Weir Minerals Australia casts legendary Aussie icon Warman pumps in Artarmon, New South Wales.
With the total footprint of 35,000 square metres, this manufacturing centre houses elastomer and machine shops, pump assembly and test loop as well as the largest ferrous foundry in Australia.
This is where they manufacture Warman pump components from the strongest iron-chrome alloys in the Hyperchrome range and high-chromium white irons in the Ultrachrome range, delivering excellent wear resistance and lower total cost of ownership.
But the most important end result for Weir Minerals is customer safety. Risk is inherent in the mining industry, where heavy-duty machinery is pushed to its limit. Weir Minerals strives to eliminate potential risks at every step of its equipment’s lifespan to ensure everyone returns home safely at the end of each day.
The manufacturer sees replicator spare parts as the biggest risk to the safety of its equipment. Lacking the reliable wear-resistant alloys and full design documentation, replicators’ parts inherently introduce risks to the operation of the OEM pumps they’re installed in. Replicators also often reduce costs by bypassing key safety steps in their manufacture, inspection and transportation, introducing a variety of entirely preventable risks to a mine and its employees.
Below are just three ways Australian mines have encountered serious risks by using non-OEM pump components.
- Inferior quality components can fail catastrophically
Warman slurry pumps are designed, manufactured and installed to operate under demanding conditions placing every component in the pump under a significant amount of stress. Ensuring components meet such a challenge is an enormous task, requiring lengthy and precise design processes, using industry-leading wear-resistant alloys, stringent quality control in manufacturing and extensive safety testing.
Without understanding the complex design processes of components, replicator manufacturers use 3D scanning to approximate their construction. While this gets the broad shape of a component right, it often fails to account for smaller features essential to its safe operation and leads to leakage, vibration or excessive stress concentration which causes dangerous and unpredictable cracks in components.
Failure of critical components can lead to high pressure slurry spray, which is often toxic, corrosive or heated to very high temperatures. It can also cause high-energy brittle fracture projectiles which can travel dozens of metres, posing a serious safety risk.
- Replicator parts aren’t compatible with OEM’s lifting tools
Larger equipment, such as the Warman MCR 760 pump, have parts which can weigh up to 2000 kilograms, leaving little room for error when manoeuvring them in the tight confines of a plant. Warman lifting tools and lifting methods are painstakingly designed and exhaustively tested to meet these challenges and cater to the different needs of each component in a pump.
While these features enhance safety for users lifting Warman genuine spare parts, they also mean that even slight design deviations in replicator parts introduce an unacceptable risk of the parts slipping out from the tool unexpectedly. Replicator components are often significantly weaker due to inferior alloys used in construction, or because key parts of the structure have been thinned or removed to reduce costs. Moving replicated parts with Warman lifting tools is unsafe.
- Sub-standard transport equipment creates unloading risk
A lot that can go wrong before equipment even gets to the mine – so safety must begin at the factory. Before any of the Warman pumps or components are dispatched, Weir Minerals conducts a full risk assessment, identifying and addressing potential issues in loading, transportation and unloading.
In contrast to that, replicator parts are frequently shipped on generic transport pallets which can’t handle the component’s weight. This adds risk of component damage and personnel injury during transportation and at the point of unloading, when a broken pallet or inadequate tie-down chains could lead to an unstable load and toppling hazard.
All these safety risks can be avoided by making small upfront investments in genuine Warman spares.
Contact Weir Minerals to order your genuine Warman spare parts, made in Australia.