Ernst Bekker, Product Specialist, Multotec

Continuous improvement of Multotec classification cyclones helps customers meet both commercial and environmental imperatives in the coal sector, according to Ernst Bekker, product specialist cyclones at Multotec.

“Today, there is an intense focus on the beneficiation of coal fines, which in the past were generally discarded,” says Bekker. “There is greater awareness of the environmental impact, and it also makes good economic sense to recover more.”

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He highlights, however, that dewatering of fines can be costly. Multotec’s efforts to make the process more cost effective have included the investigation of alternative inlet designs, which achieve more efficient separation, especially with fine coal. Also, important has been the incorporation of alternative wear materials, to extend the life span of these cyclones.

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“Our focus is on the mechanical life of our units and their physical ability to last, but we also want to extend their efficiency life cycle, so that they perform well for longer,” he says. Ongoing wear creates undulations on the inner surface of a cyclone, for instance, and this causes inefficiencies.

“Ceramic tiles might last longer, but other materials might retain a smoother surface for better separation,” he says. “Using these alternative materials, we can design custom solutions to suit the application; this ensures the customer is always getting optimal value throughout our cyclones’ entire lifespan.”

He also notes that the company’s overall sensor development programme is giving attention to monitoring wear lining thickness and performance conditions in classification cyclones.

“With sensor technology, we will be able to pick up roping conditions in the spigot, for example,” he says. “We believe there is even scope with these units to leverage artificial intelligence to help us achieve optimal operating conditions.”