TOMRA Mining looks at the ore sorting fine print with latest innovation

TOMRA Mining says it is breaking new ground with a new ejection module for its COM Tertiary X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor-based sorter specifically developed for sorting small particle sizes.

The COM Tertiary XRT Fines sorter, featuring the new TS100C module and the recently introduced image processing unit, is capable of sorting particle sizes down to 4 mm in high-capacity applications with much higher energy efficiency, delivering a high-quality product at low operating costs, according to the company. Field tests have shown that it can deliver a 70% reduction in energy use on a production scale.

The new high resolution TS100C ejection module features a new type of ejector that is four times faster than previous iterations. Together with the new image processing unit, it delivers higher precision in sorting small particle sizes at high throughputs. The mechanical design of the sorter has also been improved by the introduction of a new splitter plate and more precise calibration equipment to ensure the greater precision in the alignment between detection and ejection systems required for fine particles, according to TOMRA.

The fast and highly precise ejection module uses significantly less compressed air to eject the particles, therefore, reducing the energy consumption. Extensive test work was conducted at the TOMRA Test Center, both with artificial material mixtures and real-world sample material. The tests showed a reduction in air consumption compared with industry standards, as well as an improvement in product purity of around 15%, the company reports.

“With the consequent cut in operating costs, sorting small particle sizes down to 4 mm with the COM Tertiary XRT Fines sorter is not only viable, but adds value to the process,” it said.

Ines Hartwig, Director Product Management at TOMRA Mining, said: “We are receiving a rapidly growing number of requests from customers to sort smaller particles. One of the biggest drivers of cost in sensor-based sorting is the energy used for the compressed air for the ejectors. The new TS100C ejection module successfully addresses this issue and provides an effective solution to this increasing demand. It is a groundbreaking invention to create more higher-value product and reduce product loss.”

Ines Hartwig, Director Product Management, TOMRA Mining

To gain field experience on the new ejection module, TOMRA partnered with a customer who has been running a COM Tertiary XRT to produce high-grade magnesite for more than two years. The sorter removes up to 50% low-grade and waste material from the raw magnesite feed, with particle sizes ranging from 10 to 35 mm at about 20 t/h.

“After conducting the test work with the TS100C ejection module at the TOMRA Test Center, we were confident that it would be very beneficial for this customer,” Hartwig says. “We showed them the test results and outlined the benefits we expected the module to deliver. As soon as they saw the possible reduction in compressed air use and the consequent cost savings, they were very interested in doing the field trial!”

The customer completed several trials, documenting the energy savings and sorting efficiencies. The results showed a 70% reduction in air consumption with an increase in product recovery with a lower mass pull to waste by producing the same product quality, and a capacity increase ranging from 20 t/h to 30 t/h with comparable results, according to TOMRA.

The COM Tertiary XRT Fines sorter featuring the new TS100C ejection module has been installed at the TOMRA Test Center in Wedel, Germany, and is ready to run tests for customers on material samples from their mines, TOMRA says.