The Envirotech pumps range from pumps manufacturer Weir Minerals benefits significantly from synergies in research and technology development, as well as application knowledge sharing across a portfolio of industry-leading brands, says Weir Minerals Africa GM Marnus Koorts.
“The Weir Minerals Africa Envirotech pumps range is ideal for the harsh African conditions,” he tells Mining Weekly. Its simplicity and low maintenance costs continue to make the pumps a popular choice in the African mining sector. Weir Minerals Africa’s ongoing investment and support for the technology means that it is continually improving.
“Much of the success of the range is owed to its simplicity. Its standardised design results in fewer components needed, requiring less stock. This makes it simpler to maintain. It’s hassle free and Africa-proof,” he says.
Koorts highlights, for example, the size of the frame on which the pump and motor are mounted. He explains that, for other pumps, there might be multiple frame sizes for one pump size. However, with the Envirotech pumps, there is only one frame size per pump size.
“This is very convenient from a stockholding point of view,” he notes.
The Envirotech range is divided into the subranges of the Envirotech C5, Envirotech Alpha, as well as the Envirotech Metal Expeller (ME) and Metal Gland (MG).
The Envirotech C5 range is aimed at dirty-water applications. Being able to handle water containing up to 5% solids makes it very useful in situations where clean-water reticulation systems are ageing and a small amount of dirt builds up in the system. It is much more wear resistant than clean-water pumps, but with similar efficiencies.
Koorts says the Envirotech C5 pump fits neatly into the market gap between clean- water pumps and slurry pumps.
The Envirotech Alpha range of pumps is a rubber-lined pump, designed for heavy-duty slurry handling duties where conditions are not conducive for metal-lined pumps.
The range has been designed for continuous slurry-pumping operation using either wet gland hydroseal or semi-dry centriseal arrangements for sealing purposes. These rubber-lined centrifugal pumps can handle tough slurry applications in the mining industry. Designed with replaceable, hard-wearing moulded rubber liners and impellers, they can deliver high pumping efficiencies.
“With Envirotech being part of Weir Minerals, we are able to now fit these pumps with an array of high-tech rubber linings originally developed for other brands, such as our Warman pumps, that enhance the performance of the original Envirotech pumps,” Koorts explains, noting that the standard R55 rubber is well-tested and long-lasting.
One of the key benefits of the Envirotech Alpha range is the dual adjustment of the impeller and throatbush to optimise wear life and efficiency.
The range also features a variety of elastomers that cater for different applications such as slurry transfer, general slurry duties and tailings disposal.
Koorts says the Envirotech ME and MG range offers lower cost of ownership, reducing the downtime and consequently resulting in greater profitability.
The range comes with a specially designed sealing arrangement that eliminates costly and complex machining on the seal faces, which is optimised through unique three- dimensional modelling software.
Koorts explains that, since taking over the Envirotech brand, Weir Minerals Africa has converted the fabrication material to the company’s premium, high chrome-cast iron alloy. The pumps are cast at the company’s fabrication facilities in Isando, Gauteng.
“This is another example of our leveraging the Weir Minerals group’s technology to enhance every brand in our portfolio and deliver the best solution possible,” he says, noting that customers have the functionality of optimising and changing the construction material based on the requirements of the application.
A key feature and benefit is that the range allows for simple changeout of wearing parts. The back pull-out feature allows for the pump and impeller to be removed without disturbing the pipework.
Another feature is that the two-piece volutes are fitted to the smaller units and the three-piece volutes to the larger units, thereby ensuring a cost-effective number of hydraulic wearing parts. Additionally, the dual adjustment of the suction liner and bearing cartridge maintains the life of the components.
The Envirotech ME and MG range is best used in applications such as slurry transfer, mill discharge, general slurry duties and tailings disposal.
Among the technology applied to Envirotech pumps is Weir Minerals’ Wear Reduction Technology (WRT), which extends wear life on components such as impellers.
Koorts adds that the WRT impeller also improves energy efficiency, quoting a case study in which a South African gold mine saved more than R300 000 on electricity in a year for each pump using the technology. With some mines having more than 200 pumps on site, the potential savings could be in the millions in a year.
The WRT impeller was initially introduced in 2015 for the Warman pumps, but he says the company is leveraging the technology across its other brands and that the WRT also improves energy efficiency.
“Most of the Envirotech products are now being released standard with WRT, which significantly increases the life of the components and reduces maintenance costs,” Koorts concludes.