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VEGA measurement technology for the optimization of stone crushers

The system used at Ma-estro optimizes the material flow to the hopper and adapts immediately to load problems and material changes.

Crushers require a lot of energy to produce the finished product. In addition to the actual comminution, processes like pre-washing, cleaning, and sorting, all require energy, too. Thanks to MA-ESTRO's systems, energy consumption per tonne of product is significantly reduced.

They do this through intelligent automation of the entire production chain and real-time data management. MA-ESTRO's systems virtually dismantle the entire crushing process, from the quarry to the end-product, and assess all the individual parameters in the respective processes from every different angle. On average, 15 percent of total energy consumption can be saved by breaking it down in this way.

Gentle processes are good for the end product

VEGA sensors in the crushing machines transmit the correct level at all times.

Energy costs aren't the only focus of optimization. The real challenge for the quarry operator is to deliver an end product with uniform quality. Quality and reproducibility largely depend on the load placed on the crushing machines. The harder the material, the greater the stress on crushers and mills. Wet material can be a problem for conveyors, hydrocyclones, and screens. Plus, the constantly changing properties of the raw materials, such as mass, density, or hardness, place different demands on the various plant components like crushers and screens.

Manual intervention in the process is usually difficult, so to continuously monitor the individual process steps, the main goal becomes reducing the load on the machine components. MA-ESTRO's system automatically controls the entire process by connecting all the machines in the system. The sensors installed in the critical areas make it possible to constantly adjust the load in the individual parts of the system. For example, loading is controlled, material flow is adjusted, and any clogging scenario is avoided. This protects the equipment, saves energy, and leads to higher product quality.

Reliable detection of level prevents overloading

The main objective of automated control is to identify and resolve the discrepancies caused by raw material variability.

In MA-ESTRO’s world, sensor technology plays a major role. For about a year already, measurement technology from VEGA has been involved in the monitoring and optimization of their crushing machines. A total of 50 instruments are being used for this, including VEGASON 61, 62, 63, VEGAPULS 69 and VEGABAR 82. Most of these are level sensors.

VEGA radar technology is used to measure the material in the crushers and mills. But these radar sensors also alert operators of screen clogging, and the radar sensors measure the level of water used for washing the material. VEGA sensors are also located at the opening of the press to control the level in the machine, on the conveyor belts to measure the load, and in the storage containers to measure the quantity of the end-product.

MA-ESTRO had previously used sensors from other manufacturers for these tasks. However, it was overly costly to integrate these into the existing automation systems. Plus, dust, residual material, and moisture caused a lot of interfering reflections and resultant measurement errors.

VEGAPULS 69 Free Trial

Installed as a test instrument – retained for permanent use

MA-ESTRO hardly knew anything about VEGA previously. They were convinced to give some new sensors a try, so they installed a few for testing. It wasn't long before MA-ESTRO was convinced. The new technology and the sensors have since found their permanent place in the crushing systems. The measurement engineering team was especially impressed by the simple configuration of the instruments. Thanks to the plics® concept, the standardized user interface independent of measuring principle, the team didn’t have to re-familiarize themselves with the different sensor types over and over again.

VEGAPULS 69, in particular, delivered extremely reliable and accurate measured values – an important prerequisite for starting an optimization of the crushing process. The level sensor operates with 80 GHz and has an antenna diameter of approximately 75 mm. This allows the 80-GHz beam to bypass anything that could otherwise get in the way, such as internal fixtures or buildup on the vessel wall. Plus, it easily penetrates dense clouds of dust. All these factors makes measurements more reliable, especially in the harsh environments found in crushing machines.

On additional feature delighted the Italian company - the option to use wireless communication via Bluetooth. This is especially useful for hard-to-reach areas, harsh industrial environments, and Ex hazardous zones. VEGA sensors can be configured and parameterized from a safe distance with a smartphone or tablet. A fast, easy-to-use display, and diagnostic functions are also available. VEGA technology fit perfectly into MA-ESTRO's optimization environment.


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