A poor or sub-optimal performing process wastes time, money and resources.
The challenge is to identify where there are opportunities to improve unit operations and implement effective solutions that can improve process performance and achieve a higher throughput.
A range of technologies and solutions
We can help lower a company's operating costs by optimising their unit processes so that less resources, energy, maintenance or downtime is required to achieve the same, if not better output.
Our research and technologies can provide:
- maximum unit performance through stability
- automated, low capital solutions
- real-time data to assist decision-making
- intelligent process improvements
- reduction in operating costs.
We draw on world-leading expertise in process engineering to develop solutions for our customers, examples are included below.
Advanced mineral characterisation technologies
Our advances in mineral characterisation include:
- the commercialisation of a fully integrated cathodoluminescence detection system into electron microprobes for enhanced light element detection and mapping
- development of expanded mineral libraries for mineral liberation studies using QEMSCAN
- advanced understanding of uranium deportment in a wide range of Australian ores to assist the development of new processing options.
More efficient suspension pumping
We developed a comprehensive software program that predicts the pressure loss, settling conditions for complex combinations of solid properties, rheology and pipe configurations. As a result, we can reduce water consumption used in slurry transport, pumping energy costs and capital costs, and improve safety and reliability.
Improving thickener technologies
We have enhanced the performance of over 200 thickeners, washers and clarifiers, using our knowledge of how suspension properties, process conditions and engineering designs collectively determine thickener performance, and our sophisticated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling capabilities. This has resulted in improved overflow clarity and operational stability; significantly increased throughput (avoiding the need for new capital installations) and higher underflow densities (increasing water recovery and improving washer performance).
Use of acoustics for monitoring mills
We developed a method that uses acoustic waves to cut through the noise generated by heavy machinery to 'hear' how well it is running. The technique uses an online analyser that monitors passive acoustic waves to sense machine performance.
Modelling of flotation cells
Our CFD model determines the effect of cell design and operation conditions on flotation performance. The model can be used to optimise the flotation process, aiming to improve recovery, energy consumption and capital utilisation.
New agitation technologies
Our knowledge of solids suspension, solids/liquid mixing, gas dispersion, liquid/liquid mixing and blending of high viscosity slurry has been used to develop full-scale retrofitttings on over 100 mixing tanks at mineral processing refineries to improve product consistency, increase throughput, and reduce tank downtime and cost on oxygen usage.
Enhanced solvent extraction technologies
Our synergistic solvent extraction (SSX) technology provides alternative and improved selectivity of solvent extraction processes to the point where, for example, cobalt and nickel can be separated cost-effectively from typical process solutions.
Reducing multiphase erosion
We use CFD modelling to improve the design of slurry flow equipment and gas/solids flow pipe work to reduce erosion. This increases the service life of the equipment and reduces the cost of more expensive materials.
We developed a CFD model for a copper electrowinning cell that predicts solution flow and copper transport. The model can be applied to any system to optimise throughput and plating quality.