Industry Q&A: Austmine Welcomes RMI Pressure Systems to the Member Network
Austmine is pleased to welcome RMI Pressure Systems on board as members. Renowned for bringing over 100 years of engineering excellence, innovative design and mining technology to the industry, they have provided productivity and safety enhancing solutions to longwall mining for many years.
We recently caught up with their General Manager, Chris Muir, in the Hunter Region of NSW to discuss combatting mining’s pumping challenges and the pathway ahead for the business.
1. As a new member to the Austmine network, provide a brief overview of RMI Pressure Systems and your role in the mining industry.
RMI is the only Original Equipment Manufacturer for reciprocating pumps and pump systems in Australia. RMI operates mainly in underground coal mining but also in heavy industry.
RMI is proud to deliver complete systems for high pressure water applications. The product range encompasses a variable speed motor / pump combinations, fully automated backflush filter stations, dump valve system, a monorail decompression system and a complementary list of other products for complete pressure management.
2. RMI prides itself on being an early innovator. How has this innovative mindset been applied to high pressure systems for underground longwall coal mines?
RMI has recently developed the AGILIS system, an innovative variable speed drive based on the complete integration of a switched reluctance motor, the power as well as the control electrics in one single explosion proof motor.
Its multiple benefits are, but not limited to; lower energy cost, smallest footprint, less wear and tear on the pump and the subsequent hydraulic system. This all results in lowest OPEX for the customer.
3. Two major factors impacting the sustainability of Australia’s mining industry are depleting water reserves and access to affordable and reliable energy. How can Australian mines combat these issues in the pumping space? How can RMI help?
With the AGILIS system, RMI can save (shearer) water due to the fact that the system delivers only on demand. A direct-on-line motor and pump would waste more water. Furthermore, DOL motors have a poor power factor and convert valuable electrical energy into heat. Since the AGILIS system is based on a variable speed motor, the internal control circuit can adjust the outgoing volume flow and obtains the required system pressure, while keeping up an excellent power factor which reduces energy cost.
Since the delivery volume flow is known, it is only a matter of one additional flow meter in the return line to provide reliable information regarding fluid losses in the hydraulic system.
4. The use of intelligent equipment and machine data has been critical in adding value to the offerings of METS companies. How has RMI utilised these in pumping systems?
RMI is currently in the process of setting up a continuous performance monitoring system for all our customers. This will assist both the customer as well as RMI in regards of pro-active maintenance. Therefore, we aim for an extended product life and longer intervals between major maintenance, especially in combination with the AGILIS system.
We are also working on a machine learning algorithm which enables the AGILIS core PLC to estimate the upcoming demand which will ensure smoother operation of all downstream hydraulic equipment.
Chris has been involved in the mining industry for over 40 years and has been the General Manager of RMI Pressure Systems for the last 10 years. Chris sees the AGILIS as being one of the new game changing innovations being offered in the underground mining industry and it will provide long term cost savings and benefits to the customer.