Move toward Zero Unplanned Downtime on a Primary Crusher

Author: Douglas Morris

Primary crushers are the start of the comminution process at mine sites. Before ore is delivered to the mineral processing plant, it is typically processed through a cone crusher where it is reduced in size to about 10 inches in diameter or less.

A key component used in this process is oil which is used as a lubricant to move the cone in the crusher up and down in order to accommodate varying loads. Since this a dirty process that heats up and contaminates the oil, it must be continuously circulated, filtered and cooled.

Any unplanned downtime slows operations and requires a crane and work crew for lengthy crusher repairs. At some mines, a failed crusher can drive repair and lost production costs to well over $10M since it can often take a week for major repairs.

The most common method for monitoring this process is to measure both the temperature of the oil as well as the level in the oil reservoir. Unfortunately, this approach cannot always detect a loss of flow and crusher damage may occur before operators can react.

A proven method to mitigate this problem is to install Coriolis flow meters within the lube oil system to provide a real-time flow measurement. Not only will the plant be able to check flow, but this technology provides density too which is a proven method for detecting oil contaminants like water and debris.

With tighter and tighter margins in mining, plants cannot afford a loss of production from a failed primary crusher. The use of flow automation on this critical asset can provide the data and insight needed to help move a plant toward zero unplanned downtime.

From Jim: You can connect and interact with other mining experts in the Metals and Mining group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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