The Variables of these two types of classifiers are The ANGLE of the inclined bed, this is normally a fixed angle the operator will not be able to adjust it.
The SPEED of the rakes or spirals, the DENSITY of the slurry, the TONNAGE through put and finally the SETTLING RATE of the ore itself.
To be effective all of these variables must be balanced. If the incline is too steep the flow of slurry will be too fast for the rakes or spirals to separate the ore. If the angle is too flat the settling rate will be too high and the classifier will over load. The discharge rate will be lower than the feed rate, in this case. The load on the rakes will continue to build until the weight is greater than the rake or spiral mechanism is able to move. This will cause the classifier to stop and is known as being SANDED UP. If the speed of the rakes or spirals are too fast, too much will be pulled, out the top. This will increase the feed to the mill and result in an overload in either the mill or classifier as the circuit tries to process the increased CIRCULATING LOAD.
The DENSITY of the slurry is very important, too high the settling will be hampered by too many solids. Each particle will support each other preventing the heavier material from quickly reaching the “bottom of the slurry. This will not allow a separation to take place quickly. The speed at which the slurry will be travelling will be slow and that will hamper effective classification. Another variable is the TONNAGE. All equipment has a limit on the throughput that any one is able to process, classifiers are no different. This and the other factors will have to be adjusted to compensate for the last variable, the ore itself. Every ore type has a different rate of settling. To be effective each of the previous variables will have to be adjusted to conform to each one’s settling characteristics.
The design of these classifiers (rake, spiral, screw) have inherent problems, First they are very susceptible to wear, caused by the scrubbing action of the ore, that plus all of the mechanical moving parts create many worn areas to contend with. The other problem that these classifiers have is that they are easily over loaded. A over loaded classifier can quickly deteriorate in to a sanded up classifier. Once that happens the results are lost operating time, spillage and a period of poor Mineral Processing and Separation performance.