Over the years, it has become apparent that the demand for high flow rate pipelines, either for concentrate or tailings slurry, is continuously increasing. At the same time the industry recognized the advantages of piston diaphragm pumps when compared to multistage centrifugal pump installations. As previously the unit capacity of conventional piston diaphragm pumps was limited, a large number of low capacity piston diaphragm pumps needed to be installed in parallel to meet required high flow rates. This resulted in high costs for purchase of these pumps, as well as high costs for infrastructure around the pumps, such as piping, cabling, booster pumps etc. For this reason, FELUWA decided to develop a large piston diaphragm pump with a capacity of up to 1000 m³/hr (4400 gpm), which increases the unit capacity of such pumps by about 50%. The new pump is of 5 cylinder, single acting configuration and is equipped with double hoses diaphragms, rather than with single flat and circular diaphragms. A number of these pumps have been installed and the first operational experience has become available. This paper describes the project and application, as well as the background for the development of this type of pump, its most important features, the hydraulic design of the pipeline and operational experience. In addition, the paper explains in detail why piston diaphragm pumps were selected for this application in favour of centrifugal slurry pumps and how their costs compare.
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