This innovation consists of a dartlike valve or plug for pressurized systems that allows to improve the quality of control in critical applications within the process of mineral concentrate, and can also increase the wearout materials and include ceramic materials which gives more usable time to the valve, even reaching nine months of continuous duration in applications, where traditional equipment has an average time between failures of 1 month.

Everything was born from the requirement of one of its customers, which showed them the need they had to control the flows of copper pulp that go from the Sag Mill to the Ball Mills. A process that is very important for concentration plants, since the stability of the milling process and subsequently the flotation process depends largely on this.

This is how, based on conventional dart valves used in flotation for atmospheric systems, the company Pessa creates a new team specialized in pressurized systems and a cap specially designed for process conditions.

“A prototype was made, they installed it and it was totally successful, so much so that all the equipment was exchanged for our valves. With this new system they could really stabilize the plant, and also achieved great quality of control, even withstanding problems of abrasion, sediments, water hammers, vibrations, leaks abroad, and a series of complexities that the management of pulps has”, explains Gabriel Madariaga, General Manager and owner of PESSA.

After this first experience, they returned to replicate the project in several other plants, even taking Peru, settling in different applications of the copper concentrate process.

In this interview Gabriel Madariaga tells us more details about this innovation.

What is the problem it addresses?

Mainly the modulation in abrasive fluids. Today that market is only covered by a valve model called Pinch, but with a series of limitations, both in service life and in quality of control. Our valve is a very good alternative to replace the Pinch valve, considering that our cap can adapt better to the conditions that the client requires, since we can increase the wear materials and include ceramic materials with which we can provide more useful life. Also, our valve better supports the phenomena of cavitation and abrasion, when delta P are high. Therefore, we are delivering to the mining market in Chile and in the world a much more suitable alternative for the modulation of abrasive fluids.

Why is it a good solution?

We believe that our solution is good, because its main and most important feature is to deliver good control, which is what the customer needs. When one is modulating fluids that are highly abrasive, that often bring large solids, that generate embankments, that also have very high densities, that generate water hammers or others, working with this type of fluid is not easy. I have the experience of having worked with valve lines of American manufacturers, of the largest or one of the largest manufacturers in the world (Fisher Controls), and their product lasted between 3 or 4 weeks, instead, with our technology we have reached 9 months and we can even spend the year easily, modulating much better and delivering more useful life.

What is the target audience you intend to conquer?

In this specific valve model, we are interested in reaching any mining company that has to handle concentrated minerals. All these very abrasive fluids, at the time of wanting to regulate, will generally have the same problems, which are; abrasion, even corrosion and embankments or drainage of the pulp, among others. Our valve works for all these applications, so we are talking about the copper industry, steel, metal mining mainly.

What phase of the project are you in?

We are basically in a stage of commercialization and dissemination outside our country. We are prospecting applications in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and other countries.

What are your growth expectations?

In the first instance, we are a Chilean company and we are finishing consolidating ourselves in the different mining companies, whose process is flotation or the management of sulfur. We still have to complete this cycle. Once we finish it, we are interested in entering the Peruvian market and then continuing with other mining countries such as Brazil, Mexico or others. Thinking about next year, if the conditions allow it, we hope to double our current sales, and by 2021 we can double this figure again.

Do you think that mining needs projects/suppliers of this type to retain its leadership?

Totally, mining in Chile needs suppliers that have the capacity to innovate and create solutions. I always tell my engineers that in mining it is not all written, there is still a lot to develop, but we also have to understand that mining is an industry that is difficult to innovate, because it is a traditionalistic industry, but I believe that today there are the conditions needed for a more open minded industry and companies can invest a little more in innovation, but one that really generates a rapid and strong impact on the productivity of the processes and on the return on investments. This is very important, because it’s not about starting to innovate just for the sake of it, but to see that innovation has to be justified by the return it will deliver to the client.