When it comes to providing one of the most versatile additives and fillers, NYCO Minerals, Inc., located in Willsboro, New York has accomplished this for over 50 years with its production of wollastonite (calcium silicate). Wollastonite is generally used as an additive or filler in a number of plastics, ceramics, coating, and construction product applications. Because consistency and accuracy are critical in the processing of wollastonite, NYCO relies upon Schenck AccuRate weighing and feeding equipment for maintaining a constant feed to its milling process resulting in high efficiencies and purity of product.
As their supplier of choice for over 10 years, NYCO uses a wide range of products from Schenck AccuRate, which includes gravimetric MECHATRON® screw feeders, SolidsFlow® vibratory feeders, a DEA weighbelt feeder, and a BXN dual idler belt scale. Each of these metering devices are equipped with Schenck AccuRate DISOCONT® controls and DeviceNet cards for communicating to the plant’s Allen Bradley PLC.
NYCO mines the wollastonite in a nearby quarry and transports the materials to their facility by truck where it is stock piled. Based on production requirements, material is moved into the plant with a belt conveyor. Just prior to entering the facility, the raw material is weighed and totalized using the Schenck AccuRate BXN dual idler belt scale. Providing an accurate total of raw product coming into the plant is important to NYCO for inventory management as well as a means to calculate loss due to removal of impurities through their production process. Once in the plant the raw materials go through a series of crushing and separation processes where impurities are removed. The materials are then placed in storage silos before another round of separation takes place, to further purify the wollastonite ore from other minerals.
Once impurities are removed the raw ore is then stored for feeding to a variety of milling processes. NYCO chose to use a mix of MECHATRON® loss-in weight screw feeders, SolidsFlow™ vibratory feeders, and a DEA weighbelt feeder for the various applications because each product has the unique ability to meter the hard-to-feed wollastonite. When NYCO needs to accurately meter a fine ground version of wollastonite they operate the coni-flex MECHATRON® feeder with its flexible vinyl hopper and external paddle agitator that continuously massages the hopper’s outer wall promoting material flow. The SolidsFlow™ and DEA feeders are preferred for the larger free flowing particle sizes because they are not affected by the abrasive properties of the material.
All new feeders installed in this plant are equipped with DISOCONT® controls and DeviceNet cards that allow communication with the plant’s Allen Bradley PLC. Additionally, all feeders installed prior to 1998 have been upgraded to the DISOCONT® control platform. Whether it’s to feed the ball mills or air classifiers, providing a consistent and accurate feed is key to optimizing the plant’s efficiency. Rick Olcott, Electrical Supervisor, commented, “the Schenck AccuRate feeders and their ability to maintain constant feed rates has been key to the plant’s product quality and successful operation.” He also mentioned, “after initial installation of the feeders there has been very little maintenance and no product failures.”
Once milling is finished the wollastonite is either packaged for customer shipment or transported to the NYCO Plant 2 facility for further customized milling.
For over a decade NYCO Minerals has successfully operated their plant using Schenck AccuRate weighing and feeding equipment. When they opened a second production facility in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico the company chose to use MECHATRON® and SolidsFlow™ feeders for that plant as well. Since opening the operation in 1997, it has become the world''s largest capacity wollastonite mine and processing facility. John Palmer, Process Engineer, stated, “the feeders have provided all of our plant operations with the accuracies and consistencies that were required resulting in the best quality end product.”