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Valmet Mining Introduces RFID-Enabled Filter Cloths

The manufacturer of filtration technology is offering its RFID system to customers that want to automatically track when filter cloths are installed and then removed, in order to understand how long they typically last and thus what replacement schedules should be set.
By Claire Swedberg

With this technology, Uusitalo reports, users do not have to record when they install each filter cloth. "The system automatically gives time stamps for the installation and starts to count the life time," she says. "It gives us an accurate understanding of how long [the products] work." Since Valmet knows the sort of application in which the cloth is being used, it can test ways in which to increase the lifespan of its cloths.

The mining company can use the collected data to better forecast when a filter cloth requires replacement, as well as determine cloth lifespans at each location within a filtration system, under specific conditions. In this way, it can identify any problems involving the equipment or its use that might be damaging the cloths.

Valmet's Sanna Uusitalo
The mining company concluded the pilot this fall, Uusitalo says, and plans to continue using the system in the future. In addition, another customer has begun installing the technology at its own mining operation, with seven filter systems in a single operation, using 700 filter cloths at once. That installation is slated to be taken live in April 2017.

"One benefit of the technology is we have real accurate information about the breaking of cloths," Uusitalo says. "We know where it occurs and can see patterns. That helps us improve our product."

For users, employees no longer need to write down when filter cloths were installed or removed. Instead, they can now begin to create an accurate schedule related to replacing cloths before they fail.

Uusitalo says the RFID-enabled cloths are now being offered to all of Valmet's customers. She expects the system will be most advantageous to those that use many cloths in their operations, or that have high filter cloth consumption rates.

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