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Furmanite wins mining maintenance contract

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Alcoa has awarded a contract to Furmanite Australia to fit over 290 pumps with thermal switches or RTDs at its Pinjarra alumina refinery in Western Australia, requiring high level precision on-site machining, drilling and tapping expertise.

The contract, to undertake the necessary work to 294 pumps over six months starting from the beginning of November 2005, was awarded to Furmanite in October after submission of a number of tenders.

Heat sensors are required on the various Warman pumps in all three operating areas of the refinery, ranging in size from 12 to 72 inches diameter, to monitor any excessive internal heat build-up that could otherwise result in the pump casing exploding, with safety implications.

Many of these pumps are situated at a height level requiring scaffolding access, are large, and are in hazardous areas requiring specific safety precautions.

Furmanite’s in-situ machining expertise will avoid the need to isolate, dismantle and remove the pumps to a workshop for the work to be carried out to fit the sensors, with evident considerable time savings, particularly given the size and locations of many of the pumps.

To fit the sensors, a suitable pilot hole is drilled into the outer casing of each pump at an angle of 50 degrees from vertical to allow the electrical sensor to be screwed into the casing at 90 degrees to the inner casing.

Crucially, the drilling must go to precisely 0.5mm from the inside of the pump lining, requiring absolute accuracy in the drilling process.

Furmanite will achieve this through the use of purpose-designed brackets that fit onto the pump external casing with an angle and sine bracket design to exactly the correct angle and location for each different pump.

David Arnold, Furmanite sales manager West Region commented: “This is typical of the way Furmanite is able to apply its experience, engineering expertise and technology to develop solutions to meet specific requirements. Our range of products and services are geared to helping customers maximise asset uptime and keep their assets earning efficiently.”

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