As the demand for enhanced efficiencies and throughput increases, the market is seeking out solutions that have a proven track record, yet can be customised to suit specific applications. The ability to stay abreast of technological changes and implement smarter more cost effective ways of screening is a big differentiator, says Multotec. The screen panel is the most critical aspect of the screening application as it defines what the customer will receive from the process. For this reason it is essential for the appropriate panel to be in place to ensure correct feed envelopes to downstream processes.Much of the time screening media is misunderstood and insufficient attention is often given to this critical component. According to Rhodes Nelson, Managing Director of Multotec Manufacturing, one of the driving forces in screening at the moment is the ability to determine wear of screen panels and to plan for maintenance and replacement of thereof. “By being able to establish wear patterns before they cause a shutdown, process plants save substantial amounts of labour and money on downtime. As a result, we have seen an increasing demand for our online monitoring system Hawkeye as well as for enhancements in recording processes.”Visual wear indicators is another technology that is seeing an increased demand as it provides a major advantage in terms of monitoring screen panels. This is a system with a visual indicator that shows the incremental wear rates that occur on screening media. As the aperture wears, the visual dots become clearly visible and the changeout criteria cannot be misinterpreted. The end result is far more accurate determination of screen panel changeouts.Nelson cautions that the use of visual wear indicators does, however, require active field service participation, with attention to visual observation and monitoring of screen panels to provide feedback. If correctly implemented, however, visual wear indicators can further optimise screen performance. Multotec says it is seeing a significant change in the end users’ expectation of product quality and adherence to product specification. Nelson believes that this is predominantly because of the oversupply situation and applies specifically to coal and iron ore. “This has led to the reality that sampling of product is now far more critical than previously exhibited and there is a need for the feed envelopes to the various processes or for the final product to be more accurate.”Multotec invests strategically into R&D to respond to direct customer demands. This has resulted in the development of a number of products and solutions that are geared towards increased return on investment. “Another development we have seen is where three dimensional screening is optimising open area for screen panels. An example is the Multotec TeePee™ panel that is used in dewatering applications,” says Nelson. In addition, Multotec’s O-slot™ aperture is being successfully used in iron ore applications where panel life needs to be optimised, while still retaining non blinding characteristics.Added to this product development is the availability of multiple screen material options that include various polyurethane grades, rubber grades and steel grades, which would be applied as a solution depending on the customers’ process application requirement. Ongoing market analysis has resulted in Multotec increasing the variety of options and the configuration of its Saddle Top™ runner system to protect both the sub frame and improve meantime between failures. Coupled with this is accessibility to a wide range of fit for purpose attachment systems which gives customers additional flexibility without having to change the screen sub frame.The cornerstones of success for Multotec are unequivocal and uncompromising customer service, customised solutions, product excellence in design and engineering, and a team of highly skilled and experienced employees who are able to devise bespoke screen panel solutions that ultimately result in superior throughput of product.