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KZN miner crushes coal production goals thanks to new mobile machine

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils KZN miner crushes coal production goals thanks to new mobile machine

WHEN a KwaZulu-Natal mining company wanted to increase their average monthly processed coal production from around 20 000 tons a month to just over 60 000 tons, they knew this would be impossible without a significant investment in new machines.

That’s according to Yeshen Achary, Sales Engineer at Pilot Crushtec, who added that the company focusses on three areas: anthracite, bituminous coal, and lean coal mining for both the local and international market.

“Having increased their production significantly over the last while, they needed to add an additional mobile crusher. The product they were keen on was the DoppiaTrac DR400 double roll crusher, a mobile unit that not many companies manufacture,” he said.

“The double roll crusher works a lot better for their application, as the raw feed material in KZN tends to be slightly softer and it creates more fines, which is unsuitable for their particular clients spec of end product. Having looked at a number of the competitor’s machines our client realised, quite quickly, that the DoppiaTrac design was more advanced, robust, easy to use and, most importantly, it was mobile.”

Achary, who was involved in the acquisition process from the beginning, believes the DoppiaTrac DR400 will serve the client’s needs perfectly. “Essentially, the company could not establish the definitive lifespan of the mine so would have to go with mobile units. Using traditional mobile units would’ve taken two or three units to produce the required tonnage that a single DoppiaTrac DR400 can produce.

“From a pure operating cost perspective this made no sense as you would be running three diesel engines as opposed to one. Another one of the other unique selling points, which impressed the client, was the fact that it is far cheaper to run the DoppiaTrac DR400 than a cone or jaw crusher as a double roll crusher is not normally as high wearing on the roll segments. Essentially it ticked all the boxes on the clients wish list, and at its price point, it is a safe bet for any contractor.”

The mobility of the unit seems to be a big selling point as well, as there is a trend for mines to subcontract processing out to smaller to medium sized enterprises. This makes mobility crucial as short-term contracts are the order of the day, which makes expensive static plants impractical on a number of levels.

“The DoppiaTrac DR400 was designed from scratch when we received an enquiry from a client,” said Technical Director at Pilot Crushtec, Jorge Abelho.

“Whenever we get an enquiry from the industry, we explore the viability of producing the machine, and whether or not it would find a place in the market. In the case of the DoppiaTrac DR400 it made sense. When the prototype was built, we put it through its paces in real world scenarios and tweaked the design to make it available to our workshop for production.”

Abelho said the design had been deliberately kept as simple as possible. “It is robust, easy to maintain, and has all solid-state relays that any electrician can get to and service. Our machines are often used in remote areas of the country which are not always easily accessible. You have to ensure that it keeps working as it could take a technician a long time to get out to the site.”

Abelho said that while the static roll-crusher concept does exist, there are no machines able to cater to the contractor. “Contractors are one of our biggest customer bases. Essentially, they need something that is portable. They do a job for a few months, move on, and need to re-establish quickly on another site. You can, quite literally, drive off a low-bed, and be up and running in 30 minutes. Conversely, if you commission a static plant, you are looking at around 12 to 24 months before you are up and running, and you need a sustained, long-term contract for the project to be viable.”

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