An often-overlooked component, lifting tools help keep workers safe, maximise equipment life and can reduce pump rebuild times, according to Weir Minerals.
These tools have become increasingly important for handling slurry pump parts during maintenance as processing equipment has become larger and larger.
David Russell, Trials Manager for Weir Minerals Australia, says: “We have a duty of care to our customers to ensure they remain safe when operating and maintaining our equipment. Adopting our uniquely engineered lifting tools for our slurry pumps mean that when the correct procedures are followed, it’s very safe.”
It was only in the 1990s when a Warman® AH® 20/18 pump, was one of the largest available on the market. Now, it is regarded as a medium-sized model, outdone by the likes of the Warman® MCR® 760 pump.
Weir said: “As equipment has rapidly increased in scale over the past couple of decades, Weir Minerals has developed specially engineered tools to safely disassemble and reassemble machinery, reducing the risks associated with lifting components.”
In the case of slurry pumps, Weir Minerals’ range of lifting tools are designed for use when performing wet-end overhauls. Specific lifting tools are used for impellers, throatbushes, suction covers, frame plate liner inserts, stuffing boxes, casings and volutes.
These tools have also been designed to lift multiple components together to make rebuilds easier and quicker. For example, a lifting beam has been developed that lifts a suction cover squarely with the throatbush still attached to it.
“Using purpose designed assembly equipment in accordance with OEM lifting procedures can reduce rebuild time, in some cases by up to 50%, leading to increased plant uptime and availability,” the company said.
Russell said: “When lifting pump parts weighing more than two tonnes in restricted areas, there is little room for error. Often, the components will be worn and it is crucial they can still be secured and lifted safely in accordance with the strict global standards that Weir Minerals adheres to.”
When designing lifting equipment, Weir Minerals says it also carefully considers the mechanical strength and the stresses placed on the components being lifted, since worn parts are likely to be weaker and more brittle than new parts.
When it comes to impeller lifting tools, some competitors may employ a simple hook design, increasing the risk of the impeller falling off. Weir Minerals has developed a tool with a fixed locking jaw so that the impeller eye is locked in position and the component is properly secured prior to being lifted, the company says. “This positive engagement across two points of contact ensures that components are lifted evenly and securely with minimal risk of injury,” it said.
Independently certified in each region, the tools are manufactured and sold to meet local health and safety requirements, according to the company.
Joel Goodwin, Weir Minerals’ Aftermarket Manager for Warman pumps, said: “Safety is central in everything we do at Weir Minerals.
“We are an OEM supplier who complies with global safety standards and we adopt a stage-gated development process incorporating risk assessments and product stewardship best practice for equipment design and lifting.”