The installation of Grundfos pumps and related equipment as part of an international beer brewer’s expansion in Gauteng highlights a common commitment to water and energy efficiency.

A range of Grundfos submersible pumps, smart digital pumps and vertical multistage centrifugal pumps are installed at this Sedibeng-based brewery’s wastewater plant and its water treatment plant. 

The installation, which is in line with the brewer’s commitment to conserve water as a precious resource, included the installation of a water recovery plant, allowing the operation to further optimise water use within its facility. 

The expansion also saw the upgrading of the water treatment plant, where clean ‘raw’ water from the municipality is further purified for brewing purposes. After the beer is produced, beer residues and water used for pipe cleaning is treated to meet regulated environmental discharge limits. This can also be re-used for cleaning, reducing the need to draw on the municipal supply. 

According to Raymond Makgoga, Grundfos associate sales engineer, three Grundfos submersible wastewater pumps were provided to transfer water from the brewery to the water recovery plant. After the sedimentation process, water is pumped to the reclamation plant for final treatment. In this circuit, around 6,000 m3 of water is pumped daily, with the pumps being driven by 15 kW high-efficiency motors with IE3 rating.

Accurate dosing

“In the water treatment plant, a number of Grundfos Smart Digital S and Smart Digital XL pumps are installed, mounted on dosing skids,” says Makgoga. “These must accommodate a range of chemicals from sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite in the reverse osmosis circuit, to citric acid and anti-scalant in the ultra-filtration circuit.”

Makgoga describes this function as a critical part of the brewery’s operation, and comments on the value of Grundfos control systems.

“These systems give a high level of control, communicating vital data between the pump and the PLC so that chemical dosing is accurate and appropriate,” he says. “This eliminates over-dosing and ensures that chemicals are not wasted; the Grundfos pumps are able to measure the volumes of water flow and then dose in proportion.”

The dosing pumps were supplied with the complete package including Grundfos’s CIU 500 interface. The CIU 500 is a standard interface for data transmission between an industrial ethernet network and a Grundfos pump or controller, making data exchange possible between Grundfos pumping systems and a PLC or SCADA system. 

Other accessories in the package were pressure relief valves, pressure loading valves for maintaining pressure on the discharge line, and pulsation dampeners to ensure smooth dosing flow.

Saving energy

Energy efficiency is also an important factor, considering the significant energy consumed by wastewater treatment plants. Some 28% of the Sedibeng facility’s energy is consumed by utilities, which are therefore the first port of call for energy saving efforts. 

Large pumps in the system transfer about 1,750 m3 of water per hour around the brewery, for instance, pumping 24 hours a day. To monitor and conserve energy, he says the company uses a Utilities Benchmark Model (UBM) which compares the electricity used with the kilograms of water treated and chemical oxygen demand (COD). 

The use of IE3 energy efficient motors in the Grundfos pump installations has assisted in reducing energy consumption to about 1,3 kW per kilogram COD treated, from a level of over 1,9 previously. These statistics are tracked daily, and the new equipment helps to facilitate this data tracking as the operation works towards even more demanding energy saving targets.

According to Nancy Khumalo, service sales at Grundfos, energy savings can be modelled in advance to indicate how Grundfos pump installations can improve energy consumption.

“This allows our customers to consider how the Grundfos pumps could contribute to reducing their carbon footprint and their actual electricity costs,” says Khumalo. “We are also able to provide an estimation of the capital payback period based on these savings.”


As part of the package Grundfos provided training and support to operator-level employees at the brewery. This allowed the plant staff to ‘take ownership’ of the equipment and understand more about its functioning. 

“Grundfos has been proactive in embracing our sustainability vision, and is now guided by our Grundfos Strategy 2025,” he says. “Focusing on people and water, we share the same passion as our customers to impact positively on our global future through high-value, technology-driven solutions.”


Having excelled in recent years at management of fast track construction projects, Concor is again leveraging its depth of skills successfully – this time with Anglo American Global Shared Services’ (GSS) Ikusasa building in the Oxford Parks precinct in Rosebank, Johannesburg. 

Warren Mills, site agent at Concor responsible for the project, says that fast track construction has become increasingly prevalent as it allows occupancy within a shorter period of time from the decision being made to begin construction. 

“It does, however, require a more agile approach to construction especially as this type of project is far more complex with numerous subcontractors interfacing on a tight construction programmes,” he says. “On the Ikusasa project we will eventually have more than 70 subcontractors on site, and this is in addition to our own team of core disciplines. So it is all about tight control over scheduling and close co-ordination with all.” 

Commenting on the pace of construction, Mills says that bulk excavations for the three basement levels started in January 2021, and the concrete structure for the four storey building topped out in August. 

Given the construction schedule the decision was made to increase the size of the foundation piles allowing the columns to be cast over the piles. Mills explains that traditionally one would excavate around the pile and cast a concrete base or pile cap on top of the pile, however by increasing the size of the pile the need for concrete bases was eliminated, resulting in a time saving to the project. In total 115 piles were cast. 

Once the piling subcontractor had cast the piles, Concor inserted the column starter bars into the concrete whereafter the normal shuttering process was followed, and the concrete columns cast. Columns were spaced on an 8.4 metre by 8.4 metre grid, and decking was installed for the suspended concrete slab pour. 

The basement level pours were split into five separate pours to accommodate the construction schedule and allow other ongoing work to done. There are three full basements levels with a fourth smaller ramp connection to a future phase. 

Space constraints as well as financial feasibility informed the decision to go with a readymix service provider, and this decision formed part of the overall risk management on the project.

“The concrete design mixes for various aspects of the build including all slabs considered the need for a low carbon footprint with a low Portland cement content being used, seeing this fall into the green concrete category,” Mills says. “However, in the case of the column mix this was superseded by the need for an early high strength concrete that would facilitate the ongoing fast track construction process.”

Construction of the top structure continued with the building of a double volume space between the ground and first floors and the three office levels above that. The fourth slab was poured in mid-August to close off the third office floor. 

“Traditionally when constructing an office building, we would require three levels of back prop and support work, however on this project we managed to engineer a solution that required only two levels of back propping. Adopting this innovative construction methodology facilitated an earlier access state for subcontractors to start façade installations, wet work services and follow-on trades,” Mills says. 

Close collaboration between Concor and the client from the start of the project made it possible to accelerate long lead trades facilitating a more integrated approach with significant savings in time enabling the fast track programme to stay on track

A significant advantage is that the same engineering firm has been used for both the structure and the façade for the curtain wall. This allowed the design and manufacturing of the elements for the façade to begin while the contractor was still busy constructing the concrete structure. Accurate dimensioning of the façade was possible using sophisticated software that allowed modelling of the full façade around the concrete structure. In adopting these approaches, Concor unlocked two long lead materials, being the glass and façade tiling. 

The façade itself is a unitized system which is less labour intensive to install, and also does not require a full façade scaffold for installation. Both these will also contribute to cost and time savings on the project. 

Mills explains that Concor’s scope of work on the Ikusasa project includes the fit-out of the entire building, and this will see the company co-ordinate the installation of all fittings and fixtures before handover of the building to AGSS at the end of January 2022. 


Leveraging new-generation crushing technology to optimise uptime at its Pietermaritzburg quarry, AfriSam will be installing a Metso C120 jaw crusher supplied by South African distributor Pilot Crushtec.

According to Glenn Johnson, general manager construction materials operations at AfriSam, the investment indicates the company’s confidence in the future, and its commitment to quality production standards. 

“Staying abreast of available technology is important in advancing our efforts to enhance our supply security and product quality, while targeting certain aggregate products demanded by the market,” says Johnson. “The C120 crusher is part of a broader technical investment at our Pietermaritzburg plant aimed at underpinning reliability of supply for customers.”

AfriSam’s facility in Pietermaritzburg provides a diverse portfolio of aggregate products  that are suitable for supply for readymix, asphalt, the civils and, road building sector as well as to concrete product manufacturers in the construction sector. Its output is currently vital to key infrastructural improvements in the area, such as the upgrades to the N3 highway south to Durban and north towards Johannesburg. 

He highlights that the high vibration impact of primary jaw crushers disseminated onto the associated designed fabricated sub-structures or concrete foundations has have long been a significant  structural integrity challenge for many aggregate quarries, and expects the new C120 crusher’s design and dampening technology to help AfriSam mitigate this risk. 

“A key consideration in choosing the Metso C120 was its proven self-dampening concept,” he says. “This will help us move away from the risks and challenges related to costly civil engineering works that were previously required to create a fixed base for the crusher.”

Theolan Govender, AfriSam’s national engineering manager, says the advantage of the Metso C120 is that the current design of the crusher incorporates a retro-fitted self-dampening system that drastically reduces the associated effects of dynamic and static loading onto these structures and associated foundations. This reduces the effects and consequences of under-structure or foundation failures. 

“It further reduces the need for complex under-structures professionally designed by consultants and the ill-effects of triggering professional indemnity on failures. Pilot Crushtec includes an additional five year/10 000 hour warranty on the sale of this product which is an added benefit when compared to their competitors,” says Govender. 

According to Sampie Kruth, AfriSam engineering manager for KwaZulu-Natal, the plant needed a proven solution to ensure that the crusher’s dynamic forces would not damage the sub-structure. 

“Many equipment suppliers in this field  are  developing their concepts in this direction, however Metso is one of the few companies that has already  tried-and-tested models that are available in the market” says Kruth. 

AfriSam regards health and safety as a key priority and in line with its protocols relating to equipment safety, the Metso C120 has a hydraulically adjusted gap setting, allowing for safe and easy adjustment. Further, the jaw liners also have their own hooking points to facilitate liner changes,  reducing the practice of welding lugs for removal.

Working closely with Pilot Crushtec on the specifications, AfriSam will also be applying a specific designed quarry liner for better continuous grading of material passing through the first crushing stage. With a feed size opening of 1,2 metre wide by 870 mm deep, the crusher’s throughput is expected to range between 200 and 300 tonnes per hour. 

Pilot Crushtec sales and marketing director Francois Marais notes that the Metso C120 is one of the most widely sold jaw crushers globally, and says that being well known for its reliability and performance, there are many units operating in southern Africa. 

“Their robust and rugged characteristics make this one of our most popular units, and replacement parts are readily available,” says Marais. 

The order also marks another step in the company’s partnership with AfriSam, with Pilot Crushtec playing an important role in providing OEM-quality support and maintenance. 


As the rainy season approaches, Integrated Pump Rental has issued a dire warning to operators of water storage and process dams to make sure that these are desilted as soon as possible and ready to accept additional rainwater. 

Managing director, Lee Vine says that the progressive build-up of silt over time would have caused many of these facilities to reach close to critical volume and excessive rainwater could have major implications. 

“While it is critical to ensure that water storage dams, settlement ponds and similar reservoirs are kept at their required storage volumes at all times, it is just as important to regularly clean and desilt these to avoid any environmental occurrences should these facilities become overfull due to heavy rainfall,” Vine says. 

Vine says that increased demand has already been seen for the company’s innovative and effective SlurrySucker desilting solution with many operators becoming more proactive than in previous years. He says this applies across a range of industry sectors where water is stored either for recycling or as part of the process such as settlement ponds. 

He is quick, however, to point out that while desilting or cleaning of settlement ponds may seem like a simple task, it is not always as straightforward as it would initially appear. Cleaning these facilities can become an onerous task, as it involves the pumping of high solids materials from the facility being desilted and should an incorrect system or equipment that is not fit for the task be specified this can cause issues including environmental harm.

“Historically many operations have used manual excavation methods for desilting and cleaning, but our established track record with proven references has proved that this is not only inefficient, but it often fails to remove the required volume of sediment,” he says. 

There are several ways to accomplish effective desilting, but it has to be done effectively and cost efficiently, and this is where Integrated Pump Rental’s skilled and experience team come into play. The best option, according to Vine, is a site visit to assess the application requirements and conditions.

“In some instances, it is possible to pump the high solids material to another nearby dam or reservoir. However, this is sometimes not possible and in this type of scenario we implement an alternate solution such as capturing and storing the content in specialised geotextile bags while the water is separated from the solid material,” he explains. 

Once the actual condition of the dam or pond has been assessed the decision can be made as how to proceed. The SlurrySucker itself needs sufficient volume of water on which it can be floated, and should there be areas where this is not possible, then a hydro-mining solution is applied to these drier areas. 

The SlurrySucker is equipped with a high performance pump capable of moving high solids volumes so it can dredge quickly and cost effectively over the full area. Where necessary monitoring guns are used to blast the drier slurry towards the discharge point. 

In addition, specialised pumps with chopper blades can also be deployed in instances where required. An example would be where dislodged reeds or other plant materials are present in the dam. 

Locally engineered and manufactured by Integrated Pump Rental, the SlurrySucker is designed to deal with a range of high solids material including coal slurry, general silt and sand. 

In conclusion, Vine says that the opting for the SlurrySucker option is also far safer as the barge itself can be operated remotely from a defined distance away from the dam or pond edge. This is much safer than having equipment and personnel on the dam. 


Demonstrating its depth of local engineering expertise and technical capability, local vibrating screen specialist Kwatani has designed and fabricated a specialised spiral elevator for a mobile containerised sorting plant for a diamond mine in Australia.

Although not the first spiral elevator be produced by the company, this particular one was the first of its particular design to be engineered from scratch and manufactured by Kwatani.

Better known for its large, robust vibrating screens and feeders, the Kwatani 450 kg custom spiral elevator was an interesting contrast for the engineering team – but the results reflected the company’s usual standards of excellence. 

Within a timeline of just 10 weeks, the project combined first principles of physics with Kwatani’s decades of experience in custom design and manufacture.

“The client had very specific functional and dimensional requirements for this design, with the available space for installation being very constrained,” said Kwatani senior mechanical engineer Gideon de Villiers, who led the team in developing the two metre high spiral elevator. “We were also pleased to be able to meet the client’s throughput needs first time around with this specific design and build.”

The unit will convey up to 3.5 tonnes per hour of diamondiferous ore between sorters in a mobile containerised sorting plant, which is destined for a diamond mine in Australia. The material to be moved up the spiral elevator ranges in size from 5 mm to 30 mm. 

De Villiers highlights that Kwatani already has an established reputation with the sorter OEM, creating the necessary trust in Kwatani’s custom-engineering capability. 

“Our extensive knowledge on feeders and vibration dynamics placed us well to successfully tackle this innovation,” he says. “We started with the basic engineering calculations to clarify what dynamic movement we required, working through factors like planned tonnages, isolation of dynamic forces, friction value of ore, and motor orientation and direction.”

Designs were simulated using specialised software before Kwatani’s skilled team of artisan welders tackled the task of construction and platework. This included finite element analysis to identify areas of potential ‘hot spot’ stresses. 

Working with relatively light plates of 3 mm to 4,5 mm thickness, the elevator comprises S355 structural steel to cater for dynamic vibrations. The footprint was kept to around 700 mm, with two unbalanced motors at the base. 

“Due to the high value of the diamonds in the material, the structure also had to include static covers welded to the body, as well as maintenance doors with anti-tamper seals,” he says. 

Once fabrication was completed, the team embarked on a thorough testing programme lasting two weeks, conducted in Kwatani’s dedicated test laboratory. This allowed for the adjustment of various parameters, requiring close collaboration between the design and fabrication teams. 


As the mineral sector seeks safer and more automated operations in line with the ‘smart mining’ vision, leading underground mining contractor Murray & Roberts Cementation is making good progress with its own digitisation strategy. 

According to Mike Wells, managing director of Murray & Roberts Cementation, its new projects are increasingly embracing the power of digital technology to streamline operations and drive down unit costs. 

“Progress in applying wi-fi technology to underground mines is allowing us to introduce a range of digitisation initiatives in our projects,” says Wells. “This includes a condition monitoring system (CMS) to track the operating data of trackless mining machines (TMMs) in order to monitor their health.” 

This widens the scope for more effective predictive maintenance, and also indicates patterns in operator behaviour that management can address and improve. With modern TMMs being fitted with a higher degree of electronic control units (ECU’s), all interconnected and feeding data back to the machines’ control units, underground wi-fi now allows real-time data captured by the CMS data loggers to be sent to control rooms for instant analysis and action by specialist software applications 

“We are also applying production control systems (PCSs) – making use of heavy-duty ‘plods’ or tablets – in the cabin of machines,” he says. “Rather than using manual paper systems, operators can have digital pre-start checklists and can log the starting and stopping of various activities underground.”

These technologies provide valuable information to supervisors and managers in their allocation of people, machines and other services where they are required. In particular, the real-time transmission of the data allows decisions to be taken quicker – leading to better results and greater efficiency in the application of resources. 

Fixed installation monitoring is another important element of the benefits to be leveraged from a digital communication network, he says. This relates mainly to static equipment like dirty water pumps and ventilation fans, which are central features of most mining operations. 

“By linking these systems to the mine’s digital backbone, we are able to monitor their operation and importantly, also start and stop them, from a central control room,” says Wells. 

A key resource behind this strategic direction is intelligent solutions specialist Insig Technologies – recently acquired by group company Murray & Roberts – who is developing agnostic interfaces between the systems of various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“We are aiming for agnostic systems and data loggers that will ‘talk to’ machines from various TMM suppliers,” he says. “For instance, we want to be able to activate a ventilation-on-demand functionality from a remote location. This would allow an operator to divert ventilation capacity to a heading where a blast has just taken place, facilitating more rapid extraction of fumes and facilitating quicker re-entry.”

Murray & Roberts Cementation has already implemented many of these innovative strategies at B2B’s Otjikoto gold mine in Namibia, and will also roll them out with a battery-powered mining fleet at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef project in Limpopo province, South Africa. 


The recent move by Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions to its new and upgraded Khomanani facility has boosted the company’s already considerable service capabilities. 

The modern premises near Kempton Park in Gauteng include a mega-workshop that now rates among the global company’s largest facilities, according to Imraan Amod, business line manager – services at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions.

“Our workshop incorporates both the mechanical soft-rock cutting business and the hard-rock mining business,” says Amod. He highlights that this configuration has allowed the integration of skills and competencies of each field under one roof, strengthening the company’s ability to support its product range with a depth and breadth of expertise.

There is also added capability that includes an extensive new bead blasting bay, large wash bay with robotic washers, modern spray painting bay and newly equipped machine shop. 

“We have invested heavily in the most up-to-date machinery such as vertical and horizontal boring mills, milling machines and CNC machines,” he says. “It is an ongoing priority that we stay abreast of the latest technology available.”

He also notes the commitment of Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions to excellence in its technical skills, supported by ongoing training and coaching of personnel. This is combined with experience in the field, to deliver quality service solutions.

“As part of our continuous adaptation to changing customer needs, we are also operationalising a ‘roving team’ to provide OEM intervention support on site as and when necessary,” says Amod. “The aim of this strategy to help customers to resolve relatively minor issues on any of their machines, without having to take them out of service for transportation to a formal workshop setting.” 

He emphasises that this flexible and agile team will have the experience and skills to deliver services that meet stringent OEM standards. This is always a significant consideration, as it assures the customer of a quality result that does not introduce any legal liability.

“There may be safety and warranty implications when using non-OEM repairers, so the roving team will help mines to remain compliant while maximising uptime,” he says. 


As an established supplier to South Africa’s rail sector, Zest WEG will be supplying specialised traction transformers for new substations serving rail lines in Gauteng and the Western Cape. 

According to Dillon Govender, sector specialist – public sector business development at Zest WEG, work on the eight transformers ordered is currently underway, for delivery by the end of October 2021. The company is supplying six 6MVA units that will step down from 88kV to 1220V, and two more 6MVA units stepping down from 44kV to 1220V. All the transformers will feature a dual output, as well as tertiary windings for small power applications like lighting in the area.

“This is part of an important fast track project, and the order follows a number of successful deliveries of these complex transformers by Zest WEG over the years,” says Govender. “The units are designed to customer specifications and manufactured in line with global standards.”

Through its workshop facilities in Gauteng, Zest WEG has become well known as a 100% local manufacturer of power, distribution and traction transformers for customers within South Africa, and has supplied well beyond the borders. 

“We have established considerable local capacity in transformer manufacture, reflected in the growing confidence of customers in our design and production capabilities,” he says. “We are also able to leverage the value of being part of the WEG Group by drawing on the skills of experts from our Brazilian facilities.”

This allows Zest WEG to constantly upgrade local skills through training and skill sharing by specialist engineers and technicians, whenever necessary. This corporate relationship has also allowed the company to broaden its local offerings, at the same time as creating jobs and upskilling local employees. 

“Zest WEG’s depth of expertise means that we can also conduct design work locally, to meet the specific requirements of customers,” he says. “Our strong local footprint includes offering the necessary service support to customers, ensuring that we can provide the necessary backup for all our equipment.”


As a vital service to customers and the broader construction sector, AfriSam’s Centre for Product Excellence (CPE) continues to be a beacon of quality and high standards during recent challenging times.

According to CPE manager Mike McDonald, this has meant adapting to Covid-19 restrictions while dealing with depressed trading conditions in the sector. The centre has also continued to support customers in their quest for a low carbon future. 

“Our product development team works closely with customers to develop and test products to suit their specific application requirements,” he says. “We also conduct ongoing training for customers and the industry at large, empowering companies with skills for quality construction.”

The AfriSam CPE, based in Roodepoort, Gauteng, also supports the continuous improvement of AfriSam’s range of technology and offerings in cement and construction materials. McDonald notes that the demanding conditions in the country’s construction sector – where work in many segments is hard to find and margins are narrow – make it essential that human resources are leveraged to their utmost. 

“Skills development remains a critical aspect of contractors’ and concrete manufacturers’ competitiveness, and we have been able to continue our training programmes despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” he says. “In fact, the rapid uptake of digital communication platforms since the first lockdown has opened new opportunities for our training events.”

He highlights that the AfriSam CPE not only reaches a wide audience with its online training, but has optimised the functionality for more interactive learning as well as more effective evaluation of learners’ performance during and after training. 

“We have found that electronic questionnaires, for instance, can add considerable value in the context of adult education programmes,” he says. “This helps us to strengthen both our internal and external programmes to the benefit of the learners and their employers.”

These advances have not replaced the physical or face-to-face training though, as this remains preferable for many applications, including smaller companies who don’t have the digital infrastructure to support virtual learning. The AfriSam CPE team still goes out to site regularly, and has its own training rooms, observing the necessary health and safety protocols. 

A focus of its training is to demonstrate how the complexities of cement and concrete can be best managed to achieve quality and durable structures, thereby lowering risk and promoting business sustainability. This includes supporting small and emerging businesses with the basics of mortar, plaster and concrete production, as well as with business skills and management training. 

The AfriSam CPE is also instrumental in pursuing environmental issues related to cement and concrete use, particularly for large projects where stakeholders prioritise the carbon footprint of the materials used. 

McDonald emphasises AfriSam’s progress in becoming a leading producer of low carbon cement and concrete. While ordinary Portland cement generates about a tonne of carbon dioxide per tonne of cement, AfriSam has standard products available that generate only half that amount of emissions per tonne. 

“Carbon emissions is becoming more topical, as about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide from human activity comes from cement production,” he notes. “The AfriSam CPE collaborates with customers who want to reduce their carbon footprint, leveraging our extensive expertise ensuring they can do this without compromising quality and integrity in their structures.”

Equipped with its own laboratories, the AfriSam CPE continues to act as an independent testing agency for customers and other parties. He says this valuable service is primarily for checking internal quality, but is regularly used by smaller readymix companies who do not have their own scientifically accredited facilities. 


Decades of product evolution have given FLSmidth a range of solutions – including its LoadIQ smart sensor technology – both to supply and optimise all the technology in the grinding circuit.

According to Terence Osborn, director – regional product line and key account management at FLSmidth, grinding typically accounts for about a 30% of the operational cost of a concentrator plant. Energy, liners and grinding media are among the many elements that make up this substantial cost. The milling circuit consumes about 50% of the concentrator plant’s power demand.

“Any improvements – however small – that a mine can make in the efficiency of milling and grinding can therefore have significant financial benefit,” says Osborn. “This is why FLSmidth has compiled an enviable portfolio of technical hardware and software serving the comminution space.”

This full suite of equipment allows FLSmidth to design the most efficient grinding circuit. In addition to semi-autogenous and autogenous grinding mills, the company’s offering includes a wide range of slurry pumps and cyclones. For optimal performance, its SmartCyclone™ technologies automate the monitoring and control of cyclones, providing real-time data on key indicators such as spigot wear and roping. He highlights that integrating the performance of all aspects of the circuit is vital to the company’s value-add proposition.

An important recent step in this process was the acquisition of technology company KnowledgeScape, placing FLSmidth in a leading position to offer a plant-wide digital optimisation solution. This capability enables customers to reduce operational costs and environmental impact across the entire minerals processing flowsheet.

“Among the new solutions acquired is LoadIQ, for monitoring and optimising the performance of semi-autogenous (SAG) mills,” he says. “The SAG mill is a key element of many milling circuits today, usually located between primary crushing and ball milling phases.”

LoadIQ utilises FLSmidth’s mill scanner smart sensor technology to accurately measure volumetric filling and ore trajectory in real-time, according to Lineshan Naidoo, FLSmidth’s regional product line manager – digitalisation for sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Africa.

“The unit measures vibration and impact among other parameters, to ensure the optimal ‘cataracting’ of the media and particles inside the mill,” says Naidoo. “It is vital for the material to cataract onto the charge toe rather than onto the liners. This allows energy to be optimised to promote breakage while the liners remain protected by the charge.”

The technology then combines its readings with data about the ore type and liner profile to determine the optimum mill load and mill speed. The target load is then set automatically and adjusted in real time as grinding conditions change.

He highlights that LoadIQ has seen global success with about 60 units installed to date, mainly in the Americas. Customers using this solution have typically experienced mill throughput increases of 3 to 6%, with some customers benefiting from over 10% increases in tonnage. These values vary based on a number of parameters such as ore characteristics and grinding circuit configuration. 

Mines can optimise mill load using a system of smart sensor technology and AI software. 

In South Africa, FLSmidth is installing LoadIQ in a leading platinum producer’s plant, where the strategic focus is on generating and analysing data for better decision making and prompt action. Osborn notes that the delay between data generation and the required decisions remains a real challenge in most process plants and technologies such as the LoadIQ are targeted at making more critical decision-making data available to the plant operation team enabling  quicker adaption to changing operational parameters in as agile a way as possible. 

“Process samples can take up to days to be analysed, while the material’s residence time in the plant may only be a matter of hours,” he says. “By the time any adjustment can be made to the process based on the data, considerable volumes of value mineral has been lost to tailings.”FLSmidth’s solutions therefore optimise key parameters such as bearing pressure, material density and power consumption in a continuous manner. He says the ECS/ProcessExpert software is able to make plant adjustment decisions consistently and accurately, and without fatigue. A South African nickel mine has been among the customers gaining high levels of success with this solution.