A full-service solution package for copper mine


Experts in metallurgy will be familiar with what is known as ‘froth flotation,’ in which a cylindrical flotation cell will typically hold the materials, while a low-pressure blower will parse the particles into hydrophobic (water-repellent) and hydrophilic (water-soluble) materials using air bubbles that are carried across the surface and removed.1

When CBC Regional Mining Manager, Sam Wilkinson, received a query from a copper mining customer in Northern Queensland about a bearing failure analysis on one of their flotation blowers, he moved quickly to draw up a proposal that included an NTN bearings solution.

“Our engineering team headed to the site first to do a load case. We check the load capacity of the existing bearing, the speed and the overall suitability of the bearings and determined a better solution,” says Sam.

“The flotation blower fan is absolutely critical to creating the flotation bubbles in a copper concentrator cell,” explains Sam. “The fans move at very high speeds, and in this case the spherical roller bearings the customer was using on the fan were slipping due to poor axial and radial loading, causing bearing failure every 8-12 months.”

“From this, we proposed a new fan barrel assembly to the customer. We suggested using a pair of NTN Angular Ball Bearings (7226) for the shaft to reduce skid, and a single NTN Deep-Groove Ball Bearing (6226) for a smoother barrel assembly.”

According to Sam, there were a lot of moving parts in the new design, requiring cooperation across the business – with the key components being the custom bearings solutions supplied by NTN.

These types of engineering projects must be approved by the Registered Professional Engineer Queensland (RPEQ) standard before going to manufacturing, Sam explains.

“Once the RPEQ process is approved and the customer accepts the design, we then manufacture at the CBC Design Hub in Sydney.

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