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Design and real-time monitoring key to process efficiency

While the ramping up of production since South Africa’s Level 5 lockdown has brought some relief to mining companies, the pressure on efficiencies is unrelenting.

Highlighting the virus-related cost burden on mines – from Covid-19 protocols to temporary shutdowns – Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin says raising process efficiency is non-negotiable.

“Increasingly scarce resources and cost pressures are challenging the mineral processing industry,” says Schoepflin. “More than ever, each piece of equipment in the process must deliver efficient output to the exact specification at the lowest cost.”

Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin

She emphasises design and monitoring as key factors in continuously improving efficiency levels. As a local manufacturer of custom-designed vibrating screens and feeders, Kwatani leverages cutting edge technology with decades of field experience.

“Using our virtual design software tools – and digitally prototyping customers’ ore and processing flows – we generate bespoke solutions for each application,” she says. “We work as a team in an ecosystem that includes metallurgists, engineers and end-customers – collaborating right through from concept to production.”

Kwatani’s designs benefit from the latest 3D modelling and design techniques, and are subjected to finite element analysis (FEA) to verify engineering integrity.

All Kwatani’s vibrating equipment is assessed with in-house test facilities for conformance to the design specification under ideal operating conditions.

“Ongoing monitoring is also vital to ensure that planned efficiencies are being met, and the lowest cost of ownership is being achieved,” she says. “This is supported by our real-time condition monitoring service offering.”

Schoepflin sees even greater opportunities for driving efficiency arising from the advance of artificial intelligence in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

With the advantage of the internet-of-things (IOT), mobile networks and other digital technologies, the process of cost effective customisation has been significantly empowered.

“This evolution is taking the customisation of our equipment into the future, including real-time customisation,” she says. “It promises to allow for multiple activities to be simultaneously tackled in real-time and in a customised manner.”