The JBS Australian Dinmore operation is the largest beef processing plant in the southern hemisphere, and the plant is the largest employer in Ipswich. They naturally use a large amount of many and varied pumps around the plant, but some time ago, it was having reliability problems with their end suction centrifugal pump on a cattle yard run-off application. Because of large suspended solids in the fluid, their centrifugal pump struggled with choking and also, because it relied on a foot valve to keep the suction line primed, was prone to losing prime if a solid got caught in that foot valve. It was not an easy application as the wastewater pump was delivering 20 litres per second (L/S) at a pressure of 800kPa (because of the long discharge line it was pumping through), and not only that, was on a suction lift in excess of 5 metres.
After a site inspection and a hydraulic analysis of the system, Hydro Innovations suggested the plant look at a Gorman-Rupp VS3A60-B which is the only two stage self priming solids handling centrifugal pump on the market. The self priming pump is of cast iron construction with a large inspection cover to allow access to pump internals for inspection and/ or service. It is capable of handling spherical solids up to 63mm in diameter, and internal clearance adjustments can be done in minutes, allowing operators to keep the pump at peak operating efficiency for the life of the asset. This self priming pump is also an excellent primer, and re-primer, which means that it cannot lose its prime even if solids get caught in the system.
The VS360-B is part of a “family” of Gorman-Rupp high performance, high head self priming wastewater pumps that can deliver flows from 10 l/s through to 120 l/s, and heads to 95 metres. The Gorman Rupp pumps all have replaceable “self cleaning” wear plates to assist in handling stringy materials such as rags and gloves, and they can operate on suction lifts up to 7.6 metres. Being self priming pumps, they are much safer to maintain than submersible sludge pumps because operators do not have to work over water or work with cranes or heavy swinging weights.
The self priming pump was duly installed and has operated with minimal operator intervention for the past 6 years. The large solids handling capacity solved the choking issues, and because the pump does not need a foot valve or any other “add-on” priming device, it is an extremely reliable self primer.
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