When you're in the above situation, there are many things to think of:
- Can my current system handle the increased load?
- Have the ore properties increased the workload on my comminution equipment?
- Do I have the right equipment in place?
- Can I change operating parameters quickly?
- How will this affect my final output and quality?
With commodity prices fluctuating, it is important to look for solutions that help you and your circuit remain flexible. Here are some critical points to consider when reviewing your three core options: Optimize, Upgrade and Replace.
There are a couple of steps to optimizing a crushing circuit– firstly to optimize machine performance, and secondly to optimize the overall performance of your circuit.
Optimizing a machine involves verifying all aspects of your equipment to maximize process and mechanical performance. The crusher’s chamber is a good place to start. Over the life of a mine, the production goals of a single crushing stage can change significantly. Ore properties can also show a high degree of variability. If the crusher wear parts are not customized to these changing conditions, it can produce less and require more costly maintenance. Once the chamber is optimized, many benefits are passed on to the entire mineral processing plant. This can include increased liner life, better end product gradation and reduced energy consumption.
Beyond the chamber, optimizing the entire crushing circuit is a great holistic approach for increasing production. To understand how the whole circuit operates as a single process, a couple of points need to be identified: the system’s bottlenecks and where there is available capacity. Once bottlenecks and areas of extra capacity are identified, it is a matter of making recommendations to alleviate the bottleneck(s) and use the extra capacity.
For example, if the secondary crushers are identified as the bottleneck and the tertiary crushers have spare capacity, the screen aperture on the secondary screens can be opened. This will allow coarser material to pass more quickly to the next stage.