Aug '13

The best in new technology

Compiled by Herb Mathisen and Eavan Moore

◢ A fitting accompaniment

Victaulic has announced new full flow fittings to match the Vic-Ring flexible pipe couplings it released last year. Both work within the advanced groove system (AGS) designed to simplify large-diameter pipe installation. Instead of welding pipes directly to one another, AGS pipes each have a ring butt-welded to their ends, and then the rings are coupled together. This speeds up the installation dramatically, according to Scott Frey, marketing communications manager. He says a test-run pipe replacement saw the AGS coupling done in minutes, when the same 40-inch pipe had taken seven hours to weld into place using conventional methods. Since cutting a connector groove into the pipe weakens its walls, Victaulic developed a groove pattern for the Vic-Rings that maintains wall thickness even at joints, mitigating abrasion from slurries and extending the pipe’s service life. The flexible version of AGS accommodates expansion, contraction and deflection; when more than gentle bending is needed, carbon steel fittings are available in sizes from 12 to 48 inches. – Eavan Moore

◢ Harder steel

Finnish steelmaker Ruukki has extended its directquenching method to a thicker range of Raex wear-resistant steel plates suitable for heavy mining equipment. “We now have the widest range in the market, from two to 80 millimetres,” says Josu Piña, vice-president, Americas. “We pioneered the direct-quenching method in the thinner metal. Now we have proven it with the thicker range.” Direct quenching cools the steel from 900 C to ambient temperature immediately after it is rolled, instead of letting it cool, re-heating it, and then quenching it. The process makes steel very hard and strong for its weight. Piña says the direct-quenched heavy steel also has superior surface quality compared to steel from traditional quenching methods. Ruukki suggests using its new steels for various parts including excavator buckets, conveyor systems, crushers, silos and hoppers. – E.M.

◢ A perfect circle

The F-Class vibrating screen manufactured by W.S. Tyler now comes in a four-foot-wide version for operations with small footprints and capacities. The F-class screen’s double eccentric shaft assembly delivers consistent acceleration that helps prevent even sticky particles from blocking openings, according to Duncan High, applications manager, vibrating screens. “Typical two-bearing-type pieces of machinery develop their circular flow by calculating how much weight to put onto the balance wheel,” he says. “On the F-class, the circle is developed by the eccentricity of the shaft assembly. You have a consistent circle, whereas on a twobearing screen it tends to fluctuate to a certain degree with the amount of material that comes onto the deck.” The counterbalance works together with shear rubber mounts to keep down vibration and noise, which is especially useful when multiple screens are placed side by side. One four-foot model can process up to 300 tonnes per hour. – E.M.

◢ Seal the deal

The unique chambered design of Metso’s new ESF mechanical slurry pump seal extends its life even in abrasive, heavy slurry applications, says Bill Schlittler, business development manager, pump solutions. Water-conscious customers that need to pump slurry are demanding the type of mechanical seals originally designed for lighter applications. “Normally mechanical seals see some process fluids,” Schlittler explains. “To put heavy slurries around the face of a mechanical seal becomes very risky. So the idea behind this is to put the seal in the existing stuffing box, and then to put water into that chamber. Now it’s acting more like a water pump seal, because it’s totally isolated from the slurry.” The water gently flowing through the chamber does not dilute the slurry and tungsten carbide makes the new seal hardy. It fits into the existing gland housing on Metso’s Orion Series pumps to allow inexpensive retrofitting. – E.M.

◢ Ultra-hold spray

3M has released a polymeric compositemembrane (PCM) spray to complement – and perhaps one day replace – welded wire mesh or shotcrete ground support in underground hard rock mines. “PCM helps retain the rock in place between rock bolts as a method of local ground support,” says James Bradley, technical leader of mining markets. “As the rock moves or fails, PCM is able to capture that rock mass by elongating – or bagging – up to 200 per cent elongation, under loads that exceed 20 megapascals.” This improves on traditional sprayable concrete methods, which Bradley says do not have very high tensile strength. “Concrete can’t stretch.” 3M’s pumpkin-orange polymer spray has an equal or quicker cure time than shotcrete and it also enhances visibility underground, letting workers know which areas have been supported. While the product is currently limited for use in underground areas already supported by shotcrete and wire mesh, once an application method is fully adopted for unsupported areas, the company hopes PCM can replace traditional ground support methods. Bradley says the advantages are obvious: the thickness of PCM spray applied is generally four millimetres, whereas shotcrete applications are two inches thick, which improves underground logistics. “Essentially, one coat of PCM would be the same as four tractor-trailer loads of shotcrete.” – Herb Mathisen

◢ Full-cycle mining software

Released in late May by Micromine, the Micromine 2013 software package includes more than 100 enhancements for three-dimensional (3D) mapping, interpretation, modelling and design. Micromine 2013 accounts for the full mining cycle, says Frank Bilki, training and support manager, “beginning at target generation, early stage exploration, all the way through to geologic and resource modelling, mine planning, design and mine production.” It introduces two new modelling methods – implicit and stratographic – on top of the traditional 3D modelling the software had previously employed, allowing users to combine the three independent and complementary methods to improve results. “A user with the right module configuration has a complete tool kit to model virtually any mineral deposit; it doesn’t matter what the style, geology, or the minerals are,” says Bilki. The software also introduces four new layers to the software’s 3D display, including seismic SEG-Y file format and annotation, to bring the overall number of layers to roughly two dozen. Fully certified by Microsoft as Windows 8 compatible and Microsoft Surface Pro touch-screen-supported, the overall performance of the software has been upgraded too. “It can handle bigger amounts of data while using less memory than before,” says Bilki. – H.M.

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