Specialists in transfer Chute Systems, Weba Chute says the company has been called upon by a number of operators to replace chute systems that have simply not made the grade in terms of performance or wear life.

Mark Baller, managing director of Weba Chute Systems attributed this to the tough economic times, which he said have had unintended consequences, one of those being the installation of budget transfer systems.

“The bottom line is that plants have cut corners in terms of transfer points, and it is now starting to cost them significantly in unplanned downtime, reduced throughput and unnecessary maintenance.

“Watching from the side lines, the company has seen many mines opting for the most inexpensive chute as a way of reducing capital costs, but this strategy has not paid the expected dividends. In fact, the opposite is true with these plants experiencing substantially higher total cost of ownership.”

He put forward the case for engineered custom transfer solutions and noted that numerous examples where chute systems have been tailored for specific applications have reduced all sorts of issues including blockages, high maintenance, spillage, noise and dust.

“We find that mines are now more open to comprehending that when it comes to chute systems it is not about the initial purchase price but more about the total cost of ownership,” Baller said.

“Years of experience, expertise and skill  are the major differentiators that allow our chute systems to produce transfer point systems engineered specifically for a given application requirement. Our chute systems reduce operating costs with most chutes giving a full return on investment within 18 months.”

Baller noted that transfer points were not off-the-shelf products. He said while anyone could do the basics when it comes to the technical side of designing a transfer chute, it could not be pinned down to an exact science and that there was simply no single solution for materials transfer.