FerroCer® Impact modular wear panels are an innovation inspired by curiosity and a unique understanding of how materials behave. The result is a wear liner that lasts 10 times longer than any other wear liner on the market.
Handling thousands of tonnes of heavy rocks every day puts pressure on material handling equipment. Consequently, operation stoppages to perform maintenance of chutes and wear liners create bottlenecks and affect operating costs negatively.
FerroCer® Impact modular wear panels eliminate these bottlenecks. The wear panels feature a unique matrix design, which fully utilises the strength and malleability of steel and the superior abrasion resistance of ceramics. Each panel weighs only 5 kilograms making them easy, fast and safe to install.
FerroCer combines easy installation with extra-long wear life, reduced downtime and affordable pricing, ultimately reducing total cost of ownership.
Inspired by natural shapes
When Danny Baric arrived in Australia more than 30 years ago, his English was not yet proficient enough to proceed with journalism, his previous trade in the former Yugoslavia.
Taking a job with a company specialising in rubber wear protection, his journalistic curiosity led him to develop a unique understanding of how materials behave. His work on developing FerroCer began in 2013 when he joined FLSmidth as product manager for wear and thermal products. He was determined to use his knowledge of natural shapes and materials to solve wear challenges for mining customers and developed a new kind of wear panel that was more robust and resistant than rubber and steel.
“I was spending a lot of time with different materials, and observing how their properties affect their environment and vice versa. At the same time, I had a sort of fascination with some of the strongest shapes from nature, which inspired the shape of FerroCer,” he says. Despite everyone saying ceramic and ductile iron would never work together in wear panels, Baric held his ground, believing that these materials were key to the solution.
“Ceramic has a reputation for being brittle, but it is also extremely hard. I was convinced that if we found the right shape for the ceramic and the right steel to support it, these two materials together could make a wear panel that could last at least three times longer than rubber or steel,” he explains. Baric’s prediction seems only to be wrong at one point.
The mines that have tested FerroCer Impact wear panels in a production environment have shown that they have outlasted their steel and rubber competition by at least a factor of 10. At last, safety first Long wear life attracts maintenance managers to FerroCer; however, their agile modular design, small size and lightweight also have an impact.
“Everyone in mining knows that safety is always in focus, and everyone is looking for ways to ensure safe working environments. FerroCer wear panels are very light, compared to typical steel wear liners that are large, heavy and bulky. I may have underestimated how important the lightweight modular design of FerroCer would be in terms of safety. But, I am really glad that customers can realise this important benefit as well,” says Danny Baric.
FerroCer inspection report
The first inspection report from the test of FerroCer® Impact wear panels at a mine in Peru is impressive, exceeding even the developers’ expectations.
“It took me two days for the results to really sink in. We tested it against the best available wear liner on the market, which on this site has a life span in application of 120 days. After 60 days, the FerroCer property loss is no more than 3%,” says Danny Baric, FLSmidth’s Product Manager for Wear and Thermal, Australia.
At the Peruvian mine, 24 smaller and lighter FerroCer panels, each made of steel plates with ceramic inserts, replaced six generic liners. The panels are installed in the lower section of a 8,000 tph chute, which handled particles smaller than 203 mm with a fall height of two metres. Three inspections follow the installation: The first after 21 working days, the second after 35 days and the third after two months.
“To date, the FerroCer liner has worked a total of 12,600,000 tonnes passed. Considering an availability of 100% with a feed of 7,500 tph, wear was no more than 3%. At this rate, we expect FerroCer to last at least 10 times longer than the most expensive and recognised wear liner on the market,” says Danny Baric.
At two other mines in Australia, the FerroCer results are just as impressive. One site has operated for more than a year without replacing its wear liners and the other site is on the same track, approaching its first year without the need for liner replacement.