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Improved maintenance helps prevent pump failures in mines

Weir Minerals

weir-mineralsWeir Minerals is an industry leader in the manufacturing, supply and maintenance of pumps and valves for the mining and minerals industry. Its pumps help keep sites free of water and slurry and are used in demanding environments such as sand and gravel extraction, coal mines and power stations.

To help improve maintenance inspections, Weir Minerals worked with CoreRFID to develop a system that would enable engineers to collect performance data on site, reduce the risk of errors and help identify potential problems at an early stage.

“Improving the availability of pump performance data is important for us. The CoreRFID system speeds up data collection and improves accuracy.”
– Paul Brooks, European Service Support Manager, Weir Minerals

Identifying problems, predicting failures

Failure of pumping equipment can cause serious disruption to mining and extraction operations – from delays while repairs are carried out or site closure while replacement equipment is installed to threats to the life and welfare of mining teams.

Weir Minerals aims to minimise the risk of failure through innovative product design, planned preventative maintenance and by monitoring the condition of pumps to predict failures.

Regular field inspection is an essential part of pump servicing. However collecting and processing pump performance data can be difficult. Collecting information manually takes time and effort and transcribing it is expensive and can introduce errors.

Capturing data on site

Weir Minerals’ system enables engineers to capture data on mobiles or tablets at the point of inspection and prompts them to record all the information needed. Data – once entered – is uploaded to a cloud-based system and is immediately available to all Weir Minerals staff and customers.

A key benefit of the system is the reduced time it takes to collect and distribute data, allowing potential problems to be spotted before they become critical.

The use of RFID tags and barcodes also enable individual items of equipment to be identified. Barcodes offer a low-cost way of identifying some items but electronic tags have the added benefit of assured readability in dirty environments.

Once the individual pump is identified, the inspecting engineer can record data such as bearing temperatures, vibration levels, current power consumption and water pressures. The system also allows a pump to be flagged as non-operational and for follow up actions – such as a re-inspection – to be noted.

The true value of the CheckedOK system used by Weir Minerals is that the data collected gives them the opportunity to take corrective action before a pump fails.

Historical data highlights trends

The system also helps reduce the risks of error. At each site the engineer is given a list of all pumps needing checks or maintenance so that there is a reduced risk of equipment being overlooked. Reports from the database allow the values for pumps of a similar type to be compared. The values of critical data over time for an individual pump can be shown graphically, highlighting trends in bearing temperature or vibration, for example.

The ability to analyse historic data in a timely and easy way is critical for predicting problems. Since its initial implementation, Weir Minerals has already extended the system, adding features such as the ability to show data for parts within an overall assembly (bill of materials) and additional languages to support the deployment of the system across its European operations.

The Weir Minerals pump inspection system is based on CoreRFID’s CheckedOK application. CoreRFID developed the pump data capture forms for the engineers’ mobile devices, created specific reports required by Weir Minerals and worked with the company to choose a range of RFID tags suitable for the equipment being checked and the installation environment.

The benefits

The Weir Minerals system provides:

  • Prompting for data required
  • Collection of current and historic data for trend analysis
  • Site lists of pumps for inspection
  • Accurate recording of inspection results
  • Immediate access to inspection results