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Sandvik deploys its first locally made SmartPlant in Africa

18th January 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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A fluorite mine located about 100 km outside Pretoria has become the first recipient of mining technology company Sandvik Rock Processing’s first locally manufactured SmartPlant in Africa.  

Following its recent commissioning, the 300 t/h plant has already met process guarantees and reached nameplate capacity, Sandvik Rock Processing says. 

To improve efficiency and productivity, the fluorspar producer started reviewing options for a new processing plant in 2020.  

The SmartPlant concept from Sandvik Rock Processing appealed to the customer for several reasons, although the fast delivery time, flexibility and substantial cost savings it would offer the operation were primary considerations. 

SmartPlant is a range of predefined Sandvik SmartStations that can be mixed and matched to meet individual customer needs for productivity and performance, thereby reducing waiting time, improving uptime and increasing profitability.  

Delivery generally takes about 22 to 30 weeks ex-works. Where there are peripheral design changes to the predefined SmartStations, lead times may be shorter. 

Sandvik crushing and screening project manager Jaco Benade says the deal was negotiated midway through the Covid-19 hard lockdown of 2020. The order was placed during Level 5 of the lockdown, with manufacturing starting during Level 4. Despite the challenges brought about by travel restrictions and compounded by global supply chain disruptions, the plant was delivered on time and within budget. 

“A major talking point of the project was the short delivery time of 22 weeks ex-works at a favourable capital cost for the customer. The SmartPlant concept allowed the customer to choose from the predefined SmartStations, combine and configure them to meet specific site and operational needs, with no extra design and engineering costs,” Benade says. 

While the designs are predefined, the SmartPlant still offers a great deal of flexibility for the customer.  

“The modular approach of the SmartPlant meant that the customer could tweak design parameters such as height, capacity and liner profiles, among others, without much concern about cost deviations and time implications,” explains Sandvik Rock Processing sub-Saharan Africa VP Glen Schoeman

Sandvik’s approach to the project was aimed at being flexible. For example, based on its understanding of the customer’s budget and time constraints, Sandvik chose for the mine to commission a conveyor supplier of its choice to shorten the time to production and reduce costs. 

The project was delivered with no lost-time injuries, from project inception to commissioning.  

“Despite the arduous conditions on site, ranging from excessive heat to wet weather conditions, the project was completed with a . . . zero harm safety record,” Schoeman says. 

The new plant comprises a full suite of Sandvik equipment, including jaw and cone crushers, screens and feeders.  

Informed by customer needs, Sandvik opted for a much bigger front-end of the plant, comprising a large tip area and bigger jaw crusher. The Sandvik CJ412 primary jaw crusher, which takes a 750 mm top size, is fed by a box bin and a grizzly feeder. 

The plant also employs two Sandvik CH840i cone crushers for secondary and tertiary crushing, the very first units of the company’s 800i series range of cone crushers in Africa. Another first in Africa is the rotary feeder on top of the cone, which is used to distribute material into the crusher.  

“The rotary feeder turns slowly, evenly distributing material around the edges of the crusher. This reduces pressure peaks in the crusher caused by uneven feed, a common challenge in crushing plants,” Benade says. 

The CH840i cone crushers come with Sandvik’s Automation and Connectivity System as standard. The system continuously monitors and optimises crusher performance and controls the complete lubrication system, increasing uptime and reliability. It can automatically adjust crusher settings to compensate for crushing chamber wear, ensuring consistent product size. 

In addition, the SAM by Sandvik digital service supports operational excellence in the plant.  

“SAM by Sandvik brings people, activities and data together . . . It allows both client and original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) remote access to the plant. The system itself provides a holistic view of the plant, enabling the customer to make informed decisions and the OEM to respond proactively to any equipment health and performance issues,” Benade says. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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