The Brazilian company CBMM (Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração), which is a subsidiary of Moreira Sales Group, the world's largest extractor of niobium - one of the 31 rare metals found worldwide. CBMM extracts, processes, manufactures and sells products which contain this type of metal. The most important application of niobium is an alloy to improve the properties of steel products, especially in high resistance low alloy steels, such as those used on the manufacture of automobiles and for high pressure gas transmission pipelines. It is also used in super alloys that operate at high temperatures in airplane turbines, among other purposes. There are only three mines in the world, and the amount of niobium produced at CBMM represents 75% of the total world production. To guarantee this amount of production accordingly, CBMM relies on WEG “Wmining” motors to drive the customer pulp pumps.
Prior to WEG supplying these motors, there was a constant problem with motor burn out due to contamination of water and mineral pulp. Burn out cases used to occur on critical application motors, which interrupted the production causing significant operating losses. The problem used to occur so often that the purchase of replacement motors after unexpected stops was routine. The solution found by WEG was to supply Wmining motors which have the degree of protection IP66 for test and evaluation. Specifically designed to operate in tough mining conditions, the Wmining motor was fully approved by CBMM after the test period.
The previous motors presented a MTBF (mean time between failures) of six months, while WEG Wmining motors are still running after five years.