To what extent did the Covid-19 outbreak impact Metso’s operations?
One of the main challenges posed by the health crisis was to maintain the operational continuity of our clients’ tasks without the physical presence of our experts. Due to the health authorities’ movement restrictions, it was necessary to apply innovative measures to continue providing our experts’ know-how through new remote assistance methods. Therefore, our remote-control solutions offered us an excellent opportunity to fulfil our objectives more flexibly than in the past.
What are the latest technological developments in crushing and grinding processes using automation to minimize downtime and energy consumption?
To minimize downtime, Metso Outotec is using performance centres to remotely monitor customers’ crushers. The machines are equipped with sensors and critical maintenance-related data, such as bearing temperatures or vibrations, is collected remotely. Our team of experts provides analytical dashboards that detect anomalies in trends and alarms to take timely preventive actions and avoid costly downtime.
The size of the particles entering and leaving the crushers and mills can be controlled online. We developed sensors for analyzing particle size on trucks (VisioTruck) and on conveyor belts (VisioRock and Rock Sense), which are based on image analysis using camera or laser technologies. Metso Outotec’s PSI technology enables the particle size of grout in grinding circuits to be measured online.
The MillSense sensor provides information on the mill’s ball load, allowing the mill to always run at the optimum ball load. A SmartEar acoustic sensor detects whether the mill is under or overloaded. Both conditions reduce grinding efficiency, and the lightly loaded mill can lead to premature wear and, in extreme cases, shell cracks, which can be avoided by monitoring the sound.
The operating conditions in the hydro cyclone process directly impact the availability of the plant and the efficiency of the grinding and flotation circuit. Our new CycloneSense metering system will help ensure continuous optimal hydro cyclone operation by providing direct, steady and reliable online monitoring of the hydro cyclone air core. Our unique technology will allow you to see inside the hydro cyclone and visualize its performance. It enables continuous online measurement of cyclone air-core shape, size and location based on process tomography, helping find and maintain the optimal operating point for the hydro cyclone. Additionally, the measurement system helps detect potential issues, such as wiring, and prevents them from occurring.
In advanced process control, Metso Outotec offers OCS-4D & ACT as an applicable optimisation system for all mineral processing operating units. Ensuring stable conditions in mineral processing circuits, optimal particle size for downstream processes, higher throughput, and the recovery of metals and water with minimal energy use are critical factors for our customers. Regarding milling, our APC system uses data optimization particle size feed RockSense, load analysis MillSense and particle size measurements sludge PSI, and other metrics available online.
During crushing, VisioRock and RockSense help adjust the crusher to compensate for wear and control product size. Level sensors monitor tank and crusher fill levels. When the shredder is equipped with a variable frequency drive (VFD), speed can be used as a shredder control variable based on feed and product size sensor readings. For primary gyratory crushers, the SmartStation concept has been introduced, which allows the control system to dynamically adjust operating parameters to improve efficiency and promote longer product life and overall equipment protection.
Water scarcity poses significant challenges to the Chilean mining industry. What are Metso’s solutions to address this issue?
We promote efficient solutions in the use of water in tailings. For example, we can optimize the tailings storage footprint with minimal freshwater consumption through dry tailings plants.
Where does Metso see the highest growth potential and strategy for the company 2021 - 2022?
At Metso Outotec, the focus of our work is to provide our clients with tailored solutions according to their needs. Today we have more than 15,000 professionals in more than 50 countries. From the first day of the recent merger, we have used and combined our strengths to form an outstanding team of professionals with knowledge and experience and an offer of high-end equipment and technology to support clients.
I believe that the tremendous technological capacity and the development of new tools that Metso Outotec offers will make the mining industry more sustainable. We will be a company that will contribute to the development of professional technicians with a thorough knowledge of the latest technological developments.