In addition to supplying equipment, METS providers develop solutions that improve safety and lower operating costs
By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief
This month, mining equipment and technology service (METS) providers planned to showcase their new products and technologies. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the National Mining Association to postpone MINExpo until next year, upsetting dozens of mining-related product launches.
To find out what the industry may have seen at the event, E&MJ reached out to a large group of METS providers and asked them if they would be willing to discuss their original plans for MINExpo 2020. Some said they were postponing their announcements for another year. Several major mining original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are moving forward and have organized virtual events, which will take place in the next few months. Others wanted to share what they had, which has been assembled as a digest, referred to as the E&MJ METS Showcase.
Vermeer’s New Hydrostatic Drive
Vermeer was planning to bring the T1255 Terrain Leveler, a 120-ton surface miner, to MINExpo. The machine is capable of full-scale mining production work and it’s also used for maintaining haul roads and site prep. “This is an existing machine with a few modifications that have been added over the years with input from customers,” said John Milligan, mining and specialty excavation commercial business manager for Vermeer. “We had planned to show a single-side, direct-drive machine.”
The chain-driven drum on the Vermeer surface miners allowed them to cut a 90° highwall. The only issue from a maintenance perspective was all the moving parts. “While we were developing a larger machine, the T1655, we used a dual-side, direct drive for the drum, which eliminated all of the chain-drive components,” Milligan said. “That configuration ended up with large hydrostatic drives on each of the drum, which prevented the ability to cut a 90° highwall. We progressed to this single-side machine, using the same motor we used on the T1655, which allowed an 80° highwall, which is usually acceptable. If the mine needs a 90° highwall, they can still purchase a chain-drive machine.
In addition to the drive system, Vermeer designed a new dust suppression system that contains the dust from the cutting action.
“These machines are routinely logging an average of 8,000 hours per year with 92% uptime,” Milligan said. “That’s based on the type of material and a good maintenance plan, and that doesn’t happen by mistake.”
In addition to providing equipment, Vermeer also provides solutions. As an example, the company’s Hutchin’s Rock Lab has been documenting the location of the machines and the associated geologic formations with which they worked for more than 20 years now. “If a customer asks about expected productivity or expected costs, we can narrow down closely what their costs per ton or bank cubic meter based on a sample they submit,” Milligan said. “We run it through the rock lab, determine the specific gravity, compressive strength and its energy index — an internal Vermeer term that correlates the hardness of the rock with the machine’s ability to cut it. Some soft rock cuts like harder formations and vice versa.”
They feed the data into a Solutions Calculator and it compares the proposed machines with an existing or former machine working in similar conditions. “We can generate a report that tells the customer what to expect,” Milligan said. “It’s helpful for us, as far as placing the appropriate machine for an application, but it also helps the customer set expectations. It’s an important to make these decisions before mobilizing a machine to a job site.”
The report also helps mines decide on mining methods, such as surface miners vs. drilling-and-blasting. “We can’t compete with drilling and blasting as a pure production replacement,” Milligan said. “Drilling and blasting is typically more cost effective, but there are lots of situations where the surface miner can be complementary, such as urban encroachment or areas where they can’t approach a structure either on the surface or below it. We can access that ore that would likely have remain stranded.”
In most cases, the Vermeer surface miners are equipped with GPS and an optional auto steer function. “The machine operates to plan on its own,” Milligan said. “It gives information to the operators as far as increasing the drum speed and tramming rates. It pushes the operator to run the machine at the fullest capacity for which it was designed.”
Redpath’s New Raisedrill
Redpath is a rather unique METS provider that not only designs and builds equipment, but it also operates the machinery at the mines as a contractor. “We have been developing products quite rapidly during the last decade, continuously placing new products in the mining market,” said Johan Davel, general manager, Redpath Raiseboring Ltd. “We launched a new machine last year, the Redbore 65, and we have another in the design stage now.”
Had MINExpo taken place, attendees would have seen the latest addition to Redpath’s raiseboring fleet. The Redbore 65 is a super compact, lightweight machine that was designed to be easily transported underground. “It has a low profile and that greatly reduces development costs for mine owners,” Davel said. “They no longer need to drill and blast massive chambers to accommodate the raiseboring machine, which saves time and money.”
Redpath manufactured the first Redbore 65 prototype last year and subsequent field tests in South America have proven to be very successful. “We are extremely happy with the design,” Davel said. “We had to complete the prototype testing before moving into final design acceptance and production. This machine is designed more for the mines in South America and Africa, which typically have smaller, low-profile tunnels.”
The objective was to make the machine as compact as possible. Redpath accomplished that with an improved hydraulic cylinder design and by using a different type of drive unit. “Normally there are teething issues with prototypes that require design revisions, but we placed this unit in the field with zero comebacks,” Davel said. “From a design perspective, getting it into full production on the first run was a huge success.”
Redpath closely monitored performance while they ran the machine drilling holes. The Redbore 65 is a very powerful machine for its size and they needed to verify that it was structurally sound. Davel said the performance was good and it met Redpath’s expectations. “We were able to give it a good, hard trial run and get some honest feedback,” Davel said. “Being super compact and lightweight, it’s easy to transport underground and get it set up. It’s all about time. The bigger the machine, the longer it takes to move and set up, and time is money.”
From a safety perspective, a lot of the larger, older raiseborers still require manual manipulation. The Redbore 65 is mechanically and hydraulically manipulated, which removes the miners from a compromising position. “In addition to that, we have been very focused on autonomous operations,” Davel said. “We have come a long way. Many of our machines have been configured to run during the downtime between shift changes to gain additional production meters with no driller in attendance.”
Davel said they have more exciting new products on the drawing board and E&MJ readers should stay tuned.
Schurco Slurry’s New Mechanical Seal
One of the items Schurco Slurry intended to discuss at MINExpo was the new mechanical seal technology it is integrating with its slurry pumps, which goes somewhat against the grain of conventional thinking. “Typically, mechanical seals have not been a popular choice with slurry pumping applications,” said Will Pierce, manager of engineering, Schurco Slurry. “They can be finicky, and they haven’t worked well in the past. What we found was that the traditional maintenance practices were insufficient at the end-user level.”
They decided to partner with a leading manufacturer to produce a Schurco Slurry mechanical seal. “We now have 50 of them installed across a wide cross section of mining operations, including coal, gold and aggregate operations,” Pierce said. “We have experienced no premature failures to date [two years].”
The Schurco Slurry mechanical seals are a single-faced grease-quenched design. “We are using a single silicon-carbide face, but we can provide different faces, such as tungsten carbide, if needed,” Pierce said. “It has a containment lip seal outboard, which retains a special synthetic grease lubricant with an inter-seal design. It could run dry for short periods of time, but we do not recommend it.”
The seal manufacturer worked with Schurco Slurry to develop a cost-effective product. Because the shafts on slurry pumps are so large, the cost for mechanical seals are higher. By offering it as a Schurco brand, they were able to provide it at competitive prices. “It’s still more expensive than a standard packed, stuffing-box seal or an expeller seal, but it offers the advantage of zero external leakage,” Pierce said. “An expeller can be prone to leaking when a slurry pump is shut down. The packed seal leaks by design.”
It also offers the advantage of steady day-in, day-out operations, Pierce explained, and this is something more mines are considering as a cost-effective, robust solution for a wide range of slurries from handing 50% solids to mine dewatering applications.
Packed seals, by design, allow water to re-enter the process, which is inefficient for dewatering applications. Most thickener and clarifier underflow pumps are packed, as the feed tanks are are too tall for expeller seals. A mechanical seal would require less maintenance intervention than packed seals. “We would still propose expeller seals for most mining applications,” Pierce said. “When the costs are compared between packed and mechanical seals, we are starting to see serious cost-benefit advantages for the mechanical seals over the long term.
In a mine dewatering application with 10% solids or less, the new Schurco Slurry mechanical seal could operate for years. One in a thickener underflow application at an aggregate operation has been operating problem and leak free for more than a year now.
Hilliard said it planned to show its updated M900 braking technology for semiautogenous grinding (SAG) mills and ball mills at MINExpo 2020. A mining industry leader in braking technology, Hilliard provides fail-safe braking technology for high-torque applications, such as draglines, overland conveyors and mine hoists. For mills, the company recommends its BrakeBoss 4 hydraulic power pack. “The brakes on a mill have a life just like the liners,” said Rick Kallenborn, regional sales manager for Hilliard’s Motion Control Division. “Many of them will need to be replaced soon.” In addition to stopping the mills, millworkers rely on the holding power of these brakes during maintenance.
More mining companies are asking Hilliard to provide braking systems for their large conveyor systems. Kallenborn said the M500 paired with a BrakeBoss 2 or 3 is a popular choice for this application. “We use a bleeder valve for a slow brake release,” Kallenborn said. “If the mine needs 15 seconds to reach full load from startup, we can do a slow dump on the hydraulic pressure.”
With conveyors systems, fail-safe brakes, meaning spring applied and hydraulically released, are normally attached to the drive pulleys. “Brakes offer an advantage over backstops,” Kallenborn said. “A backstop will not allow reverse rotation. If the backstop initiates on a feeder belt, the discharge end of the conveyor can be overhung with a heavy load, which could make maintenance tricky. Brakes allow the belt to be reversed to free the tension for repair.”
Backstops can be placed in the system internally (inside the gearbox) and externally, while brakes are always externally applied systems. “The biggest advantage with our MTs or backstops is that we have a roller ramp design versus a spragged design,” Kallenborn said. “The cylindrical rolls, which are turning all of the time, do not have a common wear point.”
For years, draglines have relied on the A400 caliper SA (spring applied, air released thruster), Kallenborn explained. “We are now looking at rope shovel applications,” Kallenborn said. “The arrangement will be similar to the dragline application, but with a smaller disc, and the brakes would be mounted in a little different orientation.”
In addition to providing a reliable product, Hilliard also has extensive field service capabilities to maintain existing applications and design new systems as needed.
Derrick’s Super Stack Sizer
Derrick Corp. said it was planning to showcase its Super Stack high-frequency vibratory screening machine at MINExpo 2020. The machine was designed as a replacement for hydrocyclones in grinding circuits. The eight-deck Super Stack offers a significantly higher production capacity in a smaller footprint than conventional screening equipment. The decks on the Super Stack are about a foot wider than the decks on the company’s Stack Sizer. “The tensioning technology is quite a bit different, too,” said David Perkins, commercial director for Derrick’s Mining and Industrial Division. “This model institutes a front-to-back tensioning system, which uses a single lever, instead of the traditional tensioning bolts on the side. Screen panels can be changed in minutes instead of hours.
The Super Stack is close to having the same footprint as the Stack Sizer with nearly three times the capacity, Perkins explained. “We have increased the surface area and modified the crown,” Perkins said. “Instead of the side-to-side crown, it has a fed-to-discharge crown. Slurries stay on the same trajectory rather than migrating to the edges.”
The first commercial Super Stack is being installed at Vale’s Carajás iron ore beneficiation plant in Brazil. The machines are being used to recover iron ore from tailings. By using Super Stack screens, Vale expects this new installation to add 10 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of high-grade pellet feed with a significant reduction in production costs. The startup is expected to be in the second half of 2021. Vale currently operates more than 170 Derrick Stack Sizer machines in six of their Brazilian iron ore concentration plants.
Beyond the Super Stack, Derrick planned to discuss its new G-Vault product line, which replaces stainless steel wedge-wire baskets with its non-blinding urethane products. The company is also currently developing a more rigid urethane for high-G screening applications (greater than 1,800 rpm coupled at 9G’s). Perkins said they need something that could not only withstand those forces, but also present high open area.
Fletcher’s Underground Drilling Equipment
J.H. Fletcher was planning to bring several pieces of underground drilling equipment to MINExpo 2020, including the J352 Face Drill. The J352 is a dual-boom jumbo designed for large cavern-sized operations such as those mining salt and limestone deposits. This machine has several new features, such as the GOAD-AED system (AED stands for automated entry driver).
GOAD is an operator-assist program that J.H. Fletcher has offered for many years. Using it, the operators can attack the right drilling angles, explained Ben Hardman, vice president of sales, J.H. Fletcher. “Fletcher added the MP [multi-plane] designation to GOAD a few years later. GOAD originally operated on a horizontal plane. The multiplane feature gave the operator two dimensions with a grid for a user interface. The operators would touch a hole on the grid on the screen and the rig would position the boom. Then the operator would take over drilling the hole. The new AED feature does everything.
“This AED system really takes things to the next level,” Hardman said. “It has a collision avoidance system for the booms. The operator positions the rig in the heading, zeros it in, and it will drill the face automatically.” A Fletcher customer recently told them they hired an Amazon warehouse worker as a miner and, after two weeks of training, he was drilling five faces per shift by himself.
Fletcher was also planning to display the N3016-AB/E, a battery-tram electric roof bolter for narrow vein applications. “It’s a narrow vein bolter designed for 3- x 3-m headings,” Hardman said. “The narrow vein capabilities of this unit will help reduce ore dilution by keeping the miner in the ore body. The battery technology, which has gained a lot of interest with underground metal/nonmetal operations recently will help with reducing diesel particulates in the air as well as heat reduction in the stope. All of which will help reduce mine costs as ore bodies trend deeper and tougher to ventilate and mine.”
They were also planning to show a narrow version of an articulated scaler, 3216-AD for the potash mines in Canada. It will offer a unique blend of maneuverability, durability and functionality that has yet to be offered to the mining industry in a package this size. “We are confident this model will catch the attention of miners in all mineral deposits that require scaling in tight quarters,” Hardman said.
AMR Pemco TacklesCollision Avoidance
Traditionally known for its monitoring and control electronics and electrical gear, AMR Pemco recently branched out into machine guidance and warning systems with its new CAPS (Collision Avoidance Protection System). “We developed it in conjunction with our miner tracking technology,” said Jay Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing for AMR Pemco. “In 2012, AMR developed multidirectional, Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) tracking software for underground coal mining operations. Now we are looking to broaden our horizons and apply it to surface and underground metal/nonmetal (M/NM) mining.”
AMR has been working on CAPS for two years now, and they have accrued some trouble-shooting maturity. “This product works vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-personnel,” Johnson said. “It will work on something as small as a forklift or an UTV and as large as a 40-ton haul truck. It works well, and we are looking for an opportunity to demo the technology at an open-pit metal mining operation.” Currently, AMR is developing a customer interface that will allow mine managers to see everything from their laptops.
AMR has also developed a wireless multi-gas monitor (up to four gases e.g., CO, CH4, O2 and H2S). “We have been heavily involved in the atmospheric monitoring space for many years,” Johnson said. “We’ve developed a wired-to-wireless bridge for gas monitoring. It gives miners a greater level of flexibility so that they don’t have to run fiber, communication cable or power to the face to operate it. The multi-gas monitor communicates wirelessly to a wired bridge device 1,500 ft to 2,000 ft away. “As they move from one active area to another, they do not have to deal with the infrastructure of traditional wired gas monitors,” Johnson said. “It’s an open platform, and it is MSHA-approved.
“We’re the first MSHA-approved wireless multi-gas monitor out there,” Johnson said. “We worked hard on this project with patient customers, and it’s currently being installed at underground coal mining operations.”
Johnson said one of AMR’s competitors, Atkinson, discontinued its line of high-voltage ground check monitors. “They had two-thirds market share and AMR had one-third market share,” Johnson said. “AMR offers the GM-300 high-voltage long-distance ground check monitor as a direct replacement (same form factor).
“We are AMR Pemco after all, so we have power products as well, such as vacuum circuit breakers, like the CB-2000, an update of a prior product. It offers faster communications, easier programming and a better user interface,” Johnson said. “Typically, these units are powering the secondary side of an underground distribution unit in the 480- to 600-volt space. As the size and capacity of these mines continue to increase, we are seeing many of them going up to 995 volts on the secondary voltage. This is the best product for the 995-volt application.”
AMR Pemco also provides mobile power centers and substations used to move large equipment in open-pit mines. They are also looking at hybrid power systems that incorporate renewable technology, such as solar arrays and battery storage, and their portable power solution will tie into that. They are currently working with a western U.S. open-pit mine to develop a mobile, hybrid power source.
Custom-designed Equipment From PHIL Systems
Philippi Hagenbuch (or PHIL Systems) manufactures specialty equipment at its factory in Peoria, Illinois, USA. More recently, the company signed a partnership agreement with a licensee in Timmins, Ontario, to serve eastern Canada. They have a similar partnership with another manufacturer to make equipment for Brazilian mines. Both partners make rear-eject bodies and water trucks as well as five-piece body kits. They perform final assembly at or near the mines. “Finding the right partner to work with is critical and we have found two new ones recently,” said Josh Swank, vice president of sales and marketing for PHIL Systems.
PHIL Systems’ designs have evolved with customer needs. The company supplies a lot of equipment to miners working in Minnesota’s iron range and Arizona’s copper country. “We continue to focus on Hardox truck bodies, water trucks and trailers,” Swank said. “We have started to experiment with some of the more exotic versions of Hardox, such as Hi Ace in water tanks for highly acidic environments.”
This Hardox material has been amazing in water tanks, Swank said. “It practically eliminates the corrosion and internal rust,” he said. “Not a single one of them has rusted through. After about five to 10 years, most of the competitive tanks start to look like Swiss-cheese with all the patches. This is especially the case with the ones that use epoxy coatings. The epoxy cracks and breaks as it dries or sometimes water will get trapped behind it, exacerbating the problem.
“We use a high-quality primer and it lasts,” Swank said. “Some mines these days are concerned with acidity. We think our standard tanks would work, but this new Hi Ace material is specifically designed for highly acidic environments, which seems to be more prominent with the mines in Nevada.”
Swank said they also have been working on an extreme cold-weather water tank, and the first truck is almost ready. “We have provided insulated tanks for years, but this one is truly a cold weather tank,” he said. “It’s a highly insulated unit, but it’s much more than that. The rear compartment houses all the plumbing and it has a diesel-powered heater built into it. It also has a lot of electronic checks to make sure that everything works optimally at -40°F. This is without a doubt the most robustly engineered water tank that’s ever been built.
“As an example, the customer wanted a bumper and we built one heck of a bumper,” Swank said. “It will protect the spray heads. It has a retractable hose reel. It also has big buttons and LEDs for miners that wear gloves and work long hours in darkness.”
In Canada, insurers expect each mine to have an operational water truck fully loaded at all times for ﬁreﬁghting purposes. “We maximized the amount of water they could haul, increasing it by 20% over a comparable tank,” Swank said. “Proper weight distribution was key. It’s user friendly. In those conditions, nothing goes well so we have done our best to make it as simple as possible for operators.”
Kal Tire Tests Technology
Kal Tire planned to demonstrate several of its recent initiatives, including its Mexican robot, the Maple program and the advancements it has made to its Tire Operations Management System (TOMS).
The robot at the company’s Mexican tire facility will take the skiving work out of the tire repair technician’s hands. An injury to a large haul truck tire (57 or 63 in.) would have to be skived prior to repair. This is a 4.5-hour process for an experienced technician. The robot can do it in about 10 minutes.
“As a tire service provider working in the retreading space, it’s exciting for us to see that we can take advantage of automation and autonomous control,” said Dan Allan, senior vice president for Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group. “The technology has reached a price point where a smaller organization like Kal Tire can see the economic value in using it.”
Obviously, there are safety and ergonomic benefits, in addition to the number of tires that can be processed. The robot can also cut tread patterns and it works on its own with no supervision. This is a huge step forward for Kal Tire and Allan sees this as the future of OTR retreading at most of its plants.
“It’s a robotic arm equipped with a tool,” Allan said. “Its use merges the experience of a technician with the benefits of autonomy. The technicians will identify the injuries. A laser will scan the markings and the robot will skive the wound on its own.”
Kal Tire’s Maple program documents recycling benefits of using retreaded tires. Specifically, it quantifies the reduction in CO2 emissions for the mines. “We discussed it with customers in Europe and then we approached copper miners in Chile,” Allan said. “The Chilean miners thought it was an outstanding program. Most mines are looking for a way to capture credits for emissions reduction programs. The Maple program translates the use of retreads into hard facts as far as CO2 savings. It adds positively to overall sustainability measures.” Kal Tire shows its customers the savings and presents them with certificates that authenticate those findings.
Kal Tire has also made some advancements with TOMS. “We have slowly been deploying new TOMS technology though all the Kal Tire regions,” Allan said. “We are using data analytics to compare information from all of the sites worldwide and making generalized conclusions, such as how long does a tire wear in ambient temperatures above 35°F or what is the average length of time from spotting a cut to it becoming a serious injury.”
With 500,000 tire changes per year logged into TOMS, Kal Tire is experimenting with artificial intelligence and optical recognition to associate repetition in data with photography to identify trends. “We are moving more toward a planning orientation rather than a reactive orientation,” Allan said. “Using this information, we can pose plans for tire change activities for the week and ask the mine how that meshes with their plans. By getting that work planned properly, we can improve their uptime.”
Metso Outotec Merges Complementary Technologies
Had MINExpo taken place, attendees would have learned more about Metso Outotec, which was recently formed from the merger of two industry leaders. The breadth of the collective expertise spans the entire mineral recovery process from comminution to beneficiation and refining. The combined offering of equipment and after-market services is substantial. Two Metso Outotec executives, Giuseppe Campanelli, president, North and Central America, and Craig McKibbon, vice president of sales and service, Canada, discussed plans for the future.
“This was an amazingly complementary merger,” Campanelli said. “We are now able to leverage each other’s strengths to provide broad, end-to-end technology solutions that cover more of the flowsheet throughout a plant’s lifecycle. This will allow the customer to move more of the risk on to our shoulders. With a larger scope, we understand what is being fed into the equipment and what its expected from downstream processes. We can provide the service and ensure availability and throughput.”
From the services offering, the breadth and expertise now gives us a full toolbox of solutions, McKibbon explained. “Both organizations strived to have a modular approach and we can now combine those service offerings into a true tailored solution,” McKibbon said.
One of ways mining companies will see service improvement is through more digitalization with products such as Foresight crushing systems and Pretium Water Advisor along with support from a global network of performance centers. The performance centers offer production improvements and predictive maintenance services through continuous automated monitoring of processing equipment, components and processes.
Using Metso Outotec’s proven smart controls and equipment, Foresight enables a fully connected plant to continuously monitor conditions. The smart controls include analytical dashboards and preventative maintenance, VisioRock cameras installed on crushers and screens, level sensors mounted on bins and crushers, and variable frequency drives (VFD) for dynamic crusher control.
“Foresight will hit a few important targets for mining companies,” Campanelli said. “We will be able to see how the equipment performs and operates in real time. We will be able to provide support remotely. Should anyone identify troubling trends, we can quickly react to prevent unplanned downtime. In addition to availability, digitalization will also allow process optimization through machine-to-machine interactions.”
The Pretium Water Advisor enables real-time monitoring of the water balance across the entire mine site, allowing operators to create short-term forecasts for water volume and quality. The key benefits include improved operations management with dynamic predictions of water balance and quality, and accurate, real-time water-data processing based on operating system and measurement-point data.
Pretium collects real-time data from remote water sensors, measuring conductivity, temperature, particle size distribution, etc., McKibbon explained. “It provides data on water quality and quantity to predict problems and protect mining operations,” he said. “Knowing the water quality, we can model the circuit and understand the impact of any issues and mitigate them. This is available as a modular system with remote monitoring by a performance center.”
Just before the merger was completed, both companies were in the process of rolling out a number of grinding equipment solutions, including the Open-Ended Discharge Mill (OED Mill), the Megaliner for discharge systems, and a next generation HRC high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) as well as a retrofit kit.
“Previously, turbo and spiral pulp lifters would have been used to decrease pooling inside the mill and increase grinding efficiency, but they could also impact capacity,” McKibbon said. “The OED Mill eliminates that potential bottleneck. In addition to reducing capital and operating expenses, it is also more maintenance-friendly. Mill performance can be optimized by quickly changing the grating and apertures and this would be helpful during mill startup and with changing ore grade and characteristics.”
Metso Outotec can now offer Megaliner for all sections of horizontal mills: the head, the shell and the discharge system. It is suitable for large autogenous grinding (AG), semiautogenous grinding (SAG) and ball mills where modern liner handlers are available.
Mill liners need to do three things, Campanelli explained, they need to offer good grinding efficiency, they need to fit, and they need to be easily replaceable to minimize mill downtime and improve safety. The Megaliner covers all three of those areas and it also significantly improves the safety of the reline process as the bolts are attached from outside the mill.
The company claimed the new Megaliner for discharge systems can simplify and speed up grinding mill relines by up to 50%. It integrates dischargers, grates, lifter bars and filling segments in one unit, reducing the number of components used by as much as up to 70%.
When the HRC launched, Metso Outotec said it challenged the industry standard by providing maximum throughput and energy efficiency for an HPGR. Metso Outotec will soon be introducing the next generation of HRC HPGR technology as well as a retrofit kit. This retrofit kit applies HRC technology to competitive HPGRs.
McKibbon noted more interest in retrofits across the board for dewatering, flotation and comminution. “Outotec invested a lot of time in froth optimization and transport and that can be carried across to competitive equipment,” McKibbon said. “Similarly, Metso’s comminution heritage can be applied to Outotec’s base as well as competitors. We have more boots on the ground, more opportunities and more tools to use.”
US Tsubaki Offers Lifecycle Support
The chains and sprockets that are used extensively in the mining business are expected to wear, but not fail unexpectedly. Had MINExpo taken place, Mike Darragh, senior product manager, U.S. Tsubaki, said they would have been showcasing the Tsubaki ProService Chain and Sprocket Lifecycle Support package, which offers unique ways to extend chain and component life by leveraging strategic system optimizations and proactive maintenance. Installation support and on-site personnel training are also available with the ProService package. Using a team of field service engineers, U.S. Tsubaki collects key application data from thorough on-site inspections and uses this data to complete a detailed wear analysis at its manufacturing and engineering facility in Ohio.
The ProService package also includes access to their proprietary Tsubaki Advantage system that allows miners to measure and dynamically track chain wear. “Using that data, we can monitor the wear and track all of their assets,” Darragh said. “Looking at the installation date, the application and wear levels, we can tell where a component lies on its predictable life timeline.” For some time now, U.S. Tsubaki has been moving away from being purely a product supplier and more toward a full lifecycle solutions provider, Darragh explained. “We are now providing product installation support and services,” he said. “In addition to reliable performance, we now provide customers with predictable performance in terms of component life, so they need not worry about unplanned downtime.”
U.S. Tsubaki was also planning to showcase its new Titan XL coating, a proprietary pin/bush surface treatment that has been very successful in chain conveyors in feeder applications. “Titan XL provides a hard, smooth surface that minimizes friction between the bearing components of the chain and in turn offers extended wear performance, along with some enhanced corrosion protection,” Darragh said.