Temperature Control During R&D for Chemicals Used in Mined Minerals

Senmin of South Africa is a leading local manufacturer of chemicals used for the beneficiation and flocculation of a wide range of ore bodies such as platinum, diamonds, heavy minerals, coal, gold, uranium and base metals.  Their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sasolburg has a new R&D laboratory that opened in June 2015, and to control temperature of the various processes therein, a number of Julabo circulators and chillers have been installed by Labotec.

The current product portfolio consists of speciality liquid thio mineral collectors, solid xanthate bulk sulphide collectors, frothers, gangue depressants, polyacrylamides for tailings and concentrate thickening and tailing thickener rheology modifiers.  According to the R&D Lab Manager at Senmin, Natasha Bannerman, “some of the chemicals we work with in the laboratory are extremely volatile and efficient cooling is required to ensure that vapours are sufficiently condensed and not released into the atmosphere”.  A number of Julabo Recirculating coolers are used in Senmins’ Organic research work for cooling of condensers, which forms part of the reaction and rotary evaporator set-ups.  Julabo recirculating coolers can handle virtually any cooling requirements in laboratories or industrial environments with up to 20 kW of cooling capacity. Their efficiency makes them an environmentally-friendly and an economical alternative to cooling with tap water.

Another two Julabo Chillers are used to routinely control the temperature of the 5 litre Sartorius Biostat Fermenters, forming part of the Biotechnology research initiative.  “The accurate control of the temperatures for the fermentation and polymer reactions is of utmost importance for achieving meaningful results”, says Natasha.  For the two litre laboratory Polymer Processing Unit, a Julabo Presto unit is being used to control the temperature.  The Presto systems are designed for precise temperature control as well as rapid reaction to any exothermic and endothermic reactions and temperature change, making them ideal for reactor vessels, material stress tests, or temperature simulations. These instruments will cover a working temperature of -92 to +250 °C with high cooling and heating capacity.

Senmin’s R&D laboratory is backed-up by a world class manufacturing unit boasting various awards and accreditations for quality management systems, and a five-star accreditation with a NOSCAR award for safety in 2011 and ISO 1400 and 1401 accreditation for environmental management.