Key Benefits

  • Improve your attachment rates and increase recovery
  • Reduce energy for flotation by 15-40%
  • Boost your metallurgical performance
  • Improve total cost of ownership by utilising better wear distribution

Reduce energy consumption, improve performance 

The answer they came up with was the nextSTEP™ rotor/stator. But the longer story about how that technology was developed shows how cooperation across industries and academia can help save energy and improve productivity in your mine.

For the initial technology developmental phase, we teamed up with aerospace researchers, surface chemistry researchers and the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies at Virginia Tech. The combination of mining industry academics and experts from the aerospace industry allowed the team to come up with an innovative design concept for the rotor/stator.


Smaller bubbles have better attachment properties than large ones. But if you increase the rate to improve throughput, the flotation cells produce larger, not smaller bubbles. So it’s really not a straightforward proposition.


The aim was to design a machine that enabled an increase in the the air volume and a reduction in the bubble size at the same time, while optimising the energy dissipation rate. 


Saving energy and improving performance

The target was to create a new ultra low-energy flotation system. The team succeeded to the extent that the nextSTEP™ rotor/stator reduces your power requirements by 15-40 percent and has the lowest operating power of any forced-air flotation mechanism on the market.


To create an environment for the bubbles and particles to make contact with the least amount of power possible, the vane of the rotor was elongated and slots were cut in the stator to optimise the geometry of the rotor/stator assembly.


The design also improves your performance. The new rotor produces ideal flow streams and an energy dissipation rate that enhances the bubble-particle attachment. The patented rotor/stator makes energy dissipation more uniform which results in a higher probability of bubble to particle contact during the flotation process. This dramatically improves your attachment rates.


Increased wear life


It is possible to retrofit the nextSTEP™ rotor/stator into existing flotation cells up to 660m3. The conversion process is simple, low risk, for all makes and models, and proven with a large number of successfully completed retrofits for flotation cells ranging in size from 5 m3 to 250 m3.


The jet exiting the rotor is distributed across a larger surface area than in traditional equipment and this causes an even flow distribution that increases wear life of the mechanism, as well as reducing downtime for repairs. On top of the wear patterns, the rotor can also run in a reverse direction to further increase the life-cycle of the mechanism.


The nextSTEP™ rotor/stator provides a step change in flotation, metallurgical performance and energy efficiency. This reduced need for energy combined with improved performance and increased wear life lowers your operational costs and thus the total cost of ownership. 


Stories from FLSmidth