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MEI Online: Sizing & Classification: Latest News: May 18th 2005


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:: Advances in Screen Technology Improve Wear Life and Reduce Maintenance Downtime

There are references to screening of materials as far back as 150BC in Roman and Greek records using horse hair and hides with holes punched in them and stretched over static frames. The first screens in their current form were the rotary trommel screens and slow speed shaker screens developed in the early 20th century, and these operated at below 500 r.p.m..

The vibrating screens that we know today evolved from electromagnetic devices to brute force electro-mechanical units using eccentric shaft drives and gearbox excitors. Vibrator motor drives were introduced in the 1960s and today make up the major proportion of drives due to their ease of maintenance.

The advent of Finite Element Analysis in the 1970s made it cost effective to develop wide bodied screens and the largest screens available today are in the region of 4.25 metre wide by over 10 metre long weighing in excess of 40 tons.

Mechanically, and from a cost perspective, this is probably the effective limit for the manufacture of vibrating screens. However, plants are now becoming larger, processing higher tonnages while existing plants are being optimised to increase throughput while reducing maintenance and downtime to a minimum.

In response to these requirements, Multotec Manufacturing has developed three dimensional screen panels.

Roy Roche, business development manager at Multotec Manufacturing explains that vibrating screens are volumetric devices, which are reaching their cost effectiveness and mechanical limits.

“One of the ways of increasing the capacity of screens today is to increase the size of the screening surface. By using screen panels with three-dimensional surfaces, this has been accomplished," he explains.

Known as M3D panels, these come into their own at apertures below 10 mm, where open area is at a premium. With conventional panels, high open areas can be achieved, but this is at the cost of panel life. The most effective screen panel marries the highest open area with reasonable panel life.

“M3D screen panels are in their infancy, but show great promise. Most of the Multotec M3D panel designs are patented and are in the various stages of development," Roche says. In-house and site testing is being conducted on an ongoing basis.




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