Plastic Fantastic: How Using Engineering Plastics Can Benefit Your Mining Operations

28 May 2017
 Categories: , Blog

When it comes down to it, a successful mining operation depends on materials -- not just the materials that your mine produces, but the materials your mining equipment is made from. It goes without saying that mining is a rough-and-tumble, high impact business, so any successful mining contractor will ensure that the equipment they use is made from materials that can take a serious beating.

This is where engineering plastics come in. This group of incredibly durable and long-lived plastics finds use in an enormous variety of industries, but these plastics are particularly useful to the mining trade. Replacing equipment and components commonly made out of other materials (such as steel) with replacements made from engineering plastics can convey a number of attractive benefits, so consider choosing engineering plastics for the following key components of your mine:

Mining screens

Mining screens are a vital part of any profitable mining operation, as they are largely responsible for sorting larger, more valuable chunks of ore and crystal from smaller pieces of worthless rock detritus. However, the enormous amounts of rock and ore that pass through the screens of even a small mining operation can take a significant toll on the screens themselves, and conventional mining screens frequently need to be repaired or replaced to remain effective.

As such, engineering plastics find great use as mining screens and convey a number of advantages over more traditional screen materials. Perhaps most importantly, they possess very low levels of surface friction -- this dramatically reduces the amount of damage your screen takes from passing rock and ore and helps speed up the entire screen process b allowing materials to pass through the screen quickly and easily. The reduced amount of friction created by plastic screens also reduces the amount of heat they generate, helping you avoid chronic problems with overheating that can stop screening processes dead.

Conveyor belts

Of course, even the best plastic mining screen is useless without something to feed materials through it, and mining conveyor belts can also be dramatically improved with the use of engineering plastics. Like mining screens, conveyors can have the amount of friction and heat they produce significantly reduced by using plastic components, and conveyor chains, guide rollers made from engineering plastics can dramatically reduce the amount of clogs and backups your conveyor belt experiences.

Engineering plastics also have another useful property vital to many mining industries -- they are non-porous, even when their outer coatings are abraded away by significant use, and do not absorb moisture or other contaminants. This is a particularly useful property if your mine deals with reactive materials (such as magnesium and potassium ores) that could become contaminated and unusable if exposed to liquid moisture or other contaminants.

Hopper liners

Hoppers linings made of engineering plastics are a common sight in many bulk handling industries and can be just as useful when applied to the ore hopper(s) at your mine. The low-friction properties of engineering plastics excel when they are used to line these hoppers, and help bulky and awkwardly-shaped materials pass through the hopper easily without creating time-consuming (and expensive) clogs. Plastic liners also protect the metal that your hopper is made from, and can increase the longevity of your hopper by reducing abrasions that can lead to rust and corrosion.