Materials handling wear solutions company Rio-Carb’s turnkey liner solutions are “ideal” for reducing the regular and costly maintenance required by iron-ore processing facilities, says Rio-Carb director Sias Suurd.
He tells Mining Weekly that iron-ore is particularly demanding on processing equipment, owing to its abrasiveness and density, with the high volume of raw iron-ore throughput at these plants also requiring speedy processing to enhance profitability. The rugged, raw mineral is tough to break down, with its sharp edges eroding traditional mineral processing equipment.
“Rio-Carb found that traditional quench and tempered chute liner materials – while initially cheaper to implement – are insufficient when dealing with the high erosion caused from the processing of challenging minerals, like iron-ore.”
Suurd further highlights that the application of unsuitable liner technology does not protect the processing equipment and has a notable detrimental effect on the amount of maintenance and downtime required by iron-ore processing operations. Mines are choosing inadequate liner technologies because of capital constraints.
However, cheaper technologies lead to hole formations that also result in lower processing productivity, costly mineral spillages and an overall higher total cost of ownership, he emphasises.
Suurd states that Rio-Carb offers turnkey solutions to iron-ore processing plants that are customised to suit clients’ specific processing requirements. The high abrasion-resistant Rio-Carb Chromium Carbide (CrC) liner solution is well suited to challenging materials handling applications, such as those encountered in iron-ore processing, he adds. Suurd says the CrC liners have proven particularly effective – lasting eight to ten times longer than quench and tempered chute liners – against sliding abrasion caused by material being dragged across the surfaces of processing equipment.
Rio-Carb performs site visits to assess the application of the liner that will be required. Speed of the conveyer belt, size of the ore and abrasiveness plays an important role in high wear areas. Following the assessments, the company can supply the most suitable liner material for each application of the process.
Suurd explains that Rio-Carb’s MaxCS manufacturing process ensures that the CrC liners are manufactured using a minimum of 24% chrome and 4% carbon to form CrC with a hardness scale of 58 Rc. He points out that mines can expect four times the life out of Rio-Carb liners.
“Rio-Carb currently supplies CrC liners to most of the major iron-ore mining houses in South Africa. All Rio-Carb clients in the iron-ore sector are ‘repeat users’, of our liner equipment. We are proud that we have been a contributor to reduce their total cost of ownership over the last 30 odd years.”
Developing New Technology
Rio-Carb has also revealed to Mining Weekly that it is working on an online thickness testing application (app).
Suurd explains that the company is aiming to produce ‘smart’ liners, and is repurposing and applying well-established sensor technology to the real-time monitoring of liner thickness and deterioration of mineral processing plants.
“The idea is to develop a mobile app that enables a user to log into any mobile device and access real-time data associated with a mineral processing plant’s liner thickness and deterioration.”
He adds that, should the development be successful, users will not need to rely on artisans to carry out regular chute inspections to determine liner thickness and efficiency, but will be able to monitor liner efficiency from their mobile devices and better plan for a plant’s maintenance requirements.
Suurd concludes that the development of this automated method is still in its infancy, but that the outlook is positive.