Review: New Pump Engineering Delivers Performance Improvements

Daniel Selwood is a Pump Manager at JTMEC Pty Ltd in Queensland. In his career, Daniel has worked with many different brands of dewatering pumps on Australian mine sites. In this interview, he discusses the performance and engineering of the new PumpEng dewatering pumps.

Q. I understand JTMEC is an Australian-owned company providing quality turn-key electrical services and products across the Asia-Pacific Region. What sort of clients do you service in this region?

We mostly deal directly with hard rock mining companies, including Newcrest, Redpath and PYBAR.

Q. I believe some of your clients are using the MetalVest 37kW submersible dewatering pumps. How do they use them, and can you describe the operating environment?

Generally, they’re used in high head applications with high water flow. They’re used in sumps to pump either to another sump or to a mono pump. These pumps handle the dirty water that you find in mining environments. This includes Shotcrete fibres and muddy sumps.

Q. What feedback are you getting about the PumpEng MetalVest 37kW pumps and the water quality they handle?

They handle poor water quality a lot better than the other pumps, and they also handle the rubbish and the mud. MetalVest uses hard iron and High Chrome parts, whereas most other mining pumps are cast alloy with rubber wear parts. When the rubber parts wear in other pumps, the performance goes down for that pump. In contrast with this previous wear standard, the PumpEng MetalVest 37kW pumps performance will stay up because of the materials used in the impeller.

A PumpEng MetalVest pump overlaid on an image of a man in a mining uniform standing in an underground mine site

Q. A PumpEng goal is to increase the Mean (net) Time Between Failure of dewatering pumps. Can you describe what your clients are saying about the MetalVest 37kW pumps?

Clients are saying that they handle the water better. The MetalVest pump performs for longer, and so these pumps reduce the man hours needed to maintain your system.

Q. You’ve been able to assess the performance of a number of different pump brands over the years. Can you describe the kind of improvement you are seeing in the PumpEng product relative to others?

I’ve worked on many different pump brands over the years. I’m seeing these PumpEng pumps lasting twice to three times longer. Not only are the pumps lasting longer, when they come back, less parts need replacing. We had a rental pump that was out for three months. When it came back, it only needed minor repairs before going back out again. This is a pretty dramatic change from what we’ve seen with other pumps in the past.

Q. What are the clients saying to you about the PumpEng pump performance?

There are a couple of clients who are definitely noticing. They’re pretty impressed. In one case, we hired out a PumpEng pump to a client. They were so impressed they instantly bought one and plan to buy another. This was just based on how long the pumps lasted in their sump. I’ve been working with mining pumps for a long, long time, and it’s a dramatic step forward in engineering and innovation.

Q. One of PumpEng’s goals is to create a good day at work for maintenance crews and managers. Longer pump life is going to save work and keep crews out of the water?

I definitely agree with that. I think that whenever you reduce that type of work on any mining site, it will be appreciated.

I think the PumpEng engineering department is exceeding themselves with their new products. Rather than just being happy with producing bulk parts and making bulk money, they’re trying to engineer a real solution to the problems we’ve been having with mining pumps underground, and they’ve made a difference.

Q. Can you describe your experience of the support you’ve been getting locally through the PumpEng Townsville office?

We’ve got a lot of work on at the moment, so I speak to the Townsville office every couple of days. They’ve been responsive and helpful. Just recently, we had an issue, and one of the engineers called me within a couple of hours and solved the problem.

Q. When you are talking to clients who haven’t tried out the PumpEng pumps, what do you say?

We’ve tried and tested them. We’ve had a lot of clients who are brand exclusive when it comes to pumps. Once they’ve tried the PumpEng brand, they are happy with the wear times and performance.

For years everyone has used the old brand of pumps because they got used to them. PumpEng listened to feedback and really worked on how these old pumps were failing. They’ve engineered an improved pump design that performs better and lasts longer. I think it is a very significant step forward and a useful innovation for Australian mining.