"From the conversation with the customer the most memorable was his eyes full of horror. The equipment is there, but it does not work. And no one comes to set it up" - we heard such a story during an interview from the head of the Overland Conveyors Department of SIA "Akonit" Sergei Kuznetsov.

The conversation was about crushing and conveying systems (CCS). Recently, the company regularly receives requests for the manufacture and supply of CCS. There is clearly a growing demand for this equipment. Read on to find out what this was about and why the customer was horrified.

монтаж конвейера Аконит
Installation of the overland conveyor was carried out by SIA Akonit

- Let's start with the trends. Why do companies need crushing and conveying equipment today?

- Let's start with an understanding of what CCS is and what it is used for. We divide these systems into two types. The first one is used in the ore industry for crushing ore and overburden. The second one is in pit-and-quarry industry for the production, first of all, of crushed stone. This material is of current interest, for example, in road construction and concrete production. The fundamental difference of the equipment is in the size of the output material and the capacity. Grain size is very important in the pit-and quarry industry: here a finished product is immediately obtained. In the ore industry, first of all, attention will be paid to the degree of grinding of the material (it is necessary to make the initial ore as fine as possible).

- What are the differences based on?

- A Crushing-and-conveying system is the heart of the plant, it is where ore production begins. The entire process is centred around the system, so downtime of this unit is very expensive for the company. The less the customer spends on equipment maintenance and the fewer breakdowns, the greater the capacity. It's very simple.

- So why is there a growing interest in this equipment? After all, there are alternative ways of goods transportation, for example, by trucks.

- Right. But deposits where ore can be transported by trucks over short distances are being developed more and more, and deposits are “moving away” farther and farther from civilization. Because of this, operating costs increase (the cost of fuel increases, the cost of replacing worn-out units) increase. Plus the harmful impact on the environment, and there is a need to reduce the "carbon footprint".

To maintain the desired production figures, you need to transport more and more. Costs are rising and companies are actively looking for other modes of transportation. And that's where the topic of IPCC systems with conveyor transport comes in. Now almost all new quarries use this method of transportation. Yes, it involves a serious investment in the first phase, but the operating costs are lower with IPCC systems than with dump trucks. On the example of the calculation of the projects we are implementing, the payback period is from 7 to 13 years.   And here we can safely say that more and more customers are thinking about the total cost of ownership of facilities and are increasingly using the concepts of  "the cost of handling a ton of ore".  This is what we often discuss in meetings with our customers.

- So, CCS today is practically the optimal solution for many companies. And what is SIA Akonit ready to offer customers?

- Let's go back to the story that started our conversation. A company from Kuzbass contacted us with a request to set up a similar equipment. The contractor is a foreign company. The equipment was made and installed, but not started up. Due to covid restrictions, engineers could not come and set it up. Force Majeure. But does that make it easier for the customer? And this unstable situation will continue or repeat in the future: no one knows when there will be new restrictions, whom they will affect. The risks are enormous.

As a result, Akonit specialists adjusted and started up the equipment. Do you understand what the advantage is? We have the ability to fully design, manufacture, supply, assemble and launch the CCS on our own. To do everything here in Russia. Our equipment is not inferior to imported analogues, and the risks for the customer will be much less, because there are no prohibitions on the movement within the country, and the company has a staff of professionals who can travel to the sites.

- You say that SIA "Akonit" can perform the full range of work...

- Yes. And there are additional benefits. Firstly, we can develop a technology that will ensure uninterrupted crushing of material with a specified feed size and the customer's product, taking into account the type of ore, the mining plan, the specifics of the location and production. To do this, the design engineers will offer a plan for the arrangement of the equipment.

монтаж конвейера Аконит
Overland conveyor for Polyus Aldan JSC, designed and manufactured by SIA "Akonit", 2021

Secondly, we can offer the customer basic and detailed engineering of the entire complex. And we will choose the best solution for the customer. For example, in fact, the only purchase item for us is a crusher, the rest is manufactured at the production sites of SIA Akonit.  And we do not depend on any factors when choosing a crusher manufacturer - we will choose any European manufacturer whose equipment is more suitable for these tasks. If the customer has a stock of spare parts for equipment of a certain brand, we will supply it. SIA Akonit is not a mono-dealer, but rather an integrator.  We work with many leading design institutes in Russia and engineering companies, for example, "Spb-Giproshakht", JSC "St. Petersburg Mining Project and Engineering Company", Research & Engineering Corporation "Mekhanobr Tekhnika", OOO "City institution for designing metallurgical plants". This provides flexibility in operation, which makes it possible to achieve high production rates.

конвейер Аконит - участок привода и натяжки
Drive and take-up section

We also provide project management, automation, electrics, permits, assistance in passing the Glavgosexpertiza of Russia (RF State Expert Evaluation Department), commissioning and putting into operation. We are also responsible for achieving the technological performance of the entire complex

- And will the rest be assembled at the production sites of Akonit?

- Yes, all conveyors and steel structures of the crushing station.

There is one more factor. If the project includes equipment for stockpiling or waste rock dumping, such as a stacker, a kratzer-crane or a homogenization machine, then we involve European engineering. We turn to experienced European companies that specialize in the design of stackers, reclaimers and other large equipment. They perform 3D design, power and traction calculations for this machine, basic engineering, detailed engineering (KM, KMD). Manufacturing is at our sites. It's a co-production.  We should benefit from such opportunities. We already have such experience. And it is successful.

Large projects often require EPC contracts, and we are ready for that.

ДДК монтаж Аконит
Crushing and conveying complex, construction and commissioning carried out by SIA "Akonit", 2018

- One more question. Today, the environmental aspect is becoming more and more important in almost all industrial projects. Companies are striving to reduce their carbon footprint, to organize environmentally friendly production. What can you say about ecology with regard to the ССS?

- ССS instead of dump trucks is a very environmentally friendly solution. Companies around the world are now heading towards carbon neutrality. Experts rank Russia fourth in terms of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Therefore, the topic of emissions reduction is not a tribute to fashion, but a serious necessity. Conveyors are environmentally friendly. And if the project is developed for the next 20-25 years, then there is simply no substitute for the IPCC. We will talk about this in detail at a conference for the media and partners at Mining WorldRussia-2022 in April . Everyone is welcome: this will be a very interesting conversation.

конвейер Аконит транспортировка руды на фабрике
Conveyor equipment for ore transportation to the factory, manufactured by SIA Akonit, 2019


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