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Filtration in the coal mine

Supplier: HYDAC International By: Mark LeRoux
10 June, 2014

With the advent of new high tier engines emerging into the Australian coal mining industry, the necessity of having clean and dry diesel fuel into the diesel engine is becoming vitally important.

Higher injector pressures used in these high-tier rated engines are placing new demands on fuel cleanliness.

By far the largest fleet in an open cut coal mining operation is the haul truck. In addition, the Haul truck is by far also the largest consumer of diesel fuel. Cost savings to fuel consumption of these haul trucks is considered by each mining operation to be critical and fuel consumption is monitored closely of these vehicles.

This has led to investments by these companies into diesel fuel filtration on bulk fuel filtration. No longer can they solely rely on the installed "on-board diesel engine" fuel filter. They have to also rely on additional filtration before the fuel is dispensed into the diesel tank on the haul truck.

Additional filtration on bulk diesel installs takes place in the form of either particulate filtration or coalescing filtration. Coalescing filtration is filtration in which free water is removed from diesel fuel. These bulk diesel fuel filtration solutions provide, or are supposed to provide the client with clean dry diesel being dispensed into the vehicle.

All too often, it is seen that some of these installs do not deliver the results. Such instances are:

Water absorbing elements are often used to absorb water in diesel fuel in place of coalescing filters. This practice of using water absorbing elements does not work and they have limited capabilities in absorbing water in one pass filtration systems.

Incorrectly sized filter systems for particulate are an occurrence seen all too often on mine sites. Money spent on smaller sized filter systems seems to override the long term outlook on getting larger systems installed.

Filtering is also too often installed only on the off loading side or dispensing side of the bulk fuel install. Filtration should and has to be installed on both the off loading side and dispensing sides of bulk storage tanks. This practice should be common in all installs but is not.

The measurement of cleanliness of the diesel fuel is still done with traditional bottle sampling techniques. The advent of on line particle counters make the process of measuring cleanliness of diesel fuel more accurate and information on diesel fuel cleanliness is available immediately. On line sampling also makes trending of cleanliness of diesel fuel more believable and more results are available for this trending.

Incorrectly sized desiccant breathers systems on bulk diesel storage tanks. In stances where desiccant breathers are used on diesel tanks, it is seen that these systems have been hopelessly undersized for the application.

Filtration of bulk diesel fuel and the monitoring of cleanliness need not cost a fortune. There are great benefits for the end user if done correctly and with the right technical expertise.

HYDAC has the local expertise to help you achieve optimum fuel cleanliness and it also provides specific products for filtration, dewatering and fuel condition monitoring, for every step of the process, from production to consumption.