First Graphene has reported results from field testing of the PureGRAPH-enhanced bucket wear liner, which have reportedly shown an almost six times reduction in average abrasion loss compared with a standard polyurethane liner. The bucket wear liners were installed at a major iron ore producer’s load-out facility in the Pilbara of Western Australia, beginning in mid-2019. A standard wear liner and a graphene-enhanced ArmourGRAPH wear liner ran simultaneously in the same location for the 62-week period.
In addition, First Graphene has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Brazil’s largest steel producer, Gerdau. The MOU is currently non-binding, and allows for the two companies to negotiate terms towards a binding agreement, which would establish an initial commercial agreement for distribution and collaboration.
Rubber wear liners are an essential component on steel fabricated mining equipment, providing a resilient, sacrificial layer to protect the steel equipment from abrasion wear during ore handling operations. The wear liners are replaced periodically and extending the periods between replacement helps maximise throughput at the mine.
The ArmourGRAPH liners, developed by First Graphene and its partner newGen Group, had been prepared using a low addition rate of PureGRAPH 20 in hot cast polyurethane (PU). The PureGRAPH enhanced liners were used side-by-side with standard PU liners throughout the 62-week trial before being returned to newGen Group for assessment.
A detailed abrasion analysis confirmed the abrasion loss was significantly reduced in the PureGRAPH-enhanced ArmourGRAPH liner, with a circa-6 times reduction in average abrasion loss (improved resistance to wear). As abrasion loss is the primary mechanism of failure, a significant 6 times increase in lifespan of the wear liner is anticipated, First Graphene said.
The abrasion analysis was performed on the rear sliding face of the bucket liner as this surface is well fitted to the steel bucket and provides the most representative analysis of liner wear life, according to the company.
First Graphene CEO, Mike Bell, said the results indicated the benefits and value PureGRAPH could provide to mining and mineral processing operators.
newGen Group Managing Director, Ben Walker, added: “The results of this extended trial prove that our ArmourGRAPH liners can deliver vast improvements for operators. We anticipate strong demand for a broad range of graphene-enhanced consumable products across the mining and mineral processing sectors.”