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Italian solutions for Australian quarries

Bonfiglioli is helping quarries minimise costs and reduce risks with its specially-built drives.

Digital technologies are becoming a big part of the resources industry.

But according to the 2021 Boston Consulting Digital Acceleration Index, the industry is estimated to be 30–40 per cent less mature than similar sectors.

The report found that accelerating digital transformation would allow the resources industry could boost throughput, simplify processes, lower costs, improve metal recovery and yield, and reduce supply chain complexity.

To support the quarrying and mining industry in its effort to digitise, gearbox manufacturer Bonfiglioli has developed Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions to reduce maintenance related downtime.

Martin Broglia, managing director at Bonfiglioli Australia and New Zealand, said the company’s sensorised units produce data, which enables optimised maintenance scheduling, residual lifetime monitoring and health status checks.

“These solutions give the customer full control of a critical component like the gear units, minimising the risk of production losses as well as operating and maintenance costs,” he said.

Having been active in the resources sector for more than 60 years, Bonfiglioli now offers one of the largest ranges of planetary, parallel shaft helical and bevel helical drives.

The group designs, manufactures and distributes gearmotors, drive systems, planetary gearboxes, and inverters. Its portfolio includes solutions for crushing, sedimentation, filtering, and material handling.

Martin Broglia, managing director at Bonfiglioli Australia and New Zealand.

Because quarries often experience extreme environmental conditions, Bonfiglioli ensures its equipment can handle temperature fluctuations, sandstorms, salty humidity.

“These are among the factors taken into consideration in the design stage of our machinery, resulting in the development of resilient solutions that meet the demands of the sector,” Broglia said.

This type of product offering is complemented by the company’s local assembly capabilities and its after-sales support and service, helping to reduce downtime and bolster customer profitability.

“Our local engineering and service teams offer 24–7 service, travelling directly to mine sites when required,” he said.

“With a worldwide network of branches, distributors and service companies, we can extend technical support to customers around the world.”

Reducing risks associated with flotation processes

The flotation machine is a key component in sedimentation systems.

Big tanks in a series, containing mineral solution and reagents, separate the pure element from the mineral. The mixture is stirred by a specially designed impeller, powered by a gearbox placed on top of the machine.

“It’s critical that the process is not contaminated. This can be guaranteed by our gearbox Drywell solution,” Broglia said.

“The last output bearing, which is reinforced to withstand the high radial and axial loads of the moving impeller, is closed and sealed within a greased chamber. This prevents oil leaks, making the gearbox drip-proof.”

A complex, compact piping system connected to the gearbox housing at strategic points ensures perfect lubrication of the bearings and gears. A double filter installed in the circuit and monitored by sensors ensures the lubricating oil remains free of impurities.

The gearbox drives a mechanical pump, which ensures greater reliability than an electric solution. For improved mixing, pressurised air is fed into the tank through the impeller shaft to the base of the tank via specially connected piping fixed to the top of the gearbox and fanged to the impeller shaft.

A complex system of seals, labyrinths and pressure sensors facilitates the pipe connection and prevents the entry of air into the gearbox, protecting all components affected by the pressurised flow from wear.

“When installed at an altitude of 4000m, there is no need for an external cooling system, making the solution simpler,” Broglia said.

“This reduces the risk of failure and the maintenance burden.”

Broglia said reliable performance of Bonfiglioli’s solutions is fundamental to the relationship the company has built with customers.

“Our experience, coupled with close collaboration with leading OEMs and customers, enable us to develop customised solutions that meet the requirements of a range of applications,” he said.

“Here, we are able to help our customers achieve the highest possible plant productivity.” •

For more information, visit bonfiglioli.com/australia/en

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