Technology and services provider Weir Minerals has celebrated 80 years of innovation with the Warman slurry pump, which remains one of the most iconic high/hard wear slurry pumps on the market and continues to push the boundaries of pump performance. In honour of the brand, Weir celebrated at the end of May, at an event in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, where the pump’s history was relived and new insights were provided into some of the future innovations planned.
“Warman is one of our leading brands. It has truly shaped the mining industry over the past 80 years and is a product we are all very proud of,” Weir Minerals divisional president Ricardo Garib said in a statement issued last month.
He noted that the Warman pump, invented to solve high wear issues in slurry pumping, “created a thriving industrial business that is now the cornerstone of Weir Minerals with over 8 000 people, and over 150 manufacturing and service centres across the globe”.
Invented in Kalgoorlie in 1938 by Charles Warman, the hard wearing slurry pump used replaceable liners and a replaceable impeller. While the Warman Series ‘A’ pump was accepted and became world leader in its field, further work on the Warman AH pump continued.
Interchangeable metal and rubber wearing components for the pump have been developed, and, in 1994, the Warman GSL pump was developed to handle high flows and corrosive slurries.
“One of the key reasons for the growth of the Warman pump was that it was reliable – people came to trust it because it had been around for so long,” Weir Minerals centrifugal pumps global product manager Marcus Lane maintained in a statement.
The Weir Group acquired the Warman pump in 1999. As part of the Weir Minerals division, several technological advancements were achieved for the pumps range, including, in 2002, with the development of a revolutionary new impeller and inlet design for pumping mineral froths and high-density viscous slurries. In 2009, Weir Minerals developed the Warman WBH pump with axial and rotationally adjustable throatbush to even out wear.
Owing to its innovative design, this pump soon became the new slurry pump standard.
“[At] Weir Minerals, we are always thinking of new ways to improve the Warman pump for our customers. “Research and development has underpinned all of the product development that we’ve completed and is absolutely crucial to the business,” Lane said.
“We have a fantastic understanding of the many environments in which our pumps operate and the mechanisms of wear. This has enabled us to tailor geometrics and materials to suit specific applications, and gives us a competitive edge in the marketplace.”
Today the Warman pump has an unparalleled worldwide reputation in slurry pumping, commanding a leading share of the global mining market.
Technology is increasing at an incredible pace, and as technology progresses and society demands new materials, the Warman pump is ready to provide them. Weir Minerals has developed its own Internet of Things platform Synertrex, which can be fitted to a Warman pump to monitor its performance.
“The last 80 years of the Warman pump have given us a wealth of knowledge in how to operate a pump and efficiently transport slurry. Synertrex is going to be able to capture that wealth of knowledge and improve the product,” stated Weir Minerals data scientist Michael Hambe.
“The Synertrex platform allows us to collect and analyse data to predict the pump’s performance, and determine how efficiently it’s operating.” He noted that this empowers customers to run their pumps at the optimal threshold of performance.
Weir Minerals’ capability of coming up with superior materials technology and superior designs, underpinned by fantastic service and support to their customers, is what keeps them one step ahead of their competitors.
“In terms of Australian mining exports, the Warman pump is probably one of the greatest success stories. We will continue to innovate and make the Warman pump even bigger and better,” Garib noted.
Following the anniversary event in Kalgoorlie, Weir Minerals has embarked on a six-month celebration, sharing the history of Warman, commemorating the generation of experts behind the brand, revealing key innovations behind the pump and telling the stories of the long-standing pumps on sites around the world.