In mining, quarrying and extractive industries, ball mills are the most common grinding machine and certainly an interesting piece of engineering ingenuity, according to Eddie Lawrence.
“A ball mill is a long shielded rotating cylinder – usually mounted on two large bearings – raw materials are fed into the ball mill and it uses centrifugal force to grind the ore to size before it is to analyse.”
“There are metal balls and armor plates inside the ball mill cylinder,” he explains further. “An electric drive via a helical gearbox will rotate the cylinder and centrifugal force will push them against the wall until they fall by gravity and reduce the size of the material.”
Eddie brings a wealth of understanding of heavy industry and engineering to his role as Webster BSC Sales Manager for Tasmania. Tasmania is home to several medium-sized zinc, tin, magnetite and gold mining operations, as well as on-site processing plants where raw materials are processed.
He discusses a recent solution developed for the MMG polymetallic underground mine located in Rosebery, Tasmania. The mine produces approximately 55,000 to 65,000 tonnes of zinc in the form of zinc concentrate per year; as well as lead and copper concentrate; and gold and silver gilt.
MMG Reliability Engineer Brett Cumming was looking to upgrade their ball mill drive coupling from some legacy equipment to a modern, easy to maintain standard.
“Secondary ball mills grind the polymetallic ore to the required size to release the copper, lead, zinc and gold particles,” Brett explains.
“The coupling mounted on the ball mill drive gear was obsolete and the supply of spare parts was proving difficult. I contacted Eddie and his team at Webster BSC regarding a replacement suggestion, we wanted something easy to maintain, fit for purpose and reliable,” he continues.
Eddie went to the MMG site to review the ball mill specs and determine what the best coupling solution would be.
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