Pump Conversions Increase Productivity
The Beachbuilder dustpan dredge, tied up in Sulphur, Louisiana
The existing 80-inch pumps prior to conversion. The second stage pump on the left was replaced by a GIW TBC 84 pump in September, and has achieved 15 percent higher head using seven percent less power.
The TBC 84 being tested at the GIW Hydraulic Lab in August.
In these soft economic times, capital equipment dollars are hard to justify, and dredging companies are searching for ways to cut costs while increasing output. Finding alternatives to purchasing new equipment is a major focus in the dredging industry, which relies on critical items such as gear boxes, cutterheads, engines and pumps. To operate at peak production levels, dredges need more than just functional equipment; they need machinery that runs at optimum level with minimum maintenance. At the heart of this mix is the dredge pump. Cost effective pump performance can boost productivity and play a vital role in maximizing return on investment. GIW Industries, Inc., a major producer of slurry and dredge pump technology, is offering conversions for virtually any dredge pump on the market. Working with their full service dredge representative Hagler Systems, GIW provides total system renovation to existing installations.
GIW has a long history of designing and building pumps and auxiliary equipment for dredge customers. Starting as small foundry and machine shop in Augusta, Georgia in 1891, the company began building slurry pumps for the Florida phosphate fields in 1914, and has been in the forefront of pump design, metal research and pump research and testing to the present day.
GIW engineers use advanced hydraulic technology to improve the efficiency or capacity of pumps that are not performing at an optimum level.
Most conversions retrofit a new, more cost effective wet end to the existing mechanical end of the pump. A conversion can also include such changes as an impeller redesign or complete new pump installation and drive train. Major component upgrades help dredge operators maximize vessel performance at minimum expense by improving the performance of existing equipment. The conversions are pre-engineered and shop assembled so they can be installed in the field easily, and they are designed to be adapted to existing equipment. Since much of the engineering work is already done, a conversion speeds up the process of installing new equipment and getting the system back in operation.
Weeks Marine, Inc. is taking advantage of GIW’s pump conversion expertise to standardize the dredge pumps in their fleet. After acquiring many of the former T.L. James dredges, Weeks recognized that many of their similar sized vessels were using unique pumps that were inefficient and had little interchangeability. Hagler Systems recommended that they look at pump conversions to improve pumping efficiency without the capital expense of totally new equipment.
Weeks started their pump standardization project with the Beachbuilder, a 10,000hp dustpan dredge. The Beachbuilder is equipped with one ladder pump and two deck-mounted booster pumps. The GIW TBC 84 pump was selected for the first conversion, which used the existing bearing base and bearing assembly. Fitting a new wet end assembly and reconfiguring the piping quickly had the vessel back in business.
According to Mike Peacock of Weeks Marine, this new TBC conversion pump has resulted in 15 percent higher head while using seven percent less power, resulting in a lower cost per ton pumped. Because of this success, Weeks converted an existing competitor’s pump on the Borinquen, a 2300hp cutterhead dredge. Using the existing mechanical end and bearing base, GIW adapted the proven hydraulics of the LSA 62 wet end to fit. This dredge should be back in operation next year.
GIW pump conversions can increase productivity by moving higher density slurry or larger solids, lowering power consumption and extending the life of the wear components. In addition to these benefits, the retrofitted pump can now accept genuine OEM parts, which are designed for correct fit and reliability.
To facilitate pump conversions, the new GIW Service Center will open at the Grovetown, Georgia headquarters on January 2, 2003. This is a natural evolution for the support of new and existing customers. The facility will begin by servicing bearing assemblies, then expand to refurbishing pumps, including those manufactured by other OEMs. High usage bearing housings will be kept in stock, and changeovers will be turned around in 30 days or less.
GIW’s website is: www.giwindustries.com.