Finding new ways to improve technology and create new solutions is at the heart of Sepro’s drive to innovate, but the nature of R&D means that it can be challenging to share news about what we’re working on. Thankfully with some “careful” edits and “subtle” redactions, Andrew Gillis, Vice President of Research and Development with Sepro Systems, walked us through a few of the innovations on the horizon.
Microwave Comminution Project
First up is the Sepro microwave project. With a pilot microwave unit running in the Sepro office just outside of Vancouver, Canada, this is a project being done in collaboration with a number of different people. The idea is to expose rocks to high energy microwaves for a short period of time to create micro-fractures in the ore, and to create a thermal signature that can be used for sorting. To learn more about the microwave project, check our project overview here on the Sepro YouTube Channel.
Novel Milling Technology
Up next is a novel milling technology the Sepro R&D team has been working on. Unfortunately, we have to keep ███████████ a bit under wraps because of the way the ███████ complete ██████████ the █████. In addition, the ████████████████, intellectual property and patent protection to come out of it. But what can be shared is that some bench scale test work has been done on this novel setup. Approximately 50% reduction in required energy was achieved compared to a ball mill. A prototype unit has been built and testing is commencing soon. If those results hold up at the pilot stage, then the result will be a technology that should be able to grind in the same way as a ball mill would, but achieve a 15% savings in energy, and the whole Sepro team is excited about this.
Improved Peristaltic Pump Hoses
Next up is an innovation from Sepro’s Mixing and Pumping division. Improvements to our peristaltic pump hose, as well as some of the other pump components, are aimed at dramatically increasing the pressure that the Sepro peristaltic pump is able to generate. Something like a positive displacement pump is typically able to generate very high pressures, but at the same time, it’s extremely costly. So the aim with this research and development is to have a peristaltic pump that generates pressures similar to positive displacement pumps, but at a small fraction of the cost.
Gravity Concentrator Bowl Design
Gravity concentrators remain a very important focus of Sepro’s mission of continuous innovation. The history of the Falcon Concentrator goes back to the founding of the company, and Sepro has been doing a lot of innovation around the concentrator recently. One of those projects has been examining bowl profiles and seeing if there is something that can be done to improve recovery by changing bowl profiles. In the video above you can see profiles number one, number two, and number four; number three was the most successful, and it is out doing plant trials right now. There have been some really impressive recovery improvements and Sepro R&D is excited to get more information out there, but first there will be some methodical steps followed to ensure results are consistent and well documented. But stay tuned: there should be a lot more information about that soon.
Zero Fresh Water Use in Gravity Concentrators
And rounding out the tour of innovations is the ███████████ ██████ that can’t yet be shown because of the really, REALLY cool ████████ it has. But the information that can be shared is that under the sheet in the video above is some test equipment for a Sepro innovation project to try to remove the need for fresh water in batch gravity concentrators. Those familiar with the use of Falcon or the Knelson concentrators for gold recovery know that the units require quite a bit of fresh water to operate. As such, Sepro has had a project going on for a while now to try to eliminate the need for additional water in these batch concentrators. There have been some very good results using a particular mechanism for concentration that does not require water and the Sepro team is working on mechanically scaling that up to the industrial units.
We hope this rundown of the ongoing research projects at Sepro Systems has been interesting (or at least entertaining!) If you want to stay up to date with the things that are going on with Sepro from an R&D point of view or otherwise, follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, or subscribe to our newsletter. If you want to get in touch with our R&D team about some of these projects, you can also reach us here.