Efficient flotation for all applications and wide particle size range

There are many factors that can affect your flotation process. The two aspects that have the strongest impact on a flotation circuit’s efficiency and performance are metallurgical recovery and flotation cell availability. Fluctuations in feed characteristics can lead to recovery losses. The inability to handle changes in feed size and mineralogy can result in the loss of availability. At FLSmidth, we have developed solutions to these challenges and more.

Based on sound metallurgical engineering principles and anchored in the world’s most efficient designs, we have combined the expertise of two world leaders, Dorr-Oliver EIMCO and WEMCO®, to create the ultimate flotation technology for mining and other process-specific solutions. Over the years, we have delivered more than 57,000 flotation machines, varying in size from 1 m3 up to 660 m3, and including both self-aspirated mechanisms and forced-air mechanisms. What does this legacy mean for your operation? In a nutshell: high recovery, which translates into greater efficiency and increased profits.

 

Comprehensive engineering

Every project we take on is engineered to fit your operation, regardless of the size. Our expert solutions range from equipment only to the entire flotation island, including all auxiliary equipment (tanks, pumps, piping, blowers, etc.). Regardless of the project scope, our selection of flotation machines comes equipped with a range of drives, dart valves and automation options.

 

Superior metallurgy

We have proven the metallurgical superiority of our flotation machines time and again in side-by-side comparative tests conducted by major mining companies. Results show that our flotation machines operate on exceptional grade recovery curves, with respect to coarse and fine particle recovery. The remarkable performance of our machines is related to flotation-favourable hydrodynamics, which produce higher active cell volumes, provide longer residence times, and complement froth removal.

 

Greater availability

The test of time has proven, as well, that competing equipment cannot match the availability of our flotation machines. The rotor-stator/disperser combinations in our redesigned forced-air (nextSTEP™) and self-aspirated (WEMCO) flotation machines provide longer lifespan. In addition, using patented bypass equipment, our flotation mechanisms can be serviced or removed for maintenance without process interruption. This allows for longer production between wear parts replacement, and minimises the threat of maintenance cutting down on availability or even loss due to failure.

 

Two types of machines

FLSmidth supplies two types of flotation machines: WEMCO and nextSTEP. The WEMCO machine is self-aerating, whereas the nextSTEP machine is externally aerated (forced-air). While the principles of operation for self-aerated and forced-air machines are similar in concept, the execution is different.

 

The main differences of execution are energy input location (via rotor placement), aeration mode and control. The WEMCO rotor is located at top of the cell, and the nextSTEP rotor is placed at the bottom of the machine. The rotor placement creates different flow patterns within the cell, which affects froth recovery. When it comes to aeration of the cells, WEMCO machines draw in and use air without the use of an external blower. They also are self-controlled, and do not require constant monitoring from an operator or moderation of air control valves. The nextSTEP requires an external blower and air flow controls to maintain proper operation.

 

Continuous process improvement

We use a continuous process improvement program to both develop new flotation equipment and improve the performance of our existing flotation products, including validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD). CFD models help to analyse hydrodynamics inside the machine. The results help in gaining understanding of the regions of energy dissipation and quiescent zones. They also allow prediction of stress and vibration forces on impellers and stators. CFD analysis is always part of new product development in conjunction with engineering analysis, laboratory and pilot plant testing, combined with industrial application.

 

ECS/FrothVision

A flotation circuit’s performance is affected by both pulp and froth phase recovery. And it is inherent in mining operations that manual control by operators who look at the cell surface periodically and then take action does not really maintain stable operating conditions. Our ECS/FrothVision automation system is designed specifically to analyse froth characteristics in flotation. Comprising all necessary hardware and software to conduct froth image analysis and report information on bubble size, bubble count, froth colour analysis, froth stability, froth texture and froth velocity, ECS/FrothVision handily assists in the process control and allows optimisation of the entire flotation circuit.

 

Forced-air and self-aspirating flotation machines, flotation columns

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FLSmidth supplies two types of flotation machines: WEMCO and nextSTEP, the WEMCO machine is self-aerating whereas the nextSTEP machine is externally aerated. The principles of operation for self-aerated and forced-air machines are similar in concept, but the execution is different.

 

The main differences of execution are energy input location (via rotor placement) and aeration mode and control. The rotor of the WEMCO is at top of the cell while the nextSTEP is at the bottom of the machine. The rotor placement creates different flow patterns within the cell which affects froth recovery. When it comes to aeration of the cells, WEMCO machines draw in and use air without the use of an external blower. They are also self-controlled and do not require constant monitoring from an operator or moderation of air control valves. The nextSTEP™ requires an external blower and air flow controls to maintain proper operation.



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