Screening Panels: Why Modularity and Polyurethane Are a Winning Combination

Traditional wire mesh screens are a nightmare to change. Doing so typically takes three people, a sledgehammer, a crowbar, and a lot of elbow grease. While that switch is happening, your entire operation grinds to a halt. This state of inactivity can persist for what feels like days as technicians fight with worn-out screws and jagged edges. And, in mining more than most industries, time is money. Fortunately, a modular screening panel system makes swapping out broken media less of a nightmare and more of a mild inconvenience.

For more information on why custom-molded polyurethane is the best choice for the mining industry, check out this article.

What Is Screening Equipment and Where Is It Used?

Stand on the edge of a quarry and look down. You’ll likely see either a single-armed conveyer or a gargantuan steel funnel jutting into the sky. A cloud of dust and debris will raise from its entrance like London fog. Even at a distance, the dull roar of these machines will leave your teeth on edge. Those behemoths of mining, though they look scary, are the organizers of the material handling world.

d Screening equipment is used to separate one material from another during the sorting process. This is typically done through a combination of vibration, a forward driving force, a capture platform, and a series of specially sized holes.  Typically, the second step in the material handling process, these machines are responsible for separating raw material from quarries and crushers into ever-finer grades. Depending on the raw material, there may or may not be high-pressured water involved in the sorting process. While most associated with ore processing, screening equipment is also a common sight in recycling plants, aggregate processors, mineral plants, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.

There is a surprising variety of screening equipment there. These include:

      • Circle-Throw Vibrators
      • High-Frequency Vibrating Equipment
      • Trommel Screens
      • Gyratory Equipment
      • Banana Screeners
      • Inclined Screeners
      • Horizontal Screeners
      • Disc Screeners

The Strengths of Modular Panel Screening

Under constant assault from heavy materials and bouncing debris, screening equipment and its associated media have shorter lifespans than other industrial machinery. The constant threat of binding and tension loss hangs over these devices like some ISO Grim Reaper. While switching to durable and low friction polyurethane may lessen the likelihood of these issues, it does nothing to lessen the impact of failures. Switching to a modular polyurethane screening system, however, reaps the benefit of this new-age material and the efficiencies of proper industrial design.

Unlike old-fashioned, which is typically installed in one large piece, modular systems rely on a series of interconnected panels.  These rectangular or square pieces of polyurethane are pinned together by a series of specialized fasteners. This allows them to move like a single organism instead of a hundred disjointed segments. This  offers a variety of benefits over traditional set-ups including:

  • Simplified Changeover: You know that three-person repair job in our opening scenario? In a modular polyurethane screening system, that same job can be accomplished by one person with a drill or screwdriver. That’s a lot of labor saved over time!
  • Less Downtime: Because removing damaged or worn parts are greatly simplified modular systems save you valuable maintenance time. Imagine the ore you could process if things could be fixed in minutes instead of hours.
  • Safety Improvements: Smashed and pricked fingers can result from wire mesh screen swaps. Polyurethane panels, meanwhile, are free of sharp edges and can typically be removed without the use of a sledgehammer or sharp object. As potential issues are often easier to contain, the risk of total system meltdowns is also greatly reduced.
  • Enhanced Versatility: Polyurethane panels can be configured to fit your needs—this includes retrofitting old equipment. Do you need it flat or inclined? Looking to have a deflector, rider bar, or weir built-in? Want to replace a worn section of a conveyer without worrying about spending thousands of dollars? If so, you can capitalize on a modular system to get that done.
  • Easy Storage: Are you scared of running out of replacement parts when you need them most? Unlike replacement wire mesh screens, which can take up valuable square footage, polyurethane screening panels can be easily stored in your warehouse or hung up on walls. They can then be inventoried and replenished like nuts, bolts, and other commodity items.

Ready to Make the Switch to a Modular Screening System?

Whether you need replacement panels for your banana screener or are looking to bring your whole fleet into the 21st century, the experts at Poly-tek have the expertise to get the job done. Our specialists are familiar with the demands of the mining and mineral industries and can help you design a modular screening system that fits your needs. Please reach out to us at 510-895-6001 or [email protected] to discuss your project in detail.