According to Sam Durnavich, Polydeck’s global mining key account and product manager, based in Denver, protective products are critical for efficiency. When used effectively, chosen correctly for your operation, and properly employed, Polydeck PROTEX –the company’s new line of protective products– are a critical component for increasing mining operation efficiency.
“Protective products can be game-changing for a mining operation but they must be chosen and used effectively for your specific operation’s needs,” Durnavich said. “Consider standardizing size, shape and thickness to accomplish this. It no longer surprises me when I encounter an operation with a very complicated set up.
“Time and time again I have seen brand new plants with amazing engineering details with the most complicated wear liner packages. Some of the drawings for these chutes and transfer points require a PhD in mechanical engineering to read. They often include several different part numbers which do not match the other chutes and transfer points in the plant. This leads to a warehousing nightmare for planners but also lots of headaches for the maintenance personnel.
Protect Your Chutes
“As miners, we tend to think ‘bigger is better,’ but this is not the case with chute lining. I have found the most successful operations have standardized their chute liners to include only a few sizes, such as 1 x 1-ft., 1 x 2-ft. and 2 x 2-ft.. This reduces the quantity of part numbers stocked in the warehouse but also simplifies maintenance planning.
“For odd width and length surfaces to line, filler blocks can be utilized along the edges which typically don’t wear out nearly as quickly as the middle, high wear ‘hot spots’. Sometimes these ‘gaps’ can even be left unlined and material can simply fill in creating a ‘deadbed’.
“It is also possible to design chutes that can accommodate basic sizes without gaps. When used in a standardized manner, equipment wear life increases and maintenance and changeout complications decrease. This all adds up to greater efficiency for the mining operation. Protecting your chutes with simpler standardized chute liners also leads to another win for your operation: increased safety.
“Safety in our facilities is always our number one priority. With some simple standard practices, we can easily engineer and eliminate hot work (cutting and welding) and handling of parts greater than 50 lb. while also reducing noise. Many large corporations now require cranes for handling of parts heavier than 50 lb.
“While this mandate does improve safety it greatly reduces productivity and adds many steps to a previously simple maintenance practice. Further, hot work creates a significant amount of extra work and hazard exposure for everyone involved. I often see hard facing in many parts of the plant which is tedious and exposes employees to hazardous welding gases unnecessarily. Having smaller, modular liners that simply bolt in completely eliminates these two hazards. Reduced maintenance, simpler changeouts, and reduced noise mean increased safety on your site.
Better Wear Materials
“We can view wear materials by seeing them as good, better, and best options for protecting our equipment. If you’ve been in Colorado’s high country doing any exploring, you certainly have seen old mining remains including loadout and transfer points for loading ore into rail cars. What’s obvious is that not only were miners good carpenters, but they also used wood as their wear and protective surface. I still encounter customers that insist on using oak wedges to keep screen side wear plates in place. These customers tell me oak is a much better choice for wear protection than pine.
“In my opinion, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene comes in a close second to wood, then polyurethane, steel and steel alloys, rubber and finally ceramic-embedded rubber. My wear material of choice? I almost always side with rubber. I have found rubber to be the best products to line chutes with. Using rubber liners not only reduces noise significantly (often as much as 10 decibels), but they also have excellent wear characteristics and are readily available in many sizes, thicknesses and fastening options.
“Regardless of the challenges your mining operation faces, you can increase your efficiency by equipping your processing machinery with Polydeck PROTEX. Polydeck PROTEX are easily customizable, protect the wear life of your equipment, increase safety, and most importantly increase the efficiency of your mining operation,” Durnavich concluded.