Reliable feedback from process instrumentation is an essential part of monitoring and optimising production. Not only does it keep mines up to date with throughput levels to ensure that quotas are met, but it also prevents bottlenecks and overflowing. There are a lot of options on the market when it comes to continuous measurement, but when choosing the best measuring device (both in terms of quality and suitability), who better to ask than experienced industry consultants?
Current Engineering Solutions Pty Ltd is a well-established consulting engineering company that services a wide range of industries, including mining, manufacturing, infrastructure and water/wastewater. Working within Australia, as well as internationally, Current Engineering Solutions has a long history of working with industry teams to fulfil their engineering and procurement requirements.
Within the company’s range of stocked products, Current Engineering Solutions provides customers with the VEGAPULS 69 radars, a robust sensor used for continuous measurement of bulk solids at various processing stages.
“We use the VEGAPULS 69 on a lot of Rio Tinto sites,” explains Paul Smith, senior electrical engineer at Current Engineering Solutions. “They have excellent accuracy and repeatability with the narrow beam offering measurement opportunities previously not achievable with radar systems, without the disadvantage of dust problems experienced using lasers. The 80GHz radars can handle significant dust concentrations and temperature extremes, so we’ve found them very effective. We’ve used them in bins and transfer chutes, as well as in crusher cavities. We have enjoyed tremendous success with these radars where long term problematic level measurement and the associated incidents and downtime have been totally alleviated with their installation. Others implementations supported by control system modifications have seen statistically significant production improvements as validated by six sigma data studies over the longer term.
“The majority of control philosophies implemented rely on very accurate level measurement to safely maximise the throughput of productive assets, so whether it’s a feed-forward control, closed-loop control or any kind of optimisation work, having accurate and reliable level measurement is fundamental to maximising performance. We need to really optimise and streamline our processes, to ensure our clients maintain productivity aligned to industry best practice for their world-leading assets. With VEGA, we can maximise capacity and maximise efficiency making this a reality for them.”
The VEGAPULS 69 is ideally suited for level measurement in high silos, large bunkers and segmented vessels owing to its excellent signal focussing. It can be optimised and adapted to different application areas by equipping it with an encapsulated plastic antenna or a lens antenna integrated with the metal flange.
With its 80 GHz frequency, this radar sensor can measure a wide range of bulk solid material, from fine powders, ash and dried sewage sludge to cullet, granulates and coarse bulk solids, all while maintaining high dust immunity.
According to Dr Smith, the VEGAPULS 69 resistance to dust has ensured that many projects have had greater success compared to less robust measurement devices. The measuring device has been successfully used at various sites, and is particularly popular with Rio Tinto projects across Western Australia.
“The VEGAPULS 69 is a one-stop solution,” Smith explains. “It doesn’t require a secondary unit for safekeeping dust off such as air purging or wipers that often have significantly higher failure rates than the primary measurement system. Overall, it’s got better longevity and reliability than solutions that require a secondary system to prevent dust contamination and maintenance.”