lower total cost of ownership.
All of Cummins’ fuel filtration products are manufactured to meet and exceed original-equipment manufacturer standards for optimum protection, extended service intervals and lower operating costs, Naude says, adding that the company supplies to countries in Africa and the Middle East.
“With extensive experience in integrated system solutions for modern diesel engines, Cummins Filtration offers products to support the rigorous requirements of modern high-pressure fuel systems,” Naude concludes.