Data – An Important Component To Product Development

In 2017 data surpassed oil in value, it is now the most valuable commodity in the world.

Yet so few people are advocating the use of programmes and tools in the workplace that can aid in generating data and information about their products and services.

In acknowledging that data and information, together with a can-do attitude and a robust scientific knowledge base, are critical for success, Multotec MPE Engineering endeavours to produce new and exciting products for Multotec.

•    Finite Element Analysis (FEA) – Strength of material analysis 

•    Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) – Flow of fluids                

•    CAD Data management system                                                                    

•    3D Metrology - 3D Scanning

•    Rapid prototyping - 3D printing 

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) utilises an iterative solver to perform complex structural calculations on a wide variety of structures and products. FEA can evaluate and determine a structure’s maximum stress, deflection and natural vibration frequencies using the same operational conditions as it would experience in real life.

Thus, it is paramount that the inputs, provided by the product division, are accurate and relevant. A recent FEA example is the analysis conducted on a port-sidehammer sampler in Guinea.

MPE Engineering supported the SSM division with the hammer sampler design for this Bauxite export project. The unit is the largest cross belt that the division has designed and may be the largest in the world. The design includes the use of a servo motor (the first time on a hammer) which can produce large torques and much greater control. Finite element analysis (FEA) was used to perform an in-depth structural evaluation of the frame and cutter assembly. 

The analysis allowed several issues to be identified and addressed in the design stage. FEA was used to establish the reactional loads on the structure and in the evaluation and redesign of the civil structure to ensure its sturdiness. This project was the largest FEA analysis the Engineering Division has ever performed, with in excess of 70 G’s of resulting data.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is utilised in characterising the flow of several fluids, gasses and slurries, as well as the geometry they interact with. Due to the vast number of factors that can influence fluid flow, an accurate CFD with trustworthy results takes significant time, patience and knowledge to develop. The results obtained from a well-executed CFD are priceless.

The CFD simulation generates important data such as pressure maps and flow velocities. This data can be presented as useable information to plot, visualise and analyse the behaviours. In 2019, MPE Engineering obtained the Ansys Fluent software to perform CFD simulations. Focus is currently being placed on the simulation of cyclones, but can also be used in many other Multotec applications.

3D Metrology (3D scanning), in conjunction with rapid prototyping techniques, assists to verify geometry, interface, visually explain ideas, perform preliminary test work of concepts, and to make moulds for components.

The recent 117HM spiral development illustrates the Engineering Division’s capabilities in utilising 3D scanning and rapid prototyping. The Gravity and Technology Divisions were tasked with the development of a heavy mineral spiral that could handle a feed of 2.2 t/h, start with a feed EHM of only 1 – 2.2% with a concentrate EHM recovery of at least 89%, just to name a few design requirements. MPE Engineering was requested by both divisions to design according to the desired specifications and performance requirements.

We designed a spiral with a unique feed arrangement, new feedbox and an integrated polyurethane edge rather than the edge rubber. Preliminary test results indicate at least a 60% increase in performance over the existing NHM spiral.

These cutting edge tools assist MPE Engineering team in developing product solutions for the various departments. Yet, what is achieved does not illustrate the competence and passion required to fulfil the goals and obligations to the company.

The best tools in the world are not substitutes for passion and skill, although they greatly assist in accelerating Multotec’s mission and vision.
 

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