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MEI Online: Froth Flotation: Latest News: July 16th 2013


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:: Increasing Flotation Cell Sizes


To answer market demands FLSmidth will install and test the world’s largest flotation cell at the Robinson Mine, Robinson Nevada Mining Company, KGHM International. The 600 Series SuperCell™ will be used as a rougher-scavenger in the copper flotation circuit.

The economies of scale are forcing flotation cells to keep getting bigger—and more efficient. Until recently, the FLSmidth® 300 series SuperCell™ flotation machines, developed in 2009, was the largest in the world with a capacity of 300-350 m3. But in 2011, FLSmidth decided to take this product line to the next level and started the development process of the new generation of flotation cells. What was unthinkable 10 years ago has become reality today. Concentrators are now being designed for a capacity of 200,000 tpd, and are becoming new trends in flotation plant design. Now instead of having a large number of cells per row, the average concentrator has between five and seven, which makes these enormous machines more desirable on today’s market. Already, five major mining houses are inquiring about these cells. In addition to new, large throughput plants, these cells are especially attractive in a situation where there is limited room for expansion in existing large-capacity plants.

Because of economical factors, lack of space for expansions and reduced maintenance requirements, customers default to the largest size of flotation cells, as was evidenced with the 250m3 and 300m3 machines. The market always responds to the largest available flotation cell, as well. For example, a few years ago, before the first 300m3 SuperCell™ machine industrial test was finished, three plants were sold (1) Esperanza—26 cells, (2) Caserones—23 cells and (3) Polymet—14 cells. A similar situation was happening with our closest competitor when they announced that they developed and water tested 500 m3 machines. FLSmidth decided to skip the 500m3 size and developed 600 m3 cells instead. FLSmidth’s row of 5 x 600m3 cells will have an equal residence time to our competitor's row of 6 x 500m3 cells, allowing for our lower cost and footprint, and continuing our market leadership.

To design the enormous SuperCell™ machines, FLSmidth made computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of existing cells and scaled them up using dimensionless and hydrodynamic analysis. The 600 series SuperCells™ will use both of the FLSmidth® mechanisms (WEMCO® and Dorr-Oliver®), the XCell™ 600 Series SuperCell™ machine will be developed at a later time. As the name implies, the volume of the 600 Series SuperCell™ machines varies from 600 to 650 m3, depending on launder configuration (600 m3 with inside launders, 650 m3 with outside launders). This design will soon become an exciting reality at the Robinson Mine as slurry startup is scheduled for August 2013.




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