Close up of a conveyor belt throwing gravel on a heap

Supplying new technology for the mining industry

A prominent diamond mining company in Botswana required to replace their dated mining solutions with new technologically advanced products that will improve their machine efficiency. Festo provided the remedy in the form of a complete technical solution which reduced the customer’s workload and increased productivity. Festo has been offering secure and reliable products that have been tried and tested to withstand the harsh mining environment for over 50 years.

Start of the project

New and innovative solutions are regularly introduced in the industry. To remain competitive, companies need to always ensure that their products are up to date in order to obtain peak performance. The company required new customised Solenoid Valve Junction Box (SVJB) for process valve control. The commencement of the project saw extended discussions between the Festo Official Partner, Fluiconnecto and the customer from 2018 to 2019. After a plant visit to finalise the customer requirements and specifications, an order was placed for 75 customised stainless steel SVJB Control Cabinets.

Festo offers products and expert support for both mining operations and manufacturer machines. In this instance, Festo was able to supply the company with 75 specialised control cabinets through their trusted Official Partner. These control cabinets were designed and built to protect products, taking into account the specific mining industry requirements. The design was also influenced by local conditions such as the environment, weather and climate. Components namely; Air preparation, VTSA Valve Terminal (8x 5/2-way) with hot swap, terminal CPX module and drip cover were integrated into the control cabinets as required. The operationally tested system was delivered to the mining company ready-to-install directly to where it will be used.

Maximum functionality in the mining industry

The sturdy, highly adaptable and modular design of the VTSA makes it very popular in various industry segments that prefer standardised products and high flow rates yet also require high flexibility and modularity. The combination of five valve sizes on one valve terminal is unique and a first at Festo. Their easy to integrate VTSA is fully compliant with ISO 15407-2, and ISO 5599-2. It can be used in harsh environments: the sturdy metal housing, completely sealed valves, as well as the ducted exhaust air and pilot air, protect against failure in fine dust environments making it a good choice for the mining industry. What makes this product ideal for the project is the hot-swap function integrated into it. With these functions, engineers do not have to switch off the machine and stop production to fix a fault; the hot-swap allows the machine to continue working without interruptions while machine users replace the faulty parts.

Product integration for maximum efficiency

The Festo VTSA is integrated with the terminal CPX, which can be used with all conventional Fieldbus systems or Ethernet. The electric, open and direct terminal CPX has the perfect platform for electrical peripherals. With their terminal, customers can integrate pneumatic and electrical control chains easily, quickly, flexibly and seamlessly into all automation concepts and company-specific standards and into Industry 4.0 as well. The terminal CPX contains everything that makes Festo stand out: competency, security and efficiency, which are also critical factors in the mining industry.

Air preparation for perfect air quality

Dust particles in compressed air reduce the service life and functionality of components and systems as they cause deposits and mechanical friction, (e.g. between the cylinder wall and piston seal). They also impair productivity and energy efficiency. Air preparation filter regulators, on the other hand, significantly increase the process and product reliability. It is essential for the smooth functioning of pneumatic components and process reliability in production processes. The right level of compressed air purity, a sufficient amount of compressed air and a suitable level of pressure for the mining applications are vital factors that need to be taken into consideration before selecting a filter regulator. For this application, the filter regulator series MSB4, MS6 LFR and MS6-LWS were used. These filter regulators have high flow rates and are energy efficient. The MS4 series was installed directly in the control cabinet to protect the VTSA valves internal pilot ports from blocking. The MS6 units were mounted outside the cabinet for ease of access, servicing, protection of the main components from particles and water.

Throughout the years, Festo has become one of the most trusted automation solutions provider in the mining industry; for this reason, we were entrusted with this project worth over R5 million. The leaders in automation provided the company with the latest technology products, accurate delivery and local support through our trusted and trained official partner Fluiconnecto. Thanks to Festo, the customer now has increased machine efficiency and experiences fewer machine downtimes.

February 2021

Overview