Local crushing, screening specialist tackles ‘testing period’ head-on

TECHNICAL INPUT While the quality of Pilot Modular products is vital to the service equation, service and support are key to customer needs

MULTIPURPOSE OUTPUT The track-mounted, mobile, triple-shaft, triple-deck horizontal screen is designed to produce as many as four products simultaneously

4th December 2015

By: Mia Breytenbach

Creamer Media Deputy Editor: Features


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Markets can change quickly, but South African crushing and screening specialist Pilot Crushtec International expects 2016 to be another challenging year as commodity prices “don’t seem likely to improve” soon.

Pilot Crushtec CEO Sandro Scherf suggests, therefore, that capital equipment investment is most likely to remain tight, as more mines are affected by low margins.

However, the company is adapting to the evolving market, improving company and client efficiencies to safely navigate its way through this testing period.

Pilot Crushtec continues to drive its market proposition by emphasising that its products are designed to meet and suit Southern Africa and African operating conditions.

In June, it supplied a Pilot Modular MC130 secondary cone crusher and a DD7215 double-deck screen to an existing and regular client, a large copper and cobalt mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“The customer has – for almost a decade – been using Pilot Modular equipment under the harshest . . . conditions and insists on using the company’s products on account of their durability under extreme circumstances,” says Scherf.

Products exported to the DRC’s Katanga province, to date, include five Pilot Modular MC130 heavy-duty cone crushers, a Pilot Modular MJ3042 single-toggle jaw crusher, two Pilot Modular DWS4824 dewatering screens and two DD7215 screen boxes.

Scherf explains that, while the quality of Pilot Modular products forms one part of the service equation, he stresses that service and support are key to customer needs, irrespective of the geographical distance between supplier and end-user.

“Personal contact with the customer, when it comes to technical input, is more important than ever. With the focus on reducing costs and increasing efficiency, the correct advice is invaluable. Operating conditions can vary significantly, with feed requirements into the crusher requiring different fine-tuning.

“The mine appreciates the regu-lar on-site presence of our sales engineers. This not only ensures that we provide expert advice, but also that we are continually building and improving on experience, allowing the transfer of knowledge to clients. Spare parts availability is also a crucial factor and Pilot Crushtec’s R100-million spare and wear parts stock ensures there is always availability of key components,” he emphasises.

Stockpile Processing
The company has also supplied several Pilot Modular feeders and conveyors, with self-cleaning magnets and metal detectors fitted to the conveyors, to a contractor at a copper mine in the DRC in the last quarter of this year.

According to Scherf, such orders underpin the current trend of reprocessing old stockpiles accumulated over the years, which is happening more often in the current economic environment.

He explains that clients have significant stockpiles of scats, which are reject materials from mills that contain a high percentage of mill balls and other tramp metal. These stockpiles have been building up for several years.

“With the current low mineral prices, the stockpiles offer a low-cost option to increase production. However, the main obstacle to processing the stockpiles is the mill balls, which are notoriously difficult to separate from ore and [they pose] a . . . hazard to crushing equipment,” Scherf notes.

Consequently, the orders for such stockpile-processing projects include Pilot equipment, comprising a feeder with a grizzly to remove any oversize material. “The material is then fed to a conveyor fitted with self-cleaning magnets to remove any tramp metal and mill balls before being fed into crushers for reduction,” Scherf explains, adding that the metal detector serves as a safety feature for any metal that escapes the magnets.

While their size varies in terms of production, the plants are mainly a “relatively low [capital-expenditure] option to process otherwise worthless ore – clients can either increase their beneficiation production or drop their cost per ton using equipment that is easily repurposed or relocated once the stockpiles have been processed,” he notes.

Pilot Crushtec International has supplied these type of plants to gold mines in Cote d’Ivoire and copper mines in the DRC and Namibia for a slightly different application, such as the crushing of slag from furnaces.

Small modular crushing and screening plants are in high demand, says Scherf, who calculates that the production of these plants is struggling to meet market demand.

“With the current exchange rates and the focus on reducing capital investment and operating costs, this range offers significant value that enables clients to continue production amid tough economic times,” he says.

The versatility and mobility of the plants enable equipment operators to easily repurpose the plants to keep them as standby units once the market improves and investment in a large modular or mobile plant is justified.

Scherf says a popular unit currently is the compact Sandvik UD211 trailer-mounted crushing plant with a primary jaw crusher, triple-deck screen and secondary cone crusher. This versatile single machine makes it possible to turn hard rock up to 500 mm in size into four aggregate products at a rate of up to 120 t/h.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor



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