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Minerals Engineering, Vol. 4, No. 3/4, pp. 369-381, 1991 0892-6875/91 $3.00 + 0.

00
Pfintt~l in Great Britain Pergamon Prcu plc

THE SHAKING TABLE CONCENTRATOR - THE INFLUENCE OF OPERATING


CONDITIONS AND TABLE PARAMETERS ON MINERAL SEPARATION -
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A MATHEMATICAL MODEL
FOR NORMAL OPERATING CONDITIONS

R.J.MANSER§, R.W.BARLEYt and B.A.WILLSt

§ Ortech MCS Ltd., Greytown House, 42-52 Cross St.,


Sale, Cheshire, M33 1AF, England
t Camborne School of Mines, Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 3SE, England

ABSTRACT

The effects of several variables on the performance of a shaking table have


been investigated on a laboratory-scale Wil fley table using a synthetic mixture
to represent a typical industrial metallic ore. The following main conclusions
can be drawn from the study:

(i) Feed pulp density should be kept below 35% solids.


(ii) A minimum level of wash-water is required to effect separation.
(iii) There is an optimum deck inclination for any given material.
(iv) Increasing a particular density and size fraction of the feed,
causes a corresponding increase in the band width of this
material at its discharge point.

A modified logistic function was used as a regression model to predict the


cumulative distribution curves of the species. The general form of the equation
is:

Yi ffi Tanh2(xia3 )/[1.O+exp(-[a2+a2(xi-l.O)])]

where y i=cumulative % of a species


x ifficrossbed length

The physical significance of the model coefficients is described. The


development of secondary equations to relate the model coefficients to particle
size and density is also outlined. The limitations of the model are examined
and the areas requiring further work are highlighted.

Keywords
Shaking table; mathematical model; Wilfley table; gravity concentration

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the investigation was the development of a mathematical model to predict
the performance of a shaking table concentrator. Models of crushing, grinding and
classification unit processes have been available for a considerable time now, and some
gravity processes are being studied. These models are required in order to simulate plants
using a computer, for both design and optimization studies.

The fundamental processes occurring in mineral processing operations are so complex that
normally an empirical or semi-empirical modelling approach has been adopted. This entails
collecting data under a variety of operating conditions for the unit under study and
369
370 R.J. MANSER et al.

producing a mathematical relationship which then allows prediction of the unit product
from feed and operating data.

This is the approach that was adopted here. Initially, the variables that influenced the table
performance were identified, those to be investigated were selected and their operating
range was established. After a systematic study of the variables on a laboratory-scale table,
a mathematical model was developed. The form of this model was finally assessed on an
industrial shaking table at South Crofty Ltd., Cornwall.

EXPERIMENTAL

A sands table at South Crofty tin mine was selected for the initial study to assess the
operation of a shaking table and to define the variables that needed to be included in the
test programme. It was apparent at this stage that an industrial unit was not going to be
suitable for data generation for modelling purposes.

It was decided to perform the tests in the pilot plant on a t-scale Wilfley shaking table. This
permitted the close control of the variables that affected the performance of the table that
could not be achieved on an industrial unit. In order to allow the results to be compared
with an industrial unit, the feed material had a size distribution similar to that observed on
a sands table at a local tin mine. The components of the feed were selected for ease of
analysis (to avoid excessive use of heavy liquids). They represent the three products (by
specific gravity) of an industrial unit i.e. ferrosilicon for concentrate, ilmenite for middlings
and quartz for tailings.

The following variables were investigated: deck inclination, wash-water addition, feed rate,
feed grade, feed pulp density, table speed and amplitude. Other factors such as riffle
design, deck surface etc. were not altered during the test programme. Once the maximum
and minimum settings of the variables were established, the performance of the table was
studied by holding all the variables constant except one, and varying the selected parameter
over its operating range.

The performance of the table was assessed by noting the positions of the concentrate and
middlings bands relative to a datum of the concentrate edge/tailings edge corner (see Figure
1), under steady state conditions, and by taking a series of 15 samples simultaneously along
the concentrate edge. (For this particular table it was not necessary to take samples along
the tailings edge as the distribution of species along this edge did not change significantly).
The 15 samples were sized and each size fraction was sub-divided into its three constituents.

Sampling Points Feed

Wash Water
®

Motion
o

c-
si. . . . . . . . . . . .
U
t- loi ¢ ' ~ ~ ' ....
=
O
154,, ,~,. .,
t#

Tailings Edge 1 6 Riffles


r:.o)

o
/.,...

Fig.l Shaking table concentrator


The shaking table concentrator 371

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Band Positions

Figure 2 illustrates the movement of the positions of the concentrate and


concentrate/tailings bands as the six variables are altered. The band positions were defined
as the top edge of the concentrate band and the interface between the quartz and the
ilmenite (indicated by a distinct colour change), all measured relative to the concentrate
edge/tailings edge corner.

Figure 2a shows the effect of increasing the wash water rate on the band positions. Both
bands are forced down the table towards the railings edge, with the width of the concentrate
band decreasing slightly as the wash water increases.

S$ F .... : ]
B .!

n
d
P
0

I
t
i 24 ............ i ............. f ...................................................... i ........................... !
o
It : ! i I

~' 1eL_ .......... . . . . i ..... ...i. .....


0 800 1000 WOO 2000 2800 8000 8500 4000
Wash Water ©©/rain
- v - - Concentrate Band ~ ConQentrstolTaillngo

Fig.2a Effect of wash water variation on band positions

Figure 2b is a plot of the effect of changing the feed grade, simulated by increasing the
proportion of ferrosilicon and ilmenite at the expense of the quartz. As the feed grade
increases the concentrate band moves higher up the table while the tailings band moves by
a larger degree towards the railings edge. The net effect is a widening of the concentrate
band.

In figure 2c, the pulp density was increased. An extra band is plotted here, the position of
the bottom of the railings band on the railings edge (hence negative values relative to the
datum). Pulp density has little effect on the concentrate band position, but the band width
narrows rapidly with increasing pulp density and the tailings band width also reduces. This
has the effect of making it more difficult to effect a separation of the species and is a
graphic illustration of the manufacturers recommendation of 25% solids for the feed pulp.
Once this value is exceeded, separation becomes impractical.

Figure 2d demonstrates the effect of varying the feed mass flowrate. Both bands are forced
up the table as the mass rate is increased, with a slight narrowing of the concentrate band
at the higher rates.

The movement of the band positions with changing deck inclination is presented in figure
2e. There is an o p t i m u m angle at which the bands are at their widest (here from 4.5 to 5.5
degrees). Thus for the given set of conditions this angle will spread the material to allow
easy product separation, whilst at the extremes the bands are forced together.
372 R . J . MANSER et al.

84
B
a
n 81
d
P
0 28

I
t 26
I
o
................ i ......................................................................... i
n
22
0
nl
19 t
0 8 6 O
Feed Grade %

- v - Conoentreto Bend ¢ ConoentrstolTaillngo


Fig.2b E f f e c t of feed grade variation on band positions

.
B SOt- . . . . . . .. . . . . : ": i r
a
" + !- .............. i ! ~, ., I
n
d
lo: ~ ..... ~ .................... ~..................... i . . . . . . . . . . . . .
P
0
II
- 1 0 •:~"........................................ :...............................................................
i
I
t
I
0 -eo.~ ................................................................ ~ ................. ~ . . . . _ . - ~ - ~ . . ~
n ! ............ : i
80: : a _ _ ~ _ _ ~ : : ,
: ~', : : : ,
0
III -4o L~_~------~-~_~ ! ..i i I
10 20 80 40 60 eo
Pulp Density %

-~- Oonoentrnte B u d ~ OonoentrlNITidllngo


-~" Tldllngo Band

Fig.2c E f f e c t o f pulp density variation on band positions

Speed was the last variable to be studied. Figure 2 f displays the e f f e c t o f speed on the
bands. At low speeds the bands do not appear to be affected at all, b u t then they are forced
closer together and d o w n the table as speed is increased.

Variation In Distribution

Figure 3 is an example o f the curves produced to investigate the change in the total
distribution o f species with the variable under study held at d i f f e r e n t levels. The curves
presented show the e f f e c t o f reducing the level of wash water f r o m 2960 to 1000 co/rain.

These curves reveal information that is not apparent from inspection o f figure 2a. Although
the relative band positions are apparently the same, the spread of the species is changed by
increasing the wash water. The higher rate produces a cleaner separation of the species, the
ilmenite being forced into a narrower band between the others, producing a potentially
sharper separation b e t w e e n the species.
The shaking table concentrator 373

B
a.
n
d "I ..............r. . . . . . .
P
0
]gr
i
......................... r ............... i ..............................................................
I 17 ~".............................. i ...............":.............................. T.............................
t
I i ................................................................ i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

0
n
. " ] ~ i . ~i .........
- i """ i ~ !
0
nl
11

10
'

16 20 sp5 80 86 40
" ....
i
48
Mmm Flowrste gls

-v-- C o n o o n t r m Band . - ~ - Oonoontrnm/Tulllngo

Fig.2d Effect of mass flowrate variation on band positions

• so,
B z I

:' " i ~ ........ }...........................i ..........................i...........................I

• ,or ...................... ~.../ ........... .-~-..--.: .......................... ..:.......................... I


o ,~ i\ " i . l

0L
2 4 8 8 10
Inolinstlon degrees
- ~ - Coneentrsto Bsnd - - o - Cwmentrstofraillnllo

Fig.2e Effect of inclination variation on band positions

The general conclusions drawn from the previous section were confirmed by an
investigation of the total distributions profiles. The increase in feed grade caused a
broadening of the band for the species that had its proportion in the feed increased, causing
band overlap and hence reduction in product grade.

Examination of the total distribution curves for pulp density indicated that too high a pulp
density inhibited particle movement leading to poor separation. Similar results were seen for
speed, with poor separation resulting from a move away from the correct speed for the
particular system.
374 R. J. MANSI~ et al.

li
n
d "i ................ i .................. ................. .................. ! .................. ,
P "i- ................ " .................. ~.................. " ................ ~::::: .......... i ................. i
0

I
t
i
"!;:. ...........~:i~~
11 ~- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
................
: ............................
. ~i ............
.-":~::.-: ..................
" i
.: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
i
0
n
~o~- ................ " .................. : ..................................... f ..... ~::: ..... i .................
0
III
S I . . . . . . . . . I .......
NO 190 SIO 880 ImO 410 44O

8pied rpm
--o- Oon(.mtrete Bead -~- Omwentnm/TMllnlle

Fig.2f Effect of speed variation on band positions

100 ......... ~ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

80 .................... ~ .................... i...... .~.-,.~ ................... ~:-....~.-.-- ...............


: ~ @

8 eO -- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . : .......... ........... i. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :". . . . ~" ..................................


P
tl
o
i 4 0 ~- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ::. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ":. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
e
: ~ :
2 o ~• ................... ~ ..................... :.....................
~ i ........... ::-~...-.~ . .-..~,
.................

0 i.__ _ _ _ , ~ , .,L --~ ^ ~

0 3 e 9 12 15

Cross Bed Length cm


- r~.-- F e r r o M I I o o n -~ - Ilmenlte - '~ - Q u a r t z

Fig.3a Total species distribution at high wash water level

The general movement up the table seen in figure 2d for increasing mass feed rate masks
the fact that the ilmenite is forced up the table more readily than the ferrosilicon, resulting
in species overlap. This leads to a reduction in concentrate grade for a fixed cutter position.

Finally, away from the optimum angle, we see poor separation at sha]low angles and
although better separation is achieved at high angles, the bands are too narrow to produce
an acceptable product.

South Crofty Tin Ore Tests

Tests were performed with a real ore sample on the laboratory scale and also on a full size
table at South Crofty Ltd. The same general shape of the distributions was found for the
real ore as with the synthetic material for all these tests. This indicated that the approach
adopted would be applicable to a full size table.
The shaking table concentrator 375

1 0 0 V - ............................. 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - ..................

eo u...~. .................................. - .......................................... ~.~7....~....~ ........

II
P .o+- ..... ............... .......... i .....................

0
I 4 o ..... . , - . . ~ . . ~ . . . . - , - - - . ~ ............ ~ . . . ~ f , ~ ............... ~..................... +
a
,.-i ~"+LC_ .P'+-.._. +
• o ..... ~ : ......... +............. ~..~.-----. ~ + ~ . . . ' ~ . . ~ ~ .............

0 8 6 9 1R 16
Cro~ Bed Length om
u Fer~l~ (1) ~ llmlb (1) ~ ~ (~)
--n. Ferrooillioon (prod)---4., I I ~ I N ~ -'~ ~

Fig.3b Total species distribution at normal wash water level, measured and predicted

MODELLING OF RESULTS

Data Format

A mathematical model of the behaviour of a shaking table is required to predict the


products produced by the table while operating under certain conditions. The position of
the product splitters which determines the relative proportions of the concentrate, middlings
and tailings products is determined by the operators. The model thus needs to be able to
predict the relative proportions of the feed which report to a particular position on the table
edge. The samples were thus divided into size fractions as well as density fractions in order
to provide this information.

Figure 4 shows the variation of each species size fraction with cross bed length. These
exhibit the same trends as the total distribution curves, with the ferrosilicon at the high end
of the table, followed by ilmenite and quartz at the bottom of the table. These curves were
not in a convenient form for mathematical modelling, as can be seen the three sets of curves
are all of different form.

When these curves are replotted in cumulative percentage form, then figure 5 is the result.
It can be seen that a more regular pattern emerges and the modelling becomes greatly
simplified. The larger and lower density material tends to be forced relatively further down
the table. This is the form that was selected for modelling purposes.

Main Model Equation

Several different forms of equation which could be used to fit these shapes of curves were
investigated. The o p t i m u m model equation coefficients were found by fitting using the
Simplex technique (Nelder and Mead algorithm [1]) to minimize the sum of the squares of
the residuals.

Polynomial, Rosin-Rammler, Rao, Weibull, Erasmus and modified Logistic functions were
compared. The last three all performed well but the modified Logistic function was
preferred because of fewer model coefficients and their relative ease of estimation.
376 R.J. MANSERet al.

"F-:; ..........................................................
F
f 10 .........
¥ " ....~ ~X~
.,:'i'',
L,...~
............................... .......... ii..................... ).....................
)!
f
o
I : : , )t~ ~ ~ . :

I .i i , "<,., .L .L~............. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I
o
o
II
;, :: .-+-4. I
oL "
O 8 O 0 12 16
(~rooo Bod Longth om
-~ ,~ nle'ono -~- 4! nlorono -~- .411 miorono
Fig.4a Variation of ferrosilicon distribution b y size

14 r-'- ........................................................ --I


I
J
I
i

10~" .........................................................................................................
I
I
n r

n
I m k.................... ...~.~,:~;..,.w..>..,~.~.~\...
t

oL.. _ .-~ l
0 8 0 o 11 16
Omoo Bid Longth om

-n--~ mloroM --+-448 mloroM ~ ~ mmoromm


Fig.4b Variation of ilmenite distribution b y size

The general form of the Logistic function [2] is:

Yi ffi a3/{1 + exp(-(a 1 + a2(x|')))}

where Yi ffi cumulative percentage


xi'ffi xi(cross bed length) - 1.0 (see figure 5, to allow for origin shift)
a 1 ffi scale factor
a 2 ffi shape factor
a 3 ffi upper asymptote

This equation was found to produce some error at low cross bed lengths. This problem was
reduced by the incorporation o f a hyperbolic function. This adjusted the error at low cross
bed lengths without affecting the high cross bed length values. The modification to the
above equation was to the dividend which becomes Tanh2xi.a3 .
The shaking table concentrator 377

24 l- .......................... ................................. ~ .................

1 o k .............................................................................................................
Q
u

r
t O ~ .................... ° ..................... °. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ° . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

p~k- - ~ ' ~ - :

0 8 O O 1 16
Bod L o n o t h o m

- ~ - ,0,O0 nlog'ono ¢ *08 mloroM ~ *46 n l o r o n o


Fig.4c Variation of quartz distribution by size

C
u
n
u
I
a
t
I
V

F 40~
r
r
o

I
i
I 0 8 O 0 M 16
0
0 Crooe Bod Length om
It
o ~ mloroN N)-6- ~ mlorono (prod} ~* 41 imlarono ( n ~ 8 o )

--*- *08 n i o r m m (prod) ~ -411 n l o r u m (molm)-~ -411 m l o r ~ m (prod)

Fig.5a Cumulative % ferrosilicon by size, measured and predicted

Secondary Model Equations

This function was fitted to the cumulative curves but this procedure generated three
coefficients for each curve. Thus the next stage in the model building process was to try to
relate the model coefficients to size and density.This would reduce the total number of
coefficients required. The inclusion of model parameters was allowed for, this is one
method that would enable the effects of changing the variables to be taken into account.

The coefficient a 1 was found to generally reduce with size and increase with density,
following a relationship of the form:
378 R . J . M ^ n s F a t et a/.

p = k~ + k2.exp(k3(-al) ) (l)
where: k 1 ffi 2.20 g / c m 3, the m i n i m u m d e n s i t y , the c u r v e a s y m p t o t e
k 2 = 0.0585u + 0.8224
k 3 ffi 0.3716 ln(/z) - 2.0406
# = density, g / c m 3
/, ffi size, microns

us loo
i
-' , o r .................... .:.................... T ............

v eo r- .................... .- . . . . . . . . . . . . . ~ " " .-'" "'~L"'"'Z~'L~r ........... .~:-'~T'. ..... w .............

! i j--.~.j~'-i _/= i/
ql 4 0 ~. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . de". . . . . . . . . . . .dr. . . . . f f ~ . ~ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - . . . . . . ~ . . . . . . . . . . -. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

~o ..... .~,....~..~...:~..~.....:~.,..~..~ .......... : ..................... : .....................

n
if ~ 4~--~~ :
I 0
t 0 8 O O 1
0
Cross Bed Length om

--v- ¢oo m l o m u ( ~ ) - ~ .gO mlmNo ~ o ~ mlonMm ( ~ )


--¢- .08 mlomu (ImNI)' ~ *44 mlmNO ~ ) ~ b ~ reigning

Fig.Sb C u m u l a t i v e % ilmenite b y size, m e a s u r e d a n d p r e d i c t e d

O
U - 80~ ........... --:-. I
nu :: r

I i : '~
• x
: : A
t, ...................................... ...................... i ...................................
V z : z/ I

s ~o~- .................... i ..................... ":....................... i ...... ~ ......... : '

r
t 0 ~.A--
• 0 8 0 O m W
Croam Bod Lonoth cm
-Q- e4JO m e (mow) -'~ o4JO m l m o a m ( p c o d ) - ~ - o418 m e ( u )

e 0 8 n J o e o a e o (INOd) - ~ -44J n J o e o m o ( m O N ; ~-- ~ nJmoao (prod)

Fig.Sc C u m u l a t i v e % q u a r t z b y size, m e a s u r e d a n d p r e d i c t e d

Whereas f o r a.z, w h i c h r e p r e s e n t s the g r a d i e n t o f the c u r v e s , no s i g n i f i c a n t relationship w i t h


d e n s i t y a n d size c o u l d b e established. It was f o u n d to be d e p e n d e n t on a 1 and the f o l l o w i n g
p o w e r f u n c t i o n f i t t e d the curve:
The shaking table concentrator 379

a z ffi k z + ka(-al)k 9 (2)

where: k 8 = 0.0095
k 9 ffi 2.785
k z = optimized parameter

The maximum recovery along the concentrate edge for a particular species is represented
by a 3. This coefficient increased with increasing density and decreasing size. A logistic
function was found to fit the average curve produced for this coefficient:

a 3 = k 4 / [I + exp(-(k s + k6P)) ] (3)


where:k 4 ffi 101.7, the upper asymptote of the curve
k s = -7.229
k 6 = 10.0/In(#)

Problems Encountered With T h e Data

The model developed could now be used to predict the cumulative distributions of the
various species whilst the table is operating under 'normal' conditions. This highlighted
several problem areas. Figures 3b, 5 and 6 illustrate the use of the models in the predictive
mode.
0
U
In
U
'°°r . . . . . ..................... ..-.............. T .................

I
.................... i .................... i . . . . . . . . . . . . .

t
I
¥ oo F.................... i ............ ~ - . ~ ................. ~ .......... i .....................

8
P
"°I
,o]-...........
.~....--.~
~:" '~
. . . . .
~ .........
"~ :/- ~'~"_ "~'"..........ii.....................!i.....................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

0
I OI t----'I i ~ _~ L ~-- ~ " _.XV ,

0 8 O 0 I m
C~oee Bod Length om
Ferro~lioon ( n e o l ) - ~ IlmenlN (IHNm) ~ Quartz
-s- r.erroMlioon (l~re~-O" Ilamnl~ ~ "-~ Quartz (IN.d)

Fig.6 Species recovery, measured and predicted

Firstly, a change to fractional bed width from cross bed length was thought desirable to
conform to other unit device models, and to make the scale up procedure straightforward,
however this has not been implemented yet.

The fact that certain species only cover a small proportion of the concentrate edge makes
their curves difficult to mathematically model. This is shown by figure 5c for quartz. One
way of avoiding this problem is to introduce a Location Fraction. This parameter determines
the position on the table edge that the species first appears, the curve for that species would
then be fitted from the location fraction to zero fractional bed width.This is another future
development.

There is also a natural weighting towards the higher density curves which means that these
will dominate the optimization procedure. Thus the predicted curves for ferrosilicon (figure
5a) are closer to the measured data than those for ilmenite and quartz (figures 5b and 5c).
380 R.J. MA~sr.R et al.

The errors in the quartz curves, because there is a large proportion of this species in the
feed, leads to errors in the prediction of grade at the low cross bed lengths.

Figures 3b and 6 show up the problems in converting the cumulative curves to grade and
recovery plots. The above mentioned errors, combined with the difficulties experienced
with the Logistic function fitting the low cross bed lengths, produced these poor
comparisons. In order to predict recovery and especially grade, then further work is
required on the models, as already indicated.

Weighting of the data in proportion to the mass flowrate of the species in the feed did
improve the predictions at high cross bed lengths but is not the answer to the problem.

Auxiliary Models

In order to allow the model to predict performance away from normal operating conditions
required the development of auxiliary models. These related the model parameters to the
flow conditions. There were three model parameters in the secondary equations which were
investigated.

The first parameter appears in equation 2, and it is coefficient kz. This parameter varied
between each data set but no apparent relationship could be established. In order to
re-evaluate this parameter, significantly more data would be required.

The second parameter appears in equation 1. It was found that k 3 varied between data sets
and that a multiplying factor in the form of a model parameter could be applied to allow
for this variation. It was a measure of the average location along the concentrate edge and
is related to the location fraction. It was found to decrease with decreasing angle, increasing
mass flowrate but was independent of pulp density.

The final parameter is in equation 3 and is a multiplying factor for the coefficient a 3. This
determines the total recovery of each species along the concentrate edge but again no clear
relationship could be established. This parameter is useful as an indication of the ease of
mineral separation, when used in conjunction with the location fraction. A high parameter
value with a low location fraction indicates a bunched distribution and narrow bands. A
high parameter value with a high location fraction suggests a broad spread of material with
wide bands.

Full Size Shaking Table Test

The main model that was developed was used to predict the behaviour of a real ore sample
on the laboratory table and then on a full size industrial unit. The model performed
creditably in both instances. The overall recovery was predicted well but there were some
slight discrepancies in individual cumulative curves. This lead to errors in the total grade
curves although the correct trends were followed. This confirmed the applicability of the
main model form to shaking table modelling.

CONCLUSIONS

Operating Conditions
Wash water influences all material and can preferentially affect the lower density species
if set at very high levels. It is not necessary to increase the level of wash water above that
required to maintain particle fluidization. Increasing the wash water could be used to
compensate for high feed pulp densities or high feed mass flowrates, but it would be
uneconomical in water to do so.

Higher feed mass flowrates produce broader distributions and this can lead to partial
overlap of the species and poorer separation. If the cutter positions are unaltered, this will
lead to a poorer grade of product at the same recovery. Higher density fine material may
The shakingtable concentrator 381

be forced towards the tailings edge as a result of restricted stratification. Inclining the deck
can compensate for fluctuations in feed mass flowrate.

The maximum feed pulp density for efficient separation is 30-35% solids. A low pulp
density may cause fines to report to the tailings but does not adversely affect separation
(excess water reporting mainly to the railings launder). At high pulp density the problems
associated with high feed rates are encountered. It is better to control the feed pulp density
to within the operating range by water addition at the feed rather than by relying on the
wash water action in the cleaning zone.

For a given feed composition, an o p t i m u m deck angle exists which produces broad mineral
bands which are centrally located on the concentrate edge. Changes in deck inclination are
not normally required unless feed composition alters considerably.

An increase in the proportion of any feed component will result in a broadening of the
distribution about the normal discharge point for that species. Overlapping of the mineral
bands may occur if particle movement is restricted for any reason.

The deck motion affects the fine heavy material whereas the light material is influenced
more by the flowing water film. There is an o p t i m u m combination of speed and amplitude
which should be selected for a particular duty, in order to produce an acceptable
distribution of material on the table.

The overall distribution of species is relatively insensitive to changes in the main variables.
Since these variables need to be altered significantly to upset the distribution, then a model
developed to represent the normal operating conditions of the table may well be adequate
for most purposes.

Modelling
A modified Logistic function was found to fit the measured distribution curves well, the
main difficulties arising at low cross bed lengths. The introduction of a location fraction
should improve the curve fitting. The fitting of the equation to the normal operating
conditions was successfully accomplished.

The inclusion of the effects of size and density was attempted in the form of secondary
equations to supplement the main model equations. This was achieved with limited success.
The cumulative curves were fitted well, but the errors in these curves lead to acceptable
prediction of recovery but not of grade. Further work is required on the secondary
equations. More raw data on an industrial scale is needed to allow refinement of these
equations before adequate grade prediction can be achieved.

No relationship could be established between the proposed auxiliary model parameters and
flow conditions. It may be necessary to try a different form of the secondary equations or
an alternative modelling technique before this aspect of the model can be improved. Until
the revised secondary equations are produced then no further progress can be made towards
a model to take into account variations from the norm.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors wish to thank the Raw Materials programme of the EEC and the Minerals and
Metals Division of the DTI for their financial support during this project. Also, thanks are
due to South Crofty Ltd. for the use of their facilities.

REFERENCES
. Nelder J.A. and Mead R., Comp.J., 7, 308 (1965)
2. Afifi A. and Clark V., Computer-Aided Multi-Variate Analysis, Wadsworth Inc.,
California (1984)