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Looking to the Future

March 24, 2022

Ryan Johnson, director of R&D, and Trey Rollins, director of marketing, speak about the solutions Polydeck is creating to monitor screen media panel health.

“Our research has led us to focus on three primary concerns operators have in relation to the reliability and availability of their screen media,” Johnson explains.

“The first concern revolves around the reliability of screen panel fastenings. Operators need to be confident all screen media panels are securely fastened during installation and remain fastened during operation. Displaced screen panels can block material flow, send misplaced material through the process, and potentially damage equipment. Our technology ensures an operator can detect fastening issues before a panel becomes displaced and alerts an operator so that action can be taken quickly to prevent contaminated product piles.

“The second concern centers around screen availability in relationship to media performance and wear life. The media health technology designed into our panels will help operators more precisely understand the wear life of a screen panel and be able to plan maintenance activities based on the predicted life of panels in service. The ability to measure panel wear life in real time creates an opportunity to optimize screen media selection by location on the deck, and develop media maintenance plans that balance cost and performance. The ability to detect specific panel location gives an operator insight into specific wear patterns and opportunities to drive efficiencies throughout their process.

“Third, our concerns center around screen media being installed in the proper location on a screen deck. Due to screen decks often having two or three different aperture-sized panels on a deck, operators need to be confident that all media panels are placed in their proper location. The correct placement of the media ensures an operator is set up to achieve their target separations and maximize efficiencies.” Today, media panel wear is managed through manual tracking processes and visual inspections. Product gradations taken after material is screened also provide an indirect measure of panel condition but serve as a lagging indicator of the wear a panel has experienced. In reality, screen decks are often difficult to access, and visibility of the panels is minimal, particularly on lower decks. Moreover, a thorough inspection of a screen wear requires both a machine shutdown and a dedicated person to perform inspections and take measurements, making visual inspections expensive and time consuming. Typically, the best information an operator has at their disposal is a historical record of service intervals and changes made to a screen. The advent of “smart panels” i.e., those embedded with sensors to help operators monitor, manage, and measure the performance and wear life of their screen media in real time via the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), could prove a useful alternative.

There are two different types of critical information that smart panels could provide.

First, information on tracking long-term usage and performance patterns of the screen media. Data used for this could include the age of the panel, the wear life and the physical location. The goal is to use this data to build predictions of wear life, and in turn, predict when maintenance might need to be performed or replacement parts ordered. This information can be used to optimize maintenance planning, avoid stock-outs, and ensure the most efficient use of screen media.

Second, detection of critical events that may require an urgent response. For instance, the dislocation of a screen panel or an impact that breaks or punctures the screen media. Today, if a panel comes loose or fails catastrophically, operators often don’t know until it’s too late. Using embedded sensors to connect operators with the screen panels could help users avoid costly downtime and repairs and reduce the chance for misplaced material within a circuit.

“We believe that integrating digital technology into media panels will be a key part of screen management practices in the future and will help further increase efficiencies throughout the material processing process,” states Rollins.

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