Processing coal in the Surat Basin is a challenging undertaking. Yield is affected by the high clay content that is interspersed with other hard inclusions, which drives mining operations to process for longer periods.
However, operators in this region are innovative and efficient as they continually strive to improve productivity and lower operational costs.
One Surat Basin coal processing operation came to McLanahan in 2011 with the goal of drastically reducing downtime and the high costs of repair that were plaguing their existing crushing plant. In response McLanahan designed a wet crushing DDC-Sizer to replace the customer’s existing crushing equipment.
McLanahan’s design provided the customer with a superior sizer body sealing arrangement, an improved maintenance friendly segment replacement system and outboard bearing which kept water and foreign material ingress away from the bearings. In the first year of operation the customer experienced zero downtime due to breakdowns or unplanned stoppages.
In late 2012 McLanahan was again challenged by this customer to deliver higher machine availability with fewer crushing segment changeouts over the life of the equipment. McLanahan proposed a trial of carbide impregnated weld-on-teeth on the secondary DDC-Sizer, with an initial stretch target of five million tonnes throughput before replacement. This agreed target was almost twice the current wear life based on the current material being processed.
The trial was a success with the operation processing more than six million tonnes before the crushing segments were replaced.
Creation of carbide teeth
McLanahan began developing its carbide tooth in 2003 at the request of a customer who was already utilising the most wear-resistant tooth design McLanahan had to offer at the time.
“McLanahan’s top US based customer in the Powder River Basin needed a higher wearing material,” recalls Dan Holes, director of parts and service for McLanahan North America.
“At the time, our roll elements offered substantial protection to the face of a tooth, but the top was susceptible to abrasion wear. As the top began to wear, the face protection became highly vulnerable and would eventually fail. We went to the drawing board and began an R&D project, and the result was our carbide impregnated tooth.”
The goal of the carbide tooth was two-fold; it must increase wear life, which ultimately reduces downtime and maintenance, and it must be replaceable so that the lifespan of the base roll element can be extended.
When the carbide teeth were first put into service, the results were staggering.
“We doubled our customer’s throughput across the set of our roll segments,” Holes explained.
Dedication to continuous improvement
Over the years, McLanahan worked closely with customers in similar applications and, from those relationships, was able to make some subtle changes to how the teeth were attached and even positioned that further extended their wear life.
“Our customers are sometimes the best engineers because they’re the ones dealing with maintenance and they see the wear characteristics and wear patterns develop,” says Holes.
“We listen to what they say, and their suggestions have allowed us to further develop our teeth to that which continues to meet or surpass customer’s expectations today.”
The increase in wear life all depends on the application, “but for most applications in which we place DDC-Sizers, carbide teeth far outlasts hardened steel and typical hard-surfacing,” Holes said.
Here in Australia, and particularly in the Surat Basin, an increasing number of operators have installed carbide impregnated crushing segments as they continue to work with our local engineering team in Newcastle to build smarter and more robust equipment.
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