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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.110 n.2 Johannesburg Feb. 2010




Variability of pump system performance



H. Rosen

TAS Online (Pty) Ltd




The pump is the heart of most industrial and mining plants, providing the energy to separate valuable minerals from process feed. The actual effect of the pump, both in terms of production costs and overall process efficiency, is often assumed or misunderstood by engineers due to insufficient pump performance data. Pump performance can be understood and corrected, where required, through continuous performance monitoring, leading to dramatic improvements in both pump life cycle costs and system efficiencies.
The performance of every pumping application is subject to variation and the main contributing factors are as follows:
Unavoidable deviations from pump supplier curves
Pump wear
Pump curve derating factors for slurry pumping
System curve variation
Deviation from basic principles of centrifugal pump operation.
These are discussed in detail through case studies and the author's personal experiences. This paper shows ways to minimize the effect of these variations, thereby reducing performance loss and preventing damage to the pump.
The paper discusses the benefits of efficient pump operation, the requirements of pump performance monitoring, and its practical application to pump operation in the slurry and water environments. The cost of remedial actions is explored and compared against the savings in both power and plant reliability, resulting in a reduced life cycle cost of the pump.



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