Sunday 8th Dec, 2019

Transmin’s low profile feeder: Good things in small packages

A hybrid belt and apron feeder is giving Australian mining companies enhanced flexibility, through its ability to receive, store and feed material horizontally and up an incline.

A hybrid belt and apron feeder is giving Australian mining companies enhanced flexibility, through its ability to receive, store and feed material horizontally and up an incline.

An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor was tasked to find a way to efficiently and economically move stockpiled iron ore tailings to an overland conveyor.

Located in mid-Western Australia, around 220 kilometres south-east of Geraldton, the newly established iron ore and magnetite mine needed a system that could transfer 1500 tonnes per hour to meet the mine’s production requirements.

To eliminate the need for multiple conveyors and transfer points, the EPC contractor decided to install a low-profile feeder (LPF) reclaim hopper that could be fed tailings with a front-end loader. Doing so would save a significant amount of money and be simpler to install.

Mining equipment manufacturer Transmin’s LPF reclaim hopper fit this role perfectly, as it was able to be both the feeder and conveyor.

The LPF is a hybrid of a belt and apron feeder, designed with a bulk-loading hopper on its frame to allow front-end loaders and other bucket machinery to feed it. Receival, storage and feeding can be done with the one machine, which helped the EPC Contractor save on capital expenditure.

According to Stuart Taylor, EPC Project Manager, the LPF has consistently outperformed the desired 1500 tonnes per hour output rate without any problems.

“The client is really impressed with the performance of the reclaim low profile feeder,” he says.

“In fairness, the machine was used above and beyond its initial design specification and it’s never missed a beat. This thing is bullet proof.”

The LPF uses a bend transition to change the direction of the material, able to go from horizontal to inclined without a second machine. This reduces its footprint providing greater flexibility for plant layouts and reduces civil and steelwork costs. Because the machine is also able to move material on an incline, it also reduced the amount of transition points between conveyors required in a plant.

Transmin has a variety of LPFs available and can customise the machines to fit the specifications of a site, providing a range of belt sizes and capacities.

Additional features include toothed sprockets that positively drive the chain to reduce belt slippage and mistracking. In-process weighing, flow control gates, various drive styles, belt protection bars, and wear liners can be included to help the machine fit the specific application. Its belting does not need to be continuous and can be supplied in modular sections to be joined by a mechanical joiner.

Shifting stockpiles

Transmin’s technology has been implemented on a variety of sites, including an open cut gold mine. The miner needed a way to improve the amount of material extracted from a stockpile. The site’s existing extraction method used conventional feeders submerged in pre-cast concrete tunnels.

However, installing a secondary tunnel with a conventional belt or apron feeder would have been too expensive, and the height requirements would have taken the plant out of production for an excessively long period.

With a low height profile and ability to incline, Transmin’s LPF meant precast tunnel sections could be submerged under the stockpile to eliminate the need for additional chute work.

It acts as both the feeder and conveyor, extracting and carrying ore from the stockpile for around 40 metres towards an inclined section, where it deposits the ore onto a conventional conveyor.

A culvert was dug out using excavators and the precast concrete tunnels dropped into place, allowing the stockpile to quickly be reformed and put back into full service.

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