Written by Dale Bone, August 12, 2015
OCI Chemical Corporation is an industry leader in the production of soda ash, sodium percarbonate, and hydrogen peroxide. OCI’s Big Island Mine has been in operation since 1962 and is a 3.25 million short ton facility. The trona mine uses the “Room and Pillar Method,” and then they convey it to surface where it is refined into dense soda ash. The waste material is pumped back underground as far as two miles. The tailings range from 50-63% solids. Soda ash is commonly used in glass manufacturing and powder detergent. Other uses include pulp processing, chemicals manufacturing, pH control, and food manufacturing.
OCI needed to replace aging piston pumps at its Big Island Mine near Green River, WY, and they chose to install Schwing Bioset equipment to pump their tailings underground or to surface storage facilities - on a 24/7 basis. Because of this continuous demand, OCI spent a great deal of time and research in choosing a product and partner, and during this process they visited Schwing Bioset operations, among others. In the end, several factors drove the decision to choose Schwing Bioset piston pumps, and OCI will install two model KSP 220 pumps with XL poppet valves this fall.
According to OCI Project Manager, Mr. Jim Spurrier, the most compelling factors included Schwing Bioset’s resume of satisfied mining clients, their ability to customize programming and electrical design to integrate into OCI’s existing controls and computers, and the open loop hydraulics and hydraulic signaling incorporated in the product design. The other important factor was that Schwing Bioset is based out of Wisconsin. The pumps and power units were built in Somerset, WI, so schematics were written in English, and the ability to get parts stocked in North America and shipped within one business day was critical, as well as having service techs in the US.
The information exchange and interaction the OCI team had with the Schwing Bioset team throughout the year-long process gave OCI the confidence that they chose the right partner for them and that they could make the project a success regardless of the challenges they face along the way.
(Equipment shown is not the actual OCI equipment)