In the mining industry there are numerous different conditions which pose a threat of combustion such as environments in which a spark, flame or even excessive heat can cause ignition. Coal mines is one such a place where excessive flammable dust or dry material can be ignited. Pumps operating in these environments are designed, manufactured and customised within strict parameters to prevent them from causing an explosion.
Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) recently commissioned an underground double configuration flameproof pump set to a Mpumalanga colliery for the purpose of dewatering its shortwall coal mining operations. “The flameproof pump set is used to dewater unmined areas at a rate of 60m3 (60 000l) per hour.” Says Franscois Steenkamp, Managing Director of MRS.
“Pumps are often used to transfer hazardous liquids, such as flammable, combustible, toxic and corrosive chemicals thus certain design and operating practices should be followed. Safety is a chief concern for all industries. Explosion and flame proof pumps are systems specially designed to enclose parts of the pump that could ignite vapours, resulting in explosion of the transfer media or surrounding atmosphere. The MRS commissioned pump set combines flame proof panels incorporated to two single stage suction centrifugal pumps. These pumps are constructed to enclose the parts that could ignite the material being transported or found in the surrounding area. They are also designed to operate at a lower temperature than similar standard pumps. What gives our clients further peace of mind is that with this unit, replacement parts and spares, conforming with flame proof specifications, are readily available and can be delivered and installed within a very short turnaround time.”
Contaminated air in coal mining, or mining in general, referred to as mine damps is often released during mining operations including drilling and blasting. Being in a confined space the contaminated gases builds up as it is unable to disperse which can lead to explosions. Having pumps not fit for purpose, this could lead to disaster as a small spark can ignite the contaminated gasses. MRS supplies and installs pumps specifically designed and customised for the areas they operate in adhering to various regulations as prescribed by the mining industry.
The MRS supplied flameproof pumps are designed and manufactured strong enough to contain an explosion and prevent a flame or heat from escaping that could ignite mine damps.
In order to improve the lifespan as well as the efficiency of the supplied flameproof pump set, MRS coated the wet end of the pump (impeller & casing) with Belzona 1341 Supermetalglide. This engineered coating is a 2-part epoxy coating using hydrophobic technology designed to improve efficiency of pumps, pipes, valves and other fluid handling equipment. Belzona 1341 further protects the effects of erosion and corrosion. This high performance product is proven to reduce energy consumption, provide excellent chemical resistance and lower maintenance costs. “When offering a client a solution on a flameproof pump, why not also offer them the ability to minimise downtime, extended pump life, as well as higher efficiency as well?” Says Steenkamp. “It is possible to decrease the power consumption of a pump and improve its hydraulic properties by changing the pump surface finish. The smoother the pump walls, the more fluid turbulence will be reduced and, subsequently, the energy required for the pump to transport the fluid through the hydraulic passage,” Steenkamp explains.