One of the world’s largest producers of zinc, lead, silver and other minerals has long operated mines in the Peruvian Andes mountains. The mine also operates a leaching plant that recovers wasted ore from the mining process. Maintenance managers were concerned that poor service and product knowledge provided by its existing sludge seal vendor resulted in frequent mechanical seal failures. The leaching plant looked to John Crane for help to ensure the slurry pumps’ mechanical seals operated reliably.
Troubleshooting the Problem
John Crane technicians visited the site to inspect the plant’s existing 22 slurry pump mechanical seals and four grinder seals to determine the root cause of the low mean time between failure rates (MTBF). The analysis uncovered that a lack of proper hardware, sealing plans and service led to the frequent seal failures. Clean water not being properly injected into the mechanical seal was another contributing factor.
Finding a Solution
The leaching plant operated in harsh conditions, using process fluid that consisted of 20% to 60% solids. John Crane technicians decided to replace the existing seals with John Crane Type 5860 heavy-duty dual cartridge seals and single-cartridge versions in the grinders. These seals featured an advanced seal face design ensuring optimal performance in the challenging environment. The dual seals were supplied with a Plan 53A seal support system designed specifically for use with dual seals. The single seals were selected because they can run unsupported with the advanced materials selected by John Crane’s engineering team.
The Type 5860 heavy-duty dual and single cartridge slurry seals have an MTBF rate of more than two years, generating savings of more than $200,000 per year in lower replacement costs. Click here to learn more about our Type 5860 slurry seals.
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