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Precisionscreen: Striking the right blend

Precisionscreen has an expansive range of blending systems which is drawing positive reviews from clients around Australia. Quarry looks at how the Brisbane manufacturer made it happen.

Striking the right balance for blended products can be a tough task for operators.

Blended material needs to suit specific requirements, and in some cases versatile equipment is needed to handle multiple products to produce the final material.

Glencore wanted to enhance its pugmill set-up. It was being used for a slurry application but needed to blend three products for cavity filling in its Mount Isa mine. Similarly, Mort & Co was looking to blend a manure product with three additional blend-ins.

Precisionscreen chief operating officer Jonny McMurtry told Quarry the two projects, which deliver vastly different end products, show the versatility of Precisionscreen’s blending equipment.

“Blending applications is a particularly growing field and interest from a couple of different markets including mining and agricultural,” he said.

“There’s also demand from open-cut mines and quarry-based applications as well.

“[Whether] that is blending multiple products, or some customers are just [looking] to blend two to three types of sand or couple different aggregates. [These projects] are an extension on products that we already produce. It is just updating and adjusting our control systems mechanisms and specifications to match what the market wants and needs.”

Precisionscreen’s blending hopper enables operators to add in extra quality control without creating an operational headache. The hopper works with Precisionscreen’s pugmills and is operated via the same control system.

In effect, this connection means the blending hopper and pugmill can be operated by just one worker.

“All of those blends are controlled by the PLC system onboard the pugmill unit. It takes the legwork away from the operator as it is all controlled and digitally monitored from the control system,” McMurtry said. “We design the control systems on the pugmill with the operator in mind. Even though we’re adding on different circuits and extra units to be controlled by the PLC pugmill, it is still that single point of control once it is coupled up to the PLC pugmill unit.

“It will hydraulically and electronically operate off the pugmill powerpack and control system and it will read on the screen as part of the pugmill control system.

“The operator will see how much material is going through the pugmill plant as the main screen and function, but then it will tell them how much material is passing through the hopper bins and how they are being controlled from the pugmill system.”

Precisionscreen has received positive feedback on its blending systems. Image: Precisionscreen

The Australian company manufactures all its blending hoppers using a robust, heavy-duty frame and triple-sealed bearings to withstand local conditions. Precisionscreen can design the blending hopper in various sizes, belt widths and number of bins to match the customer’s volume requirements.

The blending hopper is hydraulically controlled and feeds into the PLC controlled pugmill and enables the blending of multiple products.

For Glencore, Precisionscreen added two additional blending hoppers onto its existing pugmill set-up, which fed onto the pugmill’s main conveyor belt.

McMurtry explained to Quarry that the Mort & Co solution required a tailored engineering approach. Precisionscreen designed and manufactured an independent, three hopper system for the feedstock company which is controlled by the PLC system to blend the three products with the main product.

The PLC system can adjust the blending system’s speed based on the volume of material on the main conveyor belt of the pugmill. The feature ensures Mort & Co strike the right blend for its final product.

“The principles and controls of the pugmill system are essentially the same, it was just the additional controls and communications to these additional hoppers have opened new doors,” McMurtry said.

“We can both manufacture and produce units that are applicable to the applications or industries involved and then be able to service and support in the future as well.

“It is one of the big areas that we focus on.”

According to McMurtry, the company has received positive feedback from its customers about the blending systems.

“They are pretty impressed,” he said. “This idea is a much more cost-effective solution than something they were looking to import and implement.

“The main thing that interested Glencore in these units was the adaptability. They were able to specify what they were able to do, and we designed, manufactured, and tailored it to their needs.”

Precisionscreen designs and manufactures its equipment at its Wacol headquarters to serve the Australian market as well as overseas customers.

Since it was established more than three decades ago, the company has refined and updated its product line with the latest innovations and technologies. Its ability to offer innovative design with lower lead times, compared to importing from overseas, has seen it generate a diverse range of clients.

The blending hopper, much like Precisionscreen’s pugmill range, has been upgraded over to time to meet the needs of the Australian market, according to McMurtry.

“We’ve been building blending hoppers for around 20 to 30 years, but the new control systems have been adapted and developed over time,” he said.

“On the new blending hoppers, we offer load cells for material volumes or weights passing over the belt. We can have control systems speed up or slow down to match what’s needed in the blending requirements.”

Precisionscreen designed and manufactured an independent, three hopper system. Image: Precisionscreen

McMurtry said the technology took away the guesswork from operators needing to monitor the material flow across the blending system.

“As opposed to doing some mental calculations throughout the day, if you’re doing batches or certain runs, the PLC control system will record the volume of material going through the pugmill (and) the volume of material that is coming from other units joined to the pugmill,” he said.

“It will give you better information and better control of what is passing through all these units. It is much easier for the companies to understand what their expected output is each day.”

The Brisbane-based company has a specially trained team which enables it to provide strong after-sales support to all customers.

McMurtry said Precisionscreen has a focus on providing efficient, localised service and support.

“Being able to do that in an effective timeframe is pretty important for all (our) customers. Being able to hear their requirements offer standard products adjust them as needed, and then quickly fabricate and manufacture them is important,” he said.

“(With Glencore) we’re Brisbane-based producing for a Queensland mine so we’re able to service and support them in real-time based on their needs and requirements,” he said.

“Being Australian-made equipment, they know they can have that level of support.”

With its focus on service and support, Precisionscreen has designed systems to strike the right blend for its customers. •

For more information, visit precisionscreen.com.au

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