Tag Archives: Screening

eHPCC: the future of grinding in mining?

A lot has been made of the potential of high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) to facilitate the dry milling process many in the industry believe will help miners achieve their sustainability goals over the next few decades, but there is another novel technology ready to go that could, according to the inventor and an independent consultant, provide an even more effective alternative.

Eccentric High Pressure Centrifugal Comminution (eHPCC™) technology was conceived in 2013 and, according to inventor Linden Roper, has the potential to eliminate the inefficiencies and complexity of conventional crushing and/or tumbling mill circuits.

It complements any upstream feed source, Roper says, whether it be run of mine (ROM), primary crushed rock, or other conventional comminution streams such as tumbling mill oversize. It may also benefit downstream process requirements through selective mineral liberation, which is feasible as the ore is comminuted upon itself (autogenously) in the high pressure zone via synchronous rotating components. Significant product stream enrichment/depletion has been observed and reported, too.

As IM goes to press on its annual comminution and crushing feature for the April 2021 issue – and Dr Mike Daniel, an independent consultant engaged by Roper to review and critique the technology’s development, prepares a paper for MEI Conferences’ Comminution ’21 event – now was the right time to find out more.

IM: Considering the Comminution ’21 abstract draws parallels with HPGRs, can you clarify the similarities and differences between eHPCC and HPGR technology?

MD & LR: These are the similarities:

  • Both offer confined-bed high-pressure compression comminution, which results in micro fractures at grain boundaries;
  • Both have evidence of preferential liberation and separation of mineral grains from gangue grains at grain boundaries; and
  • Both have an autogenous protective layer formed on the compression roll surfaces between sintered tungsten carbide studs.

These are the differences:

  • eHPCC facilitates multiple cycles of comminution, fluidisation and classification within its grinding chamber, retaining oversize particles until the target product size is attained. The HPGR is a single pass technology dependent on separate materials handling and classification/screening equipment to recycle oversize particles for further comminution (in the event subsequent stages of comminution are not used);
  • Micro factures around grain boundaries and compacted flake product that are created within HPGRs need to be de-agglomerated with downstream processing either within materials handling or wet screening. In some instances, compacted flake may be processed in a downstream ball mill, whereas, in eHPCC, preferential mineral liberation is perfected by subsequent continuous cycles within the grinding chamber until mineral liberation is achieved within a bi-modal target size (minerals and gangue). The bi-modal effect differs from ore type to ore type and the natural size of the minerals of interest;
  • The preferential liberation of mineral grains from gangue grains generally occurs at significantly different grain sizes, respectively, due to the inherent difference in progeny hardness. eHPCC retains the larger, harder grains, hence ensuring thorough stripping/cleaning of other grain surfaces by shear and attrition forces;
  • eHPCC tolerates rounded tramp metal within its grinding chamber, however does not tolerate high quantities of sharp, fragmented tramp metal that create a non-compressible, non-free-flowing bridge between roll surfaces, which risks the damage of liner surfaces;
  • The coarse fraction ‘edge effect’ common in HPGR geometry is not an issue with eHPCC. In fact, the top zone of the eHPCC grinding chamber is presumed to be an additional portion of the primary classification zone within the grinding chamber. The oversize particles from the internal classification process are retained for subsequent comminution;
  • The maximum size of feed particle (f100) entering the eHPCC is not limited to roll geometry as is the case with HPGRs (typically 50-70 mm). eHPCC f100 is limited to feed spout diameter (for free flow) and dependent of machine size ie eHPCC-2, -5, -8 and -13 are anticipated to have f100 60 mm, 150 mm, 240 mm and 390 mm, respectively. The gap between rolling surfaces is greater than the respective f100; and
  • eHPCC technology shows scientifically significant product stream enrichment.

IM: What operating and capital cost benefits do you envisage when compared with typical HPGR installations?

MD & LR: Both operating and capital cost benefits of the eHPCC relative to HPGR technology are due to the eHPCC not requiring the pre-crushing and downstream classification equipment required by HPGRs.

The eHPCC operating cost benefits are associated with eliminating maintenance consumables, downtime, reliability issues and energy consumption associated with the equivalent HPGR downstream equipment listed above.

The eHPCC capital cost benefits are associated with eliminating the real estate (footprint) and all engineering procurement and construction management costs associated with the equivalent HPGR upstream/downstream equipment listed above. eHPCC flowsheets are likely to be installed as multiple ‘one-stop’ units that maintain high circuit availability due to ongoing cyclic preventative maintenance.

IM: Where has the design for the eHPCC technology come from?

LR: It was invented in early 2013 by me. I then pioneered proof-of-concept, prototyping, design and development, culminating in operational trials in a Kazakhstan gold mine in 2020. A commercial-grade detailed design-for-manufacture has since been undertaken by a senior team of heavy industry mechanical machine designers and engineers.

IM: In your conference abstract, I note that the eHPCC technology has been tested at both laboratory and semi-industrial scale with working prototypes. Can you clarify what throughputs and material characteristics you are talking about here?

LR: The first iteration of the technology, eHPCC-1, was tested at the laboratory scale from 2013-2015. This proof-of-concept machine successfully received and processed magnetite concentrate, copper-nickel sulphide ore, alkaline granite, marble and a wolfram clay ore dried in ambient conditions. The typical throughput was between 200-400 kg/h depending on the feed size, particle-size-reduction-ratios (dependent of grain size) and target product size. The feed size was limited to a maximum of 25 mm to ensure free flow of feed spout.

Alkaline granite: eHPCC-2 coarse product (left) and fine product (right)

MD & LR: From 2016-2020, we moved onto the semi-industrial scale testing with the eHPCC-2 (two times scaled up from eHPCC-1). This was designed for research and development (R&D) and tested on magnetite concentrate, alkaline granite, and hard underground quartz/gold ore. The throughput capabilities depended on the geo-metallurgical and geo-mechanical properties of feed material, such as particle size, strength, progeny (grain) size and particle size-reduction-ratios (subject to confined bed high pressure compression). Larger-scale machines are yet to be tested against traditional ‘Bond Theory’ norms.

The eHPCC, irrespective of the outcomes, should be evaluated on its ability to effectively liberate minerals of interest in a way that no other comminution device can do. The maximum feed size, f100, at the gold mine trials was limited to 50 mm to ensure free flow through the feed spout. R&D culminated in pilot-scale operational trials at the Akbakai gold mine (Kazakhstan), owned by JSC AK Altynalmas, in 2020, where SAG mill rejects of hard underground quartz/gold ore were processed. The mutual intent and purpose of the tests was to observe and define wear characteristics of the eHPCC grinding chamber liners (roll surfaces). These operational trials involved 80% of the feed size being less than 17 mm and a variety of targeted product sizes whereby 80% was less than 1 mm, 2 mm, 2.85 mm and 4.8 mm. The throughput ranged from 1-5 t/h based on the size.

IM: What throughputs and material characteristics will be set for the full-scale solution?

LR: There will be a select number of standard eHPCC sizes. Relative to the original eHPCC-1, the following scale-up factors are envisaged: -2, -3, -5, -8, and -13. These are geometrical linear scale-up factors; the actual volumetric capacity is a cube of this factor, with adjustments for centripetal acceleration. Currently -13 times seems to be the maximum feasible size of the present detailed design philosophy, but there are no foreseeable limitations in terms of feed materials with exception to moist clay. Clay was successfully processed after drying the feed in ambient temperatures during testing. Further testing of moist clays blended with other materials that can absorb the moisture as they comminute would be desirable.

IM: Other HPGRs can also be equipped with air classification technology to create dry comminution circuits. What is the difference between the type of attrition and air classification option you are offering with the eHPCC?

MD & LR: Two modes of comminution occur in the particle bed of eHPCC repetitively and simultaneously. First, confined bed pressure compression breakage occurs at a macro level that promotes shear/compression forces greater than the mineral grain boundaries. Second, Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criteria (shear/attrition) that completes the separation of micro fractures on subsequent cycles takes place.

The nip angle between the rotating components of eHPCC technology never exceed 5°. During the decompression and fluidisation portion of the cycle, the softer species – which are now much smaller – are swept out of the fluidised particle bed against centrifugal and gravitational forces by process air. The larger species, influenced by centripetal acceleration, concentrate at the outer diametric and lower limits of the conical rotating grinding chamber, continuing to work on each other during each subsequent compression phase.

HPGRs are limited to one single-pass comminution event, requiring downstream external classification and subsequent recycling/reprocessing of their oversize and/or flake product.

IM: How will it improve the mineral liberation and separation efficiency compared with other grinding solutions that combine both?

MD: eHPCC technology could compete with the Vertical Roller Mill and Horomill, however, eHPCC is likely to be more compact with high intensity breakage events contained within the all-inclusive system of breakage, classification and removal of products.

IM: When was it most recently tested and over what timeframe?

LR: The eHPCC-2 pilot plant was mobilised, setup and commissioned in March 2020, but its operation was suspended until June 2020 due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and a need to cater to abnormal amounts of ball fragments in the feed, the latter of which pushed the treatment of tramp metal to the extreme. The machine operated for the months of June and July using liners constructed of plasma transferred arc welded (PTAW) tungsten carbide (TC) overlay. During this period, a total of 795 t was processed at various targeted product sizes, with, overall, an average throughput of 3 t/h (nominally 265 operating hours) processed.

Side view of pilot system including feed hopper and weigh-scale feeder (right), feed conveyor (middle foreground), control and auxiliaries (middle background), eHPCC-2 (left foreground), dust bag-house (left background) and product conveyor and stockpile (not shown left background)
Front-end loader filling feed hopper with SAG mill rejects f80 18 mm

The PTAW-TC overlay was deemed unsustainable as it was consumed rapidly and demanded continuous rebuilding due to the high pressure intensive abrasive wear on the convex cone. The pilot plant operation was mostly suspended during the month of August while an alternative tungsten carbide studded liner, analogous to HPGR studded rolls, was manufactured for simulating a trial of this studded liner philosophy. The studded liner philosophy was operated in the eHPCC-2 in Kazakhstan for sufficiently long enough to ascertain the creation of the autogenous protective wear layer of rock between the studs, with the simulation trial deemed a success. The design philosophy shall be adapted on the commercial-grade eHPCC.

eHPCC-2 TungStud™ as-new (left) high-pressure-air-cleaned (middle) and brushed (right)

The pilot plant was demobilised from the Akbakai site laydown area on September 10, 2020, to release the area for construction of a non-related plant expansion. The operational experiences of the pilot plant at Akbakai provided valuable knowledge and experience pertaining to mechanical inertia dynamics and design for eliminating fatigue within eHPCC components.

IM: Aside from the test work on trommel oversize at the Kazakhstan gold mine, where else have you tested the technology?

LR: eHPCC has no other operational experiences so far. Investment and collaboration from the industry to progress the commercialisation of eHPCC is invited. The commercial-grade eHPCC-2.2 is designed and ready for manufacture.

IM: Is the technology more suited to projects where multiple streams can be produced (fines, coarse piles, etc)?

LR: eHPCC is configurable to meet the demands and liberality of a diverse spectrum of feed materials and the potential downstream extractive processes are complementary to eHPCC product streams. Therefore, it would be incorrect to categorise it as more suitable in any one niche; it is configurable, on a case-by-case basis, to meet the liberality of the specific progeny of the feed.

IM: What energy use benefits do you anticipate by creating a one-step comminution and classification process over the more conventional two-step process?

MD & LR: The energy saving benefits include:

  • Elimination of tumbling mill grinding media consumption;
  • Elimination of the liberal wastage of randomly directed attrition and/or impact events that indiscriminately reduce the size of any/all particles (gangue or precious mineral) with the conventional tumbling mill; and
  • Elimination of energy consumption of the materials handling systems between the various stages of comminution and classification, be it dry belt conveying, vibrating screens, classifiers, cyclone feed pumps, cyclones and their respective recirculating loads that can be upward of 300% of fresh feed.

IM: Do you anticipate more interest in this solution from certain regions? For instance, is it likely to appeal more to those locations that are suffering from water shortages (Australia, South America)?

MD & LR: We suspect the initial commercialisation growth market to be from base metals producers seeking to expand or retire existing aged/tired comminution classification capacity, followed by industry acknowledgement of the technology’s potential to shift the financial indicators of other potential undeveloped projects into more positive territory. This latter development could see the technology integrated into new projects.

In general, the technology will appeal to those companies looking for more efficient dry comminution processes. This is because it offers a pathway to rejection of gangue at larger particle sizes, early stream enrichment/depletion and minimal overgrinding that creates unnecessary silt, which, in turn, hinders or disrupts the integrity of downstream metallurgical extraction kinetics, and/or materials handling rheology, and/or tailings storage and management.

LR: There are a number of rhetorical questions the industry needs to be asking: why do we participate in the manufacture and consumption of grinding media considering the holistic end-to-end energy and mass balance of this (it’s crazy; really why?)? Why do we grind wet? What are the barriers preventing transition from philosophising over energy efficiency, sustainability etc and actually executing change? Who is up for a renaissance of bravely pioneering disruptive comminution and classification technology in the spirit of our pioneering forefathers?

The more these questions are asked, the more likely the industry will find the solutions it needs to achieve its future goals.

Dr Mike Daniel’s talk on eHPCC technology will be one of the presentations at the upcoming Comminution ’21 conference on April 19-22, 2021. For more information on the event, head to https://mei.eventsair.com/comminution-21/ International Mining is a media sponsor of the event

Kwatani breathes new life into scalping screens with rubber, polyurethane wear panels

As mines move towards using one large scalping screen between primary and secondary crushers – rather than a modular approach using multiple smaller screens – Kwatani says it has found ways to triple the panel life in these single mission-critical units.

According to Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers, Chief Operating Officer of Kwatani, any downtime in this single-line stream would require the mine to store several hours of production. While some mines schedule regular weekly production halts during which an exciter or worn screen panels can be replaced, many operations are not so lenient, he said.

“The message from these mines is clear: the longer the scalper can run between maintenance interventions, the better,” Mayhew-Ridgers said. “Our research and development efforts, together with extensive testing in the field, have allowed us to extend the life of screen panels from eight weeks to over six months.”

While smaller screens use wire mesh screening media, Kwatani has evolved larger screens that use rubber or polyurethane screen panels. Although these panels present less open area, they deliver important advantages.

“Key to the success of our design is our integrated approach – which matches the panel design with that of the scalping screen itself,” Mayhew-Ridgers said. “This allows us to achieve a balance between screening area, aperture layout and screen panel life – a result based on a sound understanding of screen dynamics.”

Whereas wire mesh undergoes rapid wear from abrasive materials, the rubber or polyurethane panels are more wear resistant and deliver longer life, according to the company. The latter require gentler declines for effective stratification, but a key factor is the stiffness of the screen bed.

“The stiffness of the supporting structure must go hand-in-hand with the screen panel design to achieve our required results,” Mayhew-Ridgers said.

Polyurethane panels, while strong and lightweight, have screening apertures that tend to be too stiff for heavy-duty scalping applications. This leads to blinding. Rubber overcomes this problem, however, and also delivers improved wear life.

Kwatani has also developed a panel replacement system – with a fastening mechanism on the underframe – that improves safety and saves time, it says.

Multotec expands presence, product line in Asia with new China facility

Bucking global economic trends, mineral processing equipment specialist Multotec says it has opened a new, larger manufacturing facility in China to meet growing demand.

The 3,200 sq.m factory, based in the port city of Tianjin about 100 km southeast of Beijing, is more than double the size of the previous premises, according to Ken Tuckey, Director of Multotec Screening Systems (Tianjin) Ltd. The facility focuses on producing the company’s polyurethane screen panels, including specialised panels for fines dewatering and classification.

“The expanded facility was necessary to increase production capacity, as sales have grown rapidly since Multotec became directly involved in this business in 2017,” Tuckey says. “The investment in China is also an important part of Multotec’s global strategy to get manufacturing operations closer to end-customers wherever possible.”

Multotec had taken over the business from Tema Screening Systems in 2017, which had started up in 2006 and focused mainly on the aggregate and quarry sectors. Multotec’s sales have expanded, mainly into China’s mining industry, but the factory’s increased capacity is also allowing it to produce for other parts of the world.

Running the operation on the ground since 2018 is General Manager, He Pu, a local expert with 20 years’ experience in mineral processing.

“The new factory has taken careful planning over the past year, and had to obtain a range of strict government approvals,” he says. “Even though the COVID-19 pandemic did present some challenges to our schedule, we were still able to move into the new plant in May this year.”

Multotec Screening Systems (Tianjin) Ltd General Manager, He Pu

He Pu highlighted the importance of innovation as a key ingredient for any company looking to break into the Chinese market. This has been vital to the early success of Multotec, which has a range of product advances operating in Africa and other markets. Recent improvements in China’s manufacturing sector has also underpinned the success of the local business, according to He Pu.

“The focus in the mining sector in China has shifted towards increased efficiencies and improved quality,” He Pu says. “Multotec is now well positioned to take advantage of this, especially with the innovative screen panel technology that it can offer the market. This is underpinned by our quality manufacturing processes as well as our excellent local supply chain.”

Multotec’s Chinese company is ISO-accredited with in-house quality control expertise, he says. The number of local staff members has increased and includes a strong sales team with good links to the mining sector. The company also has distributors and agents across China, bringing services and products closer to the mines.

With the new polyurethane moulding machines, the upgraded plant is running double shifts to optimise production levels. The latest technology equipment – combined with Multotec’s experience and ongoing training in factory – ensures a consistently world-class quality of polyurethane panels, it says. Accelerated in-house manufacture is also speeding up the delivery times to local customers.

“The opening of this plant marks the beginning of a new era for Multotec,” He Pu says. “We have ascended to a new level, not only by enlarging the area of the workshop but by adding new equipment.”

Multotec Manufacturing tools up Spartan facility on screening demand

Continued growth in demand for Multotec Manufacturing’s screen panels has led the company to expand and upgrade the dedicated toolroom at its manufacturing facilities in Spartan, Gauteng, in South Africa.

According to Ian Chapman, Engineering Manager at Multotec Manufacturing, these technology investments have accelerated the tool manufacturing process and delivered better tool finishes. This translates into enhanced product quality, greater speed to market and more cost effectiveness for the end customer.

The tools required are mainly for rubber and polyurethane injection moulding, rubber compression moulding and cast polyurethane products. The wide variety of tooling produced includes ‘mother moulds’ and components such as frame bars, cores and inserts, Multotec says.

“By 2015, our success in growing markets had placed considerable demand on our toolroom,” Chapman said. “This led to the replacement of two CNC milling machines and adding two new wire electric discharge machines (EDM) in recent years.”

The new milling machines use specialised Heidenhain controllers, which strengthen Multotec’s jobbing capability for customised tooling, it says. Based on the specification from the sales team, drawings are created for the company’s tool and dye makers. They, in turn, convert these drawings using computer-aided manufacturing software to create the tool path for the CNC machine.

“Our experts’ familiarity with the Heidenhain language speeds up our work and avoids human error,” he noted.

Wire EDM machines are another key resource in the toolroom, using electrical erosion technology to cut relatively long tool pieces accurately and finely.

“Unlike a milling machine – where there is contact between a tool and a work piece – on the EDM, there is no engagement with the wire and hence no forces to accommodate and few residual stresses,” Chapman said. “This allows us to cut pre-hardened steel without distorting its shape, creating very fine tolerances in our finished tooling.”

To augment the existing two EDMs, a third was acquired in 2018, with even larger wire spools than the previous models.

This allows longer production runs of up to 90 hours, improving cutting strategies and productivity, Multotec says. So successful was this investment that a fourth wire EDM was purchased and installed in 2019.

Venture Minerals takes the dry screening route at Riley iron ore project

Venture Minerals Ltd has decided to start operations at the Riley iron ore project, in Tasmania, Australia, using dry screening as a way of realising early cash flow.

The company’s Board of Directors has delivered a positive final investment decision (FID) for the mine prompting preparations for mining and dry screening operations to commence immediately, the company said. This could see mining occur in the next week.

“The dry screening operations of the Riley mine is part of the ramp-up phase of the project with the full production rate to occur upon successful commissioning of the wet processing plant (which is subject to financing),” Venture Minerals said.

It is another key milestone on the company’s push towards its first shipment of Riley ore.

The company recently signed a Port Access Agreement with TasPorts and signed the Road Access Agreement with Hydro Tasmania, securing the pathway for Riley output from mine gate to shipping.

The Riley mining team has commenced preparations for low cost mining and dry screening activities given the zero strip ratio (iron ore at surface) characteristics of the Riley DSO deposit, it said. “The contracting of a dry screening plant for processing the top layer of the Riley deposit affords the company the opportunity to accelerate production and capture the current iron ore prices before the wet screening plant has been built and commissioned, and also reduce the capital cost requirements,” it added.

Venture is now finalising discussions on financing options including a debt facility to fund capital to complete construction of the wet screening plant at Riley. It is also focused on concluding the road haulage tender process as well as achieving more efficient ore handling logistics, including finalising negotiations on gaining access to other on-wharf storage.

The current Riley mine economics are well above the August 2019 feasibility numbers, which were based on a $90/t 62% Fe price, according to Venture. This is due primarily to higher iron ore prices (>$120/t 62% Fe price) and lower fuel prices, and further supported by a strong iron ore market outlook, it said.

At the $90/tonne 62% Fe price, the August 2019 feasibility study returned a post-tax cash surplus of A$31 million ($22 million) over the two-year production life of the mine.

Gensource signs up K-UTEC, Koeppern and Ebner for Tugaske potash project

Gensource says it has engaged a consortium of world-class potash process design and equipment fabrication companies to work together to provide a design-supply-commission package for the entire process plant at the Tugaske potash project, in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The kick-off of engineering work for the major process equipment package is another milestone for the project, the fertiliser development company said.

Gensource previously announced advances in the development and financing of the Tugaske project, with KfW IPEX-Bank and Société Générale, joint lead arrangers for the project debt, nearing completion of their due diligence process.

The total senior debt financing for the project is expected to be supported by export insurance coverage with the German Export Credit Agency (ECA), Euler Hermes.

To satisfy a significant portion of the German export requirement, Gensource has elected to work with a consortium of three German-based design and equipment fabrication companies, namely: K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies, Koeppern GmbH & Co KG and Ebner GmbH & Co KG.

“Individually, these companies represent world-class capabilities in their specific areas of expertise, whether in the design of potash and salt processing plants or the design and fabrication of equipment,” Gensource said.

Together, the three companies known as KKE have the capability to supply the entire main process plant in a single design-supply-commission package, the company said.

K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies will look at the physical chemistry, overall process development and engineering, including practical bench scale testing, for the project; Koeppern will be engaged for drying, compaction, and screening process design and compaction equipment design and manufacture; and Ebner (tour of Ebner fabrication facility in Eiterfeld, Germany, pictured below) will be in charge of cooling crystallisation process design and crystallisation equipment design and manufacture.

“Based on the combined experience and capabilities of KKE, Gensource saw an opportunity to not only work with these top-tier companies and have this work qualify for ECA coverage, but also to simplify the number of project interfaces by packaging the entire process plant into a single design-supply-commission contract package,” Gensource said.

“Together, these companies provide a complete solution: from receiving the raw brine from the solution mining wellfield all the way through to a final potash product, meeting the off-taker’s specifications, ready for storage and shipping.”

Additionally, by packaging the entire process plant into one export contract, Gensource says it de-risks the project through obtaining a process guarantee from KKE for product quality and process plant throughput.

To advance the scope on this process plant package, Gensource has initiated the first phase of engineering with KKE, which will start the detailed process and equipment design, leading to the fabrication and ordering of key equipment for the process plant.

Advancing the scope of this package supports a development timeline that targets production from the Tugaske project in late 2022, supplying product to Tugaske’s off-taker and future equity partner, Helm Fertilizers.

The efforts of the KKE group will be integrated into the project by Gensource’s key project delivery partners: Engcomp Engineering & Computing Professionals, the lead engineering and design consultant for the project; and South East Construction (SEC), the general construction contractor for the project, it said.

“Together, Gensource, Engcomp, and SEC are acting as an integrated team, responsible for the overall execution and delivery of the project,” Gensource said, explaining that both Engcomp and SEC were seasoned engineering and construction professionals in the Saskatchewan potash industry.

Mike Ferguson, President & CEO of Gensource, said: “The three companies of the KKE group have unrivalled global experience in the potash and salt industries and bring their tremendous know-how, experience and proven track record of success to our project.

“Together with Gensource, Engcomp, and SEC, KKE rounds out the world-class potash team that we have established, which will no doubt deliver a world-class sustainable potash production facility in Saskatchewan via the Tugaske project.”

Like other Gensource module designs, the Tugaske project will produce a minimum of 250,000 t/y of saleable muriate of potash product.

Superior Industries deepens relationship with Kimball Equipment

Superior Industries, a US-based manufacturer and global supplier of bulk material processing and handling systems, has announced an expanded product partnership with its long-term conveyor dealer, Kimball Equipment Company.

The respected dealer, which celebrates 75 years of operation next year, will now sell, service and support Superior’s crushing, screening and washing equipment in addition to the conveying equipment and components lines throughout Utah, Nevada, Arizona and southern Idaho.

“Kimball Equipment is a well-respected company and we’re honoured they’ll represent our growing line of aggregate processing and handling equipment,” Jarrod Felton, President of Superior, said. “Together, we’re both excited to serve customers with the region’s best application advice, robust stocking plans and most efficient customer support.”

The relationship between dealer, Kimball Equipment, and manufacturer, Superior Industries, started in 2004. Since then, the Salt Lake City-based dealer has sold almost 1,500 Superior conveyors and thousands of idlers, pulleys and conveyor accessories, according to Superior.

Kimball Equipment offers an extensive inventory of new and used heavy equipment, parts and supplies, repairs and rebuilds, field service and engineering capabilities.

Metso adds crushing & screening flexibility to the process flowsheet with My Plant Planner

Metso is looking to increase access to and improve the visualisation of mining process flowsheets with a new tool that could ultimately see more of its equipment end up at mine sites.

My Plant Planner offers engineering customers and mining end users the ability to model a flowsheet after inputting certain key parameters of their orebodies. They can then also visualise this plant layout in a platform that is free to use.

Metso, along with other OEMs, has provided visualisation tools to the industry for many years.

The company’s Bruno simulation software has over 7,000 users and has been helping customers select the right equipment for their mines since 1994. This software includes all the necessary Metso equipment, such as feeders, crushers and screens, and shows outputs for different end products, providing users with the data they need to make informed decisions on the right equipment.

My Plant Planner utilises this simulation expertise, but does so at a much earlier stage of the equipment selection process.

With the tool, customers can pick and choose different types of crushers, screens and conveyors to get the perfect balance for the circuit and identify bottlenecks to understand where extra capacity is needed, according to Metso.

Important factors, such as capacity, load, and power draw, are updated in real time as the circuit is designed and the parameters updated. At any point, it is possible to download a report that gathers together all the details about the plant being designed. It includes details on the chosen crushers, screens, conveyors and their parameters, including power consumption.

“We decided to develop this tool as we were seeing different types of requirements from our customers and EPCMs (engineering procurement and construction management) at the time around prefeasibility studies and we wanted to be more reactive to this,” Guillaume Lambert, Vice President of Metso’s Crushing Systems business line, explained to IM.

Prior to using such a tool, these EPCM firms were developing flowsheets for economic studies – the type of documents investors use to gauge the potential profitability of a mine development – over a matter of months or years in tandem with OEMs, before moving onto obtaining quotes based on their mining customers’ budgets.

As time has gone on, these firms have been asked by their mining customers to factor in more requirements into these studies. One may require a reduced plant footprint due to the proximity of indigenous communities; another may request that energy consumption is reduced in line with existing available power infrastructure in the region.

The requests vary depending on the size of company, the location of the project, the commodity and many other elements.

This is where the three-dimensional aspect of My Plant Planner is very important, according to Lambert, providing customers with not only a visualisation of the flowsheet, but also a gauge of the physical constraints that cannot be represented in 2D form.

This means companies assessing brownfield assessments can factor in height and width restrictions of existing infrastructure against capital expenditure requirements.

The turnaround time for the type of analysis being carried out by My Plant Planner is also a key selling point, allowing companies to generate results in a matter of hours, as opposed to waiting two to three weeks for a flowsheet assessment.

This speed could allow customers to explore multiple processing flowsheets in a simplified form as part of their due diligence process – for example weighing up a three stage conventional crushing and screening flowsheet against a HPGR circuit.

So far, the crushing and screening portion of the process flowsheet will be covered with the launch of My Plant Planner, but, based on customer feedback, the company plans to expand to the filtration process and other downstream elements.

As to why the company started with crushing and screening, the answer is an obvious one, according to Lambert.

Metso already has Bruno and VPS software (mine to mill assessments) in place – “we don’t have to reinvent the wheel in this regard”, Lambert said – and it is the area of the flowsheet that tends to come with the most equipment options.

“You can have three crushers in parallel, or one big one; a large screen in close circuit, or a smaller one in open circuit, etc,” he said.

It is this flexibility that miners require today. New projects coming to the table are very rarely 20-plus year developments that require a uniform comminution process over their lifetime.

Capex-conscious miners and their investors are instead bankrolling developments that tend to come with less than 10 years of life and are conservative when it comes to throughput. This is with the idea that they will fund the mine life extensions and expansions from existing cash flow when the operation is at full tilt.

These growth plans will inevitably come with the need to amend the process flowsheet down the line – which is where the plant footprint visualisation ability of My Plant Planner could come into play.

Flexibility such as this is also coming into Metso’s equipment line-up, with the company, only last week, launching its flexible FIT™ and smart Foresight™ crushing and screening stations for mining.

The FIT stations are designed with a focus on speed and flexibility, with two stations to choose from – Recrushing station and Jaw station – while the Foresight stations are equipped with smart automation technology including Metso Metrics™, VisioRock™, level sensors and crusher variable frequency drive.

These modular solutions are geared towards reducing capital expenditure and providing shorter lead times. In other words, they offer more flexibility.

It is tools such as My Plant Planner that will highlight just how important this flexibility could be over the life of mine of a chosen operation, providing users with the visibility to help navigate choppy commodity cycles and ensure their operations remain profitable over the long term.

You can find more details on My Plant Planner by clicking here.

Superior Industries strengthens SE Asia distribution with KeepMining agreement

Superior Industries has added KeepMining™ to its long list of distribution partners, with the Singapore-based company to represent Superior’s growing line of crushing, screening, washing and conveying equipment in several countries throughout Southeast Asia.

The pact will see KeepMining hold the distributor mantle in countries including India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Bhutan and Brunei.

“Together, the employees of KeepMining have a lot of experience in the Southeast Asian mining and quarrying markets,” Jeff Steiner, Superior’s Territory Manager in the region, said. “They have aggressive plans for supplying and servicing customers and we look forward to growing our businesses together.”

KeepMining already has ties to Caterpillar, Atlas Copco, Liebherr and Yokohama, which equip the company to sell and service earthmovers, dump haul trucks, loaders, scrapers, crushing and screening plants, grinding solutions, washing systems, automation packages, dry bulk storage and handling systems, plus environmental solutions, Superior said.

In addition to its HQ in Singapore, KeepMining operates from additional locations in Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.

Metso and Outotec establish business areas and leaders ahead of merger completion

With Metso and Outotec having recently cleared one of the final remaining hurdles towards merging the two companies, the future Metso Outotec Board of Directors has laid out the planned company structure and related executive team appointments.

The nominations will become effective after the closing of the partial demerger of Metso and the combination of Metso’s Minerals business and Outotec, which is currently expected to take place on June 30, 2020, subject to receipt of all required regulatory and other approvals, including competition clearances – which the companies made significant headway on recently.

The companies said: “Combined, the future Metso Outotec will be a forerunner in sustainable technologies, end-to-end solutions and services for the minerals processing, aggregates, metals refining and recycling industries globally. The new organisation is designed to leverage the strengths and expertise of both companies.”

Metso Outotec will consist of the following six business areas:

  • Aggregates, providing crushing and screening equipment for the production of aggregates;
  • Minerals, providing equipment and full plant solutions for minerals processing, covering comminution, separation and pumps;
  • Metals, providing processing solutions and equipment for metals refining and chemical processing;
  • Recycling, providing equipment and services for metal and waste recycling;
  • Services, providing spare parts, refurbishments and professional services for mining, metals and aggregates customers; and
  • Consumables, providing a comprehensive offering of wear parts for mining, metals and aggregates processes.

The boards have also made some significant decisions on the key personnel that will lead these business units.

Markku Simula will become President of the Aggregates business unit. Simula currently serves as President, Aggregates Equipment at Metso.

Recently appointed Metso Mining Equipment President, Stephan Kirsch, will become President of the combined Minerals business area.

Jari Ålgars, currently CFO at Outotec, will become President of Metals.

Uffe Hansen, who is currently President of Recycling at Metso, will become President of Recycling at Metso Outotec.

Metso’s Sami Takaluoma will retain his President of the Consumables business area post at the new merged entity.

Markku Teräsvasara, who currently serves as the President and CEO at Outotec, will take on the President, Services and Deputy CEO role at Metso Outotec.

In addition to the business area president appointments, the following function heads and executive team members have been appointed:

  • Eeva Sipilä, CFO and Deputy CEO. Her appointment was announced on July 4, 2019. She currently serves as the CFO and Deputy CEO at Metso;
  • Nina Kiviranta, General Counsel. She currently serves as General Counsel at Outotec;
  • Piia Karhu, Senior Vice President, Business Development. She currently serves as Senior Vice President, Customer Experience at Finnair. She will join the company on July 1, 2020; and
  • Hannele Järvistö, Senior Vice President, Human Resources (interim). She currently serves as Senior Vice President, Human Resources (interim) at Metso. “This appointment is valid until a new position-holder has been selected and will start in this role,” the company said.

All the function heads and executive team members will report to Metso Outotec’s future President and CEO, Pekka Vauramo (pictured), the company said.

Reflecting on these changes, Vauramo said: “Above all, Metso Outotec will be strong in sustainability. Our extensive combined offering for minerals processing, from equipment to a broad range of services, will help our customers improve their profitability and lower their operating costs and risks, while at the same time reduce the consumption of energy and water.

“We at Metso Outotec understand our customer’s world and the daily challenges they face. Together, we will partner for positive change.”