While chute design tends to be ubiquitous, the fact that minerals-processing plants cater for a diverse array of commodities, from diamonds to coal, gold, platinum group metals (PGM) and iron ore, means that there are equally diverse requirements in terms of wear solutions.
The ore that is processed behaves differently in terms of different wear materials. In order to overcome this challenge, Rio-Carb aims to become involved in projects at a much earlier stage, preferably at plant design. “This affords us the opportunity to provide input about the use of various wear materials, their correct application, and their behaviour from an operational point of view,” Director Sias Suurd explains.
Older minerals-processing plants have often been designed with a specific type of wear material in mind, without due consideration given to its wear characteristics. “The flow rate of the material in question through a chute or over a screen invariably alters over time as wear accelerates. The best option to deal with this long-term issue is CrC. If we are involved sufficiently early in a project, we can predict these changes and deal with them down the line,” Suurd highlights.
“We are approaching project houses, as they do not have the same experience as we have with CrC liner plates. This means we can add a lot of value not only in terms of the design process, but in educating the project houses themselves about best practice in total wear solutions.” Rio-Carb also plans to leverage its longstanding relationships with existing mining clients locally and in the rest of Africa.
“When we engineer a solution for a specific requirement or application, we automatically look at how it can be implemented elsewhere, which is of significant benefit to the entire mining industry as it strives to cope with the long-term problem of chute and screen wear, which impacts on productivity and maintenance costs.”
Suurd argues that project houses have traditionally focused on cost, which does not always equate to the best solution. “While CrC is a much more expensive material than quenched and tempered steel, for example, it has ten to 12 times more wear resistance. Therefore it is a far superior product, and we have a well-established track record in both its engineering and the correct installation of optimal solutions.”
“There are a lot of mining operations that only look at the initial cost of the product, and which do not perceive the long-term benefits and advantages. Our main challenge is to explain the role that CrC can play in reducing the total cost of ownership. Minerals-processing plant operators have to ensure maximum productivity for the greatest period. This means that utilisation and availability are critical factors, which is where our total wear-solutions approach offers the greatest value proposition for our clients,” Suurd concludes.
Rio-Carb manufactures wear-resistant Chromium Carbide (CrC) clad liner plates for heavy materials-handling applications in the mining and allied resources industries. With more than 30 years’ experience, the company’s long-life CrC liners have eight to ten times the wear life of industry-standard 400 and 500 BHN steel materials, which reduces operational costs dramatically due to less downtime and change-outs. Rio-Carb has a deep-rooted history in mining, and is able to respond to customers’ needs swiftly in providing cost-effective solutions.