Thejo Engineering (Australia) recognises the impact a shutdown can have on operations and profitability of plants. Planned or unplanned, the cost is astronomical. Thejo has the most reliable and efficient processes in place to reduce the need for shutdowns.
Thejo offers a full-service capability, ranging from spares to basic modifications of a plant, to a full redesign of various pieces of equipment.
The company’s product focus is on wear protection systems, transfer point solutions, grinding mills and trommels, screening plants, and filtration.
In all parts of mineral processing, there’s abrasion and wear as the material in a slurry form moves around the circuit.
Even small improvements in slurry handling efficiency can have a drastic impact on mining profitability, on equipment such as chutes and launders, grinding mills, cyclones, screens and trommels.
“At Thejo, our focus is on maintenance and serviceability. Our entire focus is to improve efficiency, to improve wear life and to reduce downtime,” Thejo Engineering (Australia) president Graeme Kibell said.
“Downtime is the enormous cost driver in the mineral processing plant, and if one can improve the uptime, and reduce the number of shutdowns or the time it takes to do these necessary change-outs, that would be invaluable to the customer.”
All the products that Thejo makes for the beneficiation and grinding circuit are designed to protect the assets assembled with sacrificial liners.
The mill itself is lined internally with sacrificial liners and trommels assembled with screening media inside it. They are designed to resist the continued wear-and-tear action of the materials processed, as it goes about segregation of sizes.
“In a very aggressive environment, some of these products might have to be changed out on a six-monthly basis, and some of them, in a less arduous situation, could go a year or two before they need to be replaced,” Kibell said.
Thejo Engineering (Australia) is a branch of Thejo India and offers solutions for the mining, mineral processing and corrosion protection segments of the industry.
Headquartered at Bibra Lake in Perth, manned with technical and sales experts, and a warehouse carrying a wide variety of inventory, the company’s focus is on the growing demands of specialised custom solutions for its clients across Australia.
“We’re a solution-providing organisation that aids customers in product selection, installation and product monitoring. We feed the information we receive from the customer back to the designers and the engineers at our head office in India to work on improvement of the designs,” Kibell said.
Thejo India operations has design engineers and specialists working on various engineering simulation software programs with the ability to design and make improvements.
“Every effort is made to reduce unplanned shutdowns, so product integrity and product reliability are absolutely critical there. We certainly don’t want unplanned shutdowns,” Kibell said.
“If we do have to have a planned shutdown, then we want to minimise the effect of it with systems that are easily and safely replaceable. Safety is a huge concern, so we’re looking for products that can be easily and safely handled. Any hours that can be saved in a shutdown translate straight back to savings to the customer.”
The trommel with screen panels, dams and spirals are critical elements that Thejo has focused on for improvements.
“It is not just the wear life, but also efficiency in terms of how effectively the trommel screens can segregate between the oversized material and the size that you actually require,” Thejo Engineering managing director Manoj Joseph Kallarackal said.
“None of the mines would appreciate even an hour of unplanned shutdown because that translates into millions of dollars and that’s where we add value to our clients.”
Thejo is also focused on reducing the number of planned shutdowns a mine may need. This is a highly customised process, as each site has its own shutdown schedules.
The length of the shutdown periods varies from site to site, so to offer extended time between shutdowns, Thejo has to alter designs as per each site.
“You have to look at what’s best suited for that customer so you can get a longer life on the products,” Thejo Engineering (Australia) head of regional sales David Wheelhouse said.
“If we don’t customise our process for each customer, it won’t help in the long run. For example, if a customer is on a 12-week shutdown cycle then extending life to, say, 15 weeks may not be beneficial at all. Our objective is to try and get at least 24 weeks’ life in order to skip a complete shutdown.”
One of Thejo’s major customers in the Goldfields-Esperance region in Western Australia recently went through a reorganisation of its shutdown periods.
The mine was having a shutdown every 15 weeks, with the second shutdown mainly for the changeover of trommel panels.
Thejo designed a screen panel that lasted 35 weeks, so now the company could eliminate the second shutdown, which saved a 40-hour period of production stoppage.
“We eliminated that stress for them, so they don’t have to shut down and now they’ve moved it out to be one to two shutdowns per year in that sort of circuit,” Wheelhouse told Australian Mining.
“That’s what we want to try and to achieve with any customer, to get the best part for their plant and time frame to reduce those costs. If you can eliminate a shutdown, that goes a long way to save them a lot of money.
“An unplanned shutdown could cost a minimum of $100,000 per hour and could be up to $500,000 per hour. If that shutdown goes for 24 hours, do the math – that’s a high cost.”
Thejo’s engineers visit the customer sites and collect data through observation in the plant. The engineers report these data back in terms of what is required for the client to get superior performance out of the product.
“There are frequent process changes in the plant operations, which are periodically monitored and studied by our engineers,” Kallarackal said. “Based on these data we make alterations to the design of the screens, if necessary, to maintain the required optimum output desired by the clients.
“It’s a constant cycle of taking feedback from the site, then passing it on to the technical and design team in order to come out with a product which will be most suitable for the client.”
Thejo has an extensive research and development (R&D) department that has diverse product ranges that can withstand some of the harshest working conditions in leading mines, all with an unwavering focus on quality and commitment.
“We constantly receive varied needs from the mines and industry, making us continually innovate and improve the product line,” Thejo Engineering product division head Jomon Mathew said.
“Whenever such requirements arise, we consider it a product development. It could be in terms of a process change, or it could be through an engineering design change. Either way it is pointed towards our R&D team to be addressed.”
Thejo aims to relieve the stress and tension for its customers by understanding the process, and by understanding what the customer wants and how to get there.
“We spend time understanding the process and trying to improve the product, but there’s also the relationship we have with the customer, and we spend a lot of time understanding them and making it easier for them,” Kibell said.
This feature also appears in the March edition of Australian Mining.