Unbottling minerals processing plants

By | 2021-05-27T12:43:16+00:00 May 27th, 2021|

It is not uncommon to find multimillion Rand processing plants with enormous production potential being severely restricted by poorly specified or old-fashioned screening media.

Major Wire screen provides more durability and wear protection than traditional screens with more open space for improved throughput. Photo by ELB Equipment

Major Wire screen provides more durability and wear protection than traditional screens with more open space for improved throughput. Photo by ELB Equipment

Provided that the plant is fully operational and is appropriate for the job, the screen is the usual culprit that slows production or leads to unacceptably high levels of downtime. Fortunately, with the right expertise and best products for the job, help is at hand for these ailing operations. Mineral’s processing equipment supplier, ELB Equipment, in partnership with internationally acclaimed screen media manufacturer, Major Wire, have spent several years fixing screening problems at an almost endless array of processing plants.

Waynne Martin, technical sales representative of ELB Equipment, says the company’s partnership with the world’s leading supplier of screen media, enables the company’s technical teams to identify the source of a screening problem and provide solutions to bring the equipment back up to the required spec and further improve on its performance through the use of a wide range of Major Wire screen solutions for practically any application.

Success stories

Examples of the type of improvements obtained with Major Wire screens in the mine and quarrying industry are many including a recent instance where imported anthracite was difficult to process due to its ‘sticky, wet’ consistency and was grinding production to a tortoise-pace. The introduction of a carefully selected Major Wire tensioned screen immediately boosted production by 50% with a host of other benefits to boot.

More recently, a simple upgrade of its traditional panel-type mesh screens, to Major Wire’s Flex-Mat screens, allowed a major diamond producer to reduce carry over by more than 15%. Similarly, one of the country’s largest cement producers was able to improve the production feed rate of highly abrasive dolomite to 360 tons per hour (TPH) from its previous 180 TPH. Simultaneously, carry over was reduced from 35% to zero and the panels wear-life was improved from having a seven-week lifespan with traditional woven mesh, to more than 11-months with the Flex Mat solution. The enormous wear-life capabilities eventually led to a further reduction of wire diameter for even more open area while maintaining a lifespan of more than six months. It also reduced up to one hour of maintenance per shift.

Another recent success story worth mentioning is of a metal recovery plant that was experiencing severe pegging and blinding issues where the screen needed to be cleaned manually by pick and hammer wielding workers for at least two hours per day. A simple upgrade to a Major Wire tensioned screen solved the problem and no cleaning has been required thereafter. A similar case reduced a major coal mine’s screening costs from 63c per ton using woven wire screens to just 23c using Major Wire Flex-Mats.

Percentage improvements

“This is a game of percentages and even the smallest improvements can have a significant effect on a company’s bottom line. Savings as a result of reducing downtime, production volume increases and the move towards improved overall productivity can usually be measured in millions of Rands and tons.

“With the right products and expertise to boot, local distributor ELB Equipment has an entirely dedicated screening division dealing with mines and quarries to improve overall processes. Wholistically it is not just about saving capacity on site, but rather problem-solving overall screening efficiency, cost of ownership etc. We also provide training on site to get the whole team up to scratch when it comes to operation and maintenance of our screens.

“What’s more, customers can ask for a full vibration analysis on their existing screens to ascertain the speed, stroke and g-force of the equipment and measure its effectiveness before undertaking any upgrades so that the right screens can be fitted accordingly,” says Major Wire business development manager, John Pelser.

Well-supported

In terms of service and support, ELB Equipment has a vast branch and dealer network throughout southern Africa with well-trained and dedicated staff to service customers’ screening requirements. Sufficient stock holding make for quick parts turnaround and where necessary stock can be held at branch level anywhere in the sub-region. A good example of this is our maximum four-weeks lead time for first time delivery to new customers and a one- to three-day lead time for existing customers.

Major Wire screening media fits on all standard screens including ELB Equipment’s Powerscreen and other screening equipment. It is a quality leader and the benchmark for other manufacturers in terms of performance, durability, and reliability. The screens mostly high manganese and carbon content in the wire enables it to give the best wear-life and performance possible. Polyurethane strips also protect the support bars and make for more active media on screen. Because of the efficiency of the screen and better wear resistance, the wire can usually go to thinner gauges and create more open area.

“Where necessary the screens can also be manufactured in 304 and 316 stainless steel as an option in fine, wet or sticky applications. These are not coated stainless as provided by some manufacturers, but rather made entirely of stainless steel to prevent corrosion and abrasion. Major Wire is also working on longer life screens specifically in heavy loads and high-capacity applications where wire can take the place of modular rubber or PU screens for much better throughput. Read more here: https://majorflexmat.com/en/news-room

Working together

“Thanks to our partnership with Major Wire we are able to provide comprehensive product and service offerings for all our customers’ requirements. As with all the brands and equipment provided by ELB Equipment, Major Wire is the best-of-breed manufacturer of screening media in the world. Thanks to our large footprint throughout the sub-region, we are able provide screening solutions for all requirements.

“We also work with the customer to find workable solutions. It is easy to go sell a mesh, but for us it is about overall assessment of the operation, getting the machines back to standard and making it more profitable for the customer. Our team prefers to prove that we can provide the services and products to support our customer’s production requirements,” concludes Martin.