The global Outotec group, borne out of the former Outokumpu Technology organisation, has a sharp focus on green technology, continuous innovation and getting more out of ore.
Outotec with an annual turnover exceeding $A1000 million will continue to provide Australasian and Asia-Pacific clients with the broad range of products and services on which Outokumpu Technology based its reputation (including grinding, flotation, paste thickening and automation technologies, with its leading brands including SUPAFLO and Tankcell).
But it will also build on its formidable successes Down Under to develop expanded expertise to assist resource companies in this region, including its rapidly growing service Centre that has been structured to provide vital skills at a time of unprecedented demand for them.
Operating on six continents with headquarters on Australia’s East and West Coasts Outotec represents Outokumpu Technology’s evolution from a technology division within Outokumpu, through expansion and several acquisitions, to an independent listed company with its own brand values and visual identity.
Outokumpu Technology's global business name changed to Outotec, as of April 24 2007. The change followed the sharemarket listing of Outokumpu Technology Oyj in October 2006, when it was agreed with the company's former parent, Outokumpu Oyj, that Outokumpu Technology would change its name.
Outotec inherits a distinguished history of achievement going back more than a hundred years. Tracing its roots to Outokumpu and Lurgi Metallurgie, Outotec has a long tradition of developing metallurgical processes which are environmentally sustainable.
Today, it has a wide range of customers within the iron and steel, aluminum and non-ferrous metals industries as well as in industrial minerals and other process industries.
Green technology with no weak links in the chain
A global leader in green technology, Outotec experts design and deliver plants, processes and equipment worldwide, and provide engineering, project and support services on six continents.
As a result of being environmentally friendly and energy efficient, dozens of Outotec technologies have become industry standards, including those in use in Australia and many that have been specified as Best Available Techniques in the demanding classification system used by the European Union.
Outotec builds comprehensive chains of technology that cover the entire path from ore to metal. Therefore, Outotec can ensure that these chains have no weak links in their environmental management performance.
Outotec continuously develops innovative solutions and products to enhance efficiency in the use of raw materials and to increase the energy-efficiency of its processes.
Outotec further strives to minimise the need for transportation and to shorten process routes in general, thus reducing the energy consumption involved and contributing to sustainable development.
Environmentally sound operations, sealed processes, and energy-efficiency are of top priority in Outotec’s product development work.
Environmentally safe processes also include waste circulation, minimising of dust generation, and elimination of emissions into the atmosphere. These features are an integral part of Outotec’s processes.
Water conservation, globally and in Australia
Mineral processes consume large quantities of water, a critical resource in many parts of the world, particularly Australia.
Outotec’s paste thickener is an example of new technology featuring low water consumption. Introduction of a paste thickener farm could reduce the water consumption of a mine by half.
An example of Outotec environmental technology at work is found in the turnkey fresh water recovery plant has been installed to optimise environmental benefits at BHP BiIliton’s Finucane Island facilities at Port Hedland in Western Australia.
The plant, incorporating SUPAFLO high rate thickening technology, is integral to the plant expansion which forms part of BHP Billiton’s Rapid Growth Project No3, which will increase annual iron ore sales capacity by approximately 20 million tonnes.
Successful completion of the order, just 29 weeks from award to commissioning, was announced by the Managing Director of Outotec, Neil Jagger, who said the solutions delivered by the company were tailored to the strict environmental standards of BHP Billiton, which targets zero harm from its developments.
At the forefront of innovation
To maintain its position at the forefront of innovation, Outotec has two in-house research centers, eight laboratories and four test plants. In addition to this, Outotec has a global network of sales and service centers including its robust Australasian operation. Outotec’s 1,800 professionals working together with a broad network of international subcontractors generated annual sales of EUR 740 million in 2006.
Three business divisions
Outotec has three business divisions: Minerals Processing, Base Metals and Metals Processing.
The Minerals Processing Division is particularly active in Australasia and the Asia-Pacific, providing processes and equipment based on proprietary technologies for mining and related industries.
The technologies include grinding, flotation, physical separation, thickening, on-line analysing, automation and water processing plants. The division’s process, metallurgical and application expertise is invaluable for customers working on projects involving complex ore bodies.
TankCell and SUPAFLO
Two of the technological pillars on which the future of Outotec is built include TankCell flotation cells and SUPAFLO High Rate Thickeners.
A total of more than 1600 TankCell installations have been completed worldwide, spanning sizes from 5m³ up to 300m³. The TankCell-300 – the first of which is entering service with Oceanagold’s Macraes operation in New Zealand - is a huge mechanical flotation cell on the market.
TankCell-300 provides the optimal balance between metallurgical efficiency and investment cost for plants requiring big throughputs.
The modular design offers flexibility to meet a wide range of mass balances, retention times and particle sizes. These are optimised with the customer to ensure best fit for each application.
The mechanical design is robust, requiring minimal maintenance.
Benefits of larger cells include lower capital cost, lower installation cost and a smaller footprint compared with smaller tanks of the same total volume.
The larger design also offers optimised froth stability for low-grade ores, as well as ongoing savings from its lower air and power consumption. A small amount of large cells means significantly lower maintenance costs compared to smaller cells with more shafts. Large TankCell's minimise both investment and operation costs.
The SUPAFLO high-rate thickener concept has pioneered and redefined the methods of clarification and thickening around the world over the past decade.
Outotec’s product range includes:
- SUPAFLO High Rate Thickeners
- SUPAFLO High Compression Thickeners
- SUPAFLO Paste Thickeners
- SUPAFLO Conventional Thickeners
- SUPAFLO Clarifiers
- SUPAFLO Solids contact clarifiers
- SUPAFLO Lime Saturators
With more than 1000 paste and thickener installations Outotec knows how to provide process solutions to enable longer term cost benefits for handling mineral slurries, clarification duties or producing paste.
SUPAFLO thickeners and paste thickeners include a number of innovative features in their design.
Special attention is given to engineering design of feedwells, rake profiles, drive systems and control strategies to meet the challenge of dewatering materials that are often problematic for normal thickeners.