Tech

Kwatani casts the spotlight on innovation and digitalisation

In response to the innovation imperative in the mining sector, Kwatani will use Electra Mining Africa 2022 to be held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre from 5 to 9 September – as the ideal platform to cast the spotlight on its modern multi-slope screen design and the company’s strides in digital innovation.

While multi-slope screens generally known as ‘banana’ screens have been available since the 1980s and are therefore not necessarily new to the market, Kwatani has in recent years ushered in a whole new approach to the design of these screens, says CEO Kim Schoepflin.

“Traditionally, multi-slope screens have always been renowned for their high velocity,” she says. “While the high velocity translates into high capacity, the downside is the resultant screening inefficiency and the high wear rate of the panels, which in turn translates into high maintenance costs.”

At the top of these screens, explains Kwatani COO Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers, is usually a first slope with a deck angle of at least 34 degrees – allowing material velocities of over 4 metres per second – curving down to end at about 10 degrees.

Traditional layout

This traditional layout, however, is not always ideal for many operations today, as it calls for a much higher installation height. With a much flatter layout, the Kwatani design means that the installed height of the screen is far lower, translating into lower costs – both from a building and machine fabrication perspective.

“Banana screens have always been designed this way, and it became an industry norm,” says Mayhew-Ridgers. “Nobody really evaluated this traditional design, until recently when Kwatani, through its research and development, challenged the norm and adopted an innovative multi-slope design with great success.”

Kwatani can design its screens to perform efficiently at a lower building height and fit into existing screen infrastructure. The lower physical height of the screen also impacts the capital cost of complementary equipment such as pumps. “Because you have to pump at lower heights, you can therefore acquire smaller pumps, which means that the energy footprint is also much lower,” Schoepflin adds.

Apart from its leading-edge multi-slope screen design, Kwatani will also showcase its advances in the digital space. Digital technologies, says Schoepflin, have the potential to unlock new ways of managing variability and enhancing productivity. The miniature version of the Kwatani multi-slope screen to be displayed at Electra Mining Africa will therefore be digitally enabled.

“We approach digitalisation in two ways. We believe that sensors are the starting point, as they are where data is created. Embedding sensors in plants, which in turn churn out large volumes of data for analysis, is increasingly attainable,” says Mayhew-Ridgers.

“The second scenario is the cloud environment, which is gaining strong momentum across the industry. As mining companies digitally transform, they simultaneously expect greater control over their data with all the benefits of a cloud experience. At Electra Mining Africa, we will therefore showcase these two scenarios –sensors with a PLC/SCADA and control room environment, as well as a cloud solution,” adds Schoepflin.

The digital picture, says Mayhew-Ridgers, is however bigger than these two scenarios. Leveraging digital solutions, mines can now plan and execute maintenance of their mission-critical assets better. Digitalisation empowers maintenance regimes by utilising collected data to monitor equipment health, diagnose faults, predict and troubleshoot failures well before they happen.

“We will also highlight how the recent acquisition of Kwatani by Sandvik further advances our innovation drive. Leveraging Sandvik’s substantial experience in this field, Kwatani will further drive its digital offering, thus ushering in a new age of efficiency and winning the productivity and cost- control battle for our customers,” Schoepflin concludes.

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