Having identified a need for higher-wearing rubbers for mill lining systems, the material science experts at Weir Minerals commenced developing an industry leading, premium-grade rubber compound with superior wear life and performance in mill lining applications. The result is the Vulco R67 rubber – an optimum material which is manufactured with proprietary new compounds and innovative methods of processing to deliver outstanding wear life and longer uptime.
In fact, it has been the most wear-resistant rubber compound that Weir Minerals has ever developed for mill lining applications. The R67 compound boasts a high hardness, elongation, tensile and tear strength, and is suitable for lifter bars, head/shell plates and grates.
When it’s utilised in conjunction with metal cap mill liners, the result is a versatile, economical and efficient product that weighs up to 50% less than steel alone. The added benefit is a lighter product that’s faster, easier and safer to install.
Global in-field success
Extensive global trials and commercial installations in the market have resulted in a number of successful outcomes across a variety of different grinding applications. From mines in the USA to Chile, this product has proven its outstanding performance consistently.
USA – As an example, a high-grade nickel and copper mining project in the USAhad a problem where the liners in one ball mill were wearing out too quickly, leading to continued downtime and reduced processing. They were looking for a product significantly superior to the elastomer that they were using. Initially there was reluctance from the mine, as they had loyalty to their original mill supplier, however after Weir Minerals conducted a series of trajectory simulations and discreet modelling – to optimise the design and deliver the best process performance for the mill, they agreed to trial the R67 liners. At the end of the trial, the R67 showed 30-40% better performance than the incumbent liners and the customer installed a full set in their mill.
Another trial in the USA took place in an iron ore mine with several dozen ball mills in operation. Here, R67 liners delivered a 17% increase in life compared with the failed shell plates from the mine’s original mill lining system supplier. The company was extremely impressed with the results and installed a complete shell liner in their ball mill.
Chile – Moving to Chile, a copper mine was keen to trial the R67 compound to see if they could improve the wear time of a competitor rubber liner. After a three-month trial, all liners were physically measured showing that the Vulco R67 liners fully worn wear life projected from the actual wear would be 80% longer compared with the incumbent liners.
Another copper processing plant in Chile trialled R67 composite liners in their SAG mill against two other compounds that are commonly used in the industry. After 12 months, there was a 48% and 62% wear life improvement on the other liners – proving that the R67 composite liners could withstand the highly abrasive environment.
Helping customers optimise their process
As leaders in material technology, the mines benefit from having an experienced and dedicated team from Weir Minerals who custom-engineer the liners to suit each mill’s unique requirements for optimal wear life. Vulco R67 mill liners are made exclusively at Weir Minerals facilities in North and South America, Australia and South Africa, with plans to expand production into more regions in the future.