Over the past year Mount Isa Copper Operations' Electrical High Voltage and Crushing and Conveying team has designed and installed important electrical improvements to increase the safety and efficiency of their 3P Crusher.
Positioned underground at 20 Level, the 3P Crusher plays an important role in the ore handling process at MICO. Its main purpose is to reduce the size of the rock to more easily convey and transport the ore to the surface.
Crushers work by placing material between two parallel or tangent solid surfaces and forcing these together. This generates a great deal of energy with the material being pulverised into smaller pieces.
The Electrical High Voltage and Crushing and Conveying teams fitted an upgraded Motor Protection Relay and Power Quality Meter to the 3P Crusher.
This is an electronic device used to prevent damage to the crusher's electrical motor, including damage caused by thermal overload, overcurrent, undercurrent, current unbalance and short circuiting.
The MPR protects the crusher, by identifying a potential fault and isolating the defective part of the motor from the operating part, preventing the motor from being damaged.
Located in the underground substation, this equipment is remotely connected to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition network sending real-time data to the MICO Engineering team on the surface about the crusher's motor.
Queensland Metals High Voltage Electrical Superintendent, Peter Ferguson, said this equipment provided the ability to monitor the health of the motor remotely with faster fault interruption reaction, creating a safer work environment within the substation.
The MPR also receives data from the crusher motor and calculates the optimal motor settings to operate at maximum performance while minimising the potential for damage.
"With the MPR in place we can substantially lower the potential failure of the motor which ultimately reduces downtime and lost production and the substantial costs in repairs," Mr Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson said they also used a Power Quality Meter to interpret and store the raw energy measurement data, such as voltage, energy use, cost of power and electric current from the crusher's motor, using high-speed sampling to capture all aspects of the crusher's power.
"This allows our Engineering team to analyse the data to predict and prevent any potential power quality problems with the crusher before they happen, therefore reducing the likelihood of equipment malfunction, overheated circuits and system failure," he said.
"The project to install power quality meters across our underground high voltage network provides us with the ability to remotely monitor loading, current flow, voltage fluctuations and power availability.
"It is a huge improvement in our ability to safely and efficiently control our network."
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