Comminution has been around for over 150 years and will continue on indefinitely, it is therefore important to stay at the forefront of innovation as this has evolved from horse drawn mills in the 1860’s to the 40-foot SAG mills of today.
Although, with the speed at which technology and innovation is accelerating today, you cannot rely on the thinking of, ‘what is the latest technology in comminution today’, it needs to be rather, ‘what is comminution going to look like in the future’.
At Prima we are constantly having the conversation and creating the culture of how we can improve on the status quo, what can we measure to better understand and improve this going forward. With this mindset and the set of tools we have at our disposal, we are geared to finding out where we can improve and advance our customers comminution process. The phase ‘comminution process’ is used specifically because it is important to focus not only on the liners that we cast, but we need to approach our customers process holistically to ensure that the upstream processes feeding the crushers or mills are efficient, steady, measured and controlled.
When you are certain of the inputs to a crusher or mill, one can decisively make engineering decisions on where improvements and efficiencies can be found. For this we utilise Rocky DEM Simulation software (Discrete Element Method), which can accurately simulate the bulk behaviour of particles inside the crusher or mill or even the conveyor and chute feeding them. It can simulate the breakage characteristics of the ore itself as well as the wear patterns and wear rates of the liners.
For continuous improvement it is also important to monitor the life of the physical liners in reality after design optimisation and manufacturing, to feed back into the simulation. This feedback will seek to find even further improvement. We perform this condition monitoring using our Creaform Handyscan 3D scanner where we can scan the wear profile and relate it to the amount of ore milled or crushed, this will allow a more accurate (tested), wear rate to be input back into DEM to better estimate the life of the liner, and also verify the simulated wear pattern.
Over and above this holistic approach to our product engineering, we strive to be involved in the comminution community worldwide by attending conferences and workshops and collaborating with local universities in order to ensure we are at the forefront of our industry and giving our customers the best, modern solutions to ensure their continued successful mining operations.