Mining equipment OEM and solutions provider FLSmidth is committed to assist the mining industry optimise its productivity performance.

This is clearly demonstrated in its screening business with machines that boast exceptional performance.

This can be largely attributed to the incorporation of modern technology and of equal importance, the company’s screen panels, which are manufactured internally and not outsourced as is standard business practice in this field, writes LAURA CORNISH.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 11, 2019
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FLSmidth’s screening equipment and screen panels are manufactured at the company’s Delmas Supercenter, which has become a regional centre of excellence for its vibrating screen product line.

The Supercenter represents the company’s commitment to servicing the African mining sector. Established in 2013, FLSmidth has already invested further in the facility and in April this year celebrated the inauguration of its R100 million centre expansion and upgrade.

“Four months later, we introduced new locally manufactured XIF screening panels to market, designed to deliver significantly enhanced dewatering screening efficiency,” says Stephan Kruger, FLSmidth director for manufacturing and warehousing in the region.

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The XIF polyurethane screen panel has one of the highest relative open areas available on the market designed to lift screening performance and reduce maintenance costs.

Created especially for fine aperture applications, these screen panels have been designed using a combination of cross and in-flow apertures, allowing a closer placement of the apertures.

This allows for an open area up to 30% higher than in other polyurethane screens, which will increase screening operation throughput while reducing pegging and blinding.

Because they are built to be hard-wearing and to withstand difficult conditions, the XIF panel has an exceptionally high wear rate which helps avoid costly unplanned replacement downtime.

“The XIF is ideally suited to dewatering applications as a result of its small 0.63 mm aperture size. It is manufactured locally and has been tried and tested by FLSmidth over the last three years, through our Brisbane, Australia facility,” Kruger outlines.

Supercenter super powers

The added capacity of the ISO 9001, 18001 and OSH ACT 14001-compliant facility further contributes to FLSmidth’s productivity and customer service while improving stock availability and lead times.

“It has raised our engineering capability to support local customers, while also improving our efficiencies to compete globally in certain lines of products.”

The facility is now approximately double the size it was a year ago, with a total of 10 500 m² under roof and under crane.

The workshop is one of fewer than 10% of facilities countrywide that boasts a 120 t lifting capacity with 11.5 m under crane hook. It also comprises state-of-the-art machinery including CNC-controlled six axis machines and a robotic CNC welding machine – which have increased the range of items that can be manufactured and machined on site.

“We have incorporated our upgraded, latest technology wedge wire machine into the facility and have also improved our polyurethane casting facility,” Kruger shares.

The addition of more modern, technologically advanced machines and processes delivers manufacturing consistency, allowing FLSmidth to improve its turnaround time and most importantly, “has enabled us to upskill existing resources for more specialised manufacturing activities,” Kruger highlights.

“Today our employees have become true specialists in their respective fields.”

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“Noticeably, we have seen a 25% improvement in production efficiencies and flows in our polyurethane casting volumes after optimisation of the equipment layout and introduction of new technology. 

FLSmidth will further increase its capacity in 2020 with the investment in a new polyurethane casting machine with a 30 kg/minute capacity which features auto-calibration and comprises a quasi-MDI system which allows material properties and hardness grades to be easily and cost-effectively changed.

“In addition to producing new products, the facility has the capability to refurbish, retrofit and upgrade a comprehensive range of FLSmidth heavy-duty mining and cement equipment.

“The Supercenter now has warehouse capacity for spare parts, wear parts and strategic stockholding that is four times that of the original facility,” says Warren Walker, operations manager at the Delmas Supercenter.

Of equal importance is the facility’s focus on continuous improvement through value engineering research and development – vital to stay ahead of the game as a “premium” supplier.

“There are significant developments underway for our screening product line, particularly in the field of digitisation which currently includes wear indicators and condition monitoring.”

Positioned to keep growing

The operational start-up of the expanded Supercenter has been tremendously successful and has quickly resulted in an increased global demand for FLSmidth’s product lines – so much so that the company has implemented 24 hour shifts to manage the workload.

“This expansion is a vote of confidence in the specialised knowledge imbedded in this facility, which makes an important contribution to sustaining technical skill levels in South Africa,” Kruger states.

He concludes emphasizing FLSmdith’s commitment to safety, reflected in the Supercenter’s enviable record of just one lost-time injury since operations began over five years ago.