The 2008 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Technology Innovation of the Year Award in the field of moisture analysers for bulk materials, was awarded to the Australian-based company Intalysis . The award is in recognition of Intalysis Low Frequency Microwave (LFM) moisture analyser technology which has greatly enabled the reduction of dust at Australian ports and therefore increased the throughput of bulk materials such as coal and iron ore in many of Australia’s ports.
The LFM technology utilises microwaves to measure moisture in highly attenuating materials such as iron ore or high bed depth coals. This has been achieved through the use of lower transmission frequencies, focused antennas and sophisticated electronics. This technology can also be used where more precision and reliable moisture measurements are required.
Intalysis emerged from the Minerals Division of Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) in 2005. Intalysis have created unique solutions in moisture analysis and control in mineral and process applications.
The LFM moisture analyser technology has played a critical role by maintaining the optimum moisture concentration of bulk materials like coal and iron ore.
Dust is controlled by increasing the moisture levels in the ore to a level certain limit, known as the dust extinction moisture (DEM). It is also important to keep the moisture close to this limit as excessive moisture could cause the ore to become increasingly sticky, causing a build up of ore in chutes and on screens. If water is allowed to go above maximum moisture shipping levels, the ore can undergo liquefaction during transport which could cause the cargo to shift in rough seas or make unloading difficult.
Intalysis’ analyser consists of a microwave transmission measurement system which emits microwaves that travel through the material from the top of the conveyor belt. The output is received below the conveyor wherein the system measures microwave phase shift and attenuation of the signal to detect the amount of moisture in the material. The system measures moisture irrespective of the size of particles in the material and the speed of the conveyor belt.
Intalysis’ LFM analyser uses a lower frequency signal to penetrate through ores which have higher dielectric constants. This instrument also has potential in low attenuation applications where signal loss is relatively low and high precision is required, such as in organic materials like wood chips and bagasse. Applications of the LFM technology include sintering or pelletisation of iron ore, combustion efficiency improvement and metallurgical accounting in mining.