Flotation systems are a vital technology in minerals processing and extraction. But despite their overall effectiveness, particles of valuable material still get disposed of along with waste material. Additionally, the energy consumption that flotation systems require to function effectively is high. So while flotation systems are necessary when recovering ore concentrate, making them more sustainable and energy-efficient has been a challenge.
In the not too distant past, flotation loses were commonly 50 %, reaching as high as 90 % for coarse particles. Looking to resolve these substantial losses, FLSmidth’s goal was to create a product that allowed customers to have more control over the froth recovery process. With this goal in mind, the Froth Recovery Upgrade Package was designed. It offers a range of equipment that has been engineered to improve the efficiency of froth recovery, while minimising the losses of valuable particles, saving costs overall.
Two technologies in one
FLSmidth’s desire to improve and innovate has led to the development of the mixedROW™ Flotation System. It is a design that combines two machines – nextSTEP™ forced air and WEMCO® self-aspirating technologies and thus provides much more than the sum of the individual parts. The mixedROW Flotation System is the first of its kind, as it exploits the characteristics of two different technologies at the same time.
The nextSTEP are placed at the beginning of the row and recovers easy flotation material, coarse is recovered at the end of the row, fine at the very end. Because of this positioning, the mixedROW lowers energy consumption by between 15 – 40 %, and increases recovery by up to 5 %. In short, mixedROW™ provides boosted productivity, a reduced environmental footprint, and higher profits.
The WEMCO machines are placed at the end of the row, which increases both coarse and fine particle recovery, as it is capable of treating a wide range of particle sizes.
mixedROW also has the lowest head loss on the market if used with a carefully engineered system of dart valves that allows efficient transfer of slurry from one tank to another without significant losses. mixedROW can be configured to suit whatever the customer needs may be. It can be adapted to whatever application it is needed for, making it a highly flexible and effective solution.
The Upgrade Package finds solutions to flaws found in original froth recovery technology. Features include:
Actuators – control the position of the improved dart valves inside the flotation cells
Level sensor – provides a new design with no moving parts, that are used to sense slurry levels accurately. FLSmidth offers the most accurate technology on the market.
Radial froth crowders – designed for greater flexibility and control, they are used to reduce top-of-froth surface area and to increase froth movement to the nearest radial launder, allowing for either deeper froth or faster froth removal.
The result of these newer and improved designs is quicker reactions to flow and slurry density changes, which dramatically boosts the performance of flotation machines. All the elements working together in combination with radial froth crowders, means this package will deliver better recovery at the same grade or increased grade at the same recovery.