Laboratory Testing & General Mineral Processing Engineering

Laboratory Testing & General Mineral Processing Engineering 2017-04-04T06:57:51+00:00
  • To participate in the 911Metallurgist Forums, be sure to JOINLOGIN
  • Use Add New Topic to ask a New Question/Discussion about Mineral Processing or Laboratory Work.
  • OR Select a Topic that Interests you.
  • Use Add Reply = to Reply/Participate in a Topic/Discussion (most frequent).
    Using Add Reply allows you to Attach Images or PDF files and provide a more complete input.
  • Use Add Comment = to comment on someone else’s Reply in an already active Topic/Discussion.

Automated Flotation Testing (19 replies)

2 years ago
Oberfuhrer 2 years ago

Am trying to automate lab scale flotation testing. I'm particularly interested in equipment that has been used to try to eliminate the possibility of human error when it comes to testing. For example, in a batch laboratory flotation test there are many factors that can sometimes make test results operator dependent, such as: froth removal rate, froth height, slight differences in reagent addition rate, physical location of reagent addition point within the cell etc. Has any equipment been developed with the purpose of 'guaranteeing' that these variables are kept constant between tests?

Zander Barcalow
2 years ago
Zander Barcalow 2 years ago

Could you please elaborate with what you would like to automate? Obviously with the various levels of automation available, this can be done in a (I am a bit scared to use the word cheap), cost effective manner, or can be a very elaborate exercise. If you could let me know what you are looking to achieve, then it would be easier.

Sachin Prakash
2 years ago
Sachin Prakash 2 years ago

Yes this is good idea. In INDIA all our Govt. labs have automated Column flotation columns. If you want details contact NML CHENNAI INDIA

Zander Barcalow
2 years ago
Zander Barcalow 2 years ago

All the parameters that you mentioned are measurable and controllable on small and large scales. At this point to the best of my knowledge it will consist of using various products from various suppliers. There will be much less operator/ human interface required and you will definitely be able to do the tests much more accurate. Guarantees will always be a very difficult thing, as there are too many possibilities to be able to guarantee exact constants, but with automation it is possible to get these very stable. We mainly get involved in the froth height part of such control and can also be involved in the dosing addition, but I would need to have a look at your exact requirements to be able to comment on the full scale.

2 years ago
Unterstarm 2 years ago

Check out a product called Float Star it is a multivariable controller used specifically for Floatation cells.

Helena Russell
2 years ago
Helena Russell 2 years ago

The GTK Lab cell might be worth a look at. It has automated scraping and a number of other control features. There was a paper on it in the Flotation '13 MEI conference.

Effect of operating conditions and machine parameters on the flotation kinetics in a new laboratory cell! T. Mattsson, R.A. Grau (Outotec Research Center, Finland), J. Leppinen (Outotec, Finland) and K. Heiskanen (Aalto University, Finland)

The other machine which I thought was a neat concept but I'm not sure if it progressed was under development at JK. Here is a reference to a paper on it.

Morgan, S, Bradshaw, D J and Schwarz, S, 2012. Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Separation Index – Small-scale test to characterise the flotation response of an ore type, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference, pp 159-162 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).

Hope this helps.

Bill Rico
2 years ago
Bill Rico 2 years ago

It’s a bit above lab batch scale, but Eriez' Mini-Pilot Plant includes a Continuous Flotation Machine with 12 fully automated Denver-style flotation machines. You can see information about this at

2 years ago
OberstGruppen 2 years ago

The approach that Dee and co. refers to a variation on the method described by Michael Chudacek many years and consists of shaking a slurried ground ore sample in a closed tube with selected reagents and determining the amount reporting to the froth phase.

The idea of automation is an interesting and has some application just a shame that ores and subsequent mineral behaviours tend not to be unique and often require different flotation conditions to achieve the best quality separation.

And I think that the pool of experienced and knowledgeable flotation technicians is ever decreasing - while a certain range of attributes are required to become a good flotation technician, lots of experience, like most things in life, really does 'make' the flotation technician.

Decades ago when I managed a Development and Commercialisation team, the management wanted all of our Sales Engineers to become flotation technicians. Conceptually, a good idea however by definition these group did not have the innate attributes or general background to become flotation technicians, let alone good ones, in spite of copious hands-on training. In the end, myself and the other senior metallurgist did all of the site test work (where we couldn't do programs in laboratories with known and trusted flotation technicians) - the nuances of observation, understanding what is going on, making logical and occasionally left-field / inspired changes, etcetera - really critical when you are employing a new technology or approach.

Bob Mathias
2 years ago
Bob Mathias 2 years ago

The last thing that I would want is to have an automated flotation machine. Unless you have identical samples that you are testing and want identical results then I see no point. To be honest what you need is well experienced flotation operators whom can interactively react to the flotation response and change the very variables that you want to automate and control. Sorry but that is a contradiction in terms. I would very definitely not want to see a prescriptive, automated system being used. I have seen firsthand the poor results that this generates and destroys value for clients.

David Kano
2 years ago
David Kano 2 years ago

You should look at the laboratory cell made by Magotteaux. I believe it has the best potential for automating the laboratory tests. Contrary to the Denver cells, classic design. Those cells have no shaft protruding through the froth. It makes collection of the froth easier to mechanize, in my view.

Note that those cells are more costly, but the design is very good, from my experience, anyways Search”

Zander Barcalow
2 years ago
Zander Barcalow 2 years ago

As you can see from all the advice, there is an immense amount of considerations. I think and important question here would be whether you are looking to automate what you currently have, or whether you are looking to invest in a complete new system. Also what type of budget you would have to do this? Some routes can be very expensive, others not as much, but it will require a considerable investment financially to achieve your end goal. In other words, it will cost money and your final goal will determine what amount of money is required.

2 years ago
Oberstorm 2 years ago

I can see that you are an expert. We can offer you high quality equipment at this website: Please allow some time to discuss this in more detail.

John Koenig
2 years ago
John Koenig 2 years ago

In Institute of Non Ferrous Metals, Poland we've set up new laboratory pilot installation.

Dizzy Flores
2 years ago
Dizzy Flores 2 years ago

There have been many attempts at "automating" the batch flotation tests.

However, the use of such automatic laboratory flotation cells does not eliminate the need for well defined laboratory procedures (starting with how the test charge is fed into the laboratory grinding mill) to how to read the froth and take appropriate actions.

One misconception is that by automating the laboratory test, one guarantees a high degree of reproducibility of results implying that repeat tests are not necessary and that the smallest metallurgical improvement observed in a test is significant. In practice, this is not the case at all.

Well thought of experimental design, as well as inclusion of pertinent repeat tests, should be included into any test program. This is particularly important for test programs carried out over several months. In this end, the results need to be analysed statistically and approaches like the DOE (Design of Experiments) are particularly useful when evaluating different reagent regimes.

Kumar Choudhry
2 years ago
Kumar Choudhry 2 years ago

Flotation cell automation is a topic that has been researched for years. There are ways to automate a flotation machine using off the shelf devices that one can find on the Cole Parmer book. I've done this at three different places with great success.

Errors can't be eliminated due to, for example, the fundamental error, effect of gravity and centrifugal forces, etc. The error can be minimized and the results can be highly predictable DOE's are a way to take into consideration the flotation experimentation error but this is a secondary step to automating a flotation machine. To develop DOE’s you need to have a repeatable flotation procedure.

The first step you need to develop is to assess your current lab practices which include the flotation procedure, the operators, their training, the sample preparation and the chemical assays I have developed gage R&R (repeatability and reproducibility) designed for evaluating error for when the samples that are assessed are destroyed, which is the case here.

I have been astonished in the past when I learn that professionals with many years of experience and labs that have developed metallurgical studies for world class projects don't understand this concept I'm available to consult to help you improve your flotation practices and to automate your flotation procedure at very low cost

An automated flotation machine can cost you more than $30,000 but you could automate one cell for a fraction of that. The implications of making errors in your flotation procedure are major, because decisions are made with this data.

During my career I have seen people using awful flotation data to prepare production plans or to feed data to projects. I can't possible describe the amount of losses those companies incur when their lab procedures are in such deplorable conditions.

Sachin Prakash
2 years ago
Sachin Prakash 2 years ago

Good idea yes you can develop your own. Yes I can help you in this matter to automatism flotation cells. I have my own design for such controls.

2 years ago
Sturmbann 2 years ago

I suggest you get in contact with Eriez CPT, they've got an automated lab float plant.

Sugar Watkins
2 years ago
Sugar Watkins 2 years ago

Yes, we have one of these mini pilot plants (MPP). Eriez sell them (taken over from Canadian Process Technologies). The MPP requires only around 10kg per hour feed rate. So tonnes are not required as with a conventional pilot plant. If you need more information from someone using a MPP routinely, contact Dr Igor Ametov a veteran of many flow sheet campaigns.

Kumar Choudhry
2 years ago
Kumar Choudhry 2 years ago

What motivated your question? Have you developed any new strategies just yet? If yes, what are the results? Did you find any road blocks?

Tony Verdeschi
2 years ago
Tony Verdeschi 2 years ago

You can find an automated forced-air mechanical lab flotation machine at Many features are available in this unit, such as six peristaltic pumps to schedule continuous or staged reagent additions, collection and displaying of signals, programmable rotating paddles for collecting concentrate, pH control, continuous monitoring and control of impeller speed, an internal air blower providing a steady flow of clean and oil-free air and some other like timing on/off.

Please join and login to participate and leave a comment.

BUY Laboratory & Small Plant Process Equipment

We have all the laboratory and plant equipment you need to test or build/operate your plant.

ENTER our Mining Equipment' Store

We Sell EQUIPMENT for all types of Mineral Treatment PROCESSES and Laboratory Testing needs

Have a Mineral Processing QUESTION?

Come in, ask your question

911Metallurgist Community Forums

Talk to other metallurgists and be helped.


We can IMPROVE ALL PLANTS / Mineral Processing Engineering & LABORATORY Ore Testing

911Metallurgy Engineering

Contact us for process engineering, metallurgical investigations, plant optimization, plant troubleshooting, needs. WE “FIX” METALLURGY.

Checkout our Mining Process & Lab Equipment SelectionCLICK HERE TO ENTER
+ +