Rotary equipment drives productivity

McLanahan’s self-aligning trunnion features integrate barrel jacking assembly, park brake and associated safety sensors.

McLanahan’s rotary equipment offers proven performance and sophisticated designs for minerals processing applications in Australia.

For more than a century, McLanahan has developed and designed rotary equipment for the minerals processing industry. 

The company is highly regarded for its rotary scrubber and trommel equipment, which are both key components of mineral processing operations that impact the value of the final product. 

The physical process of improving and upgrading minerals has not changed a great deal over time, but the design process is significantly more sophisticated as we consider the long-term sustainability of the equipment and the operation it is used in.

In 2010, McLanahan installed a combination rotary scrubber screen at an iron ore operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This equipment offers a two-in-one solution that combines a rotary scrubber and trommel.

“McLanahan’s rotary scrubber screen combines both machines into one, where a customer uses the scrubber part of the barrel to essentially wash the ore and liberate the contaminants through attrition, then the screen section allows us to take a specific size cut of the material,” McLanahan director of sales and marketing APAC Chris Knowles tells Australian Mining.

McLanahan personnel have continued to engage and collaborate with the customer since the first installation, with their field service team attending all maintenance shutdowns and their engineering team monitoring it’s wear life. This engagement is used to identify further improvements to the equipment.

“Our staff in Perth helped measure operating conditions so we can help predict the sort of maintenance windows and predict wear life to give them a little more certainty towards the machine availability,” Knowles says.

Since 2011, the customer has installed additional rotary scrubber screens across its two operations, cementing McLanahan’s success in providing robust and reliable mineral processing solutions.

“That particular customer was one of the first customers seeing the value of upgrading the iron content,” Knowles says. 

“It was about getting a value product to new markets and competing on a value scale in the iron ore market.

“Since then, they’re running two modules, four scrubbers at 3000 tonnes per hour and they have significantly higher availability due to design optimisations.”

McLanahan senior mechanical engineer Ben Freeburn says the customer was largely focussed on the need for longer uptimes, which the rotary scrubber screen achieved. 

“We have worked closely with that customer to come up with preventative measures to give them the uptime they need,” he tells Australian Mining. 

“The original 2010 machine’s rotary screen had eight weeks life, through continual improvement we can now achieve 24-week intervals.”

McLanahan’s rotary scrubber screen combines a Rotary Scrubber and Trommel.

As the resources sector has adapted to new technologies, McLanahan has adopted a more sophisticated approach to equipment design and long-term usage. 

Recently, McLanahan has been successful in securing contracts to design and manufacture rotary scrubbers and screens for Australian iron ore producers. 

While each application and machines offered were slightly different, the key similarities around operability and long-term lifecycle management were the same. 

In terms of design, discrete element method modelling was used to simulate particle flow and retention.

McLanahan has relied on Industry 4.0 technologies to maintain optimal support for its clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, Knowles continues.

“Industry 4.0 offers the infrastructure and therefore the opportunity to share more data more often with our customers, building digital representations, using animations and models to simulate fabrication, assembly shipping and integration into the overall plant,” Knowles says.

“The ability to collaborate in this way also builds trust, which is important when face-to-face meetings are not always possible.”

According to Knowles, maximising the lifespan and maintenance schedule of the rotary scrubber screens is enhanced by computer-based condition monitoring and remote data access.

“For OEMs like McLanahan, it is important to remain relevant as the customers operating landscape changes and that means we must ensure we can deliver a connected mineral scrubber so that machine is able to click into the connected mine and form part of the customers overall connected eco-system,” Knowles says.

Condition monitoring and remote data access is now a critical inclusion on all rotary equipment as operational data becomes more critical to business decisions such as long-term inventory management, maintenance preparation and ultimately production certainty.

McLanahan has also used Industry 4.0 technologies to deliver a self-aligning trunnion assembly on the rotary scrubber screens installed in the Western Australian iron ore plants. These self-aligning trunnions include integrated barrel jacking assembly, park brake and associated safety sensors.

This innovation is a result of collaborating with our customers and gathering data from their plants. The collected data suggested that rotary scrubber barrel alignment has the most profound impact on wear, trunnion tyre damage and premature fatigue failure.

“We believe this is a pivotal innovation in maintaining drum alignments over the machine’s lifecycle. As an Australian manufacturer we find it important to be driving higher up the value chain, delivering greater long-term value for Australian miners and mineral processors,” Knowles says.  

This article also appears in the April issue of Australian Mining.

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