Tag Archives: Metso Outotec

First Quantum improves Kansanshi mine reliability with Accelovant fibre-optic sensors

Kansanshi Mining, a First Quantum-owned company located in Zambia, is leveraging Accelovant’s fibre-optic sensors to solve its arcing and electronics failure and signaling issues at the major copper mine.

Kansanshi operates one of the world’s largest and most productive copper mining and smelting sites. The smelting operations use wet electrostatic precipitators (ESP) to clean sulphur dioxide gas by removing acid mist (aerosols) and dust particles that can result in a toxic concentrated sulphuric acid effluent. While ESPs are considered one of the most effective process scrubbers in this application, process temperature control has long been an impediment to more extensive use. Control of the ESP requires temperature measurement technology that can withstand simultaneously high voltage, high temperature range, and high electromagnetic fields.

In application, the wet ESP utilises high-voltage electromagnetic fields to attract or impel different molecules in a gas stream to affect separation and collection. It has one field consisting of discharge electrodes in the centre of tubular collecting electrodes. The gas is ionised by the corona discharge of the discharge electrodes. The particles contained in the gas are charged and migrate under the influence of the electrostatic field to the grounded electrodes.

In the case of the Kansanshi copper smelter, the sulphur dioxide gas from the smelter is moved through the wet ESP plants to separate the acid mist and dust from the gas stream. The acid mist is highly corrosive and, if not removed from the gas, it is capable of damaging downstream equipment such as gas blowers and ductwork.

To operate correctly and prevent damage to the electrical and ceramic components of the wet ESP, it must be heated to a consistent temperature between 325-340°C. Operating in this range will prevent condensation of the mist. If condensation occurs, it substantially increases the risk of short circuiting that can lead to poor unit performance.

Historically the ESPs employed conventional in-stream thermocouples and/or Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTD), both highly susceptible to electrical noise. When employed, these sensors were unreliable and represented a flashover risk due to the high voltage environment.

Pieter Oosthuizen, Control Instrumentation Superintendent, and Bodrick Mumba, Superintendent Operations Sulphuric Acid Plant, both work to maintain consistent and reliable operation of the smelting plant and ESPs. The ESPs operate around the clock in paired sets, processing a constant stream of smelter gas.

According to Mumba, if one ESP is operating outside of the proper temperature range, the volume of smelter gas has to be reduced by cutting down concentrate treatment in the primary smelting furnace until the unit is returned to proper operating status.

“If the temperature drops below the setpoint there is great risk of acid misting and condensing on the ceramic insulators in the ESP,” Mumba said. “If the ceramics are damaged, potential downtime to repair would certainly reduce throughput and output of the plant.”

Maintaining proper temperature control in an extremely harsh environment

In a harsh operating environment surrounding the wet ESPs (high voltage, electrical noise and high temperature), monitoring and managing precise temperature levels through the use of in-stream sensors was a difficult and highly unpredictable exercise. The ESP units supplied by Metso Outotec are designed to allow the use of multiple different sensors that conform to a standardised form factor, enabling the operator to install the most effective sensor for the use case.

“The ESP units operate with a typical 45 kV charge atcurrents in the 500-600 milliamp range,” Oosthuizen said. “In this kind of environment, there is tremendous electromagnetic noise and induced currents in anything that is conductive or that utilises electronics. This includes the thermocouples and RTDs that are typically employed to monitor high temperatures in industrial settings. We tried many different device types, but in all cases the electronics would burn out and fail due to the stray electromagnetic fields.”

Oosthuizen noted that in the smelting plant environment, both RTD and thermocouple devices were subject to high-voltage flashovers which can damage them, or, at a minimum, disrupt the transmitted electrical signals from the sensor to its controller. Such plant conditions contribute to high sensor failure rates, and difficulty in maintaining signals essentially prevented automated control.

An Accelovant fibre-optic sensor

Operating under manual control was more costly, and meant operators had to make regular temperature readings and adjust operational parameters to maintain the proper range. In a complex operating environment with many variables, making these adjustments manually was an ongoing process that consumed substantial personnel time and cost.

The high failure rate of sensors and inability to utilise automated controls were limiting factors in maintaining the reliable and consistent operation of the ESPs and of the productivity of the entire plant. In their search for a workable solution, Mumba and Oosthuizen learned that fibre-optic temperature sensors were widely employed in harsh environments due to their immunity to electrical noise.

“As we researched fibre-optic sensors, it became clear that the inherent immunity to electrical noise could solve our arcing and electronics failure and signaling issues, but we also needed to address the high-temperature operating conditions,” Oosthuizen said. “While operating specifications for most fiber-optic sensor suppliers on the market did extend up to the 325-340° C range, our requirements were toward the top end of the recommended range, so we were a bit apprehensive about product in-service longevity. That’s when we discovered a Canadian supplier that specialised in high temperature fibre-optic sensors.”

The team found a new class of fibre-optic sensors from Canadian manufacturer Accelovant that seemed to address both of the key issues they were trying to solve.

A new class of fibre-optic sensors

Fibre-optic sensors use only the energy of light to measure temperature. Because they contain no electrical function, they are immune to the adverse electromagnetic affects inherent in conventional sensors such as thermocouples and RTDs. While currently employed widely in industrial applications, they are generally limited to 250˚C. Above that temperature, the organophosphorus compounds used to generate the temperature measurement optical signal will begin to fail.

“Accelovant specialises in high temperature fiber optic sensors,” Michael Goldstein, CEO for Accelovant, said. “We went back to the basics of material science and invented a patented ceramic-like optical material to create a new class of fibre-optic temperature sensors that could withstand much higher temperatures and offer longer service life at temperatures exceeding 450°C.”

In April 2022, Accelovant fibre-optic sensors were installed in one of the matched pairs of ESPs operating in the plant. Shortly after installation, Oosthuizen was ready to experiment with utilising the automated controls available in the plant management software.

“We knew that, in theory, the fibre-optic sensors would outperform the electronic sensors, but wanted to be certain that it was also the case in practice,” he said. “After several months of observation and testing, we converted to operating the temperature controls on those two ESP to automatic – for the first time in more than eight years of operation.“

Accelovant fibre-optic sensors delivered the high-temperature longevity and electromagnetic immunity necessary to provide reliable and consistent temperature monitoring and control within the wet ESP copper smelting operations at Kansanshi, the company said.

Oosthuizen reports that after 11 months in service, the Accelovant fibre-optic sensors were performing as demanded and enabled full automated control of the ESPs. “In the years that the ESPs have been in operation, we have never been able to operate without a sensor failing for such a lengthy period,” he noted.

The stability of the Accelovant sensors has finally allowed for automated management of stream temperatures and eliminated some of the operational challenges at the plant.

Mumba added: “The Accelovant sensors have increased our efficiencies by eliminating manual temperature adjustment – a process that could take multiple iterations to achieve the desired results. They provide reliability that allows us to concentrate our time on other matters.”

Metso focuses on growing ‘strong unified’ company and brand with name change

Shareholders of Metso Outotec have approved the Board of Directors’ proposal to change the company name to Metso Corporation, bringing an end to a name that was instated in mid-2020 when the two firms – Metso and Outotec – merged.

The change of the parent company name Metso Corporation is effective starting May 4, 2023, but globally the change will be implemented in a phased manner. The visual identity of the company remains unchanged, but the new name is reflected in the company logo, Metso said.

Outotec continues as a product brand and carries significant value as the name of some key technologies and products, it clarified.

The news follows voting at the company’s Annual General Meeting yesterday.

“After the successful integration of Metso and Outotec, we will focus on growing a strong unified Metso company and brand,” President and CEO of Metso, Pekka Vauramo, said. “We have combined two valuable companies into one strong Metso. Our focus is clear: we continue enabling sustainable modern life and transforming the industry with a clear strategy and strong culture, supported by a name that is short yet established and well recognised among all our stakeholders. Services are an extremely important part of our business, requiring a strong name.”

Metso Outotec’s Executive Team has been renamed Metso Leadership Team (MLT).

Metso merged with Outotec on June 30, 2020, bringing together circa-15,000 employees, some 5,000 service representatives and around €4.2 billion ($4.7 billion) of sales (in 2019).

Metso Outotec to deliver concentrate dewatering filters to JISCO in China

Metso Outotec says it has been awarded an order to deliver concentrate dewatering filters for JISCO’s modernisation project in Gansu province, China.

JISCO, ie Jiuquan Iron and Steel (Group) Co., Ltd., is the largest producer of carbon steel and stainless steel in northwest China.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering, manufacturing and supply of six VPA pressure filters, as well as advisory services for installation and commissioning.

Xun Fang, General Manager of Minerals Sales in Greater China at Metso Outotec, said: “The VPA filter has been developed for reliable high-volume processing in challenging concentrate filtration and tailings processing. It is a perfect fit for JISCO’s application. The VPA filters are one of the most sustainable filters available and are classified as Planet Positive products because of their water and energy efficiency.”

Metso Outotec’s filtration portfolio consists of 15 different filter types and a comprehensive service offering for various mining and industrial applications, with more than 5,000 installations globally.

Metso Outotec introduces scalable thickening options for minerals processing

Metso Outotec has introduced scalable thickening plant units to, it says, ensure outstanding circuit performance and reliability for any minerals processing application or capacity.

Comprising high-rate thickeners, high-compression thickeners, paste thickeners, clarifiers and polymer dosing units, the Metso Outotec thickening plant units fit seamlessly with other dewatering units, like filtration or any type of water treatment applications, according to the company. The pre-engineered units incorporate Planet Positive Reactorwell™ feedwell technology, maximising thickener performance while minimising flocculant consumption.

Toni Kuisma, Product Manager for Dewatering Islands at Metso Outotec, said: “Decreasing ore grades set new challenges for the mining industry. Equipment design needs to integrate seamlessly across the process to avoid underperformance and recovery losses. Our new thickening plant units feature scalable, modular components, and the integrated units deliver consistent performance even in changing process conditions. What’s more, the productised and partially modular units are quick and safe to install and commission.”

Metso Outotec says these units offer unique benefits including:

  • A wide and proven range of proprietary equipment with innate digitalisation for the whole plant, providing consistent performance in changing process conditions
  • Industry-leading Reactorwell feedwell technology to ensure efficient use of the clarification area;
  • Better risk management through process performance guarantees;
  • In-house testing and sizing;
  • Expert support in the design of individual applications, based on extensive plant design know-how and numerous references for various applications, concentrate and tailings.

Metso Outotec has one of the widest portfolios of thickening solutions on the market, with an installed base of around 3,000 thickener equipment installations around the world.

The thickening plant units are Metso Outotec’s fifth complete plant unit launch for concentrator plants, with previous launches including stirred mill plant units, horizontal mill plant units, filtration plant units and flotation plant units

Metso Outotec to deliver two compact-sized pelletising plants to China’s BSIET

Metso Outotec says it has signed a contract with Beijing Shougang International Engineering Technology Co Ltd (BSIET) for the delivery of two compact-sized iron ore pelletising plants for Chengde Zhaofeng Iron and Steel Group, Co. Ltd in Hebei province, China.

This is the sixth pelletising plant contract Metso Outotec has won in China since 2020 and the first order for plants of this size in the Chinese market. The order value of €33 million ($35 million) is booked into the company’s Metals 2023 first quarter (March quarter) orders received.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes the engineering and design of the indurating and process gas fan systems, supply of proprietary equipment, instrumentation, control systems, as well as supervisory services and technical training. Both plants feature Metso Outotec’s traveling grate pellet indurating furnace with a grate area of 342 sq.m. The 3-m-wide plants each have a capacity of 2.6 Mt/y. Pellet production at the Zhaofeng plant is estimated to start around the September quarter of 2024.

Attaul Ahmad, Vice President, Ferrous & Heat Transfer business line at Metso Outotec, said: “The new plants incorporate state-of-the-art environmentally sound technology. We thank BSIET and our customers in China for their trust in Metso Outotec’s technology.”

Mr Hou, General Manager of BSIET, said: “These plants will be a good reference for additional compact-sized pellet plants for this market segment in China. We have been successfully working with Metso Outotec for many years now and will further continue our cooperation.”

Metso Outotec’s iron ore pelletising process produces uniform pellets and ensures high performance and quality with low investment and operating costs as well as decreased energy consumption and emissions, the company says.

Metso Outotec to expand filter assembly plant in Suzhou, China

Metso Outotec says it will expand its filter assembly plant in Suzhou, China, to respond to global market demand.

The plant expansion will not only double local capacity in China to deliver high-quality filters for mining and other industrial customers, it will also provide additional space for the assembly of flotation drive mechanisms and mill reline equipment, according to the company.

The extended production facility is expected to open within a year and reach full capacity during the first half of 2024. With the expansion, the number of personnel working at the plant is anticipated to increase to around 60 experts.

Tero Tiainen, Director, Filter Manufacturing at Metso Outotec, said: “Filters are used in mining and industrial applications to separate solids from liquids. In Suzhou, we produce several of the different filter types we offer in our global portfolio. Originally, filter assembly in Suzhou began in 2009, and it has been operating at the same location ever since.”

Chuncai Qiu, Suzhou Plant Manager, added: “In connection with the expansion, we will also update our procedures for simplified processing, modular manufacturing and lean management to enable fast deliveries to our customers. This, combined with our established engineering, sourcing and production expertise in Suzhou will provide our customers with enhanced service and product quality.”

Metso Outotec’s filtration portfolio consists of 15 different filter types and services for hundreds of applications. Over 80% of the Metso Outotec filters are part of the company’s Planet Positive portfolio, mainly due to their efficiency in the recovery and reuse of water, the company says. The company has carried out more than 14,000 filtration tests and delivered more than 5,000 filters for various applications worldwide. Most of the filters are sold under the Larox® product name along with Metso Outotec corporate branding.

Metso Outotec to demo ‘groundbreaking innovations’ at CONEXPO 2023

Just one of the expected highlights from Metso Outotec’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 upcoming presence in Las Vegas, USA, will be an evolution of its Nordberg HP cone crusher.

The company will show off its latest innovations at the international construction trade show, taking place on March 14-18, 2023.

Juha Yli-Petäys, SVP, Global Distribution Management at Metso Outotec, said: “Throughout the whole aggregates and construction industry, sustainability is gaining ground and has become a big driver for innovations and operations. For us at Metso Outotec, sustainability and improved performance are among our key goals with our customers and present in every R&D project. At CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, we will demonstrate our groundbreaking innovations that address our customers’ key challenges like energy consumption, uptime, safety or carbon footprint reduction.”

The special previews for CONEXPO-CON/AGG visitors at Metso Outotec’s booth include:

  • The HPe range – evolution in motion: The most popular modern cone crusher in the world, the Nordberg HP cone crusher, is undergoing an evolution, Metso Outotec says. The new range is even more efficient, meeting the varying and ever-increasing performance needs of the aggregates and mining industres. The new Nordberg HPe range offers higher performance and uptime in a more sustainable way. The kinematical crushing action and crusher cavities have been further developed and optimized, resulting in significantly higher performance and grade of application flexibility. Significantly, the crusher liners can be installed without backing material. This not only makes the liner changes easier and shortens the time needed for service breaks, but also has a positive impact on the environment and operator safety.
  • The iconic Lokotrack® range and the vision for the future: Lokotrack track-mounted crushers and screens are renowned for their outstanding performance and dependability when it comes to aggregates production, the company says. At CONEXPO-CON/AGG, it will display the latest version of the Lokotrack LT120. The LT120 features the proven Nordberg C120 jaw crusher and is equipped for optimised performance and extended wear life. It includes the Planet Positive hybrid composite MX jaw dies, a rock breaker, rubber lining in the feeder, a belt cleaning set for the long main conveyor, as well as the latest intelligent crushing solution and the new Metrics remote monitoring platform. Additionally, Metso Outotec will provide a sneak peek at the future vision of the next generation of Lokotracks, which, it says, will continue to transform mobile crushing.
  • Aftermarket solutions to optimise performance: With the OEM quality parts and digitally powered services, Metso Outotec can optimise the performance and uptime of aggregates producing equipment at every phase of the production lifecycle. Metso Outotec’s aftermarket solutions help operators reduce cost per tonne and decrease their energy consumption and carbon footprint. The digital solution, Metso Outotec Metrics, which enables a wide range of services targeting improved performance, availability and equipment lifespan for different aggregates applications, will also be showcased at the event.

Metso Outotec makes screening media production changes in North, Central America

Metso Outotec says it is developing its global supply chain operations by reorganising its screening media production in North and Central America, with the opening of new capacity in Mexico and the discontinuing of operations in Missouri, USA.

The new screening media production capacity in Irapuato, Mexico, is planned to significantly increase supply and delivery capabilities for mining and aggregates customers in the region. The new factory in Mexico will start operations gradually during the first half of 2023 and, once fully operational during the September quarter, is expected to double the total production capacity by 2024 compared with the current level.

The new screening media center is expected to employ around 46 people.

Today, Metso Outotec has approximately 370 employees in its rubber and Poly-Met operations in Mexico. In 2022, Metso Outotec announced it would invest in establishing its first polymer filter plate production unit in Mexico.

The screening media production in Warrenton, Missouri, will be ramped down by the end of 2023, with the closure expected to affect approximately 40 employees in total.

Heikki Metsälä, President, Consumables Business Area, said: “We will serve customers with shorter lead times and faster deliveries by utilising a production site optimised for screening media products. The new factory is located close to our rubber and Poly-Met factory in Irapuato, and it further strengthens Mexico’s position as a centre of expertise for producing high-quality consumables.

“Our global supply footprint is under continuous development to ensure sustainable and profitable growth and to serve our customers’ growing needs. Closing a factory is a hard but necessary decision to make. We will support our employees throughout the transition.”

Metso Outotec, thyssenkrupp Uhde to develop phosphogypsum processing options for Ma’aden

Metso Outotec says it and thyssenkrupp Uhde have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ma’aden in Saudi Arabia for developing a novel circular concept to improve the sustainability of Ma’aden’s phosphate operations.

The aim is to design a groundbreaking integrated complex for processing of phosphogypsum, a waste by-product from phosphoric acid production, to reduce the amount of solid waste and allow the capture of CO2 emissions.

The new circular process will be incorporated into Ma’aden’s phosphate operations to support the company in achieving its ambitious sustainability goals aligned with the Kingdom’s objectives, Metso Outotec said.

For the development of this process, Metso Outotec’s extensive know-how and experience in the field of fluid bed and sulfuric acid solutions will be used.

Hannes Storch, Vice President for Metals and Chemicals Processing at Metso Outotec, said: “We are honoured to be part of this unique initiative. Decarbonisation and circularity are relevant for all industries, and the new concept to be developed for phosphogypsum processing will be a major step forward in the fertiliser industry, contributing to efforts limiting global warming.”

Metso Outotec signs another VSF SX-EW order in North America

Metso Outotec says it has signed an agreement worth some €50 million ($53 million) for the supply of copper solvent extraction and electrowinning technology to North America.

The company’s scope of delivery includes basic engineering, a technology package for the VSF® solvent extraction and electrowinning plants, as well as advisory services for mechanical installation and commissioning, start-up, and spare parts.

Metso Outotec says its Vertical Smooth Flow (VSF) plants offer lower lifetime costs, significantly shorter lead times and sustainable life-cycle technology built on decades of experience in solvent extraction.

Mikko Rantaharju, Vice President, Hydrometallurgy, at Metso Outotec, said: “We are looking forward to working on this project, which will be an important reference for Metso Outotec in North America’s growing copper market.”

Other recent bookings for Metso Outotec’s VSF SX-EW technology include one from First Cobalt (now Electra Battery Materials) and Taseko Mines.