Tag Archives: FLSmidth

SOUTH AFRICA SEES VALUE FROM FLSMIDTH’S NEXTSTEP INNOVATION

FLSmidth’s innovative nextSTEP™ flotation technology is proving itself in the South African mineral processing space.

According to Ricus van Reenen, Regional Product Line Manager – Separation at FLSmidth, the nextSTEP™ rotor and stator combination has been at work for over a year at a large South African platinum mine, achieving positive results.

“The customer has achieved significantly lower power consumption on the full-scale retrofits we installed early in 2018,” says van Reenen. “The more efficient design allows the same or higher slurry circulation at reduced rotor speed, leading to lower power draw.”

The retrofits have been applied to both primary and secondary flotation applications, where energy savings of over 10% have been achieved. Years of research and development have been invested in the nextSTEP™ technology, which was originally launched in 2015.

Among the key design elements are the addition of slots to the stator, adjustments in the rotor profile and a parallel distance between the rotor and stator.

“Energy dissipation is now more uniform than in traditional forced-air designs,” van Reenen says. “This means a more even wear pattern across the rotor and stator, and therefore longer intervals between maintenance.”

In the South African installations, the wear on the rotors and stators has been minimal after more than a year’s operation. In the one flotation cell, the equipment has been operational for 15 months. The thickness of the rotor has reduced from 65 mm to only 60 mm, and the stator from 75 mm to 70 mm. After 13 months of operation in the second installation, the wear is even less. The rotor’s thickness has reduced from 65 mm to 63 mm, while the stator was down from 75 mm to 73 mm.

Van Reenen highlights that there have been other benefits experienced by local users of the new technology. Among these has been 16 to 18% less blower air usage, with more concentrated bubble formation.

“Better turbulence energy dissipation around the rotor and stator region, with its related finer bubble size distribution, creates more surface area for bubble-particle attachment,” says van Reenen. “This has delivered more froth and a higher mass pull on our local units.”

The success of the nextSTEP™ technology has led to further retrofits being planned in South Africa, which is in line with FLSmidth’s drive to promote mines’ productivity and performance. Van Reenen says the intensive R&D process continues apace and is not just in the rotor and stator design but also includes areas such as smart control systems and continued digitalisation of process solutions.

FLSMIDTH’S FERROCER® PANELS BRING LONGER WEAR LIFE TO AFRICA

Trials of FLSmidth’s FerroCer® modular impact wear panels will soon begin in Africa, following successful trials in countries such as Australia, Peru and India, where significant increases in wear life were recorded. Tests will be conducted on sites in Zambia and Mozambique.

According to Zwerus Voges, Ceramic & Wear Solutions Specialist at FLSmidth, the innovative FerroCer panels represent a significant breakthrough in materials technology. The cost effective solution provides much better wear life than conventional panels and also delivers safety benefits to mine operators.

“The design of the panel takes advantage of the wear characteristics of multiple materials, and its matrix combines the strength and malleability of steel with the abrasion resistance of ceramics,” Voges says.

Each panel weighs only 5kg and can easily be handled by one person, meeting all the safety regulations for size and weight. The compact shape also makes the panels safe and easy to install using standard hand tools.

Voges says that the panels have delivered longer wear life in various applications which has meant increased uptime for customer operations.

FerroCer impact wear panels are particularly suited to high impact wear locations in a process plant, and these include chutes, hoppers, bins, feed boxes and vibrating screen boxes as well as reclaimer and loader buckets.

The panels have excelled in nickel, gold, copper and zinc applications, and Voges cites an example where FerroCer impact wear panels provided a solution in a tripper chute application. At this mining operation the previous panels in use were having to be replaced every three to four weeks, resulting in increased unplanned shutdowns with associated costs.

“Since the FerroCer panels were installed over a year ago, not a single panel has had to be replaced in that application,” he says.

Based on the success of the original FerroCer panel design, FLSmidth recently developed the FerroCer® 22 product for lighter applications where the material size is smaller. The larger ceramic surface area coverage on the panel reduces wear on the steel matrix. These panels weight only 2,8kg.

All panels are secured by just one bolt and nut, and no scaffolding or cranage is required. This enhances the safety and health of workers during installation, while speeding up the process.

The compact size of the FerroCer panels also makes it easier to replace just the worn panels. This is a major advantage, especially where wear patterns are uneven and not all the panels in an installation require replacement.

Voges highlights that the cone shape of the ceramic inserts enhances their resilience. It also means that the panel wears more slowly over time, as the surface area of ceramic insert widens as it wears.

“The much longer wear life being achieved by the FerroCer panels translates into reduced total cost of ownership, which is a primary driver across all commodity sectors,” Voges concludes.

FLSMIDTH IN HIGH-TECH EXPANSION IN DELMAS TO MANUFACTURE SCREEN MEDIA

FLSmidth has relocated the manufacturing of its core screen media products to the modernised Delmas Supercenter facility, providing a cost-effective base from which to grow its sub-Saharan markets.

“The targeted efficiency improvements for the production lines at the facility will allow us to better serve our extensive installed base of FLSmidth equipment in the sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East region,” says Stephan Kruger, FLSmidth Director for Manufacturing and Warehousing in the region.

This follows the 2017 decision by FLSmidth – a leading supplier of equipment and services to the global mining and cement industries – to proceed with a significant investment at the 120,000m2 premises in Delmas.

In line with this strategy, FLSmidth has opted to focus on the in-house manufacture of three core product lines – polyurethane, wedge wire, and ceramic wear solutions.

FLSmidth concluded the sale of its non-core screen media product lines, including woven wire screens, perforated plate and wire conveyor belts, to Crusher Support Services. During this process, FLSmidth secured a preferential supply agreement to support local industry customers with the continued supply of these products.

The transaction has also preserved 79 jobs in the manufacturing sector, retaining a considerable production capacity within the country. Thirty of the employees have been relocated to the FLSmidth Delmas operation.

“We have invested in state-of-the-art equipment, including full Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining capability,” says Kruger. “The new facilities include 5-axis and 6-axis machining centres, introducing a high level of technology to support the product lines in our business while optimising production costs.”

The investment in production capacity will allow FLSmidth to manufacture a broader range of components for its spare parts portfolio in-house, and to do this more cost effectively.

Design and construction activities began in 2018 and the infrastructure development is nearing completion. A formal launch is planned for April, when the facility will be fully functional and production will have commenced.

This Supercenter is strategically positioned close to customers and has the capabilities for warehousing, production of FLSmidth equipment and spare parts, refurbishments, rebuilds and retrofits. Current manufacturing activities produce over 150 strategically selected parts for the FLSmidth product range,” says Kruger.

The wedge wire screens to be produced at the facility are commonly used in carbon recovery in carbon-in-pulp (CIP) and carbon-in-leach (CIL) plants in the gold sector. They are also used for dewatering and magnetite recovery in the coal sector and in other applications such as water filtration and sugar production.

The polyurethane products include screen panels and larger spares such as rotors and stators used in the flotation process. Ceramic wear solutions to be produced and distributed from the Delmas facility include the WEAR MAX™ ceramic wear compound and FerroCer® impact wear panels, which combine steel and ceramic parts and are commonly used in feed chutes to address impact and abrasion.

The impressive Delmas operation includes a 10,500m2 workshop with 120-tonne lifting capacity and 11,5m under crane hook. More than 100 staff members are currently employed at the facility. It hosts modern offices, warehouse facilities and a dedicated training centre that can accommodate up to 65 people for technical training purposes.

FLSMIDTH OPTIMISES MILL PERFORMANCE USING ACOUSTICS

The SAGwise™ total process control solution for semi-autogenous (SAG) mills – developed by FLSmidth – promises effective SAG mill optimisation with lower energy consumption and wear part costs.

Winston Mokoena, key account manager at FLSmidth, highlights that the solution reduces critical impacts inside the mill by up to 45%. This adds life to wear liners and grinding balls, helping to prolong liner life between maintenance and giving mills more uptime.

“SAGwise can improve mill production by 6% and substantially reduce process variability,” says Mokoena. “This ensures that the mill provides a constant and optimal feed to the next stage of the process, effectively facilitating better performance of downstream operations.”

Among the challenges that mill optimisation tries to address is too little material in the mill, or too much. Too little leads to critical impacts between the grinding media and the mill liners, damaging both elements without producing value. If the mill is over-filled with mined material, on the other hand, this results in grinding inefficiencies.

The SAGwise system uses four or eight unidirectional or bidirectional audio sensors located in close proximity to the mill, which detect the analogue sounds and convert them into digital signals for analysis by a processing unit. This unit uses the sound patterns and other process variables to determine the necessary adjustment to the mill’s feed, speed and pulp density. So direct are the improvements that can be achieved by this solution that customers can pay back their investment in less than six months, depending on the commodity value and the specific mill environment.

“The parameters that are monitored by SAGwise include the mill’s power consumption, load impacts, mill load and pulp density,” he says. “The system then responds to these parameters by controlling the mill speed, the feed rate and the water to achieve the ‘sweet spot’ where the mill runs at optimum efficiency.”