Tag Archives: rubber

Weir Minerals’ Vulco rubber compound proves its mill lining worth

Close to four years after release, Weir Minerals Vulco® 67 rubber compound is providing exceptional wear life and reliability in mill lining systems, according to the OEM.

These abrasion- and impact-resistant rubber compounds have been developed with advanced technologies by the Weir Minerals’ team of expert engineers and material scientists who are continually refining Vulco rubber products to keep them at the forefront of mill lining systems technology, the company says.

Having identified a need for higher-wearing rubbers for mill lining systems, the material science experts commenced developing an industry leading, premium-grade rubber compound with superior wear life and performance in mill lining applications. The result was the Vulco R67 rubber – a material manufactured with proprietary new compounds and innovative methods of processing to deliver outstanding wear life and longer uptime, Weir Minerals says.

Extensive field research, compound testing and site trials were conducted to ensure it was not only able to withstand severe abrasion in typical mill system applications, but that it is best in class, the company said.

“In fact, it has been the most wear-resistant rubber compound that Weir Minerals has ever developed for mill lining applications,” Weir Minerals said. “The R67 compound boasts a high hardness, elongation, tensile and tear strength, and is suitable for lifter bars, head/shell plates and grates. When it’s utilised in conjunction with metal cap mill liners, the result is a versatile, economical and efficient product that weighs up to 50% less than steel alone.

“The added benefit is a lighter product that’s faster, easier and safer to install.”

Revolutionising wear lining

Since its launch in 2018, many mining operators from around the globe have implemented the R67 compound into their mill lining systems, according to Weir Minerals. They have reported as much as 20-40% improvement in wear life, which is resulting in fewer mill lining replacements and longer mill campaigns. This reduction in shutdowns has a dual benefit of increased cost savings and improved plant availability.

With a liner that can run significantly longer, operators have experienced a wide range of benefits including:

  • Improved wear life;
  • A measurable reduction in mill downtime;
  • Increased uptime and processing;
  • Easier and safer installations; and
  • Reduced maintenance costs.

In-field success

Extensive global trials and commercial installations in the market have resulted in several successful outcomes across a variety of different grinding applications.

As an example, a high-grade nickel and copper mining project in the US had a problem where the liners in one ball mill were wearing out too quickly, leading to continued downtime and reduced processing. The operation was looking for a product significantly superior to the elastomer it was using. Initially there was reluctance from the mine, as it had loyalty to its original mill supplier, however after Weir Minerals conducted a series of trajectory simulations and discrete modelling – to optimise the design and deliver the best process performance for the mill – it agreed to trial the R67 liners.

At the end of the trial, the R67 showed 30-40% better performance than the incumbent liners and the customer installed a full set of R67 liners in its mill.

Another trial in the US took place in an iron ore mine with several dozen ball mills in operation. Here, Vulco R67 liners delivered a 17% increase in life compared with the failed shell plates from the mine’s original mill lining system supplier. The company has since installed a complete shell liner in its ball mill.

Moving to Chile, a copper mine was keen to trial the R67 compound to see if it could improve the wear time of a competitor rubber liner. After a three-month trial, all liners were physically measured showing the Vulco R67 liners fully worn wear life projected from the actual wear would be 80% longer compared with the incumbent liners.

Another copper processing plant in Chile trialled R67 composite liners in its SAG mill against two other compounds commonly used in the industry. After 12 months, there was a 48% and 62% wear life improvement on the other liners – proving the R67 composite liners could withstand the highly abrasive environment.

Vulco R67 mill liners are made exclusively at Weir Minerals facilities in North and South America, Australia and South Africa, with plans to expand production into more regions in the future.

Weir Minerals, Henkel develop industry-first adhesive for rubber lining applications

Weir Minerals, manufacturer of Linatex®, a leading brand of premium natural rubber, has partnered with adhesive producer Henkel and its team of LOCTITE® adhesive, sealant and coating specialists, to develop what it says is a mining industry-first solvent-free adhesive for rubber lining applications with zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are carbon-based, organic chemicals often used in adhesives, paints and coatings. They are subject to strict regulations, with some governments aiming to limit worker exposure while others target large-scale emissions in order to improve air quality. Mining companies also target VOC emissions as part of their sustainability strategies.

In collaboration with Henkel, Weir Minerals developed the LINATEX LOCTITE – LINA 88™ cold-bonding rubber adhesive range in response to the growing need for safer and more sustainable products. Complementing the Linatex rubber products, this breakthrough in adhesive technology reflects Weir’s core values of safety, sustainability and performance, is says.

With new LINATEX LOCTITE – LINA 88 products, cutting down the VOC emissions does not mean having to compromise on performance, according to Weir. The custom-formulated rubber adhesive range sets a new industry benchmark for bond strength by exceeding the current British Standard by up to four times, and is significantly stronger than other products presently used in mining, it says.

“We’ve had many customers across the globe approach us to help them find ways to improve safety for their employees,” Mark Doyle, Global Product Manager – Linatex Rubber and Hose, says. “At Weir Minerals we take safety very seriously and looked at several possible solutions. Our team worked closely with the LOCTITE experts and developed an adhesive that is stronger than any other product in the market today with the double benefit of being solvent-free with zero VOCs.

“Coincidentally, many mine sites and even regional governments are now starting to mandate that only adhesives with zero VOCs be used on site – we are thrilled to say that we have a product that meets this challenge.”

Safety and sustainability focus was the main driver of the project, according to Ricardo Garib, Weir Minerals Division President.

“Working with Henkel to develop an adhesive that not only outperforms what is currently on the market, but also delivers environmental and safety benefits, is a fantastic result for mine operators and their employees,” he says. “Weir Minerals promotes a safe environment for everyone; we consider it a priority for our customers and our own people in our service centres where we line minerals processing equipment with Linatex rubber. With sustainability as a key issue within our industry, we are proud to be at the forefront with innovative new products.”

Mark Dorn, Senior Vice President Craftsmen, Construction & Professional, for Henkel Adhesive Technologies and President of Henkel Asia Pacific, added: “It’s always exciting to pioneer new solutions for our customers that are able to deliver on both innovation and sustainability. Being able to positively impact environmental and occupational safety for those in the mining industry is definitely a rewarding accomplishment for the team.”

Dr Nigel Fay, Corporate Vice President, Innovation & Application Engineering, for Henkel Adhesive Technologies, says: “Delivering this breakthrough innovation to the market is representative of the mission that the LOCTITE business has delivered on for nearly 70 years. It’s about leveraging our expertise, our passion for innovation and our focus on solving the most difficult challenges to create new value for customers. Having the opportunity to bring this to life in collaboration with another industry leader like Weir Minerals has been extremely satisfying and is a true model for future success in the area of innovation.”

The new LINATEX LOCTITE – LINA 88 adhesive range has undergone extensive trials in the APAC region, exceeding customer expectations, Weir says.

Weir Minerals says it will be specifying the new solvent-free and zero VOCs products for all its Linatex applications around the world.

The entire range is non-flammable and is, therefore, safer to use, easy to transport and does not require any special handling or storage facilities, according to the company. It can also be sprayed over the top of rubber lining to provide solid UV protection.

Weir Minerals improves plant uptime at mineral sands, gold mines

Two African mines are achieving increased production time and plant availability after converting to Weir Minerals rubber lining solutions, the company says.

A mineral sands operation in Mozambique approached Weir Minerals just over two years ago, after experiencing high wear on its pipe and launders. This was leading to frequent maintenance, leaks and downtime. The Weir Minerals team observed that part of the challenge was worn out and corroded metal work on the mine’s wet concentrator plants due to the proximity to the coast.

Access to reline the existing launders was difficult and posed safety risks necessitating a more effective solution, the company said.

The solution was to replace the competitors’ products – chemically-cured rubber – with Linatex® rubber and Linard® 60 rubber. This was done during the mine’s monthly shutdowns.

Whereas the competitors’ rubber lasted only two to three months, the Linatex and Linard linings are still in operation after 25 months, according to the company.

The Linard 60 rubber lining solution was also applied at a gold mine in South Africa’s North West province. The mine’s maintenance team had been replacing the rubber lining on mill feed hoppers and spouts every 10 days, but the Mechanical Foreman was looking for a more resilient solution.

The Foreman was not familiar with Linatex rubber products, so a trial using Linard 60 rubber was arranged, with the entire feed hopper and spout lined with this silica-reinforced natural rubber.

The results saw wear life increase to 12 weeks. With only the partially worn areas requiring relining, there was a reduction in relining costs. This, in turn, increased plant availability, resulting in fewer stoppages and reduced operating costs.

Linatex premium rubber is a proprietary vulcanised natural rubber produced through a process that uses high quality natural latex, according to Weir. “It has outstanding strength, resilience and resistance to cutting and tearing – with high performance in wet, abrasive conditions,” the company said.

Linard 60 rubber, which is silica reinforced, retains the natural strength and nerve of latex, while combining with the toughness needed for handling coarse materials, according to the company.

Metso’s Ersmark rubber and poly-met wear parts facility to close

Following a review in its Minerals Consumables business area in EMEA, Metso has decided to discontinue operations at the rubber and poly-met wear parts manufacturing facility in Ersmark, Sweden.

Metso announced back in September it was starting “personnel negotiations” to review the implications at rubber and poly-met wear part production units in Ersmark and Trelleborg, Sweden. It has now decided to ramp down operations at Ersmark in stages from the beginning of the June quarter, with full closure expected in September quarter, it said.

The decision affects approximately 150 manufacturing related positions in Ersmark.

Sami Takaluoma, President, Minerals Consumables business area, said: “Our strategy is to improve productivity and reduce logistics costs by building on the most efficient manufacturing and sourcing opportunities at a regional and global level to ensure the best value and availability for our customers.

“During the negotiations, we evaluated the EMEA region as a whole and came to the conclusion that consolidating the rubber and poly-met manufacturing operations in Sweden was the only feasible solution.

“This is a very unpleasant yet necessary action. Going forward, our focus will be on ensuring a sustainable transition for Ersmark as well as uninterrupted service to our customers.”

The company concluded: “Today, Metso is the leading player in the rubber and poly-met mill lining business with a strong service network in all the main mining markets. In addition to Ersmark, Metso has another factory continuing synthetic wear part production in Trelleborg, Sweden, and nine other factories for synthetic solutions globally.”