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In mining, quarrying and extractive industries, ball mills are the most common grinding machine and certainly an interesting piece of engineering ingenuity, according to Eddie Lawrence. 

“A ball mill is a long, armoured, rotating cylinder — typically mounted on two large sized bearings—raw materials are fed into the ball mill, and it uses centrifugal force to grind ore down to size before it gets parsed.” 

“There are metal balls and armour plates inside the ball mill cylinder,” he explains further. “An electric drive through a helical gearbox will rotate the cylinder and the centrifugal force pushes them against the wall until they tumble from gravity and reduce the size of the material.” 

Eddie brings a rich understanding of heavy industry and engineering to his role as Webster BSC Sales Manager for Tasmania. Tasmania is home to several mid-scale zinc, tin, magnetite, and gold mining operations and the on-site processing plants where the raw materials are processed at. 

He discusses a recent solution developed for underground polymetallic based mine MMG located in Rosebery, Tasmania. The mine produces around 55,000 – 65,000 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate annually; as well as lead and copper concentrate; and gold and silver doré. 

MMG Reliability Engineer Brett Cumming was looking to upgrade the drive coupling on their ball mill machine from some legacy equipment to a modern standard that would be easy to maintain.

“The secondary ball mills grind the polymetallic ore down to the required size to enable liberation of the copper, lead, zinc and gold particles,” explains Brett.  

“The coupling fitted to the ball mill pinion drive was outdated and sourcing spare parts was proving difficult. I reached out to Eddie and his team at Webster BSC regarding a suggested replacement, we wanted something easy to maintain, fit for purpose and reliable,” he continues. 

Eddie headed out to the MMG site to take stock of the specs on the ball mill and determine what the best coupling solution would be. 

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