New materials save time, money and manpower
It’s not unusual for Mitchell Dryers to visit a site and find that equipment we supplied decades ago is still in operation.
That was the case at a copper mining operation in Chile, where a dryer installed in the 1970s was still in service when our team was called upon again in 2012. Although the pan dryer was in working order, the exceptionally harsh working environment and resultant corrosion meant it was time for a new solution.
We were able to recommend alternative construction materials which, as well as significantly extending the life of the plant, would mean maintenance of the dryer was required every three months as opposed to every 10 days – saving time, money and manpower. The customer successfully tested the new materials with the University of Santiago and shortly afterwards placed an order with us.
Five years on, the further expansion of the copper mine led to the supply of another dryer. “Having proven technology certainly counted in our favour but our hands-on approach is also very much valued by our customers,” believes James Douglas, technical director at Mitchell Dryers.
“This site is on the edge of a desert 3,000 metres up in the Andes and it’s around an hour’s drive from the nearest settlement to reach the mine. With any commissioning programme you have to be ready for the unknown and skilled at quickly resolving problems, but especially so when you’re at a very remote location. We worked long days and were able to commission the dryer within a week.”
Having the knowledge to select the best materials was critical to the project’s success. “That’s something that comes with years of experience. We’d seen similarly challenging environments and knew that choosing the right material would play a key part in maximising the efficiency of the operation.”