Both new products are now ready to hit the mining market.
FLSmidth noted that flotation systems are a vital technology in mineral processing and extraction. But despite their overall effectiveness, particles of valuable ore still get disposed of along with waste material. Additionally, the energy consumption that flotation systems require to function effectively is high. While flotation systems are necessary when recovering ore, making them more sustainable and energy-efficient has been a challenge.
The design of the mixedROW flotation system combines two machines - nextSTEP forced air and WEMCO self-aspirating technologies. It provides the solutions to challenges presented by older flotation systems by combining these two cells to produce a system that is much more than the sum of their individual parts. In short, mixedROW can provide boosted productivity, a reduced environmental footprint and higher profits.
FLSmidth stated that the mixedROW flotation system is the first of its kind, as it exploits the characteristics of two separate technologies at the same time. The nextSTEP machines are placed at the beginning of the row, where they can recover coarse material using the least amount of energy possible. Because of this positioning, the mixedROW can lower energy consumption by between 15-40%, and increase recovery by up to 5%.
The WEMCO machines are placed at the end of the row, which increases both coarse and fine particle recovery, as they are capable of treating a wide range of particle sizes. The elevated rotor position within the machine also reduced energy consumption, as the froth only has a short distance to travel.
According to FLSmidth, mixedROW also has the lowest head loss on the market, as its carefully engineered system of dart valves allows for efficient transfer of slurry from one tank to another without significant losses. mixedROW can be configured to suit whatever the customer needs may be. It can be adapted to whatever application it is needed for, making it a highly flexible and effective solution.
The company noted that quite recently, flotation loses were commonly 50%, reaching as high as 90% for coarse particles. Looking to resolve these substantial losses, FLSmidth's goal was to create a product that allowed customers to have more control over the froth recovery process.
With this goal in mind, the Froth Recovery Upgrade Package was designed. It offers a range of equipment that has been engineered to improve the productivity of froth recovery, while minimising the losses of valuable particles, saving costs overall.
The Froth Recovery Upgrade Package can find solutions to flaws found in original froth recovery technology. Its features include:
- A level sensor that provides a new design with no moving parts, that are used to sense slurry levels accurately; and
- Actuators to control the position of the improved dart valves inside the flotation cells;
- Radial froth crowders designed for greater flexibility and control, which are used to reduce top-of-froth surface area and to increase froth movement to the nearest radial launder, allowing for either deeper froth or faster froth removal.
FLSmidth said that the result of these newer and improved designs is quicker reactions to flow and slurry density changes, which can dramatically boost the performance of flotation machines. All the elements working together in combination with radial froth crowders means this package can deliver better recovery at the same grade or increased grade at the same recovery, making this package better than the sum of all its parts.