The demand for trommel screens is picking up globally, contributing to the growing international footprint of South Africa-based minerals processing equipment specialist Multotec.
According to Francois Fouche, vice-president of screen media at Multotec, the company’s reputation for quality, performance and reliability continues to drive sales in new and existing markets.
“One of our recent successes is the performance of our screen media in the SAG mill trommels of a large copper producer in South America,” says Fouche. “Our panels were able to significantly extend the duration between replacement, compared to the competitor products previously installed.”
He points out that an important factor behind the recent successes of the company has been the referrals from customers in one country to operations elsewhere.
“Our trommel screens really work hard for the customer, and good news travels fast – both within and between companies,” he says. “Where one mine is impressed with our equipment’s performance, this will often find its way to other prospective operations.”
Over half of Multotec’s revenue now comes from customers beyond South Africa’s borders, and the company again earned a place in the Exporter of the Year Awards last year, hosted by the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC).
“Our trommel screens have long dominated the African market, while we are well established in Australia, Europe, North America and South America,” he says. In leading copper producing areas such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, these trommels reach 5,5 m in diameter and 6 m in length – regularly treating throughput of 5 000 t/h.
Fouche notes that much of Multotec’s customer base remains the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of semi-autogenous (SAG) mills – large, multinational players with demanding expectations.
“A trommel screen is a key piece of equipment in the process circuit, so our continued servicing of this segment of the market is a good indication of their trust in our ability,” he says. “A mine will frequently rely on just one SAG mill, and if the trommel screen on that mill fails, the whole mine can stand.”
Multotec has been designing and producing trommel screens and screen media for 40 years, and has an installed base numbering some 1 000 units around the globe. Closer to home, two large trommel screens were recently dispatched to a leading heavy minerals miner in South Africa. In this application, the trommels are self-driven, as there is no prior milling process. The trommels therefore have a scalping function, removing vegetation and over-size material before the main commodity stream can enter the process plant.
Multotec provides after sales service and technical support for the trommels sold, and customers have the option to enter into a service level agreement with the company where a field service team will conduct condition monitoring and trommel maintenance.
Fouche notes that current screen media demand continues to focus on rubber and polyurethane panels, which prove cost effective and abrasion resistant in most applications. There remains a demand for steel trommels, but usually in very specific markets and applications.