First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
The Weir Minerals team with a new Warman pump
Eighty years ago, Charles Warman invented the iconic Warman slurry pump, a pump that is said to have revolutionised the mining industry.
To mark the brand, Weir Minerals hosted an event in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, where attendees relived Warman pumps’ history and gained an insight into some of the future innovations planned.
“It was a privilege to share this special night with some of our key customers, past and present employees, and members of the Western Australian School of Mines,” says Ricardo Garib, divisional president of Weir Minerals.
“Warman is one of our leading brands. It has truly shaped the mining industry over the past 80 years and is a product we are all very proud of.
“The Warman pump, invented to solve high wear issues in slurry pumping, created a thriving industrial business that is now the cornerstone of Weir Minerals with over 8,000 people, and over 150 manufacturing and service centres across the globe.”
Charles Warman invented the Warman slurry pump in Kalgoorlie in 1938. It was a hard-wearing slurry pump that used replaceable liners and a replaceable impeller, something that had never been done before.
“Charles Warman was a visionary and an innovator. The use of rubber lining in the pump was ground-breaking as it reduced total ownership costs, was safer to handle and offered extended wear life in many abrasive slurry applications.
“It is a great example of solving customer problems with material science, and is still taught in Universities today,” says Marcus Lane, global product manager for centrifugal pumps at Weir Minerals.
It was quickly adopted throughout the goldfields in Western Australia and by the 1950s, as customer demand rose, Charles Warman expanded his business by opening offices in Sydney and Perth.
During the 1960s the rapid growth of the business continued with manufacturing and sales outlets established around the world.
The Warman Series A pump was accepted and is said to have become a world leader in its field.
Further work on the Warman AH pump resulted in the development of interchangeable metal and rubber wearing components.
The Warman AH pump range was extended with the addition of the AHP high-pressure pump in 1974. At the time, this was the largest rubber-lined high-pressure slurry pump in the world, and is still in service today in many tailings pipelines across the globe.
Innovations continued throughout the decades, with pumps designed for tough applications including flue gas desulphurisation.
Charles Warman, inventor of the Warman slurry pump, seen here in 1962
In 1994, the Warman GSL pump was developed to handle high flows and corrosive slurry.
Weir Minerals says it took the market by storm due to its superior performance and long life and became the global standard.
“I think one of the key reasons for the growth of the Warman pump was that it was reliable, people came to trust it because it had been around for so long. It was this trust that enabled them to focus on other things in the plant and not have to worry about the pump stopping their business,” says Marcus Lane.
The Weir Group acquired the Warman pump in 1999, and a new chapter began. As part of the Weir Minerals division, a number of technological advancements were achieved for the Warman pump range.
In 2002 a revolutionary new impeller and inlet design for pumping mineral froths and high-density viscous slurries were developed, and in 2009, Weir Minerals developed the Warman WBH pump with axial and rotationally adjustable throatbush to even out wear.
“Here at Weir Minerals we are always thinking of new ways to improve the Warman pump for our customers. Research and development has underpinned all of the product development that we’ve completed and is absolutely crucial to the business,” says Marcus Lane.
“We have a fantastic understanding of the many environments in which our pumps operate and the mechanisms of wear. This has enabled us to tailor geometrics and materials to suit specific applications, and gives us a competitive edge in the marketplace.”
Today the Warman pump is said to command a leading share of the global mining market.
Weir Minerals has developed its own IoT platform Synertrex, which can be fitted to a Warman pump to monitor its performance.
“The last eighty years of the Warman pump has given us a wealth of knowledge in how to operate a pump and efficiently transport slurry,” says Michael Hambe, data scientist for Weir Minerals.
“Synertrex is going to be able to capture that wealth of knowledge and improve the product.
“The Synertrex platform allows us to collect and analyse data to predict the pump’s performance, and determine how efficiently it is operating. This empowers our customers to run their pump at the optimal threshold of performance.”
Ricardo Garib concludes: “In terms of Australian mining exports, the Warman pump is probably one of the greatest success stories. We will continue to innovate and make the Warman pump even bigger and better.”
Following the anniversary event in Kalgoorlie, Weir Minerals has embarked on a six-month celebration, sharing the history of Warman; commemorating the generation of experts behind the brand; revealing key innovations behind the pump, and telling the stories of the long-standing pumps on sites around the world.
Find out more at: https://www.global.weir/industries/minerals/always-warman/