Different industries have different approaches to crushing plant design. The standard approach in the oil sands industry is to use MicroStation 3D CAD from the start; in some cases, the finalization of a system design (hopper, feeder, sizer crusher, and takeaway conveyor) has taken as much as two years, because of the uniqueness of the application. A similar design in the hard-rock mining industry takes from four to six months.
A well-designed crusher plant layout balances the capital versus operating cost over mine life. Buildings, infrastructure, and major equipment items, represent the major cost elements of a crusher plant. The designer must prepare a layout that suits the design criteria, flowsheet and selected equipment in the most economical possible configuration. It’s important to keep structural costs down, to design for ease of maintenance and operation, and to combine best practices with advances in fabrication and erection. Input from an experienced mining plant structural engineer can be very helpful.
Crusher plant layout mining operation process has not changed a great deal over the years, so “Keep It Simple” is still the best way to design a plant. Owners may wonder why the design of head chutes hasn’t changed in decades, but the explanation is simple: it’s because the old, well-proven approaches still work best. On the other hand, it’s dangerous to assume that a layout that works well at one mine will work just as well, or at all, at another.
Double roll crusher can include cut-and-paste arrangements, 2D arrangements fitted onto site topography, or 3D CAD to superimpose the design on the selected site. The choice of tool depends on whether the work is being done at the prefeasibility, feasibility or detailed engineering level, as well as on the accuracy required of any associated cost estimate. The best designs are developed using basic approaches and tools: site visits, discussions with mine personnel, sketches, and cutand-paste layouts. This writer believes that only after the initial concepts have been developed and optimized does 3D CAD have a role to play.