Tag Archives: Wear parts

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.

Metso Outotec embeds virtual reality into mill lining inspection process

Metso Outotec is launching a patented Virtual Inspection tool for horizontal grinding mill linings to, it says, take the benefits of 3D scanning to a new level.

The new tool enables the scanned mill linings to be viewed in virtual reality and offers an efficient and safe environment for technical discussions, according to the company.

“This innovation is a continuation of Metso Outotec’s pioneering role and its more than six decades of experience in engineering and manufacturing mill liners and grinding mills,” Metso Outotec said.

‘On-site’ mill lining inspections can be safely hosted while being off-site, thanks to the fully immersive virtual walkthroughs and the ability to comprehensively review any particular point of the mill lining. Features like remaining liner thickness measurements and profile review enable the users to make real-time assessments of the liners, while the colour-coded heatmap mode helps in analysing the wear patterns and in detecting problem areas, so that the mill lining design and performance can be improved.

The Virtual Inspection tool aligns with Metso Outotec’s aftermarket digital strategy by improving the efficiency and safety of its services through advanced wear-part analyses, it added.

Lars Furtenbach, Research and Technology Development Manager, Mill Lining Solutions, said: “Our patented MillMapper™ 3D scanning of mill linings has been the industry benchmark for years. The scans are used to understand the way the mill liners wear, to optimise the liner design, and to accurately predict the reline schedules. There is a growing need to find new ways to reach out to our customers and to discuss mill lining performance with them remotely. Our customers will benefit from our strong experience with over 8,000 mills worldwide combined with the market’s most comprehensive offering and the new software platform.”

Weir releases new gate valve as it advances Terraflowing, ToolTek solutions

Weir Minerals has released a new Isogate® WR knife gate valve to reduce cycling discharge while improving wear life.

The lightweight, long-lasting Isogate WR knife gate valve offers miners and aggregates operators alike a step change in valve performance, according to Weir Minerals.

The release came on the same week Weir Group announced its 2020 financial results, which saw the company report revenue and adjusted operating profit of £1.97 billion ($2.73 billion) and £305 million from continuing operations, respectively. These figures were down 4% and 3%, respectively, from 2019 totals.

On the new valve, Weir said: “Incorporating the latest advances in design and materials technology from Weir Minerals’ expert engineers, the range of Isogate WR knife gate valves are more reliable, while producing minimal fluid discharge and weighing considerably less than equivalent mining valves.”

John Abbott, Global Product Manager – Valves & Tailings, said: “Drawing on decades of wear analysis, we’ve optimised the Isogate WR knife gate valve’s body design, by reinforcing the areas subjected to the harshest wear and pressure. At the same time, we have reduced the weight elsewhere to produce a robust, long-lasting mining valve that’s significantly lighter than comparable products.

“The weight reduction can be especially significant in situations where a number of valves are used on a specific installation, such as in a hydrocyclone cluster, or where lightweight piping systems are used.”

The gate has also been redesigned, with stronger materials resulting in a thinner gate that can still withstand the pressure of mining slurries. This combines with the valve’s unique gate guide that, Weir says, reduces deflection by ensuring smooth gate movement and less strain on the sleeve elastomer during blade transition.

The Isogate WR knife gate valve uses Weir Minerals’ new Isogate WSL sleeve, which comes with proprietary Linard® HD 60 silica-reinforced natural rubber to solve the three most common problems with sleeved knife gate valves: leakage during cycling, tearing and load distribution ring (LDR) failure due to corrosion and erosion, the company explained.

Leveraging the Linard HD 60 rubber’s high resilience against cut, tear and abrasive wear to improve wear life, the new Isogate WSL sleeve fully encloses the LDR to prevent corrosion. By allowing the rubber to move with the blade cycles, the design reduces the chance of tearing while reducing slurry discharge by up to 75%, according to Weir.

The Isogate WSL sleeve can also be used in existing Isogate WS knife gate valves, improving wear life and decreasing discharge on cycling.

Abbott added: “When designing the Isogate WR knife gate valve, we focused on features that improve the everyday experience of working with our valves. This includes important things like improved grease distribution and improved body flushing when used on high solids concentration applications.

“In-depth finite element analysis enables us to ensure the product’s integrity, while making it lightweight. There are also a lot of smaller features to make life easier, such as a larger grease reservoir, ISO mount standardisation and an external visual indicator for the valve’s status.”

Other notable developments from Weir Group’s 2020 financial results included the first order for ESCO’s ToolTek™ system.

This collaborative effort with key mining customers provides enhanced safety for maintenance personnel during the replacement of worn Nemisys® points and adapters, according to ESCO. It features a hydraulic crane mounted tool that is remotely operated, well out of harm’s way during the replacement of worn components. New parts are pre-staged on racks  positioned on the flatbed truck outfitted with the hydraulic crane. The truck also features a recycle bin for safer disposal of worn parts.

Alongside this, Weir said in 2020 it installed the first pilot Terraflowing® plant at a customer’s mine site designed to cost-effectively reduce water in tailings, enabling this waste product to be safely stored or repurposed.

Terraflowing incorporates a two-stage cyclone dewatering process followed by centrifugation of the final stage of cycloning overflow. In the process, three dewatered tailings streams are produced: a primary cyclone underflow, a secondary cyclone underflow and a centrifuge pulp. These three streams can be combined or used in different configurations depending on the end use of the tailings stream, according to Weir Minerals.

This three-stage system offers the flexibility to make provision for variations in mineralogy and particle size distribution as well as the opportunity to recover ‘tailings as a resource’, it added.

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.

ME Elecmetal looks for sales, service boost with Road Machinery & Supplies Co partnership

ME Elecmetal has selected Road Machinery & Supplies Co (RMS) as a manufacturers’ representative for its line of crusher wear product solutions.

RMS is a distributor of construction and mining equipment with sales and support operations throughout the Upper Midwest of USA. It represents the best brands in the industry and backs them up with responsive, knowledgeable product support and technology solutions, enabling customers to complete their jobs safely and on time, according to ME Elecmetal.

As a distributor for ME Elecmetal, RMS will provide sales, parts, service, and other support capabilities to customers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“As part of our effort to increase our market presence in this important region of the United States, we are pleased to begin our relationship with Road Machinery & Supplies,” George Schlemmer, Director of Crusher Products and Solutions for ME Elecmetal, said. “The years of experience in the states they will represent, as well as their highly skilled and knowledgeable sales and service teams, will be a great asset in providing our end customers with premium quality crushing and aggregate solutions.”

RMS Aggregate Division Manager, Ben Schmidtlein, said: “We feel our new partnership with ME Elecmetal will have a direct impact to our customers’ bottom lines. We are excited to combine top-quality wear materials to our great products and services.”

Metso Outotec to discontinue North Bay operations as part of consumable wear parts restructuring

Metso Outotec is developing its global rubber and poly-met supply chain by restructuring its consumables wear parts manufacturing operations in North America, leading to the closure of its factory operations in North Bay, Canada.

Production will be ramped down by the end of the first half of 2021, with the closure affecting a total of around 65 employees.

Metso Outotec says it will use the existing North and Central American manufacturing footprint in order to serve customers.

Sami Takaluoma, President, Consumables business area at Metso Outotec, said: “We are continuously developing our global supply footprint to ensure sustainable and profitable growth. To close a factory is a hard but necessary decision, and we realise that it will have implications on our employees. We will work to support them through the transition.”

The North Bay unit produces rubber and poly-met wear parts used in the mining industry.

Metso Outotec is a leading provider of rubber and poly-met mill lining with an extensive service network in all main mining markets. The company currently operates 11 factories manufacturing synthetic solutions globally.

Metso Outotec starts up mining wear parts facility in Lithuania

Metso Outotec’s new manufacturing site in the region of Šiauliai (Šiauliai län), northern Lithuania, has started its operations.

The new plant further strengthens the company’s capability to produce high-quality rubber and poly-met wear parts for its mining customers, the company said. The investment was announced back in March 2020.

“Our target is to continuously develop our global operations to ensure a competitive footprint and reliable deliveries for our customers globally,” Sami Takaluoma, President, Consumables business at Metso Outotec, said. “I am very pleased that the ramp-up of the new factory in Lithuania has been now completed by a very competent team. First products have been successfully sent to our customers.”

The factory uses fossil-free and renewable electricity in its production, and processes have been optimised for each customer segment. The location of the factory in Lithuania was decided based on a careful analysis of the current customer closeness in Europe and Russia, and with good logistical connections to the Middle East and Africa regions, Metso Outotec said. With access to many logistics options, customers will also benefit from the improved delivery and warehousing capabilities.

Metso Outotec, which operates currently 11 factories manufacturing synthetic solutions globally, said the factory will employ 80 people by the end of 2020.

In October 2019, the company opened a new Business Services centre in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Currently the centre employs about 100 experts and offers services related to finance operations and customer logistics. The scope of the centre is growing and will cover new areas in the future, the company explained.

Sandvik cone crushers go circular with recycled wear parts

Sandvik Group is encouraging circularity in the mining industry through the recycling of steel from used cone crusher parts to make new crushing equipment.

While extractive industries such as mining are responsible for 50% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, recycling steel from mining equipment could make all the difference, according to Anders Åkesson, QM EHS Manager, Crushing & Screening at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology (SMRT).

Circularity is becoming vital in the reduction of CO2 emissions, and can help improve the environmental position of many industries. With the mining industry contributing a large percentage of global CO2 emissions, implementing circularity could help it make vital reductions, Åkesson says.

To produce equipment, the mining industry predominantly uses manganese steel, which is renowned for its work-hardening properties and resistance to abrasion. This means the material becomes harder with the more impact it receives, creating a low friction surface suited to crushing. For this reason, manganese steel has been used in high impact applications for over 100 years, making it an ideal material for cone crushers.

Cone crushers are used to grind down rocks, which are fed into the top of the crusher and pressed between the mantle and the cone. This breaks the rock down into smaller fragments, which are then passed through lower levels of the crusher where they are broken down further.

“It’s vital that cone crushers are made from a material that provides the necessary force to grind the rocks, while withstanding the abrasive nature of the process,” Åkesson said.

Using recycled steel from used cone crusher parts to make new cone crushers, Sandvik SMRT has demonstrated and improved circularity of steel production for mining equipment, he explained. The division was nominated for Sandvik’s first sustainability award in April 2020, which recognises sustainable innovations from its employees.

Sourcing manganese steel from one of the world’s most sustainable manganese foundries, based in Sweden, was the first step SMRT took towards its sustainable innovation. A total of 91% circular steel was used to manufacture wear parts, such as the cone and mantle of a cone crusher. These wear parts are reused to produce new wear parts for the cone crushers – creating a continuous cycle, Åkesson said.

Moving away from a linear model, Sandvik increased the circularity and sustainability of its products and eliminated 79% of production emissions, according to Åkesson. “In addition, Sandvik cone crushers help SMRT’s customers to lower their environmental impact as they are buying from the circular economy – contributing to their own sustainability goals,” he said.

Åkesson concluded: “With mining contributing towards CO2 emissions in more ways than one, it’s essential that the industry uses methods that reduce emissions. Reusing and recycling steel to manufacture mining equipment has demonstrated an opportunity that helps meet the sustainability goals of both equipment suppliers and their customers. If the industry wants to become circular, taking a look at equipment a good place to start.”

CR beefs up Pilbara service offering with ‘Boots on the Ground’

As part of CR’s strategy to further increase its on-site service model and ensure it maintains a high level of service through these times of regional and border restrictions, it has announced its local Pilbara ‘Boots on the Ground’ initiative.

“Equipped with the latest in vehicle safety, communication, navigation and journey management systems, we welcome Troy Honey back to the CR Australasia Team,” the company said. “Troy is residential to Karratha, has been a North West local for four years and, combined with over 20 years of experience servicing the Pilbara resources sector, he will be an asset to ensuring our customers productivity assets are maintained to the highest level possible.”

CR added: “Whether it is during restrictions or any time requiring service, CR’s ‘Boots on the Ground’ will provide the rapid response required by the Pilbara’s world leading mining industry, all the while supporting the local communities of the Pilbara in Western Australia.”

Caterpillar addresses hydraulic shovel basket wear with new two-piece bucket

Caterpillar has introduced a new two-piece bucket for hydraulic mining shovels that, it says, reduces downtime, optimises bucket capacity and increases rebuild safety.

The design reduces downtime by limiting refurbishment to the area of the bucket subjected to most of the wear – the basket.

“The replaceable basket enables faster, easier and safer rebuilds compared to traditional buckets,” the company said. “In addition, the basket design can evolve with mine site conditions to further reduce downtime and optimise capacity over the life of the bucket.”

The durable upper structure of a bucket will host several baskets during its long service life, thus the need for optimising basket replacement, Cat said. Also, the two-piece bucket is lighter than conventional buckets, yet features high wear resistance, according to the company.

“The basket is a single piece of structural steel with no liner or wear plates, and the floor and sideplate thickness are optimised for bucket size and anticipated wear rate,” Cat said. “The basket is retrofittable onto legacy buckets used in compatible digging conditions.”

The two-piece bucket enhances both safety and serviceability, according to the company.

Replacing just the basket requires less gouging, welding, and grinding than buckets protected with wear plates, while the single-piece basket design reduces potential hazards caused by stored energy.

“After the initial design is completed for the application, replaceable baskets can be ordered in advance and stocked on site,” Cat said.