Boosting affordability, safety and productivity through automation
Effective metallurgical accounting depends on accurate and timely data from your laboratory
Inaccurate estimates of metals inventory and process plant performance pose huge risks, including undetected losses, lack of market responsiveness, and ultimately lost profits.
Accounting for the transformation of ore into concentrates and finished metals is a unique, complex and time-consuming undertaking. It’s critical that your sampling and analysis processes and procedures are both as productive and accurate as possible to allow you to make effective metallurgical decisions. A well-functioning laboratory, producing fast and reliable data, enables you to optimise overall plant efficiency and profitability from mine-to-product.
With this in mind, we have engineered a range of automated lab technologies that ensure sampling is precise, sample quality is high and reliable results are achieved.
Automating laboratory processes enables your operations to function r 24-hours per day with minimal human intervention. This leads to consistently faster turnaround times for sample results. In addition, because of the repeatability of the automated processes, you should be certain of higher quality samples, which leads to reduced variables, eliminated bias, increased mine life, and greater reliability of supply.
Fast and reliable analytical data gives you better trouble-shooting capabilities for metallurgical process problems or deficiencies. Improved information flow to management allows for more informed flowsheet design and modification.
We have a proven track record in the automating the following laboratory procedures:
- Sampling and sub-sampling
- Sample transport
- Bar-code reading and RFID tracking
- Sample drying
- Crushing and splitting
- Compiling and bagging composite samples
- Physical analysis – particle size, density and moisture content
- Fusion of pulverised samples into glass beads for XRF analysis
- Chemical analysis – XRF, TGA/LOI and wet chemistry
Automating these processes will deliver accurate data to your management and production staff more efficiently – with reduced cost and improved operator safety.
Improve the auditability and transparency of your metal balancing and reporting process
Our expertise in laboratory automation is backed by years of experience. When you choose us to automate your laboratory, you will reap many benefits, including improved functionality, consistency, and affordability.
Our automated technologies function for long periods with-minimal human intervention or input, meaning higher volumes are processed in shorter turnaround times. Delays and labour availability no longer adversely affect the process as the system is designed to run on a 24/7 schedule.
By automating your processes, laboratory operators are no longer directly exposed to potential hazards, such as noise, dust, heat, harmful chemicals and fumes. Laboratory automation also removes the need for specific manual processes, but with new technology comes new roles, which we provide the complete training for.
Automated equipment can achieve a high and repeatable level of accuracy, as the automated technology has been programmed to treat each sample identically. This reduces multiple risks, including:
- Poor consistency and traceability
- Compromised reproductivity.
Reducing these risks leads to higher quality data which, in turn, leads to better decision making and increased profitability.
A scope of supply that proves the effectiveness of our innovative technology
We pride ourselves on increasing productivity and providing complete innovative solutions from sampling to analysis. With our scope of supply, we have proven that we can change the way samples are processed and analysed and make positive impact on our customers’ mineral processing operations worldwide.
- Gamsberg Automated Zinc Laboratory, South Africa
The key driver of this system was for Vandeta to have rapid turnaround times of analytical results. This facility utilises our innovative rapid infra-red (IR) drying systems.
This application for the Gamsberg laboratory posed some unique challenges. Firstly, the IR drying technology is typically used for more course material. Secondly, the laboratory has a throughput requirement of 212 samples/24 hours, with several samples requiring an eight hour or less turnaround time from input to final chemical analysis by pressed powder XRF.
However, by overcoming these challenges, the Vedanta laboratory continues to be renowned as one of the safest and most advanced zinc laboratories in the world.
- FMI Central Analytical Service Centre Laboratory, Arizona
Located in Stafford, Arizona, this state-of-the-art-facility replaced six older laboratories that did not have the capacity for automated equipment.
This Central Analytical Service Centre was designed in cooperation with Phelps Dodge’s Process Technology Centre and can perform sample preparation and analysis of copper samples weighing up to 15 kg each.
The CASC operates on a 24/7 schedule and includes the first “wet chemistry module” to be operated by robotic systems performing a variety of copper analysis, as well as a fully automated laboratory that utilises the electrowinning copper cathode method.
- FMI CASC Automated XRD and NIR system, Arizona
Adding on to the original project, FMI was supplied with a state-of-the-art facility that uniquely focuses on fully automated sample preparation for XRD and NIR analysis.
The new facility includes automated fine pulverising, a specially developed press for automated XRD and NIR, and an integrated NIR analyser and automated XRDs.
This facility is capable of analysing 500 XRD samples and 800 NIR samples per day.
- Cerro Verde Laboratory, Peru
The Cerro Verde laboratory was upgraded into a fully automated facility, using a modular automation approach.
Standalone automation equipment was incorporated with manual equipment to improve the process and the quality of the data produced. This provided Cerro Verde with a more efficient means to prepare samples.
- FreeportPTC, USA
Located in the USA, this fully automated facility uses robotics to transport samples from one process to the next.
The system incorporates a HP-M 1500 pulveriser which pulverises samples, and robotic equipment is used to transfer samples into labelled vials and places them into a storage magazine to await further analysis via a QEMSCAN machine.
- Skorpion Container Robotic Laboratory, Namibia
Located in Rosh Pinah, Namibia, this facility is a robotic laboratory that has been constructed within a container.
The container was located within the plant to facilitate fast turnaround times of sample results, which has led to greater process efficiency and performance.
This innovative approach proves not only reliability but also our ability to meet your needs.
- Skorpion Zinc Fully Automated XRF Laboratory, Namibia
Skorpion was supplied with a fully automated sample preparation and XRF analysis facility, comprising some 65 individual instruments.
The project required careful planning and management due to the remote location of the site, but thanks to our on-site services, a highly efficient laboratory was delivered.
- Skorpion Zinc Manual Wet Chem Laboratory, Namibia
We designed and supplied a manual wet chemistry laboratory for Skorpion Mine in Namibia.
The scope of supply in this facility includes ICPs, AAS with graphite furnace, polarograph, automated sizing and numerous other laboratory equipment and instrumentation.
- Ticor in Richard Bay, South Africa
Located in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, this automated facility includes crushers, pulverising mills and presses for an automated sample preparation circuit. XRF analysis technology is used to gather data effectively and reliably.
- Bayside Aluminium in Richards Bay, South Africa
A container laboratory was designed and manufactured locally. It was situated close to the casting floor in the cast house to allow for fast turnaround of analysis data, which is critical to the operation’s success.
The container includes a milling machine and an OES spectrometer with a sample manipulation system.
- Mozal Smelter Aluminium, Mozambique
Located in Beluluane Industrial Park, Maputo, Mozambique, this turn-key solution included design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the laboratory.
All services such as gas lines, de-mineralised water, acid drainage, compressed air and dedusting were also included in the scope of supply. A pneumatic sample conveying system was also incorporated in this facility. This transported samples from the cast house to the laboratory.
We provided training of the local labour force and ongoing technical support and maintenance.
- Koniambo Nickel Smelter Sample Preparation Laboratory, New Caledonia
We provided a sample preparation laboratory to Koniambo mine in the north of New Caledonia, North Province.
The scope of supply in this facility includes two HPM 1500 pulverisers, each with a 30 cup magazine for the loading of the samples, a HS FF milling machine for the milling of the lollipop Nickel samples and a HP F milling machine which is available for the backup of the HS FF if needed.
- BHP Nickel West in Kwinana, Australia
The previous BHP Nickel West Laboratory at the Kwinana Refinery had been operating 24/7 for over 40 years, providing analytical services and quality control on all intermediate and end products, and analysing samples using entirely manual methods.
This presented health and safety risks to laboratory personnel with manual handling injuries, repetitive strain injury, exposure to nickel dust, chemicals, fumes and noise.
When a fully automated robotic technology solution was supplied by us, it substantially reduced the health and safety risks, all while increasing the recovery of nickel and cobalt to Nickel West’s global customers.
The automated solution includes liquor processing, powder preparation, digestion and two modules that can analyse all existing plant samples and future samples every two hours. The new lab has also been designed to allow further modules for Nickel Sulphate processing to be integrated into the automation.
The unique facility was selected as a finalist in the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety work health and safety excellence awards in 2019, under the category invention of the year, in recognition of outstanding solutions and innovations to specific workplace health and safety problems in Western Australia.