Tag Archives: Ines Hartwig

TOMRA boosts sensor-based ore sorting process with key updates

TOMRA Sorting Mining has introduced the TOMRA ACT user interface together with a new image processing pipeline and additional process data for TOMRA Insight, all of which will, the company says, enable improvements in the overall sorting process for greater productivity and profitability.

The new TOMRA ACT graphical user interface (UI) brings a fundamental change in the way customers interact with their machines, making it easy to control the work flow in their sorting process with simple, intuitive touch gestures and actions on the screen, according to the company.

The UI provides sorting information and real-time process data at a glance through easy-to-understand graphics. With this clear information, the operator can better monitor the sorting process and make fast adjustments at any time, the company claims. The quick feedback on machine performance and throughput enables them to optimise the process, maximising productivity and efficiency.

Ines Hartwig, TOMRA Product Manager

Ines Hartwig, TOMRA Product Manager, explained: “Throughout the development process of TOMRA ACT, we conducted many in-depth discussions with our customers to ensure we provided them with an interface that would improve the performance of their sorters, benefitting their business. We have been testing it with customers and the feedback has been very positive; in particular about the ease of use, even remotely, which facilitates controlling the process and adjusting settings.

“With the new interface, customers interact with their sorters in a much more intuitive way and they have better guidance on how to improve the overall handling of the sorters. As a result, they will be able to improve the productivity of their sorting plant and the profitability of their mining operation.”

TOMRA is introducing the new UI on all its current X-ray Transmission (XRT) sorters and is planning to extend it to other machines in its offering at a later stage. Upgrade packages to retrofit previous models of its XRT sorters will also become available.

The new Image Processing Pipeline, meanwhile, analyses the data sent by the sorter’s sensors and cameras. This solution provides TOMRA with even more flexibility to adjust and customise the image calculations according to the application and the customer’s specific requirements to achieve the best possible sorting results.

The enhanced image processing solution also collects detailed process data, such as information on particle size distribution of the feed, belt occupancy for insights on feed tonnages, or data relating to the health of the sorter. All these statistics are fed to TOMRA Insight, the cloud-based data platform, adding to the process information it has already received. TOMRA said: “This enables customers to improve the overall sorting process further, taking fast action when changes occur in upstream equipment or in the material’s composition. They are able to better monitor and control their processes, the feed material and the sorted fractions, improving their profitability.”

The new enhanced Image Processing Pipeline, and additional data fed to TOMRA Insight, have already been introduced on TOMRA XRT sorters and will in the future be extended to other products.

TOMRA’s COM XRT 2.0 mineral ore sorter tackles even higher throughputs

X-ray ore sorting is already making great waves across the mineral processing industry by reducing plant throughputs, increasing head grades and cutting operating costs. One of the leaders in this growing field, TOMRA, believes its new COM XRT 2.0 sorter takes these attributes to another level.

This upgraded model features higher belt speed and throughput, translating directly into increased productivity in mineral processing. It also offers increased wear resistance and longer component lifetime, with quick and safe maintenance through providing easier access to replaceable components.

Ines Hartwig, Product Manager at TOMRA Sorting Mining, said the valuable experience gained over the past 15 years, through monitoring and maintaining the TOMRA COM XRT units operating in the field, has been incorporated into the design of the TOMRA COM XRT 2.0.

“Our sorters have been operating under harsh conditions in both hot and cold climates, sorting wet and dry feed across a wide range of commodities,” Hartwig said.

The speed of the belt in the new design has been increased from 2.7 m/s to 3.5 m/s, while the more powerful X-ray system accommodates the sorting of larger-sized material due to better X ray penetration.

“Higher levels of belt occupancy are facilitated by our improved data processing capacity, and this allows the particle size of the feed to be increased,” she said. “The maximum size of the particles that the TOMRA COM XRT 2.0 can handle is between 100 mm and 125 mm, depending on the material, which also contributes significantly to throughput capacity.”

She notes these higher levels of capacity are particularly valuable for larger mines, as they reduce the number of machines required, and therefore also decrease capital and operating expenditure.

The unit boasts a highly selective ejection system, using data processing in combination with precise control of the pneumatic valves which eject the selected material from the stream. Driving this system is TOMRA’s proprietary data processing pipeline that links sensors, image processing and the valve control boards.

The performance of this ore sorting technology has been proven at Ma’aden Phosphates’ new $560 million processing plant at the Umm Wu’Al project in Saudi Arabia, one of the largest integrated phosphate fertiliser facilities in the world, according to TOMRA. TOMRA Sorting Solutions has installed nine of its TOMRA COM XRT sorting units, each with an operational width of 2.4 m, to process a 1,850 t/h sorter feed at this facility (pictured, top).

The objective of the sorters is to reduce the milling and flotation of silica in the plant process, using a dry technology at a low cost per tonne. The TOMRA units achieve this by removing more than 90% of the chert in the +9 mm fraction, which makes up half of the plant feed, before the phosphate is fed to the milling and flotation circuit. This leads to the removal of over 1.2 Mt/y of SiO2, which does not have to be crushed, ground and floated.

This installation considerably improved the mill performance by reducing the consumption of energy, water and chemicals per tonne of final product, TOMRA said. All of this was achieved with a smaller sorting plant footprint. The saving in flotation reagents, alone, amounts to almost $8 million/y, according to the company.

In Botswana, TOMRA Sorting Solutions has installed two TOMRA COM XRT 2.0/1200 sorters in the mega-diamond recovery (MDR) circuit of Lucara Diamonds’ Karowe mine. Located directly after the primary crusher and ahead of the process plant, the MDR circuit treats material in the size range between 50 mm and 120 mm. It maximises the upfront recovery of exceptional diamonds before the ore reaches the comminution processes, where diamond damage may occur.

“The machine has proven itself through its high availability throughout its first year of operation there,” Hartwig said.

TOMRA Sorting Solutions also has several smaller units in portable and containerised configurations in many different countries, where they must operate in a variety of climatic conditions from arctic to tropical. These machines sort minerals ranging from copper, iron ore and coal to industrial minerals, chrome and diamonds.