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Digitally enabling crushers can transform operations

By |  May 5, 2021
Photo: FLSmidth

Digitalization presents producers with opportunities to crush more precisely while using less energy and producing less waste. Photo: FLSmidth

Crushing to customer specifications is a must in the aggregate industry.

For applications such as asphalt and railway ballast, in particular, meeting the correct particle size distribution and particle shape index is imperative. If your product doesn’t meet expectations, you risk expensive warranty claims and even lost business.

For years, this has been a situation that manufacturers have just had to deal with. But now, advances in digital technologies provide an opportunity to take greater control over production, enabling manufacturers to take corrective action in real-time. This not only gives producers optimum product quality, but it extends equipment life and reduces costs.

Using 3D laser scanning to improve performance

Some manufacturers use cameras to take photos of product coming out of their crusher, but this has limitations.

Photo: FLSmidth

Laser scanning allows producers to accurately measure crusher throughput and monitor particle size and shape. Photo: FLSmidth

Cameras can provide 2D images, preventing producers from taking accurate readings on particle size or shape. Laser scanning, meanwhile, provides a 3D image that – when coupled with advanced software – can be analyzed and provide detailed information about the product and crusher performance.

Laser scanning allows for accurately measuring crusher throughput, monitoring particle size and shape, and analyzing trends that give insight on crusher performance. All of this data is gathered in real time, enabling producers to adjust operating parameters in response to what they’re seeing. Producers will also be reassured that they can deliver on their required particle shape index.

In addition, they’ll know they’re not at risk of wasting product that doesn’t meet specifications.

Monitoring your maintenance needs

Product quality is also an indication of crusher performance.

For example, if the liners are nearing the end of their life, crushing efficiency drops. By continuously measuring particle size and shape, producers will be able to identify the optimum time for a liner change, as well as spot the early signs of any other crusher problems. A data-led maintenance strategy allows producers to get proactive on maintenance tasks, reducing downtime and cutting costs.

Conclusion

Crushing is one of the oldest industrial processes, yet new advances are happening all the time.
Digitalization will enable producers to do more with less, crushing more precisely while using less energy and producing less waste. And everyone will benefit from more efficient, more environmentally-friendly operations.


Dale Mclean is FLSmidth product line manager for crushers in North America.


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