The mining sector plays a prominent role in the South African economy. With the increased demand for raw materials such as Manganese, Chrome, Nickel, Platinum and Coal from various consumers in a global economy, the need to mine cheaper, faster and more productive has never been more prevalent.
Underground mining relies heavily on the ability to remove ground water from areas where shafts could potentially flood. Pump manufacturers are using harder alloy pump components that increase life span and reduces pump replacement cycles and down times. Better slurry pump designs and better metallurgical developments have all lead to significant reductions in operating costs.
Crusher Mills and pulverising mills are re-lined with harder, tougher liners to ensure better productivity and less down time. If one takes into account that it takes almost a full day to re-line a mill, and the average mill crushes several thousand tons of material per day, one can quickly deduce that a mining operation potentially loses millions of Rands in lost production for every re-line that needs to be done.
Fabricating the drag-line buckets used in opencast mining presents various challenges. First the large metal plates made from specialised materials such as Hardox, or other wear and impact resistant alloy steels, weighing several tons needs to be unloaded. Then the plates are cut to shape and size using flame cutters or profile cutters. These parts now need to be bent, and before all of these pieces are welded together, the surfaces need to be prepared. This prep involves grinding the weld angles onto the plate and preparing the landing. Once the first root weld has been made, the procedure may call for a back-grind with a series of filler welds to follow as soon as this has been completed. These are constantly tested and checked for defects. If defects are found, a portion of the weld needs to be gouged out or ground out. The process continues until the weld is finally capped off.
The big earthmoving equipment trucks that work in conjunction with these drag-liners in moving the earth from point of mining to point of processing, have buckets manufactured in a similar fashion. The same can be mentioned about the side tipper hopper wagons manufactured for the rail industry and the side tippers manufactured for the road transporting sections. All of these components undergo a rigorous fabrication process.
Whether we are looking at the process of drag-line open cast mining, sinking shafts for taking minerals from the earth, transporting raw material to the processing plants and smelters, or beneficiation processes – fabrication is in some form or another involved.
Grinding Techniques developed several Superflex products suited to these specific applications over the years. The 230×7,2×22,2 AS30T Heavy Duty disc is unrivalled in stock removal and service life and perfect for grinding Hardox and alloy steels, as well as several other abrasion and impact resistant metals. – Whilst the 230×5,2×22,2 AS30T Back-Grinder and the 230×4,1×22,2 AS30T Pipe-Liner are ideally suited to the back-grinding operation where one merely wants to open the weld up without grinding away more filler material than is necessary. Superflex also caters for the harder “super-alloy” materials now used in some of the pump casings and mill liners.