Digital design and simulation technology tools are enhancing Weir Minerals Africa’s solution offering to customers, the company says, allowing insights into upstream and downstream improvements that optimise mineral processing.
“With our focus firmly on integrated solutions, we are increasingly able to leverage technology to benefit our customers,” Christian Stehle, Head of Engineering at Weir Minerals Africa, says. “This applies not only to how we design our product solutions, but how we help customers to examine their whole process.”
Simulation and modelling software tools are key enablers in this quest, according to Stehle. “They give the Weir Minerals Africa engineering team the power to use computational fluid dynamics, for instance, to model the behaviour and flow of liquids and gases,” the company said.
Stehle added: “In addition to analysing our own equipment, we can also understand more about what happens upstream of our equipment. Understanding material flow at various points of the customer’s plant process is vital to optimising how our equipment works.”
By the same token, discrete element modelling software simulates material flow of solid particles. This allows users to model the flow of material through feed chutes and into Weir’s crushers and vibrating screens. The analysis software in this field – like everywhere – is constantly advancing, providing an increasingly detailed understanding of material behaviour, according to Weir.
“Using technology tools like these, we put our mechanical and metallurgical expertise at the disposal of the customer,” Stehle says. “It gives us the ability to make a scientific assessment of where their plant challenges lie, while also giving us the power to develop specific solutions to solve the customer’s problems.”
Weir said: “The extensive suite of the company’s mineral processing products can then be employed to address the challenges that are identified using these technology tools.”
Stehle says the value of tools like 3D laser scanning, which can be used to quickly and accurately map a customer’s plant layout and dimensions. The scanned data is then integrated with Weir Minerals Africa’s computer-aided design software to design solutions that fit into the existing plant footprint.
“We can then provide solutions that are engineered to order, with precision that ensures we get it right the first time,” he says. “This means quicker installation and commissioning, so there is less downtime for the plant.”
Fast-evolving software also facilitates the application of finite element analysis for stress analysis in structural design.
As Weir Minerals Africa extends its offerings in comminution, the team puts this technology to work in designing ancillary support structures around its equipment. This includes the design and construction of modular plants for crushing, screening and sand washing.