Improving component life for minerals processing

Cross-sectional microstructure of metal/ceramic coating on a titanium alloy. A new surface modification concept is set to deliver a doubling of component life, improving efficiency and potentially saving the industry millions of dollars in lost production time.

The Institute for Frontier Materials has partnered with innovative West Australian company, Callidus Welding Solutions to improve the life of metal components used in mineral processing.

The research team is developing novel surface engineering solutions to counter severe erosion and corrosion issues in critical metal reactor components used in the processing of nickel, cobalt and gold.

The $3.9 million CRC-project is championed by Callidus CEO Gary Lantzke and involves IFM researchers, Associate Professor Daniel Fabijanic, Professor Matthew Barnett and Dr Santiago Corujeira Gallo, and also a team from CSIRO, and mining companies, Murrin Murrin Operations and Newcrest.

The project’s potential impact is considerable. The severe conditions of erosion and high temperature acid corrosion in hydrometallugical reactors test the endurance of even the most advanced alloys. Through novel component design and surface modification technologies, the project is poised to deliver a doubling of component life, improving the efficiency of the process and potentially saving the industry millions of dollars in lost production time.

Lead IFM researcher, Associate Professor Fabijanic reflects on the development of this collaboration, “This is a great example of letting a partnership naturally develop.

“First, we assisted Callidus with insight into a process they had been independently developing over a few years.

“Next, I introduced a new surface modification concept, which they could immediately adopt using their current capabilities.

“It was a real highlight to see Gary Lantzke’s eyes light up at the possibilities of this new technology angle.

“Callidus is very open to new ideas, and so far these new concepts are working well. The benefits and learning have been two-way, which is how a partnerships should be.”

Already the technology is being adopted commercially with clear benefits according to Callidus CEO Gary Lantzke.

“The partnership we have developed with Deakin is a true win, I hope for both teams. Innovation although a bit overused today is at the core of our DNA as a company.

“What happened when Deakin became a resource has been truly magic. Almost every trial we have placed has performed exceptionally well and to date two new products have been born.”  Callidus CEO, Gary Lantzke.

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