Vulco® rubber is renowned throughout the mining industry for its exceptional wear life and reliability in mill lining systems. These abrasion- and impact-resistant rubber compounds have been developed with advanced technologies by the Weir Minerals’ team of expert engineers and material scientists who are continually refining Vulco® rubber products to keep them at the forefront of mill lining systems technology.
Having identified a need for higher-wearing rubbers for mill lining systems, the material science experts commenced developing an industry leading, premium-grade rubber compound with superior wear life and performance in mill lining applications. The result was the Vulco® R67 rubber – an optimum material which is manufactured with proprietary new compounds and innovative methods of processing to deliver outstanding wear life and longer uptime.
Extensive field research, compound testing and site trials were conducted to ensure that it was not only able to withstand severe abrasion in typical mill system applications, but that it is best in class. In fact, it has been the most wear-resistant rubber compound that Weir Minerals has ever developed for mill lining applications. The R67 compound boasts a high hardness, elongation, tensile and tear strength, and is suitable for lifter bars, head/shell plates and grates. When it’s utilised in conjunction with metal cap mill liners, the result is a versatile, economical and efficient product that weighs up to 50% less than steel alone. The added benefit is a lighter product that’s faster, easier and safer to install.
Revolutionising wear lining
Since its launch in 2018, many mining operators from around the globe have implemented the R67 compound into their mill lining systems. They have reported as much as 20-40% improvement in wear life, which is resulting in fewer mill lining replacements and longer mill campaigns. This reduction in shutdowns has a dual benefit of increased cost savings and improved plant availability.
What are the benefits for the mill operators?
With a liner that can run significantly longer, operators have experienced a wide range of benefits including:
- Improved wear life
- A measurable reduction in mill downtime
- Increased uptime and processing
- Easier and safer installations
- Reduced maintenance costs
In addition to this, the mines benefit from having an experienced and dedicated team from Weir Minerals who custom-engineer the liners to suit each mill’s unique requirements for optimal wear life.
Global in-field success
The R67 elastomer compound is changing the way mills operate – with exceptional results. Extensive global trials and commercial installations in the market have resulted in a number of successful outcomes across a variety of different grinding applications. From mines in the USA to Chile, the R67 has proven its outstanding performance consistently.
As an example, a high-grade nickel and copper mining project in the USA had a problem where the liners in one ball mill were wearing out too quickly, leading to continued downtime and reduced processing. They were looking for a product significantly superior to the elastomer that they were using. Initially there was reluctance from the mine, as they had loyalty to their original mill supplier, however after Weir Minerals conducted a series of trajectory simulations and discreet modelling – to optimise the design and deliver the best process performance for the mill, they agreed to trial the R67 liners. At the end of the trial the R67 showed 30-40% better performance than the incumbent liners and the customer installed a full set of R67 liners in their mill.
Another trial in the USA took place in an iron ore mine with several dozen ball mills in operation. Here, Vulco® R67 liners delivered a 17% increase in life compared to the failed shell plates from the mine’s original mill lining system supplier. The company was extremely impressed with the results and installed a complete shell liner in their ball mill.
Moving to Chile, a copper mine was keen to trial the R67 compound to see if they could improve the wear time of a competitor rubber liner. After a three-month trial, all liners were physically measured showing that the Vulco® R67 liners fully worn wear life projected from the actual wear would be 80% longer compared to the incumbent liners.
Another copper processing plant in Chile trialled R67 composite liners in their SAG mill against two other compounds that are commonly used in the industry. After 12 months, there was a 48% and 62% wear life improvement on the other liners – proving that the R67 composite liners could withstand the highly abrasive environment.
Helping customers optimise their process
As leaders in material technology, Weir Minerals are continuously undertaking research and development to provide best-in-class products to mining customers, while helping them improve their bottom line. When using Vulco® R67 rubber compounds, our customers can feel assured they have a market-leading product that is backed by decades of experience, expertise, and proven effectiveness. This innovative rubber compound not only delivers superior physical and viscoelastic properties but is also a lighter and safer material to use.
Where can you find Vulco® R67?
Vulco R67® mill liners are made exclusively at Weir Minerals facilities in North and South America, Australia and South Africa, with plans to expand production into more regions in the future.