Weir Minerals said it takes safety seriously, with safety at the heart of everything the company does. The company recently rolled out a set of lifting tools for the safe handling of slurry pump parts during maintenance. An often-overlooked component, lifting tools help keep plant technicians safe, maximize equipment life and can reduce pump rebuild times.

Processing equipment has become larger and larger. In the 1990s, the Warman AH 20/18 pump was one of the largest available. Now it is regarded as a medium-sized model, eclipsed by the likes of the mammoth Warman MCR 760 pump.

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. Lifting 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.

“When lifting pump parts weighing more than 2 tons 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,” said David Russell, trials manager for Weir Minerals Australia.

Normal wear can cause razor sharp, jagged edges on components, with the potential to damage lifting slings and chains as well as injure maintenance personnel. Purpose-designed lifting tools reduce this risk. When designing lifting equipment, Weir Minerals 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.

The company has also  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. This positive engagement across two points of contact ensures that components are lifted evenly and securely with minimal risk of injury.