Freeport-McMoRan has been granted a patent for a drum assembly in a ball mill system. The assembly includes a drum with flanges and a cylinder shell, a frame, and an inlet liner. The system also comprises a feed chute with an inlet housing, main housing, and feed spout. The patent aims to improve the efficiency and performance of ball mill systems. GlobalData’s report on Freeport-McMoRan gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Freeport-McMoRan, Extraction by leaching was a key innovation area identified from patents. Freeport-McMoRan's grant share as of September 2023 was 68%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A ball mill system with a drum assembly and inlet liner

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Freeport-McMoRan Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772101B2) describes a ball mill system that includes a feed chute and a drum assembly. The feed chute consists of an inlet housing, a main housing, and a feed spout with a tube extending from the main housing to a distal end. The drum assembly is in fluid communication with the feed chute and comprises a drum with flanges and a cylinder shell, a frame coupled to the first flange, and an inlet liner coupled to the frame. The inlet liner defines a drum inlet, and the distal end of the tube extends aft of the inlet liner's forward end.

The patent also mentions various features and configurations of the ball mill system. For example, the inlet liner can consist of multiple inlet segments arranged circumferentially adjacent to each other. The inlet liner determines the drum inlet radius, while the outer surface of the feed spout tube defines the outer surface radius, which is typically between 95% and 100% of the drum inlet radius. The drum assembly also includes a discharge assembly with an outlet liner consisting of multiple outlet segments coupled to the second radial wall of the drum.

Additionally, the patent describes a retrofitting process for a ball mill system. The process involves adapting the feed spout by extending its axial length or replacing it with a second feed spout that includes an extended spout portion. A frame is then coupled to the first flange of the drum, and an inlet liner is coupled to the frame, defining the drum inlet. The retrofitting process may also include decoupling the outlet liner from the second radial wall of the drum and coupling a second outlet liner to the drum.

Overall, this patent presents a ball mill system with specific features and configurations that aim to improve the efficiency and performance of the milling process. The retrofitting process described in the patent allows for the modification of existing ball mill systems to incorporate these improvements.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.