Flow Measurement & Control

World's largest copper mine chooses flowmeter

April 2003 Flow Measurement & Control Products

After experiencing problems with installed electromagnetic flowmeters, the largest copper mine in the world, situated in the north of Chile, decided to opt for a new supplier and chose the Danfoss Sonoflo ultrasonic flowmeter, type Sonokit.

La Escondida copper mine requires massive volumes of uninterrupted water supply for the mining process. Existing electromagnetic flowmeters on pipes, ranging from 600 to 1200 mm, were faulty due to argil in the region's water supply, which was adhering to the flowmeters' electrodes. Complicating the problem further was the fact that the mining process did not permit shutdown of the water flow in order to effectively clean the electrodes, and clamp-on systems could not be used, as the pipes had an internal rubber coating.

Danfoss' Sonokit solution successfully overcame all these limitations, and was installed using hot-tap tools so that it would not be necessary to cut the water flow, while the equipment was calibrated and commissioned. The Sonokit can easily be retrofitted on virtually any size or type of pipe - from DN 80 to DN 4000 - making it a cost effective solution for large dimension water pipes.

In this instance, the flowmeter was installed on a 900 mm diameter pipe. "The application was challenging due to the 3100 m altitude of the mine, windy conditions, having to work on a pipe under pressure and 6 m off the ground, and being restricted by a stringent set of security regulations," states John Alexander, Danfoss South Africa product manager - motion controls and flow.

The Sonokit ultrasonic flowmeter is robust and contains no moving parts, for a 100% maintenance-free flowmeter. It can also be buried and will withstand flooding, while wetted transducers assure superior accuracy compared to clamp-on meters. A costly wet calibration is not necessary, as after mounting the signal converter automatically calculates the calibration factor based on inputted pipe geometry data.

"La Escondida is very satisfied with the solution Danfoss provided for this challenging hot tap application in the mining industry," claims Alexander. "Proof of this is the mine placing an order for a further four Sonokit flowmeters."

For more information contact Mick Baugh, Danfoss, 011 803 8390, baughm@danfoss.co.za, www.danfoss.co.za


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