Tag Archives: Weba Chute Systems

WEBA CHUTE MECHANISM SAVES COSTS, DOWNTIME AT DIAMOND MINE

Challenging materials handling applications are the norm for Weba Chute Systems, and the company’s recent solution at a diamond mine in Botswana tackled the issue of large particle sizes to ensure more uptime for the customer’s operation.

The mine had been faced with replacing transfer chutes almost every three months, as they could not withstand the arduous operating conditions. Run-of-mine material with lump sizes up to 1,200 mm is fed via an apron feeder onto a grizzly feeder, with the oversize material reporting to the jaw crusher.

The large size of the lump kimberlite in this application – as well as material being uncontrolled – posed an ongoing challenge to the transfer system. Another challenge in this primary circuit is that the conveyor receives material from the grizzly underpan and jaw crusher discharge, and lack of material control had resulted in high impact onto the conveyor belt. This damaged the conveyor and caused considerable spillage, resulting in unplanned downtime as the conveyor belt had to be replaced just about every quarter.

The added expenditure and lost productivity meant increased operating costs for the plant, and eventually led to a decision to address the total material transfer system. The technical team from Weba Chute Systems assessed the challenges being faced and, in close collaboration with the mine, engineered a material handling solution.

“With innovation as our watchword, we were able to apply our extensive experience gained over the past 34 years,” says Dewald Tintinger, technical manager at Weba Chute Systems. “Dealing with challenging applications – and in particular uncontrolled material flow – is something we are known for; we are often called in to assist plants where a standard one-size-fits-all solution has proved inadequate to their specific material handling needs.”

According to Tintinger, standard solutions for transfer points do not consider factors such as lump size and material velocity, or the general arrangement of the transfer point and the relationship between the equipment that feeds and receives material.

“Custom-engineered transfer points, on the other hand, are designed to deal specifically with individual materials handling applications,” he says. “They offer major advantages to a plant, but these often only become apparent after the basic chute systems have failed.”

In Weba Chute Systems’ purpose-designed solution for the diamond mine, the transfer chute that moves material from the apron feeder to the grizzly feeder incorporates an innovative patented mechanism that overcomes the challenges of handling the 1,200 mm lump sizes.

“An integral swing mechanism – engineered to guide these large lump sizes through the transfer point at a controlled velocity – reduces the impact on downstream equipment,” he says. “The next chute in the process flow therefore no longer has to deal with excessive impact, as this has been addressed through the swing mechanism in the first chute. The material then flows through the grizzly discharge chute and reports to the crusher.”

The combination of an engineered transfer point – with the swing mechanism in this position – has drastically reduced high impact and excessive wear previously experienced. The chute’s longevity has been dramatically improved, and has not required replacement since its installation over a year ago.

The grizzly underpan chute system handles lump sizes of minus 250 mm and has been designed to accommodate this material. With a drop height from the grizzly feeder to the conveyor of about seven metres – and with lump sizes of up to minus 250 mm – this could become a challenging transfer point.

“Applying an engineered transfer point solution here was critical to the success of this material handling operation,” says Tintinger. “The chute design accommodates the material flow in such a manner that it is absolutely controlled and excessive damage is no longer caused to the receiving conveyor.”

The crusher discharge chute is the final of the four engineered transfer solutions; while the same engineering principle as the third chute has been applied here, the drop is not as far. The combination of these two chutes has significantly reduced material impact onto the conveyor and has substantially increased belt life.

WEBA CHUTE SYSTEMS SIGNS UP DISTRIBUTOR IN CANADA

Weba Chute Systems has announced the appointment of FWS Bulk Material Handling as the official distributor of Weba Chute Systems and Solution in Canada. The signing of this latest licence agreement underpins the South African OEM’s strategy of extending its global reach.

Mark Baller, managing director of Weba Chute Systems, says that the synergy between the two companies bodes well for a successful long term partnership. Weba Chute Systems was founded more than 50 years ago and has since become the world’s leading provider of custom engineered transfer point solutions.

“FWS Bulk Material Handling has an equitable track record with its teams spread across Western Canada, and the extensive design-build experience within the company as well the knowledge of project execution across a broad range of industries played a major role in our decision to enter into a formal agreement,” Baller says.

Notably, Weba Chute Systems has previously supplied its custom engineered chute systems to the North American market where these have been used in the power generation and mining sectors. Baller says that while the company has a sound understanding of the needs of this region, it is also looking forward to working closely with FWS Bulk Material Handling in services other sectors including agriculture, bulk storage and export terminals, food processing and railways.

“Years of experience, hard won expertise and skill are the major differentiators that allow Weba Chute Systems to produce transfer point systems engineered specifically for a given application requirement,” Baller says.

“Our transfer points are definitely not off-the-shelf products and while anyone can do the basics when it come to the technical side of designing a transfer chute, it is not an exact science and there is simply no single solution for materials transfer.”

Weba Chute Systems has more than 4500 transfer point systems successfully operating in countries across the world. The company operates a comprehensively equipped manufacturing facility at its South African based head office, and this is underpinned by its team of skilled and competent engineers.

WEBA CHUTE SYSTEMS URGES CONSIDERATION OF BASIC CHUTE SPECIFICATIONS TO ADDRESS MATERIAL TRANSFER PROBLEMS

Material transfer problems can be addressed easily by considering basic chute specifications, but this necessitates a thorough knowledge of transfer point design as well as the ability to determine best practice for a specific application.

Mark Baller, managing director of Weba Chute Systems, says that in addition to this it is necessary to be able to custom engineer each design to ensure that it is fit-for-purpose.

Founded on the principle of engineering custom designed chutes, this is exactly what Weba Chute System does. “Numerous successful installations of Weba Chute Systems have proved that the correct application of our scientific approach to the dynamics of bulk materials handling can completely eliminate the problems associated with conventional transfer chutes, resulting in significant cost savings,” Baller says.

To date, the company has engineered more than 4 000 transfer chutes, which are operating successfully throughout the global mining industry. “We consider a holistic design that not only focuses on the entry and exit points, but which also incorporates the control of the flow, volume and velocity of the material being transferred at all times,” Baller notes.

By custom designing each transfer point, individual Weba Chute Systems can be configured to control the direction, flow and velocity of the calculated volume and type of material processed in a particular application. “The end result is a transfer point that substantially reduces expenditure in minerals processing,” Baller says. This is achieved through increased productivity and adherence to environmental regulations, in addition to decreased replacement and maintenance costs.

“Conventional chute design is often associated with the uncontrolled discharge of bulk materials, which is linked to escalated maintenance and replacement costs. In addition, the presence of dust with conventional transfer points is an aggravating factor,” Baller says. Therefore, stringent environmental regulations must be put in place to control dust emissions.

System design is undertaken using sophisticated 3D computer software, in addition to the relevant data received from the client. Weba Chute Systems are manufactured in an ISO 9001:2015 accredited facility, which ensures quality manufacture. Performance is guaranteed in accordance with operational and application parameters, ensuring the provision of a chute solution that works for every application.

TRUE OPERATING COST OF CHUTES NEEDED FOR INFORMATION DECISIONS

The increased focus on reducing capital budgets by the mining sector is not necessarily going to pay in the long term.
This is according to Mark Baller, managing director of Weba Chute Systems, who says that miners would do well to assess the operating cost of an item before making ill-informed decisions.

“The focus should be on the payback period of a capital item and not only on the actual cost of the purchase,” he says.

Baller says this is particularly true when it comes to transfer points, however he is also quick to point out that in many instances the cost of operating chute systems within a plant is largely unknown by the end-user.

Activities that should be allocated to chute maintenance or repair are often hidden in other cost items.
As an example, Ballers says that where excessive spillage occurs these clean-ups could be allocated to conveyor system costs purely because the reporting and allocating system does not allow for the transfer points as a separate item.

“This lack of base knowledge is a major stumbling block to reducing operating costs on a plant. When the existing costs of operating chute systems is unknown you cannot measure anything against this.
It is therefore difficult to motivate or justify the capital expenditure for an engineered transfer point solution and we often find that cheaper fabricated chutes are procured,” he says.

Unfortunately, not selecting a correctly engineered transfer point often only becomes apparent much later down the line when the inherent problems with the cheaper option start causing major unscheduled downtime.

It is at this stage, Baller says, that plant operators start to consider the real impact of the original purchasing decision.

Weba Chute Systems believes that to bring total operational costs down plant operators need to adjust how they view operational and maintenance budgets. “We are encouraging plant operators to allocate costs associated with transfer points and chute systems correctly as only once this has been done will accurate costs be available for these items,” Baller says.

“Without this information there are a lot of unknowns and plants tend to operate under the misconception that cheaper is better when it comes to transfer points.
This is absolutely untrue as these conveyances move material continuously through a plant and need to be engineered to cope with the demands of the individual applications.”

It is critical to understand the value that individual transfer points bring to the overall plant and this perspective with accurate operational data will enable end-users to make well informed decisions, from which benefits will be reaped in the long term.

Close collaboration with customers has seen Weba Chute Systems provide transfer point solutions that have paid themselves off within anything from nine to 19 months, Baller says. “After this payback period, the chutes continue to operate reliably saving operational and maintenance costs which makes for a sustainable solution on a plant.”

THE IMPROVED ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL CHUTE SYSTEMS

Weba Chute Systems should not be compared to conventional chute systems as these locally manufactured systems adopt a completely different approach to the control and handling of bulk materials. Mark Baller, managing director of Weba Chute Systems, says these are transfer points are an improved alternative to traditional chute systems.

The Weba Chute System is based on the lined ‘super tube’ or cascade system, whereby much of the material runs on material at all times. The bottom layer of particles in the product stream moves in a tumbling motion and subsequently does not slide down the chute. This not only reduces the wear significantly, but in many cases the lip remains completely covered by material and never needs replacement.

Weba Chute Systems takes this means of controlling material movement a step further by designing the internal angle of the transfer chute to match the product discharge velocity with the belt speed, which eliminates or greatly reduces spillage.
Extensive experience and technical expertise, coupled with applications knowledge, has positioned Weba Chute Systems as the leader in its field, Baller notes.

Each Weba Chute System is custom designed for a specific application, considering factors such as belt width, belt speed, material size and shape, as well as throughput.
When applied to a Greenfield project, this locally designed transfer system achieves the optimum design configuration for a specific application.

Both retrofit and Greenfield projects using Weba Chute Systems & Solutions can realise an 80% reduction in material degradation as well as greatly reduced dust and noise levels.
Other benefits include reduced production losses due to less blockages, significantly reduced spillage and vastly improved safety levels. Inspection and maintenance are facilitated by easy access, while the Weba Chute System does not require ongoing supervision, which translates into reduced labour and related costs.