Cell Types and their Designs

Most of the industrial mechanical flotation cells in the early days (before the 1970s) were of the cell-to-cell type (tanks of different cells connected in a row) for small plants and multistage cleaner floats where the pumping action of the impellers permitted the transfer of intermediate flows without external pumps. With the emergence of large flotation cells, since the early 1980s, dictated by economic considerations, open flow cells (with slurry flowing openly through a series of cells in a bank) have become prominent.

In the 1980s many mechanical cell designs were prevalent around the world. The major ones are:

1. Agitair cells from Galigher company, USA.

2. Aker machines from Aker Trondelag, Norway.

3. BCS cells from Minemet Industrie, France.

4. Booth cells from Booth Company, USA.

5. Denver cells from Denver Equipment Limited, Joy Industrial Company, USA.

6. Krupp cells from Krupp Polysius AG, West Germany.

7. Maxwell cells from Technequip Ltd, Canada.

8. Mechanobre cells from Machineoexpert V/O, USSR.

9. OK cells from Outokumpu Oy, Finland.

10. Sala cells from Sala International AB, Sweden.

11. Wedag cells from KHD Humboldt Wedag from West Germany.

12. Wemco cells, Wemco division, Envirotech, USA.

Only a handful of these cell manufacturers have survived the competitive global market by improving their products or by mergers or by diversification. Manufacturers of Wemco and Outokumpu cells, through research and development, have consistently updated their technology to remain competitive. The recent Tankcells (designated as OK-TC) and Smart-cells from the manufacturers of Outokumpu and Wemco cells, respectively, are an example. Some new designs, such as the Bateman BQ and Svedala RCS cells, have emerged in the mid 1990s. The companies which manufactured Denver and Sala cells have been procured by Svedala and their cells are marketed by Svedala's Pumps and Process division. The Agitair cells are now marketed by Baker Process (previously known as EIMCO Process Equipment Company). KHD Humboldt Wedag have stopped manufacturing mechanical cells and now market a newly developed pneumatic cell known as Pneufloat.

Presently there are five major manufacturers of mechanical flotation cells. Details of the design features of different cells are described in the sections below.

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