October 19, 2017

Avoid plant changes when upgrading screens – South African expert

Large scale retrofit of Kwatani exciter gearbox vibrating screens in an iron ore application.

Under the pressure of low commodity prices, mines will look to improve profitability when replacing or upgrading vibratory equipment; however, if the new equipment demands extensive modifications to plant infrastructure, the financial benefit can be lost.

 There is a way to avoid the need to modify plants, according to Kwatani, previously known as Joest. Kim Schoepflin, CEO of Kwatani, explains that the replacement process often has the best results when it combines the old with the new, by building upon the customer’s existing infrastructure with a tailor-made solution.

 “It is often not necessary to change everything when replacing ageing or non-functioning vibratory equipment,” Schoepflin says.

“At Kwatani, we realise that plant modifications can be a major cost for a mine,” she says. “So when we retrofit a mine’s screens, we look at the bigger picture and develop a design that will be suitable to their specific needs, in some cases retaining aspects of the existing equipment and replacing only certain components.”

 “The tailor-made approach requires working within the various restrictions that each work site places on the machinery it houses, while at the same time meeting the customer’s performance requirements,” she says.

 “We look at the demands of each case through the eyes of a consultant,” says Kwatani general manager engineering, Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers. “By analysing the condition of the existing equipment and infrastructure in detail, we can advise on the most cost effective solution. Our depth of technical know-how allows us then to engineer, construct and install that solution.”

 The restrictions inherent to the plant include the dimensions and weight of the equipment being replaced, and the footprint of the machinery relative to other mine infrastructure.

Kwatani motor driven screen on site in a gold application.

 “Another key restriction is the available headroom through which components can be moved in and out of a plant,” he says. “We have even engineered specialised equipment for lifting and placing our screens, so that the mine did not have to modify its plant building to allow access.”

 The dynamics of the vibrating equipment is another important consideration, due to the potential impact that the vibrations of the new installation could have on the existing plant building and its infrastructure. The power consumption of the replacement unit must also be matched with the capacity of the plant.


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