It is not uncommon to find multimillion Rand processing plants with enormous production potential being severely restricted by poorly specified or old-fashioned screening media. Mineral’s processing equipment supplier, ELB Equipment, in partnership with screen media manufacturer, Major Wire, has spent several years fixing screening problems at an almost endless array of processing plants.

The company’s partnership with the world’s leading supplier of screen media, enables the company’s technical teams to identify the source of a screening problem and provide solutions to bring the equipment back up to the required spec and further improve on its performance through the use of a wide range of Major Wire screen solutions for practically any application.

Success stories

Examples of the type of improvements obtained with Major Wire screens in the mine and quarrying industry are many, including a recent instance where imported anthracite was difficult to process due to its ‘sticky, wet’ consistency and was grinding production to a snail’s pace. The introduction of a carefully-selected Major Wire tensioned screen immediately boosted production by 50% with a host of other benefits to boot.

More recently a simple upgrade of its traditional panel-type mesh screens, to Major Wire’s Flex-Mat screens, allowed a major diamond producer to reduce carry over by more than 15%. Similarly, one of the country’s largest cement producers was able to improve the production feed rate of highly abrasive dolomite to 360 tons per hour (TPH) from its previous 180 TPH. Simultaneously, carry over was reduced from 35% to zero and the panels wear-life was improved from having a seven-week lifespan with traditional woven mesh, to more than 11-months with the Flex Mat solution.

The enormous wear-life capabilities eventually led to a further reduction of wire diameter for even more open area while maintaining a lifespan of more than six months. It also reduced up to one hour of maintenance per shift.

Another recent success story worth mentioning is of a metal recovery plant that was experiencing severe pegging and blinding issues where the screen needed to be cleaned manually by pick and hammer for at least two hours per day. A simple upgrade to a Major Wire tensioned screen solved the problem and no cleaning has been required thereafter. A similar case reduced a major coal mine’s screening costs from 63c per ton using woven wire screens to just 23c using Major Wire Flex-Mats.

Measured in millions

“This is a game of percentages and even the smallest improvements can have a significant effect on a company’s bottom line. Savings as a result of reducing downtime, production volume increases and the move towards improved overall productivity can usually be measured in millions of Rands and ton”, says Waynne Martin, technical sales representative of ELB Equipment,

“With the right products and expertise to boot, we have an entirely dedicated screening division dealing with mines and quarries to improve overall processes. Holistically it is not just about saving capacity on site, but rather problem-solving overall screening efficiency, cost of ownership etc. We also provide training on site in order to get the whole team up to scratch when it comes to operation and maintenance of our screens.

“What’s more customers can ask for a full vibration analysis on their existing screens to ascertain the speed, stroke and g-force of the equipment and measure its effectiveness before undertaking any upgrades so that the right screens can be fitted accordingly,” adds Major Wire business development manager, John Pelser.

Well supported

In terms of service and support, ELB Equipment has a vast branch and dealer network throughout southern Africa with well trained and dedicated staff to service customers screening requirements. Sufficient stock holding makes for quick parts turnaround and where necessary stock can be held at branch level anywhere in the sub-region. A good example is a maximum 4 weeks lead time for first time delivery to new customers and a one-to-three-day lead time for existing customers.

Major Wire screening media fits on all standard screens including ELB Equipment’s Powerscreen and other screening equipment. The high manganese and carbon content in most of the range enables the best wear-life and performance possible. Polyurethane strips also protect the support bars and make for more active media on screen. Because of the efficiency of the screen and better wear resistance, the wire can usually go to thinner gauges and create more open area.

Where necessary the screens can be manufactured in 304 and 316 stainless steel as an option in fine, wet or sticky applications. These are not coated stainless as provided by some manufacturers, but rather made entirely of stainless steel to prevent corrosion and abrasion. Major Wire is also working on longer life screens specifically in heavy loads and high-capacity applications where wire can take the place of modular rubber or PU screens for much better throughput.

“We also work with the customer to find workable solutions. It is easy to go sell a mesh, but for us it is about overall assessment of the operation, getting the machines back to standard and making it more profitable for the customer. Our team prefers to prove that we can provide the services and products to support our customer’s production requirements,” concludes Waynne.