Read about why Polydeck uses injection molding to manufacture our screen media.
Screen media plays a crucial role in efficiently segregating or separating minerals. Without a high-performance, durable screen material, frequent screen changes and unplanned downtime are inevitable. High-quality screen media maximizes run time, operating efficiency and profits while minimizing downtime and maintenance costs.
The Beginnings of Injection Molding in Screen Media Manufacturing
Mining operations sacrifice thousands of dollars in lost revenues due to screen media maintenance issues and inefficient screening. One way to ensure the quality of the screen media is to evaluate the process by which it is made. Although used in manufacturing settings for years, it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that injection molding was first incorporated in the production of screen media. That’s when Manfred Freissle, the Father of Polydeck, engineered a modular synthetic screen media concept and chose injection molding as his manufacturing process of choice.
Advantages of Injection Molding
Modular screen media needs to be consistent in its construction throughout the panel in order to withstand the harsh forces generated in mining operations. At Polydeck, injection molding was chosen as the highest quality option. Other processes like casting produce inconsistent results and rely heavily on an operator monitoring the process. There are no means to effectively inspect the material for proper curing that is non-destructive once the casting process begins. For example, on rubber screen panels, under-vulcanization in the center or over-vulcanization of the outer skin reduces the performance of compression molded panels and therefore compromises screening efficiency. These irregularities led Peter Freissle, Manfred's son, to choose injection molding instead for its consistency, durability, and overall quality versus competitive processes.
Since the creation of the first prototype, Polydeck has continually been committed to research and development of products and methods that lower the overall cost per processed ton for its customers. This uncompromising approach has resulted in screen panels that produce consistent high-quality results every time.
Consistency is Key (and the Proof is in the Product)
Polydeck’s injection molding process involves heating the raw material of proprietary polyurethane or rubber blends into a liquid state and injecting it under extreme pressure into a cavity containing a wide range of mold geometries required to make each specific product. These components and geometries allow a myriad of combinations relating to the aperture size and shape, fastening type, and surface features, while producing panels that minimize any trapped air and/or voids inside the panel which compromise integrity. The entire process is carefully calibrated and computer controlled to monitor key process indicators from panel to panel, minimizing operator errors, and ensuring consistency.
As a privately-owned company focused solely on effective screen media solutions, Polydeck has the flexibility and a range of more than 1,500 screen panel design options to suit virtually any screening need. The injection molding process can produce panels in minutes, not hours, enabling the company to feature the shortest lead time in the industry on non-stock screen panels. By using superior materials during manufacturing, Polydeck is able to ensure consistency in construction and repeatability from panel to panel. This means more product can be screened, leading to higher payouts and an overall more efficient screening process.
Ultimately, when choosing screen media, producers should consider the quality and value of the media, and base their decision on the overall costs saved over the life of the screen panel. Compared to media options sold at a lower cost, Polydeck screen media offers a range of time and cost-saving benefits that no one else can offer.
To learn more about Polydeck’s injection molding processes and how you can save money and screen materials more efficiently, contact a Polydeck screen media expert today!
Part 2 covers extending the life of your equipment and maintaining operations by being proactive with maintenance and quality control.
In Part 1 of this two-part series, we reviewed some of the many decisions that must be made before selecting the right screening solution for your operation. Asking the right questions upfront can really pay off over the life of your equipment, once you’ve made the investment.
Part 2 below looks at how to extend the life of your equipment and maintain smooth operations over the long-haul by establishing a system of proactive maintenance and quality control. With such a system in place, you achieve greater visibility over your operational performance and can identify emerging issues before they develop into major problems.
A schedule of regular maintenance is the best way to ensure that your screening system operates reliably, with a longer wear life, consistent specification accuracy, minimal downtime, and maximum cost efficiency.
Whether you use wire cloth or a synthetic option, periodic visual inspections of your system are necessary to detect any extreme or unusual wear.
- Check synthetic screen decks for wear patterns possibly caused by a change in feed rate, uneven material distribution, or high-pressure water spray. Replace worn screens immediately to prevent out-of-spec material or damage to the fastening system or steel support structure.
- Make sure side-tensioned media screens are tensioned correctly upon installation, and be sure to support side-tensioned synthetic screen decks with high-quality bucker bar rubber. Check them on a regular basis, looking for loose clamp bars or blocked apertures that are plugged with material or blinded over, and re-tension the screens where needed.
- Examine side wear liners as they typically last longer than the actual screen surface, looking for wear and for loose bolts or clamping hardware. If all liners are not securely tightened, the screen panels can move, and potentially damage the side wear liners, the screen panels, or the modular support structure itself. Loose side wear liners can also allow screen panels to disengage, causing material to go out of spec.
When replacing modular synthetic media, ensure a secure attachment to the frame by cleaning sand or fines from the frame surfaces and the fastening cavities.
Regularly evaluate your screen equipment for unusual variations in operating parameters, such as acceleration, displacement, deflections, and critical frequency, all of which can hinder screen performance and even seriously damage the support structure.
It’s also important to work closely with your screen media manufacturer to perform a screen analysis on the machine itself, in order to isolate the possible cause of poor screening performance. Don't forget that Polydeck offers screen performance evaluations and we're ready to help.
Frequent quality control sampling to detect spec changes—either sudden or gradual—is an effective method to monitor the wear life and condition of your screen media.
With modular synthetic panels, the maintenance crew should always be looking for any wear before it becomes a contamination problem. If the quality control team detects gradation changes, however, they can also alert the crew to start gauging the screens and check for any unseen wear issues.
Replace affected modular synthetic media when a product gradation begins trending to the high or low end of the spec range. It takes just a few minutes to change out any worn screen panels and resume operation.
No matter what screen media you deploy, it will eventually succumb to the wear-and-tear of everyday use, not to mention the common operational hazards of the industry.
Selecting the right screen media for the job, and then performing proactive maintenance and quality control tasks, are the best strategies for maintaining optimal performance. By repairing or replacing worn components before they fail, operations can ensure the day-to-day reliability of valuable processing equipment while meeting or exceeding production goals at the same time.
To help you get the most out of your synthetic media, we've created a downloadable checklist for you. Click the link below to get your copy.