Strengthening Research And Development
Listed inMaterials Processing
Metso Minerals open state-of-the-art research and test centre, in Tampere, Finland, to help meet the increasing customer demand for improved crushing and screening
At the end of May this year Metso Minerals officially inaugurated their new research centre at their Tampere Works, some 170km north of the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The focus of the €3 million full-scale test plant, the company’s largest investment in research and development to date, will continue to place Metso Minerals at the forefront of rock analysis and the diverse testing of machines, such as screens, jaw crushers, impactors, and various gyratory and rotary crushers.
The common problem that many companies within the aggregates industry face when trialling crushing equipment for the efficiency and quality of mineral processing is the enormous time and resource commitment needed to complete the equipment test with the actual material to be processed.
Typically, when a crusher is brought on site electrical power needs to be installed and a qualified operator has to be employed to verify the equipment performance. After the field test, the finished material has to be taken off site for analysis to determine the performance of the crusher, from the product quality (shape) and power consumption to the material distribution and capacity achieved.
If variables for the optimal operation of the equipment need to be changed, such changes could take days to reconfigure. More alarmingly, measuring the efficiency and end-product quality of new crushing and screening processes could take weeks or even months to complete.
At Metso Minerals, continuous research and development has an important role. The new research facility not only represents a significant step forward in Metso’s profitable growth strategy, but will also allow the company to respond to the testing needs of aggregate producers more efficiently and rapidly than before.
The state-of-the-art research centre serves two main purposes. First, it will crush, screen and analyse several hundred rock samples sent each year by customers from around the world.
Many of the rock tests will be carried out at the facility’s fully equipped rock laboratory, where analysis results (eg crushability, abrasiveness etc) can be used to plan the most suitable crushing and screening processes for fulfilling customers’ local needs. Smaller-scale rock testing will continue to be conducted at Metso’s other test plants in the United States, India, Brazil, France and New Zealand.
Secondly, the research and test centre forms an essential part of Metso Minerals’ own product development and research activities. With 20 dedicated research personnel, diverse testing facilities and the latest and most advanced sample measurement and analysis equipment, the test plant will help to shorten product development lead times.
‘Research and technology development is a cornerstone of Metso’s business growth strategy’ said Jarmo Eloranta, vice president of research at Metso Minerals. ‘Over 5% of the company’s personnel work in engineering and direct research and development, supporting customers, making improvements in capacity and energy efficiency, encouraging innovation and developing new products and solutions.
‘Tampere has a long history in research and technology development and, importantly, the recently inaugurated test centre will importantly help us launch new crusher models into the market faster than before.’
One of the key features of the research facility is its automation capability. Utilizing modern process control systems, the newest technology and the latest crushing machinery available, all crushing and screening activities are controlled via a computer.
At the test centre, rock samples can be analysed for crushability, abrasiveness, impact resistance, brittleness and solid density. For product development purposes, the full-scale plant can be used to measure a new device’s parameters, such as capacity, product distribution, crushed end-product grading, loads and power consumption.
The centre also has at its disposal fully equipped research vans for carrying out on-site strain gauge, capacity, power consumption and noise measurements in field conditions.
The decision to invest in a new research and test centre in Tampere will no doubt strengthen Metso Minerals’ research and development activities. Research data will be used in the company’s product development programme, as well as to determine customers’ crushing and screening application settings. Research outcomes will also be applied to Metso Minerals’ development of measurement and simulation tools.
The production volumes of Metso’s track-mounted crushing plants have more than doubled over the last five years. Manufactured at the company’s Tampere Works, the factory has produced many thousands of mobile crushing and screening plants since the launch of the first Lokotrack in 1985. With a growing demand for the machines expected, Metso Minerals have invested €5 million in an extension to the Tampere facility’s Lokotrack mobile crushing plant assembly line, and a further €2 million in a mechanized wear part production line at their foundry.
The increased crusher manufacturing capacity will allow the company to respond to an evolving market in which customers are requiring ever larger mobile crushing and screening plants that yield more capacity and volumes but with lower operating costs and greater environmental benefits. The extension will also house new product prototypes and tailored equipment solutions.
In addition to the new research centre and extended manufacturing facilities in Tampere, Metso Minerals introduced their latest crushing and screening equipment, which included a factory tour, presentation and live on-site demonstrations, as part of the Lokolaunch 2008 road show, organized for the final two weeks of May.
The Lokolaunch show – the biggest marketing event the company has ever presented – was a resounding success with more than 800 international participants, including customers, journalists, engineers and sales agents, visiting the main showground.
Metso Minerals had arranged for all of their latest models to be placed in a local hard rock quarry, where delegates were able to see many of the new items of equipment being demonstrated for the first time in Finland.
Among those put through their paces were the latest additions to the company’s line-up of mobile screens: the Lokotrack ST272 and ST620F. The former has been designed for use in a wide range of applications accepting feed materials of up to 600mm, making it suitable for recycling, rock processing and screening waste.
The ST272 features a two-deck 4,866mm x 1,524mm screenbox, providing a top-deck screening area of 6.6m2 with a capability of producing up to three end-products at once.
The solid construction and sophisticated design of the mobile screen offers durability and extended working life in the most demanding heavy-duty applications. During relocation, all the screen’s conveyors are hydraulically folded and remain on board, minimizing the cost of transportation.
The machine is also fully automated in screening process mode via an intelligent IC300 controller. Its screen speed, amplitude and conveyor loads are constantly monitored and adjusted, maximizing production rates and end-product quality.
The automation system’s interface now incorporates a new visual colour display with a one-button sequence start for simple operation, and advanced diagnostics for easy maintenance.
The new Lokotrack ST620F, meanwhile, is one of the largest tracked mobile screens in the Metso Minerals range, boasting a large three-deck, two-bearing horizontal screen with adjustable, elliptical high G-force stroke.
Fitted with a 6ft by 20ft screenbox, the standard unit has a screening area of around 11m2 per screen deck and is designed to accept feed materials of up to 200mm, with the capability of producing up to four sized fractions.
One of the major features of the ST620F, say Metso Minerals, is that it is built around the proven Nordberg FS303M flat screen that has been widely used in stationary and portable applications in the past. The high-performance horizontal screen accepts a wide range of screen media options, and can be equipped with either an apron or belt feed arrangement for greater versatility.
Powered by a 168kW Caterpillar power pack, the ST620F meets the latest Tier 3 emission regulations. Like the ST272 model, the entire machine can also be controlled via the IC300 controller system, which automates the unit’s features and monitors all aspects of its screening operation.
The cost of moving the ST620F from one site to another is minimized for the operator, thanks to its on-board hydraulically folding conveyors.
Among the other new machines on show were the LT116 and LT106 – the successor to one of the world’s best selling mobile jaw plants, the LT105.
With a feed opening of 1,060mm x 700mm, the Lokotrack LT106 is built around the new Nordberg C106 jaw crusher, which features a new frame and pitman structure that minimizes the stress levels within the machine and offers, claim Metso, up to 10% more crushing efficiency.
The crusher cavity profiles have been also been redesigned, allowing the optimization of cavities for each application.
A variant of the LT106, the LT106S, which incorporates the same features and benefits as its sister model, but with the addition of a detachable screen, is also available.
The LT106S produces up to two aggregate grades in a single-stage crushing and screening process, while the rotation direction of its screen can be turned to improve screening capacity and efficiency. For easy servicing and screen mesh changes, the screen module can be opened hydraulically, increasing the operational uptime.
Featuring the new Nordberg C116 jaw crusher, the Lokotrack LT116 is said to provide significantly higher crushing capacity. With a redesigned crushing chamber and cavity for better grip, the C116 has a feed opening of 1,150mm x 800mm.
The LT116 is, therefore, suitable for crushing hard rock and rock-based recycled materials as a standalone unit, or in conjunction with Lokotrack secondary and tertiary crushers and mobile screens.
A modified version of the LT116, the LT116S, features a detachable screen and can be equipped with many optional items, including a longer, hydraulically folding discharge conveyor, radio remote control, a magnetic separator and a high-voltage generator.
Another new machine unveiled at Lokolaunch 2008 was the LT7150 – which combines, for the first time in the Metso Minerals line, a tracked mobile plant with a Barmac vertical-shaft impact (VSI) crusher.
The LT7150 VSI plant is designed for final-stage crushing; producing high-quality aggregate for roadbase and prime manufactured sand. Equipped with the revolutionary Barmac VSI 840 DTR rotor, which maximizes output at a minimum wear rate, Metso say the LT7150 offers quick and simple operation and service, produces superior cubical end products and allows the stepless control of product grading
The Barmac crusher is driven by a hydraulic motor, eliminating the need for V-belts and providing fully adjustable tip speeds. The machine can be fed by a conveyor, excavator or wheel loader via its large 5m3 feed hopper, while a sturdy 1,000mm belt feeder delivers the feed to the crusher. The LT7150 is controlled by a user-friendly IC400 process automation system, featuring automatic crushing process controls, a single-button process start-up and advanced fault diagnostics.
Metso Minerals also used Lokolaunch 2008 as a launch pad for their LT1213S mobile impactor plant, which brings together complete crushing and screening processing in a single machine. The new plant is designed for both primary and secondary applications (in open or closed-circuit operations), and can be used to produce one or two end products.
As a complete process plant, the Lokotrack LT1213S crushes the feed material in a NP1213M impact crusher, after which the aggregate is screened by an inclined screen, while oversized material is returned to the crusher by conveyor. A key feature of the LT1213S plant is its detachable screen; the changeable rotation direction and high G-force applied provides greater screening capacity and efficiency.
Another new machine presented at the Lokolaunch show was the LT200HPS mobile cone plant. Equipped with a one- or two-deck detachable screen, the cone plant has been developed for efficient secondary and fine crushing/screening applications, where maximum throughput, a high-quality end-product shape, accurate screening and compact transport dimensions are required.
The standard one-deck screen features a large screening area of 3.9m2, while the optional two-deck screen allows the production of up to two accurately calibrated end-products.
The LT200HPS is also equipped with a Nordberg series HP200 cone crusher, one of the leading technologies in crushing for both mobile and stationary plants. It has an exceptionally large stroke, and the absence of a top bearing provides outstanding performance and a large feed size.
In addition to the latest crushing and screening equipment on static display and demonstration at Lokolaunch 2008, Metso Minerals introduced two new operator-friendly devices – the Nordberg IP500 and IP700.
The process displays have been designed to help the excavator operator achieve maximum capacity from the Lokotrack units. The IP display is situated in the excavator cab and, with its real-time camera view and simple traffic light displays, guides the operator in feeding the Lokotrack in the most efficient way.
The IP500 and IP700 devices can be used with most Lokotrack crusher and screen units, including the LT96, LT106, LT116, LT110 and LT3054 jaw plant models. Metso Minerals also used the Lokolaunch event to showcase their new Nordberg PM plant-management system, which collects and transfers data from Lokotrack mobile crushing plants to an office PC, via a wireless Internet connection. The PM data collection system sends key information, such as running hours, crushing availability, fuel consumption and total production in tonnes.
Metso Minerals clearly understand the importance of helping customers find the best mineral processing solutions, and with nearly 90 years of research, testing and development in this field, not to mention the millions of Euros recently spent on a new research centre and increasing manufacturing capacity in Tampere, the company will undoubtedly continue to be a leading global supplier of advanced crushing and screening machinery.