3 Simple Steps to Maximize Screening Uptime

With an expected increase in infrastructure spending in 2022, producers are going to have plenty of work to do. To keep up with increased demand, mines and quarries will need to reach and maintain high levels of productivity. 

Easier said than done. Unexpected downtime, increasing operating costs and Murphy’s Law will no doubt have their own agenda. But producers can take concrete steps to prevent breakdowns, improve their efficiency and maximize their screening uptime to prepare for the coming year. Paying special attention to screen media selection, screen installation and vibration analysis can all help mines and quarries take advantage of a potentially profitable 2022.

Screen Selection

Many producers underestimate the impact screen media choice has on their productivity and uptime. Three main screen media types are most helpful to consider, each with pros and cons depending on a mine or quarry’s situation. Synthetic media such as rubber or polyurethane stands out for its long wear life but can suffer from issues with performance. Synthetic media features less open area than wire screens, limiting throughput and often causes more issues with blinding and pegging. This tradeoff might lead some producers concerned with maximizing productivity to search elsewhere for their screen media solution.

Some of the most durable options for primary decks are perforated steel plates and heavy-duty rubber. Steel plates are desirable for applications that require durable media and high open area. The heavier media can make maintenance and operation more challenging, however. Rubber media can likewise provide large openings but may be limited in open area and can suffer from blinding and pegging issues that hamper an operation’s screening efficiency. Despite their drawbacks, steel plate and rubber media might be the best option for applications with heavy, abrasive material.

Wire screens are a third option. Though woven wire has been the traditional go-to for its high open area and inexpensive cost, it has a short wear life relative to the options previously discussed. High vibration wire screens, like MAJOR’s FLEX-MAT, are more efficient and provide a compromise between the wear life of synthetic and woven wire media. FLEX-MAT wires vibrate independently, amplifying the screening process and increasing throughput as much as 40%. Plus, the blinding and pegging issues suffered by synthetic and even traditional woven wire media are significantly reduced. High vibration wire screens are often the optimal choice for producers searching for ways to improve their production efficiency and output.

Proper Installation

Proper screen media installation can ensure efficient and safe operation. Before starting installation, the vibrating screen should be inspected. Maintenance technicians should examine the machine frame for cracks, loose bolts and broken welds, as well as check for worn crown bars, weak or broken leaf springs, and bent clamping rails. Any issues discovered should be addressed before installing the new screen media.

Technicians handling the screen media changeout should review the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure the panel is the proper size before starting the process. With each new set of screens, the crown bar rubber should be replaced. If not, it may not sit properly on the crown bar which can cause the cloth to chatter and eventually break. 

When working with tensioned screen media, the number one priority is proper screen tensioning. Maintenance technicians should always tighten inner clamp rail bolts first before moving to the outside bolts and change machine sides to keep the panels centered. Tensioned screens should resemble a drum and not flex when pressed. Following these guidelines will help prevent premature wear or breakdowns, keeping the operation running and productivity high.

Vibration Analysis

A final strategy mines and quarries can use to dial in their efficiency in the coming year is vibration analysis. Vibration analysis is a form of predictive analysis. It allows producers to identify and prevent issues with their equipment.

One such vibration analysis tool is the FLEX-MAT Sensor. Designed as a tool for quick and easy assessments, the innovative sensor provides information that can bring possible problems to light before they cause expensive breakdowns. Weak or damaged screens, loose bolts and cracked side plates are a few examples of issues that often fly under the radar until they cause a costly and time-consuming unplanned shutdown. 

The FLEX-MAT Sensor helps visualize things like g-force, stroke, rpm and orbit, as well as an important measurement many systems do not capture lateral movement. In addition to helping prevent catastrophic breakdowns and identify maintenance issues, the data provided by the Sensor allows producers to fine tune their vibrating screens for maximum performance. For the mine or quarry desiring to focus on maintaining high levels of efficiency, optimizing their vibrating screens with the help of the FLEX-MAT Sensor will not only improve their productivity, but help prevent problems before they happen. A worthy time investment on the front end that pays dividends in the form of efficiency and profit potential.

Gearing Up

It’s important to take stock when gearing up for what may be proven to be a highly demanding year in terms of production requirements. 

Schedule a screen media consultation today to ensure you’re up to the task by carefully analyzing your current screening setup and taking steps to optimize it for a productive year.