Jay Carelse, Mechanical Engineer, Mineral Processing Equipment (MPE) explains how Multotec’s cyclones are being optimised.
It is widely acknowledged that Multotec’s cyclone distributors are robust and reliable. When Multotec’s cyclone specialist, Ernst Bekker, prompted us to rethink our current cyclone distributor range, we understood that the intention of the product development was to analyse and optimise the cyclone distributor range.
Traditionally, optimising a product such as a distributor and its variance would be extremely costly, involving the production and testing of several prototypes. In addition, the internal slurry flow patterns and behaviours would prove complicated to analyse. The Multotec Processing Equipment (MPE) technical department is utilising state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics software, also known as CFD. This software allows us to see what is not visible to the naked eye.
By combining complex physics models, we can emulate real-world operations that the distributors would experience. These “real world” inputs can then be applied to various iterations and design changes, allowing us to simulate and observe the effects timeously. By remotely utilising high-performance computing clusters, located in Cape Town, we were able to conduct several iterations.
This development has progressed over the last few months, with findings indicating that performance and manufacturing costs can be optimised. For example, by reducing the size and changing the shape and form of the pulp distributor, its performance was increased and biasing reduced. Additionally, the reduced material requirements result in lower manufacturing costs. The use of CFD allows us to see where particles may be getting trapped. In addition, wear rates and wear patterns can be evaluated to optimise high wear rate areas.
Following successful optimisation of cyclones, we will apply the same optimisation techniques to the complete distributor system.