A Linatex rubber solu- tion proposed by mining equipment supplier Weir Minerals Africa has effectively extended the maintenance period on a jig overflow chute at commodities major GlencoreXstrata’s Boshoek ferrochrome smelter complex, near Rustenburg, sixfold, compared with the durability of the original liner.
“I’m pleased to report that the lining has lasted in excess of 38 months in this tough operating environment, and is only recently showing signs of wear,” says Weir Minerals Africa technical works manager Christo Naude.
He adds that the change to Linatex rubber linings has eliminated much of the downtime with regard to the frequency and volume of maintenance being dealt with to manage the wear and tear of the previous lining.
Since changing over to Linatex rubber in 2010, GlencoreXstrata has increased its throughput sig- nificantly as a result of the improved availability of the plant. “This has certainly been a worthwhile investment that has given a good return,” says the company.
“Boshoek’s metal extraction plant had been experiencing excessive wear in the jig overflow chute, where the 25 mm particles being discharged onto the overflow chute had resulted in high wear of a competitor’s rubber lining, which had subsequently worn through to the steelwork,” says Naude.
The grade of rubber in the original lining lasted between three and six months in service before a changeout was required. This type of lining, which takes a week to replace, resulted in repeated downtime and costly unscheduled maintenance on the equipment.
Weir Minerals Africa says it has a long-standing relationship with the Boshoek plant operator. Weir Minerals Africa identified the problem during a routine plant audit undertaken by its team to identify potential problem areas. GlencoreXstrata accepted Weir Minerals Africa’s recommendation to install a Linatex premium rubber lining solution, and the installation was completed in April 2010.
Linatex rubber products are designed to lower the total cost of ownership, as well as ensure that plants remain in operation for longer without unnecessary maintenance and production losses.
Naude adds that, although the original rubber lining may have been cheaper, the recurring production losses and additional maintenance costs resulted in high operating costs.
Linatex premium rubber is a 95% natural rubber that exhibits resilience, strength and resistance to cutting, tearing and abrasion. With more than 80 years of experience in handling aggressive materials, Linatex rubber is a wear-resistant rubber for sliding or wet abrasion service.
“Our patented manufacturing process gives Linatex rubber its extraordinary physical properties and outstanding performance,” says Naude, adding that the Linatex rubber production process, unlike other processes, causes minimal mechanical disturbance to the molecular structure of the finished rubber, resulting in improved wear life and, thus, significant cost benefits to the user.
Weir Minerals Africa notes that there is no equivalent to Linatex rubber when it comes to wet abrasion.
“In addition to chute lining, applications include pipe and tank linings, hydrocyclones, pumps, hoses and valve linings. Our Linatex rubber products are on offer from 20 Weir Minerals Africa branches and service centres throughout Africa. A mobile team of expert rubber lining technicians is also provided to handle applications in the most remote areas,” adds Naude.
He says the minerals industry is under pressure to contain costs and it, therefore, makes sense to choose a product that will last longer and deliver better operating costs by reducing maintenance and changeout intervals.
“Linatex rubber is ideally suited to prevailing market conditions because it saves our customers money, adding to their bottom line,” concludes Naude.