UltraFINES Recovery Systems

The McLanahan UltraFINES Recovery System, or simply UFR, is a combination of a Sump, Pump, Hydrocyclones and a Dewatering Screen in a module that is specifically designed to recover nominally +400 mesh (38µm) solids from a wash plant effluent stream.


How UltraFINES Recovery Systems Work

Feed from the processing plant effluent stream is directed to the UFR sump. The slurry is then pumped at a relatively high pressure to multiple Hydrocyclones using a McLanahan rubber lined Pump. The Hydrocyclones recover most of the +400 mesh (38µm) fractions as partially dewatered underflow, which is in turn directed to the Dewatering Screen. The Dewatering Screen further dewaters the Hydrocyclone underflow to a conveyable/stackable product that is essentially drip-free even though the moisture content may exceed 20%. The recovered material is conveyable and stackable and is suitable for multiple industries, including sand, iron ore, coal recovery, ash, industrial sands, frac sand, and more. Any particles passing through the Dewatering Screen surface are recirculated through the Hydrocyclones to recover these fractions, forming a closed circuit.

After initially starting in the fines recovery business with 4” (100mm) Hydrocyclones, McLanahan Corporation quickly migrated to 9” (225mm) and 12” (300mm) units to reduce wear and, more importantly, to eliminate plugging of the apex on the Hydrocyclones. For every Hydrocyclone that is blocked, 100% of that portion of the feed goes directly to waste. If you have a 20 Hydrocyclone cluster and one Hydrocyclone blocks, then 5% of the flow remains untreated. It doesn’t take long for another and then another Hydrocyclone to block, and before you know it, you have less than 50% of the flow going direct to the pond.

When you analyze the difference in predicted recovery performance between the 9” and 12” (225mm and 300mm) units and a 4” (100mm), it is barely measurable in terms of total recovery. If you compare the losses in the real world, it is significantly higher with the smaller units when blockages occur. We have converted other manufacturers' 4” clusters with our larger Hydrocyclones, resulting in significant savings, maintenance costs and overall improved performance.

Why McLanahan UltraFINES Recovery Systems

There are several reasons why utilizing an UltraFINES Recovery System to recover fine solids from the tailings stream can benefit an aggregates producer. Recovering fine solids can produce a standalone product, reduce solids reporting to the settling ponds and reduce the solids loading on downstream processing.

At just 5 TPH recovered in a 2000-hour year, you can recoup 10,000 tons in a season. In some cases, this recovered material is sold as utility backfill material or pipe sand at a higher price than other products from the deposit. This material can also be used for rehabilitation due to the water retention qualities of these fine materials. 

UFRs are also an ideal system for producers who face strict permitting requirements and have limited land resources. Where a producer is considering a downstream effluent treatment system, the reduced solids load can be significant in the selection of a Filter Press. 

The equipment used in McLanahan UFRs is all in-house and field-proven. McLanahan has the most experienced process team to assist with developing a solution for fines recovery. Because of the vast process knowledge and experience within McLanahan, a full picture of the process can be incorporated into any application design. In addition to the UFR, McLanahan can offer solutions up and downstream to optimize any plant.

Frequently Asked Questions About UltraFINES Recovery Systems

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Unfortunately, no. The reasonable limits for Hydrocyclone recovery are down around 400 mesh or 38µm. If looking to make a specialty product such as a fine ag-lime, smaller Hydrocyclones (2” or 50mm) could be used to recover down to around 20µm (nominally 625 mesh), but you would need a lot of them. Even then, finer fractions would still need to be contained to eventually settle out. Pond elimination can be achieved using products such as Thickeners and Filter Presses.

Final moisture content from a Dewatering Screen discharge is dependent on the nature of the solids. How fine are the solids? Are they hydrophilic or hydrophobic? Do they have a smooth or rough surface? All these factors will affect the final moisture content.

Typically for a UFR, the final moisture content will be between 20-25% moisture by weight for 2.7 specific gravity materials, but the solids will be drip-free, meaning no free moisture coming off the Dewatering Screen. This material is then easily conveyable and stackable.

No system is 100% efficient. Depending on the gradation of the solids, we typically state that the overflow (effluent) from the UFR will be 85-90% passing 400 mesh (38µm). Also, the recovered solids will not all be +400 mesh — this recovered product will contain particles down around 20 micron.

An experienced crew can put up a typical UFR in one day with a three-man crew and a crane operator. A smaller, less experienced team can have the plant up in roughly two days.

UFRs provide the finest size-fraction recovery available without the use of added chemicals.

Features & Benefits
  • Maximum fines recovery without chemicals
  • Potential saleable product
  • Reduce fines reporting to the pond
  • Possible reduction in flocculant cost in Thickener
  • Increase pit yield when utilizing the fines
  • Use the recovered fines for property rehabilitation
  • Low-cost operation
  • Rapid return on investment
  • Modular construction

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Our customer service team is here to help you 24/7. We can ship you parts, send field service technicians to your site and answer any questions you have. Whatever you need, we are here for you.