Oyu Tolgoi is a large copper mine that has both open cut and underground operations and that has been operating since 2013. The mine is jointly owned by the Mongolian government and Rio Tinto and is located in the South Gobi Desert. Once fully operational the mine is expected to produce 450,000 tonnes of copper annually.

The location of the mine in Gobi desert means that operating temperatures can be extreme from +45 C in summer to -35 C in winter. These operational conditions  require careful selection of conveyor materials for robust and reliable performance. Oyu Tolgoi have been looking to improve the performance of their conveyor pulleys for some time, and are specifically trying to eliminate the following ongoing problems:

  • Debonding of lagging from the pulley shell. This problem is seen with cold vulcanized lagging and is accentuated during operation at low temperatures where the loads on the bonding system increase with the increasing stiffness of the lagging. Debonding is seen on both drive and high tension non drive pulleys.
  • Insufficient service life with rubber lagging on drive and non-drive pulleys due to wear.
  • Build up of carryback on drive and non drive pulleys and resulting belt tracking problems.

Elastotec has been working for some time  to address these lagging problems, and provide increased lagging service life.

In October 2017 Elastotec Hot Vulcanised Ceramic Lagging (HVCL) was applied to two drive pulleys for Oyu Tolgoi. Both pulleys were installed in early  December 2017 and were operational throughout the winter months with temperatures reaching -35 C. Pulley performance/Lagging performance was  unaffected by the low temperatures and maintenance personnel at Oyu Tolgoi indicated they were very happy with this outcome.

Following on from this success Elastotec Hot Vulcanised Polyurethane Lagging (HVPU) was recommended for a number of high tension non drive pulleys. These pulleys had suffered from problems with localized debonding of lagging and material build up due to carry back problems.

The Elastotec hot vulcanized (HV) bonding was a well proven way to eliminate the debonding of the lagging, and the use of Polyurethane greatly increased the abrasion resistance of the lagging compared to rubber ,while at the same time providing resistance to build up as a result of the much lower co-efficient of friction.

Once this recommendation was approved arrangements were made for Elastotec to assist with the training and supervision of the application of the HVPU. In addition to developing the high performance Hot Vulcanised Polyurethane Lagging Elastotec have a detailed application procedure to ensure that the lagging performs exactly as designed.

The two high tension bend pulleys with Elastotec HVPU were supplied to Oyu Tolgoi and put into service in early 2018. Current operation at November 2019 and the Elastotec HVPU is still operational and is performing as expected, with no sign of the build up or excessive wear problems experienced previously.

For additional information on the use of HVPU Lagging in critical conveyor pulley applications, please click here. Or contact:

David Molesworth
Sales Director Elastotec
Mobile: +61 423 200 178
Email: david@elastotec.com.au

Mariana Ballestrin
International Business Development
Mobile: +61 452 318 580
Email: mariana@elastotec.com.au

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