Wirtgen surface miners play a key role in increasing production and reducing costs in material extraction for a large cement plant in Ukraine. PJSC Ivano-Frankivskcement (IFCEM) produces clinker and 300 other cement and gypsum products. The raw material for the cement plant comes for a deposit located 15 km to the north. The Carpathian mining area is rich in sedimentary rocks such as limestone, marl and gypsum.
For years, the material was extracted by drilling and blasting and then wet-processed into clinker in the cement plant. In a move to increase productivity and reduce costs, IFCEM became the first cement plant in Ukraine to initiate the transition from the wet to the dry process, a measure which was accompanied by an optimisation of the mining method for material supply.
The dry process is now considered the preferred method for clinker production as it significantly reduces fuel consumption per ton of material. This in turn has a positive effect on production, costs and the environment.
For an optimal drying process, the material from the quarry should only have a low moisture content so that it can be crushed in a dry crusher, ground to powder in the raw mill and burnt in the rotary kiln without further pre-treatment.
Optimum exploitation of deposits, better raw material
To ensure that the material extracted from the quarry is as dry as possible, a radical change in the mining method was necessary. Meanwhile, the previous use of explosives for limestone mining was having a detrimental effect on neighbouring residential areas due to the noise generated and the ground vibrations. IFCEM found the solution in Wirtgen surface miner technology: In 2012, the company purchased a 2200 SM, as well as a second, identical model in 2015 and a 2500 SM in 2017.
By gradually phasing out the drilling and blasting operations, the surface miners progressively reduced the time and cost involved in pre-crushing and post-crushing the material and also made it possible to redesign the deposit. By ensuring a defined slope of the surface with the aid of the Level Pro automatic levelling system, the surface miners created the conditions for efficient dewatering.
Compared to drilling and blasting, this allows much drier raw material to be mined and the material can enter the plant’s drying process without any further treatment. Thanks to the redesign of the mining area with the surface miner, the exploitation of the deposits has also been increased because now, even previously blocked edge surfaces can be worked and additional material extracted.
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