Innovative technology heightens sustainability and productivity
More and more frequently, provincial governments impose water limitations on producers across Canada, thereby, affecting thousands of operations from coast to coast.
With obstacles such as water restrictions, droughts and increased energy costs, getting the most profit from an operation keeps getting tougher. But thanks to a new washing technology, these stressors don’t need to impact your bottom line.
Instead, these innovations should increase long-term savings and return on investment.
Consider five key benefits when it’s time to upgrade or choose new washing equipment: the machine’s design, energy expense, water usage, maintenance and of course, profits. These aspects, which vary from machine to machine, influence capabilities and overall performance as well as time spent on maintenance. That’s why understanding these five factors contributes toward better efficiency and profits.
When producers consider upgrading washing equipment, it’s natural to look for ways to decrease expenses and increase efficiency.
In the forestry industry, for example, log washers continue operating with the same technology that dates back to the late 19th century; when water conservation wasn’t nearly as strong of a concern.
Today, however, new technologies, such as high-pressure washers, consume less energy and water than previously possible without sacrificing quality. Plus, these washers require minimal maintenance and upkeep, resulting in decreased servicing expenses and increased efficiency over log washers.
While these washers work well for cleaning thick, dense material such as stones coated with more than four inches of clay, they cannot get deep into the pores of material like high-pressure washers.
Washers with high-pressure water nozzles can achieve that level of cleanliness on stones as large as six inches in diameter, while log washers manage only heavier deposits on stones ranging from two to five inches, depending on the size of the equipment.
Although log washers may handle large clay deposits better, a high-pressure washer helps producers add value to materials that would otherwise be considered waste.
Some process as much as 360 tons per hour, removing impurities from deep crevices and pores in stones. This helps producers get the most sellable product for their operation, which reduces their waste pile and increases profits.
In the coal industry, for example, recent trials revealed that a high-pressure washing system effectively removes contaminants from coal refuse in just one pass, which significantly increases its Btu value.
Water & Energy Use
Persistent drought conditions in some parts of the world continue to result in severe water usage restrictions. This makes a high-pressure washer more favourable as governments motivate producers to use new technology to stay within those boundaries.
While water restrictions haven’t been as stringent in the energy sector, they’re still concerning for producers, financially and environmentally. Choosing a new, highpressure washer helps reduces energy consumption by as much as 15 per cent. Part of this is due to the speed at which the new washers complete a cycle. On average, older washers retain materials for three minutes or more, while materials stay in a high-pressure washer drum for just seconds.
Beyond low retention time, a high-pressure washer includes sensors that detect the end of each washing cycle to limit wear to the machine from unnecessary use.
Maintenance & Upkeep
When it comes to maintaining equipment, a high-pressure washer requires less maintenance. Older washers have many parts that require regular maintenance, including bearings and belts. Replacing paddles each year is expensive as well as labour-intensive; sometimes taking as long as four days to complete.
A high-pressure washer, on the other hand, has only two wear parts: spray nozzles and valve seals. A high-pressure washer JUNE/JULY 2016 CANADIAN MINING JOURNAL | 27 is easy to maintain because the operator can access the main wear parts through the lid on its drum.
High-pressure washers help companies produce the most sellable product by removing impurities from deep crevices of the materials.
For example, recent trials revealed that, beyond stone, a high-pressure washer effectively removes contaminants in just one pass from coal refuse, limestone, quartz, and iron ore.
In one case history, an aggregate producer recently purchased a high-pressure washer to clean stockpiles of clay-contaminated stone, which contained non-liberated sand products.
Initially the company had little interest in the stone, and sought to reclaim the sand product. However, they found there was a market demand for clean stone so, in short, they not only saved resources and expenses, but also became more profitable by selling a product that was previously waste.
Also, a high-pressure washer saves time and labour in cold regions, where washers are dumped daily to prevent freezing.
Unlike a log washer, which can take hours to fill and drain due to its large size, a high-pressure washing system fills and drains in a matter of seconds, saving time and labor.
An Alternative Solution
Overall, high-pressure washers take producers into the 21st Century and beyond thanks to a design focused on lowering energy and water usage. Plus, the minimal maintenance and upkeep fits the schedules of the modern workforce. That all adds up to decreased expenses, increased efficiency and, in some cases, more areas to profit.
Information for this Special Report provided by Michael Honea, process engineer at Haver & Boecker, Canada.