Spotlight Feature Articles HEAVY ENGINEERING & WEAR PARTS - Page 2

A change in wear part design can lead to significant benefits in terms of equipment operation when it comes to wear life and equipment production performance , according to Metso Outotec

Sustainable engineering

In a crowded market in need of differentiation , suppliers of heavy engineered and wear parts are looking to digitalisation , application intelligence and sustainability to sell their products , Dan Gleeson reports

As sustainability becomes further embedded at not only mining company HQ level , but also at individual mine sites , the importance of heavy engineering and wear parts continues to grow .

OEMs and specialist suppliers have been waiting for such a sea change and are ready to provide the goods that can improve mines ’ total cost of ownership while lowering their footprint . IM heard from leaders in the sector on how they are providing new sustainable solutions that allow operations to remain competitive .
Differentiated wear
The wear parts mining market is vast , with numerous suppliers able to offer a steel , composite or rubber insert for an abundance of mineral processing equipment .
The plethora of suppliers in this space is also representative of just how lucrative the aftermarket sector is . All major OEMs aim for more than 50 % of their revenues to come from the supply of parts and services , recognising these sales represent the most sustainable source of income in the mining industry – sales that continue to come in during market peaks and troughs .
FLSmidth is no different to its major OEM counterparts , with 2021 service orders representing 54 % of its overall order intake in mining .
Alec Newman , Global Service Line Manager , Wear Solutions , says within this total , wear parts is a growing part of the FLSmidth offering .
“ We are broadly organised into products , systems and wear parts within the aftermarket segment ,” he explained to IM , “ and , within that , our work on wear parts is probably 30-40 % of total R & D spend .”
Overall , he estimates wear parts R & D represents around a fifth of the company ’ s total R & D . As an indicator , FLSmidth expensed R & D costs of DKK152 million ($ 21.5 million ) in 2021 , with the company capitalising additional R & D expenses .
Twenty per cent of total R & D spend is significant for a company as big as FLSmidth , which shows just how much stock it places in wear parts .
This is despite the inherent difficulty associated with competing in the market .
“ Wear parts is an extremely undifferentiated , fragmented market , so it is very difficult for
OEMs to compete ,” Newman said . “ We struggle to differentiate with – at worst case – chunks of
steel and – at best case – extremely technical carbides and composites . There is a huge range of wear parts available in the industry .”
Where FLSmidth aims to set itself apart from its peers is on the “ premium service level ” side of the business where it has the process and product knowledge to back up the wear parts expertise , Newman said .
“ Having the right wear parts is important for both total cost of ownership and performance in the plant ,” he said .
This also ties in with a renewed industry focus on sustainability : an area that FLSmidth , through MissionZero , is heavily invested in .
MissionZero is the company ’ s sustainability program to reduce emissions in cement and mining to zero by 2030 through delivering solutions that make it possible to operate zeroemissions cement plants and manage zeroemissions mining processes .
Just one MissionZero wear parts offshoot is the company ’ s “ design for sustainability ” platform , focused on modularisation , reallocation of spent wear parts and several other related initiatives .
One of FLSmidth ’ s current R & D projects related to these areas is the manufacture of wear parts where the wear element can be separated from any non-wearing component .
Newman explained : “ A lot of our rubber polyurethane parts have a steel substructure , mainly related to strength , and separating that elastomer from the steel is difficult , can be dirty and come with the release of a lot of bad chemicals and emissions . We are doing some research to find environmentally friendly ways of doing that to reclaim or replace the separate parts .”
An example of this in operation comes from the filtration side of FLSmidth ’ s business and the MAXA™ modular plate for filter presses . In the event of a worn plate within the filter press , customers can replace the worn elements only , improving both the production efficiency and sustainability of operations .
The relocation of worn polyurethane components to non-wearing surfaces in the process plant is another example of FLSmidth ’ s sustainability mindset , as is the development of technology that can ‘ rebuild ’ crusher wear parts through methods such as 3D printing or automated , hard-faced welding .
Newman commented on the latter project : “ It is difficult , and no-one has done it yet , but it has been part of an investment area within FLSmidth for the last two years and we ’ re accelerating that with MissionZero .”
At the same time , the company plans to soon launch a “ stackable wear liner ” for grinding mill
International Mining | JUNE 2022