One of the world’s largest gold mines, located in a remote, difficult-to-access area of Peru, experienced costly and frequent mean time between failure (MTBF) seal rates on slurry pumps. Operated by a sizable U.S.-based mining corporation, the 251-square-kilometer open-pit mine’s seal provider did not provide adequate and organized technical information or installation drawings for the seals. With limited technical information to work from, mine technicians replaced seals when they failed rather than repair them, when they failed. John Crane won an open bidding process based on its reputation for reliability and field service strategy to become the mine’s new slurry seal supplier.
John Crane’s Expertise
Despite a lack of technical and installation documentation, John Crane engineers worked closely with mine technicians and corporate engineers to understand the MTBF issue and provide an economical and effective remedy.
The outcome of the investigation was to install John Crane’s Type 5840 and Type 5860 slurry seals, along with packing and bearing isolators, to replace the existing seals and components. The hydraulically balanced seal design eliminates sliding O-rings and operates without flush, removing the need for additional circulation expenses. Also included in the agreement was a minimum of twice-a-month, on-site service management visits.
Organizing the technical information and installation documentation, drastically reduced the number of installation and repair mistakes made by mine technicians. Following the John Crane slurry seal product and service upgrade, MTBF has improved from an average of once a month to once every six months. The mine has saved approximately $1,000 per month on the 120 pumps that were part of the upgrade, for a total of $120,000 in reduced costs per month.