To those working in the mineral industry, the flowsheet is a familiar and valuable tool, seldom used, unfortunately, to its fullest advantage. As with so many other commonplace and simple items, there is little or no attempt to expand on the forms and types of flowsheets.
A flowsheet or flow diagram may be defined as an illustration showing circulation of the ore stream in a concentrating plant. It may be further described as an explanatory graphic design or picture.
Mill superintendents and operators think and speak in terms of an illustrated flowsheet, even though one may not have been prepared. Usually during the life of a plant, material flow is periodically changed to improve the metallurgy, and in the more involved plants, better judgment can be exercised by first studying a printed flowsheet.
The mill contractor or engineer has more use for the flowsheet than for any other drawing. It should be the first drawing to be prepared after the contract has been negotiated and, if properly done, it is used throughout the entire job.
Financial people are seldom interested in the details of a technical problem other than that the operation be a profitable one. However, the engineer should not overlook, as he sometimes does, the sales value of any piece of technical work, and if an idea is to be sold, it must be clearly understood by the buyer.
The line type of flowsheet is the old standard, and the one normally used for a quick job. The contents can be in the simplest form or can be considerably expanded. Another advantage is that it can be typewritten.