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Expanding your mill relining options for improved performance
Grinding mill reline operations are well-known for being one of the more challenging and dangerous tasks for any mine site. Besides these factors, another common worry we hear from customers is whether they have optimised the efficiency of their reline process to ensure that downtime is kept to a minimum to get the most production from their mill. In many cases, customers have shared that they feel that their reline process is too slow and often inefficient, resulting in production losses. There could be multiple reasons why this is the case. In this article we identify several key factors that could be undermining your relines, examine a possible solution and explore concerns and a few misconceptions that can hold a site back from exploring their options.
Another reline event − what could go wrong?
At a typical plant, relining a mill is a common occurrence, happening several times per year, often with extensive pre-planning. Why then do so many customers struggle to improve their reline times? One issue could be that the chosen mill liners may not be optimally sized for the mill, often due to size limitations imposed by their current reline machine. Reline crews may not be set up for success due to sub-optimal procedures, lack of training or relying too much on manual handling.
It might even be as simple as the current operation is either using an outdated mill reline machine (MRM) or perhaps not using one at all! Manually installing liners can put personnel in harms way, and many relines are delayed due to safety concerns or in some cases the occurrence of an injury.
In the end, there are many factors to consider that could be slowing the reline operation down, but the root cause is generally a combination of these three main factors: sub-optimal liner design, inadequate relining equipment, and untrained personnel. A modern reline machine handling optimised liners can bring significant gains, especially when operated by a well-trained operator and supported with other services. This is often a solution that our teams propose when a customer is experiencing mill process performance issues with their relines. However, many customers are reluctant to make changes to address their issues.
There are four main concerns that we commonly hear.
1. “A mill reline machine will not work on my site. Besides, I cannot afford one anyway”
2. “If I mess with my liner design, it could impact my mill performance”
3. “My reline team is inexperienced and I cannot justify using professional services”
4. “Yes, addressing these areas would optimise everything. But it seems too difficult and too risky”
To address these concerns and help sites achieve the gains they are looking for, we consulted with our two experts: Jared Le Cras, Director, Mill Reline Equipment, and Jyrki Leino, ISS Solution Sales Manager.
“A mill reline machine will not work on my site. Besides, I cannot afford one anyway.”
Jared: A mill reline machine (MRM) can improve any reline process! We have a team of experts available to assist in sizing the best MRM for our customers applications. This would include thorough checks including clearances, interfaces, foundational loads and addressing operational goals.
Jyrki: Now available to combat the finance-related bottleneck, Metso Outotec also offers financing options to avoid high CAPEX investments. The investment is proven to provide benefits in the amount of downtime you save compared to an operation without an MRM. Your grinding mill will thank you!
“If I mess with my liner design, it could impact my mill performance”
Jyrki: The key is to do the preparation and analysis before making any changes. Metso Outotec has the expert liner designers and process engineers to find an optimal fit for your grinding mill. With the correct liner design, we believe it can affect mill performance for the better, based on our past history of optimising liners! There are many cases where we have supported the customer to improve their operations through choosing an alternate liner design in terms of materials or sizing. This is also where the MRM and liner Life Cycle Services (LCS) package can help to exceed your operational goals with design services and continuous support.
“My reline team is inexperienced and I cannot justify using professional services”
Jared: With Metso Outotec we can provide training options for site personnel as we have a global network of professionals ready to support our customers teams. This can be bundled into your liners and MRM package. With these professionals we make sure to address all the challenges you are facing, review your goals and make sure the training will support your targets to meet or even exceed them.
Jyrki: Metso Outotec also has additional products and services that are available to help optimise the reline process. Combining liners and various shutdown tools with the right people makes a difference and can bring the most benefits. For example, you can use SMED analysis (Single Minute Exchange of Dies or time and motion study), which looks at all the tasks performed during a reline to identify improvements as well as delays, to help drive further reductions in shutdown times.
There are also tools like the Metso Outotec MillMapper™ liner wear monitoring which can provide prompt and actionable data. This can allow maintenance and operational personnel to extend liner life cycles, optimise liner design, prevent liner failures, optimise throughput and improve the performance of a mill.
Jared: Reline machine operator training is also important. Our virtual reality training simulator can let you get the feel for what a reline operation would look like when using Metso Outotec mill relining machines without shutting down the grinding mill.
“Yes, addressing these areas seems like it would optimise everything. But it seems too difficult and too risky”
Jared: At Metso Outotec we have a proven track record of providing these reliable solutions to our customers. We pride ourselves on delivering quality and results to your operation! Plus we can offer everything as a bundle. This would include the ability for regular payment installments with commonly agreed key performance indicators and bonus or penalty criteria. You also will have access to Metso Outotec experts covering every aspect of the relining optimisation. At the end of the day, we aim to be a partner for positive change at our customer sites.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with a Metso Outotec expert, please reach out to us using the links below: