Energy-efficient ABB drives at heart of world's most powerful grinding mills
Zurich, Switzerland, May 31, 2007 - ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth about $27 million from Swedish mining company Boliden. ABB will supply gearless drive systems for two new grinding mills that will increase production at one of Europe's largest copper mines.
The gearless mill drives will be installed at Boliden's Aitik mine, located near Gullivare in northern Sweden, where they will power two new 38-foot autogenous grinding mills.
At 22.5 megawatts (MW) each, the mill drives will be the most powerful in the world when they become operational at the end of 2009. They will drive mills with a capacity to grind about 2,200 tons of ore per hour each. With this expansion, the mine's life will be extended to at least 2025 and production capacity will double to 36 million tons a year from 18 million.
"ABB pioneered gearless mill drives. The technology supports important mine applications like ore processing where huge volumes and brute strength must be matched to energy-efficient operation and around-the-clock reliability," said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB's Process Automation division.
An autogenous mill uses large pieces of ore to grind smaller pieces in a large rotating drum. The mill and its gearless drive is one of industry's largest installations (the ring motor is almost 20 meters high) and one of the pivotal applications in a concentrator plant. Advanced technology converts brute strength into high productivity as ore is reduced to small particles.
The scope of the ABB contract includes spare parts, network studies, installation supervision and commissioning. The new concentrator is scheduled to start operation in 2010, and will completely replace the current grinding plant.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 109,000 people.