“We used a LPP-T hose pump for our first thickener, but it was not in operation for longer than one month before we shelved it. We took the pump out of duty as the slurry was so thin that pump was not needed. With our second thickener we knew that our slurry would be thicker, so we decided to have a go with the hose pump again. We were aware of the benefits of Flowrox pumps compared to centrifugal pumps,” Wennberg continues.
Flowrox Solution: Pumping 72% rocking solidsFor the new plant LKAB chose LPP-T100 transfer pumps that are able to pump up to 76% solids. “The fact that the hose pumps are suitable for paste and high-density slurries is important to us.
However, at the moment we are pumping 66 to 70% solids. The
capability of the pumps to effectively pump solids is very crucial for us in the water treatment facilities. The slurry is dense enough to enable us to save water and maintain the flow,” states Åsa Partapuoli, Senior Process Engineer, LKAB.
Reliability is what we look for in a pump“We have been working with the three pumps in the thickener plant for one year now and they have been operating well. The most important thing for us in terms of pump performance is that they function reliably. All the other benefits come after that. If a pump is not reliable, there is nothing else to benefit from either,” states Ronny Martinson, Maintenance and Operation, LKAB.
“They seem to work quite well, and there’s no need to change the hoses too often. We are now on a 3-month hose change cycle according to the LCC calculation. As I mentioned earlier, reliability is something that we look for in a pump. Now we are looking into expanding the hose lifetime to 6 months. The only challenge has been the hose change due to the large size of the hose and the roll. Luckily, they do not have to be changed more often than four times a year,” Martinson adds.
Local relationships enhance operations“We have enjoyed a good relationship with the customer. We supported LKAB throughout the project and installation. We had frequent visits and telephone conferences to solve issues, maintain contact and provide support,” states Gardelin from Minrox, the Flowrox representative in Sweden.
“We do have a good relationship with quick help for solving problems,” Björn Henriksson, Project Manager LKAB, confirms. “Even though we do speak English and some of us Finnish too, it is important to communicate in Swedish and to have a local contact when dealing with large projects like this one,” Henriksson adds.
LKAB’s ambition is to increase production by 5 percent a year up to 2021.This will entail increasing capacity and efficiency also in the waste and tailings treatment. LKAB has already placed an order for fifth pump for the project.