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The Beast. Image: Schenck Process.

Schenck Process has strengthened how the company works with mining clients by taking a whole-of-life outlook to the screens it designs and supplies to the industry.

Bigger is often viewed as better, but in the minerals processing sector size is just one factor that original equipment manufacturers (OEM) must consider when developing and supplying modern screens.

Schenck Process, for example, has been part of the journey to design larger screens for mining operations, including iron ore, coal, copper and other base metal sites around the world.

The Beast screen (pictured) launched by Schenck Process in 2018 is a standout case of the company’s achievements in large scale separation technology.

At more than 72 tonnes, using four DF704 exciters and processing around 10,000 tonnes/hour of slurry in a metal extraction process, the vibrating screen is up there with the largest ever built.

While screens The Beast’s size have been welcomed at mine sites, Schenck Process Australia managing director Max Wijasuriya says market demands have expanded to include broader needs.

“The focus now is much more around a whole-of-life outlook and optimising and maximising the balance between productivity and asset life,” Wijasuriya tells Australian Mining.

Schenck Process’ strategy in response to this shift has been to design screens for damage tolerance and economic whole-of-life ownership, including maintenance and decommissioning.

The company, with its own screening media design and production facilities, has a closed loop process that ensures screening media selection and screen integrity are harmonised.

Schenck Process’ designs now feature thicker panels to increase deck life, increased throughput, larger exciters and excitation forces, and coating types to protect from corrosion.

The company is also constantly working on the development of screening media to improve efficiency while delivering better wear life.

Wijasuriya says sophisticated and intelligent condition monitoring systems, such as Schenck Process’ ConiQ Monitor, help the company to design more damage tolerant screens as a result of the lessons learned from ongoing operational monitoring.

“ConiQ Monitor has the ability to identify uncharacteristic oncoming failure trends, which enables planners to predict oncoming failures, put plans in place, and reduce the safety risks associated with emergency breakdown repair,” Wijasuriya says.

“ConiQ Monitor, coupled with the Cumulative Damage Prediction system provides an indication of the health of the machine, as well as its loading, which provides feedback to enable deliberate control over feed and screen operating speeds to achieve an optimised productivity:asset life ratio.”

Schenck Process’ whole-of-life approach ultimately relies on its people and how they collaborate with mining clients to develop the right solution for their operation. The company achieved a successful outcome with a customer in a copper application where it supplied a 10,000 tonne/hour screen following a collaborative process.

Schenck Process designed the screen so when the plant’s trommel blocked up, the slurry could be run across the screen, which was large enough to handle the additional loading.

What would have previously resulted in a module shut down to unblock the trommel now delivers increased uptime at the copper site.

Wijasuriya says this result would not have been possible without effective collaboration between Schenck Process and the mining company.

“The key is communication. We are always striving to improve on this front, but working closely with our customers we’ve been able to design screens that have improved reliability, enabling them to push out service intervals, and having improved efficiency at higher throughput rates, so you end up with more uptime tonnes,” Wijasuriya says.

“We’re always looking to see if we can uprate our screens in order to increase throughput on the same footprint. We have all the pieces of the puzzle, and we bring people together within our company to provide a coordinated approach to screening. In the end it is our people that set us apart.”

Schenck Process has enhanced its aftersales service by providing tools for frontline teams in the field that allow hands-free remote collaboration with two-way video and audio.

The tools give them access to critical information in real time to get the best outcomes out in the field.

“By having more efficient interactions, we reduce the need for unnecessary visits, which is critical in industry now more than ever. We’re also trying to think outside the square in terms of our screening media solutions to try and identify wear and improve how we change screening media,” Wijasuriya adds.

Wijasuriya says Schenck Process aims to be a partner of choice in the mining industry by taking this whole-of-life approach, leveraging the organisation’s global technology hubs to find innovative solutions for the pit to port value chain.