As mines move towards using one large scalping screen between primary and secondary crushers – rather than a modular approach using multiple smaller screens – Kwatani has found ways to triple the panel life in these single mission-critical units.
According to Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers, chief operating officer of Kwatani, any downtime in this single-line stream would require the mine to store several hours of production. While some mines schedule regular weekly production halts during which an exciter or worn screen panels could be replaced, many operations are not so lenient, says Mayhew-Ridgers.
“The message from these mines is clear: the longer the scalper can run between maintenance interventions, the better,” he says. “Our research and development efforts, together with extensive testing in the field, have allowed us to extend the life of screen panels from eight weeks to over six months.”
While smaller screens use wire mesh screening media, Kwatani has evolved larger screens that use rubber or polyurethane screen panels. Although these panels present less open area, they deliver important advantages.
“Key to the success of our design is our integrated approach – which matches the panel design with that of the scalping screen itself,” he says. “This allows us to achieve a balance between screening area, aperture layout and screen panel life – a result based on a sound understanding of screen dynamics.”
Whereas wire mesh undergoes rapid wear from abrasive materials, the rubber or polyurethane panels are more wear resistant and deliver longer life. The latter require gentler declines for effective stratification, but a key factor is the stiffness of the screen bed.
“The stiffness of the supporting structure must go hand-in-hand with the screen panel design to achieve our required results,” he says.
Polyurethane panels, while strong and lightweight, have screening apertures that tend to be too stiff for heavy-duty scalping applications. This leads to blinding. Rubber overcomes this problem, however, and also delivers improved wear life.
Kwatani has also developed a panel replacement system – with a fastening mechanism on the underframe – that improves safety and saves time.