TOMRA’s latest XRT advances open up processing options for miners

In particle sorting, size is everything. Whether as the primary sorting method in smaller operations where product purity is paramount to profit, or downstream in a scavenger setup to capture value once lost to tailings, particle sorters are becoming more common in the mining world.

They’ve been on industrial minerals flowcharts for decades, but they’re now finding their way into metals operations around the world as miners seek to increase recovery, reduce their energy use, and in many cases streamline their water usage.

This makes TOMRA Mining’s latest advances in sensor-based ore sorting all the more significant.

The company is now breaking new ground with a new ejection module for its COM Tertiary XRT (X-ray transmission) sensor-based sorter, specifically designed for small particle size sorting.

The COM Tertiary XRT Fines Sorter with the new TS100C module and the recently launched image processing unit is capable of sorting particle sizes down to 4mm in high-performance applications with much higher energy efficiency, delivering a high-quality product at low operating costs, the company says .

The COM Tertiary XRT Fines Sorter with the new ejection module TS100C has been installed at the TOMRA Test Center in Wedel, Germany

The TS100C high-resolution ejector module features a new type of ejector that the company says is four times faster than previous iterations. Together with the new image processing unit, it ensures greater precision when sorting small particle sizes at high throughputs.

The sorter’s mechanical design has also been improved, according to TOMRA, with the introduction of a new splitter plate and more precise calibration equipment to ensure the greater precision in alignment between detection and ejection systems required for fine particles.

This has been captured in field tests that started as early as May 2022 and showed a capacity increase of up to 30 t/h, an increase in product recovery and a reduction in energy consumption.

Ines Hartwig, Director Product Management at TOMRA Mining, explains I AM on the verge of recent SME MINEXCHANGE 2023 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver that the company had previously been able to visualize particles this small, but the mechanical ejection feature was unable to keep up.

“This new ejection module is a significant leap forward for TOMRA and we believe in the entire particle sorting facility in the industry,” she said.

And although the industrial minerals sector was the first to push for these developments, Hartwig said she expects metal miners to benefit too.

“We’ve visited operations around the world that were storing fine material because they just couldn’t process it with the technology on the market,” she said. “We are now opening up many new opportunities for these companies.”

To gain field experience with the new ejector module, TOMRA partnered with a customer who has been running a COM Tertiary XRT for more than two years to produce high-grade magnesite. The screen removes up to 50% low-grade material and waste material from the incoming raw magnesite with grain sizes from 10 to 35 mm at around 20 t/h.

Ines Hartwig, Director of Product Management at TOMRA Mining

“After doing the test work with the TS100C ejection module at the TOMRA test center, we were convinced that it would be very beneficial for this customer,” says Hartwig. “We showed them the test results and outlined the benefits we expected from the module. When they saw the potential reduction in compressed air consumption and the resulting cost savings, they were keen to do the field trial!”

The customer, the Magnesite operation in Turkey, ran several trials and documented the energy savings and sorting efficiencies. The results showed a 70% reduction in air consumption with an increase in product recovery with a lower mass input to waste for the same product quality and a capacity increase from 20 t/h to 30 t/h with comparable results to TOMRA.

The COM Tertiary XRT Fines Sorter with the new TS100C ejection module has been installed at the TOMRA test center in Wedel, Germany and is ready to perform tests for customers with material samples from their mines, says TOMRA.

Hartwig said she expects existing COM Tertiary XRT customers to upgrade to the new module with the company’s retrofit solution, but also expects many new customers to purchase brand new units.

“There is a significant ‘new’ market out there that we expect will take advantage of this technology,” she said. “The economic and environmental value of many of these operations can be significantly enhanced through the use of the COM Tertiary XRT Fines Sorter.”


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