The True Cost Behind Cost Per Ton

MJW CostPerTon Blog

Looking Beyond Cost Per Ton to Gauge Operational Productivity

Productivity is essential in any plant’s operation, which understandably makes a low cost of production per ton a desired goal. Many variables contribute to a plant’s cost of production per ton, including the cost of mining, transportation, processing and labor. Screen media plays a vital role in increasing the efficiency and productivity of processing, which makes choosing the best screen media for operations essential. 

Cost is often a motivating factor when choosing between screen media options, but the full story of productivity can’t be summed up by just looking at either screen media panel cost or number of replacements. Much like a scale, the amount of output needs to be weighed against end product quality. By producing more to-spec material through its superior screening, high-vibration screen media offers added value to processing operations. 

Long-Term Yield over Short-Term Costs 

Because of its durability and longer wear life, synthetic media, such as polyurethane, is often selected as a lower-cost option since it requires fewer replacements than high-vibration screens. Its durability is also effective when used to handle high-impact materials screening such as dewatering or when processing large amounts of minerals with little risk of pegging or blinding. 

However, polyurethane panels trade durability for less open area and it’s often very rigid and relies on the vibrating screen to do most of the work. The static movement of the screens limits vibration to 800-900 cycles per minute, which can decrease throughput and invite blinding and pegging with finer minerals. 

In comparison, MAJOR’s FLEX-MAT® has as much as 50% more open area than polyurethane, which allows more material to be sized accurately in less time. This result is achieved through the high frequency of its wires — 8,000 to 10,000 cycles per minute — that adds to the vibration of the screen box to speed up material separation and passing. This performance requires more changeouts of screens because unprotected woven wire breaks more easily than polyurethane. The trade-off to more frequent replacements is that the increased screening action improves material throughput, virtually eliminates pegging and clogging across the top and bottom decks and yields a better-quality product. With FLEX-MAT, a higher investment upfront can lead to greater production gains down the road.

Enhanced Durability of High-Vibration Media 

It should also be noted that while polyurethane screens currently outlast a wire product, this gap has been closing. The inclusion of polyurethane strips within FLEX-MAT Modular Plus panels boosts its durability without sacrificing open area. This addition means that these high-vibration panels can withstand harsher screening conditions with the most abrasive materials, such as granite and basalt.

Mixing and Matching Media 

In some applications, the strengths of polyurethane and high-vibration screens can complement one another. In cases where the top deck receives heavy material with a high impact and requires a longer wear life, using a synthetic screen would be best. Once the polyurethane has taken the impact and the material is spread out more easily on the lower deck, a high-vibration screen can be used to overcome the limitations of the open area of the synthetic screen and produce more throughput. One industry case study reveals the benefits of such a pairing. A granite aggregate operation running polyurethane panels on the top deck and woven wire screens on the bottom decks experienced diminished throughput due to low open area as well as poor material stratification and pegging and blinding issues. Replacing the middle deck with a high-vibration panel tripled its operational life, eliminated pegging and blinding, and resulted in a 200% increase in production volume. 

Added Value Over Cost Per Ton

When it comes to making the best purchasing decision for your operations, added value should take the place of cost per ton. At the outset, polyurethane may seem like a cheaper alternative to many premium high-vibration wire products. In the longer term, FLEX-MAT’s customized high-vibration screens offer a more cost-saving and high-yield solution. To learn more about how FLEX-MAT can best fit your plant’s processing operations, contact MAJOR today