n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Mining business optimisation through a reconfigurable vibrating screen design

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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Fluctuation in mineral concentrates demand, unstable mineral market conditions and high machine downtime and its associated costs have been the most recent challenges that have affected the mining industry. This sector has not fully understood these factors. In order to provide solutions for the aforementioned bottlenecks faced by mining industries, the Innovative Manufacturing Design Solution (IMDS) Group in the department of Industrial Engineering at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has designed a new beneficiation machine called a reconfigurable vibrating screen (RVS) machine using reconfigurable manufacturing system principles. The RVS machine achieves mineral beneficiation optimisation through geometric transformation of the screen surface structure and productivity adjustments. Geometric transformation of the screen surface structure involves horizontal (screen surface length and breadth) reconfiguration which is automatically achieved using a hybrid control system that is open and modular, while productivity and adjustment are enabled using a plug and produce device. Geometric transformation mechanism feasibility on the RVS machine allows the mineral beneficiation experts and mining engineers in mining industries to adjust the machine screen length and breadthto the required configuration dimensions, thus improving the capability; beneficiation capacity and productivity of the machine. It is envisaged that this innovation will increase profitability in small to medium mining enterprises (SMMEs) with medium to moderate capital in the mining business through production of scalable and customised RVS machines (at a reduced cost) which SMMEs can afford. A full-scale RVS machine computer-aided design (CAD) model of this machine was designed to a specification of approximately 4.7 m length by 2.5 m breadth with a total estimated screen weight capacity of 16 121 tons for beneficiating and screening mineral particles between size ranges of 50 mm to 3 mm. Furthermore, a hand simulation-based optimisation was carried out to showcase how the RVS machine can be used to manage the aforementioned difficulties faced by the mining industries.

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