Belts, Mining

Transmin combines apron and belt feeders

Transmin has combined the best of apron and belt feeders to benefit businesses in legacy and emerging markets. Supplying equipment that meets legacy businesses’ needs while offering benefits for tomorrow’s industry is a tough task.

Transmin has embraced this challenge, incorporating innovative concepts into its technological offering. 

ABHR sat down with the company’s director of capital sales and business development, Phil Gilbert, to discuss how its Low Profile Feeder (LPF) has been modernised since it was first unveiled in 2009. 

He said the LPF combines the best parts of an apron and belt feeder into a modern hybrid machine.

Slats secure the low-profile feeder belt, the whole assembly being positively driven by chains and sprockets, eliminating the issues of miss-tracking and wandering associated with wide belt feeders. 

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The belt of the low-profile feeder reduces spillage when compared with an apron feeder, where the interlocking pans can be difficult to clean and lose valuable product as they return underneath.

“We have the benefits of both types of technology rolled into one design in the low-profile cleaner. It has proven extremely successful,” Gilbert said. 

“The ability to change direction by the introduction of a special bend section is unique. Neither a belt nor apron cleaner can do that, but it is a benefit that has been attractive to our customers. 

“So, while the feeder can do similar functions as an apron or belt feeder, it doesn’t come with some of the problems of those feeders and can save space, especially at the discharge end.”

The LPF can be made wider, units up to four metres wide and over 55m long have been installed. Customers can have trucks tip into the feeder without needing another service point, saving upfront costs. 

The feeder’s ability to curve and change direction allows businesses to use the machine to move products to different areas on-site while saving on horizontal space.

“The ability to tip into the machine, have it go horizontal or extend upwards in one machine is unique to the feeder,” Gilbert said.

“In the case of rare earth operators, for instance, they’re bringing their product in on trucks so the low-profile feeder can be configured to suit a side-tipping truck or end-tipping truck to tip into the machine.”

The versatility of the Low Profile Feeder has proven popular in Australia and overseas. Transmin has developed successful partnerships with customers in over 60 countries, including Brazil, South Africa, and Canada. 

In one case, an Australian open-cut gold mine struggled to extract its stockpiled product sufficiently. 

A secondary tunnel was expensive, while a front-end loader was too labour intensive. 

The LPF could be set at a low height and incline, which meant it could be a feeder and conveyor to extract and carry from the stockpile. This simple setup enabled the mine to save on civil costs and space and achieve proper stockpile extraction. 

The span of the low-profile feeder’s success has seen it venture into several industries, including agriculture, iron ore mining and critical mineral mining operations specialising in rare earth batteries. 

Innovation is a crucial tenant of Transmin’s business to ensure its customers receive progressive machines like the low-profile feeder. Recently, the company employed an innovation manager to bolster its success in this space. 

The company has a proven track record of matching its designs to customers’ briefs to maximise its operations. An iron ore operation in Newman, Western Australia, benefitted from the wider low profile feeder belt which matched the new generation of super wide screens in its processing facility. 

Transmin built the LPF with a low vertical envelope to save the customer space while it operated one of the largest feeders on the market specifically made to suit iron ore.

This part of the company’s objective is to help businesses in other sectors, like agriculture or dry tailings, to enhance their operations with Transmin technology. 

“We’ve recognised from a strategic sense that we need to develop and innovate for our customers,” Gilbert said. 

“That’s why we’ve set up the innovation department for Transmin products to help develop them for new markets and applications and help them boost their business.” 

The development is set to usher in an exciting era for the company. Transmin believes the low-profile feeder can have broader applications in more mining sectors, including the dry tailings space. 

The company is developing five-metre-plus wide machines to fit beneath the filter presses in modern dry tailings plants.

This innovation has overseas companies interested in how the LPF can be converted to suit the sector. 

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