It’s been 80 years since Charles Warman invented the iconic Warman slurry pump, a pump that revolutionized the mining industry and continues to push the boundaries of pump performance to this day.
In honor of this legendary brand, Weir Minerals hosted an event at the end of May in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Throughout the evening, 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,” stated Ricardo Garib, division 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 more than 8,000 people, and more than 150 manufacturing and service centers 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,” said 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, 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 became 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 a number of tough applications including flue gas desulphurisation. In 1994, the Warman GSL pump was developed to handle high flows and corrosive slurry. 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,” said Lane.
The Weir Group Plc acquired the Warman pump in 1999, and a whole new chapter began. As part of the Weir Minerals division, a number of technological advancements were achieved for the Warman pump range. In 2002, the development of a revolutionary new impeller and inlet design for pumping mineral froths and high-density viscous slurries, and in 2009, Weir Minerals developed the Warman WBH pump with axial and rotationally adjustable throatbush to even out wear. Due to its innovative design, this pump soon became the new slurry pump standard.
Today, the Warman pump has an unparalleled world-wide reputation in slurry pumping, commanding a leading share of the global mining market. There are few mining sites in the world where Warman slurry pumps cannot be found.
Technology is increasing at an incredible pace, and as technology progresses and society demands new materials, the Warman pump is primed and ready to provide them.
Weir Minerals, www.global.weir/industries/minerals/always-warman