The mill liner that lasts longer

Fields results show that the new Vulco R67 mill lining rubber compound from Weir Minerals delivers an increase in wear life of 20 per cent.

With a liner that can run significantly longer, operators will experience a measurable reduction in mill downtime, installation and maintenance costs.

“This is a breakthrough in the industry; a rubber mill liner that in extensive global trials delivered on average 20 per cent longer life than comparable composite lifter bars,” Weir Minerals global product manager for mill lining systems Mathias Kuhrke states.

“This means less shut-down time for maintenance, which in this highly competitive environment represents a measurable outcome to our customers’ productivity and bottom line.”

The innovative premium rubber compound is the most wear resistant Weir Minerals has ever formulated. Operators using R67 lifter bars within their mill will not only benefit from the increase in wear life, but they will notice a measurable reduction in installation and maintenance costs as a result of a longer run schedule, according to Weir Minerals.

The making of R67 compound

Weir Minerals has been supplying the Vulco R63 rubber compound to mill lining applications across the globe for over 50 years.

While this technology performs well in most grinding applications, many suppliers are perceived by the market to offer similar rubber compounds with no real differentiation. Weir Minerals identified a gap in the market for a rubber compound that could increase the wear life of its mill liners and outlast the rest.

After extensive field research on the current rubber compounds available to the market, Weir Minerals expert engineers and material scientists developed the unique patented material that forms the R67 compound.

“Using our extensive in-house knowledge, experience and expertise, we were able to develop a new Weir proprietary elastomer that is able to withstand the severe abrasion typical in mill systems applications,” Weir Minerals materials and elastomer development manager Michael Lum says.

“Our Vulco R67 compound utilises new technology and chemistry in elastomer formulary which overcomes the limitations of more traditional elastomer compounds used in the market today.”

The Vulco R67 rubber compound is visually different from others in the market place, with green capped ends on the lifter bars.

“During the product development process we added a green pigmentation to the formulation to visually set our lifter bars apart from the competitors. Now when a mill operator sees the distinct green strip on the lifter bar, they will know they have a premium product,” Dr Lum says.

What customers think 

More than 10 trials spanning four continents have shown significant wear life improvements, in some cases exceeding a 50 per cent increase in wear life.

Weir Minerals is confident the latest R67 rubber technology will help operators across the globe get the most out of their mill.

“Our customers were at the heart of this new compound development and we worked closely with them throughout the field trials. During this time, we encouraged them to provide honest feedback on the R67 rubber compound,” Weir Minerals mill lining product manager Hayden McLean says.

“There’s tremendous value in having a trial partner that documents the downsides as well as the positive benefits. This allowed us to note which applications the new compound is best suited for, or make further improvements to the compound.”

One operation to reap the benefits of the premium R67 rubber compound is Simplot Phosphates. Operating a phosphate mine in Utah, United States, this long-standing customer of Weir Minerals agreed to trial the liner with R67 rubber.

After a nine-month trial, the liner achieved a 29 per cent improvement in wear life and had 20 per cent service life remaining when it was removed. The trial also achieved an estimated 25 per cent reduction in maintenance and reline costs.

Simplot mill maintenance supervisor Bart Smuin comments: “R67 lasts longer, which delivers less downtime and less time in the mill. That is the biggest advantage.”

Weir Minerals’ new Vulco R67 premium rubber compound is setting a benchmark for mill liners worldwide.