Wednesday 20th Feb, 2019

Greater demand for smooth flow liner materials

As miners drill and blast further afield to capitalise on higher coal prices, some face challenges getting wet, rocky and sticky material to flow through their production and transport systems.

As miners drill and blast deeper and further afield to take advantage of demand for coal, wear problems are arising from rocky and wet material recovered from new, extended and reopened mines.

Sometimes even high-grade material is mixed with higher levels of mud, overburden and rock that wears through steel chutes, clogs materials handling systems and causes loads to hang-up in the trays of trucks offloading the material.

Engineering plastics specialist Cut To Size says as coal prices have risen and mines have reopened sometimes after being mothballed for years, it is getting more and more inquiries for smooth flow liner materials.

“Operations and production staff are seeking materials that can help assist product flow and avoid blockages and the OH&S risks and downtime that go with them. Delays of hours or days can cost big bucks,” says Laurie Green, managing director of Cut To Size Plastics.

Working with miners, Cut To Size is custom engineering tough plastics formulated specifically for the mining industry and the minerals and challenges it faces.

The new plastics are based on the globally proven Wearex UHMWPE for the toughest wear prevention and flow jobs, complemented where suitable with high-density polyethylene, HDPE. HDPE is often used as geotextile protective liners that promote flow while stopping clogging and waste dropping to the ground.

Both plastics are finding applications in static and mobile plants, including as liners in trucks, bins and chutes where wear and energy consumption are issues, and where companies wish to eliminate OH&S hazards involved in clearing dense and heavy potential blockages.

“Often the combined use of Wearex and HDPE provides the best combination of wear-resistance and cost-efficiency,” says Mr Green, but Cut To Size is putting special effort into advanced UHMWPE formulations for the most intractable loads.

“It is certainly not one size fits all. The process of engineering plastic selection and formulation is a scientifically demanding business in which we rely on our own expertise supported by some of the world’s leading suppliers of product, including Licharz, Gehr and Beck WefaPress.”