Vibratory Feeders in the Mining Industry

JXSC Mine Machinery provides stone-crushing solutions for a range of industries including mining and construction. We manufacture three types of machinery, namely, the crushing machine, the sand-making machine, and the mineral processing machine. Various models of these are available as per customer needs. Our products are cost-effective and high-quality. In addition, we also provide quality service to our customers for installation and maintenance. Our stone crushers are highly rated in the mining industry. 

Feeders are a common feature of any bulk material handling facility where they are used to transport bulk solid and liquid-based materials from their source to the processing unit and beyond. The principle behind a feeder, as its name implies, is simply to feed the material in a harmonious fashion; that is in fixed quantities and speed so that the overall material processing time can be homogenized. The technology behind the feeding mechanism may differ in terms of working principle or the type of materials that can be fed through it, but its use remains the same.

Feeders are primarily classified based on their working principle through which the material is mobilized. Traditional mechanical feeders use a translational (supported by belts and pulleys) or a reciprocating motion. Conversely, vibratory feeders convey material from one point to the other by means of shaking (vibrations) which agitates the material and gravitational force which directs the flow. The original patent of developing a vibratory feeder is owned by Mario Thomas Sgriccia (1950), whose original design has undergone a variety of iterations over subsequent years aimed at optimizing energy requirement, material flow consistency, and other performance and safety parameters. Vibratory feeders differ in their function from other feeders in their ability to not only transport but also separate materials.

Moving along the feeders’ length, precise vibrations can be used to sift materials based on their size, weight, and type which helps in isolating the target, important materials from the bulk. This is especially useful in rock mining industries where the bulk may include a variety of materials such as sand, gravel, stones, debris, and even trash and the objective is to isolate precious metal ores from the rest. Depending on the vibration type and frequency, materials can additionally be sorted to form individual lines along the feeders’ length to be fed into different processing units (stone-crushing machines). This reduces the need for inspection and deployment of labour for segregating materials at various levels considerably and makes the process self-driven.

Ore rocks obtained from mines are bulky which are broken down into smaller (transportable) sized blocks at the mining site before being loaded onto trucks. The blocks are further crushed before being delivered to stone-crushing sites to separate precious resources from the rest of the material. The process itself is driven by using feeders at multiple levels to move materials from sites to silos, then to trucks, and then within the stone-crushing and further processing sites. Feeder selection at each level may be driven by the requirements associated with the material to be transported and the handling capacity required.

For instance, the vibrating feeders in principle can handle a large tonnage of materials and provide a handling capacity of up to 1000 tph (throughput per hour). This makes the use of vibratory feeder extremely versatile but at the same time limits its use as a front-line feeder, where lorries or haulage equipment dump the bulk of the material. Mechanical feeders such as grizzly are usually employed as front-line feeders which are suited for absorbing surge loads, pre-screening of materials based on their size and shape, and moving the material downstream where vibratory feeders can be attached in sequence for further separation and subsequent feeding of materials to processing units.

Another limitation of using vibratory feeders is its unsuitability in transporting fine powders, which eventually build up on the feed bed leading to flooding (entrapment of air in between powder which makes the flow liquid-like) making the material flow inconsistent due to random slipping and sticking of the material on top. A similar case is observed with sticky materials adhering to the feeders’ bed which reduces the overall material flow.

However, despite these shortcomings, vibratory feeders are still excessively used in mining and various other industries due to their advantageous use in directing and separating the materials. The modular nature of the equipment itself allows for ease in maintenance and long service life.

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