Mining Co Maximizes Up-Time & Reduces Costs in Fuel Filtration

As emission standards began to increase, a large mining operation found that they were incurring added expenses from field servicing trucks for unclean fuel filters clogging often and shutting down the trucks to protect the engine. This is not uncommon for mines as the incoming fuel from refineries does not meet the new standards for lower emission trucks, but at the time, no mining operation implemented an active fuel filtration system.
In an effort to reduce costs, the large mining operation engaged Valin® Corporation to develop a solution that provides ultra-clean and dry fluids to various pieces of mobile equipment in the mine’s challenging off-road environment.
At the large mining operation, No. 2 diesel fuel is delivered from their vendor every day, and the fuel is often delivered contaminated and does not sit in the storage tank long enough for contaminates to fall out. The delivery flow rate requirements are up to 300 GPM, which was important in limiting the downtime of trucks and filling them more rapidly. Furthermore, the climate in this area is not ideal for operating conditions as the summers are very hot and the winters are very cold. This leads to an extremely dirty and dusty environment with poor tank venting and a high possibility of algae in tanks.
Considering these operating conditions, Valin® needed to develop a solution that is robust, weatherproof, 150 psi rated, compact and portable, and has a single pass performance. It needed to filter the fuel while filling the storage tanks, and then filter and polish the fuel again as it transferred from the storage tank to equipment.
For filtration from the delivery truck to the storage tanks, Valin® recommended a five micron particulate filter from the delivery truck to the storage tanks, with an optional delivery pump at 300 GPM flow rate.
To filter from the storage tanks to trucks, Valin® proposed a base unit for the mining operation mounted on a concrete pad inside the containment area that included two major components – a two micron pre-filter and a two micron coalescing filter/water separator. The base unit provided automatic control for water slugs, clogged filters and flow rate with no electrical requirement. A skid with a drip pan was also included for easy fork lift compatibility.
Unfiltered fuel enters the pre-filter stage where the microglass filter elements remove any solid contaminants down to one micron. These filter elements keep most of the solid contaminants from reaching and plugging the more expensive coalescer elements. The pre-filter elements include a two micron particulate filtration unit designed to maintain an ISO 16/13 minimum oil cleanliness or better. When it is time to remove the water, fuel exits the pre-filter stage and enters the filter/separator stage. The fuel passes through the coalescer elements where any free and emulsified water is coalesced. Fuel then enters the separator element stage, which easily passes fuel, but acts as a hydrophobic barrier to all water droplets. As a result, the water droplets fall to the sump area.
The coalescer is capable of removing 3% of water by volume in fuel down to less than 100 PPM in a single pass. The performance is driven by aviation fuel performance specifications.
The coalescer encased by the separator allows for inside / out in-flow direction. It is designed to provide a hydrophobic barrier to an outlet of vessels for complete water separation. An auto water drain will then automatically dump the water during unattended operation without fuel spillage.
Valin® also included a slug control valve, which is used in tandem with auto water drain to prevent a slug of water from overwhelming filter/separator and going downstream during unattended operation. It senses high differential pressure across either pre-filter or coalesce filters and will shut down flow.
As a result of Valin®’s total fuel filtration and separation solution, the mining operation has been able to maximize the up-time of equipment for operations, while significantly decreasing downtime and costs for maintenance and repair of equipment.