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MEI Online: Materials Handling: Latest News: February 13th 2004

:: New Application For Ceramic Impellers  

By installing a series of twelve ceramic impellers on its ferrosilicone plant, a large iron ore mine has increased the operating life of this pump installation from 1800 hours to in excess of 6000 hours.

Apart from the ceramic impellers, the pump casings have also been lined with radial ceramic tiles, carefully balancing out the economic life of the impeller and the volute. This has effectively reduced downtime.

All these ceramic components were manufactured and supplied by Multotec Wear Linings, the leading southern African producer of high alumina ceramic wear solutions.

Ken Tuckey, marketing manager for Multotec Wear Linings, says that being second only to diamond on the MOH hardness scale, alumina is the most versatile and cost effective wear resistant material available today.

"At a slurry density of 4.2g/cm3, and with a particle size of less than 100 micron, ferrosilicone is probably one of the most abrasive materials yet to be successfully pumped using ceramic impellers," he says.

Tuckey says that after initial impact related trials, credit should go to the mine for acknowledging the fact that the successful implementation of ceramic impellers would require the installation of screens to prevent scrap metal objects from entering the system and damaging the ceramic components.

"This has, once again, proven that a combined effort between the supplier and customer can lead to innovative solutions for wear related problems," he says.

Multotec locally manufactured and internationally patented ceramic impellers combine the best properties of the whole spectrum of available materials. Ceramic components are mounted onto steel structures by means of a polymeric, resilient bond to form a composite product that will outlast ordinary, and even Ni-hard steel counterparts by up to 6 times in life.

Apart from ferrosilicone, ceramic impellers have also proven themselves in the transportation of andalusite, gold ore, platinum tailings, zirconium sand and other abrasive slurries.




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