December 6, 2021

Sykes Pumps’ Bentonite unit handles slurry in a hurry for Come

Pump hire specialist, Sykes Pumps, has enabled building materials supplier, CEMEX, to carry out business-critical maintenance at its Rugby cement plant thanks to a specialist B150 Bentonite pump.

CEMEX’s Rugby plant produces cement for construction projects of all sizes and uses 1.7m tonnes of chalk slurry in cement production each year. This slurry has a 66% solids content and is stored in two 12,500m3 capacity basins, where it is agitated by giant mixer arms to retain its viscous consistency. When the mixer arms on one of the basins needed to be repaired, it was necessary to empty the basin of slurry in order for maintenance teams to carry out the work, and a pump was required that could handle this application.

Sykes Pumps visited the site to understand the nature and urgency of the challenge and was able to supply the Bentonite pump to site for installation within hours of the first inquiry. Designed specifically for arduous applications, Sykes Pumps’ B150 Bentonite pump is a specialist diesel pump that can pump solids of up to 52mm with a maximum flow rate of 90 litres/second.

The pump was craned over the 6m wall of the basin and lifted into position by CEMEX using the company’s in-house equipment. It was connected to a discharge hose taking slurry into the adjacent pump house, from where it could be pumped into the other basin. This ensured that production could remain operational at the site while the affected basin was drained and repaired.

Martin Lithgo, site manager at CEMEX’s Rugby plant, comments: “The chalk slurry basins are business critical to our cement production so it was vital to drain the affected basin as quickly and safely as possible without business interruption.

“Sykes Pumps responded very quickly and were able to provide very specialist equipment that worked efficiently throughout the basin drainage operation to enable us to investigate the maintenance requirements for the agitator arm and complete the repairs. The project was a once-in-a-decade requirement but neither the team nor the equipment at Sykes Pumps were fazed by the unusual brief.”