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Monitoring of M10000 IsaMill™ Process Performance by Passive Acoustic Emissions


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Author C A Jackson, S J Spencer, J Masters, V Sharp, A McEwan, S Rainey, A Catanzano, G Roberts and M Millen


A passive acoustic emission (AE) monitoring system has been developed and trialled on two M10000 IsaMillsTM. The analyser detects AE stress waves generated by grinding media impacts with the mill liner during mill operation. Locally propagating stress waves can be detected on the exterior liner surface using strategically mounted broadband accelerometers.

The analyser has been developed into a robust commercial prototype system, and has been designed, installed and commissioned with Xstrata Technology at two mineral processing plants.

A six-month field trial showed large-scale variation in AE power signature with process conditions. Analysis of the enveloped AE power output demonstrated a strong correlation with mill process conditions – more specifically grinding media relative loading, feed pulp density, feed volumetric flow rate and feed type.

Placement of accelerometers along the length of the mill body provided key information on the grinding media relative deportment. The enveloped AE power detected by the mill body, discharge pipe and bearing housing sensors all captured information strongly correlated with mill operating parameters and process state.

The prototype analyser demonstrates suitability as a long-term online tool for stirred mill performance monitoring, and potentially for optimisation and control, in beneficiation plants.


Jackson, C A, Spencer, S J,
Masters, J, Sharp, V, McEwan, A, Rainey, S, Catanzano, A, Roberts, G and Millen,
M, 2014. Monitoring of M10000 IsaMill™ process performance by passive acoustic
emissions, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 241–254 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).