Determining Mill Operational Efficiencies using Non-Contact Acoustic Emissions from Microphone Arrays


Operational grinding mills emit significant acoustic emissions which are a consequence of the dynamic environment prevailing inside them. From a technical perspective, the noise presents an opportunity to determine some details of the processes occurring inside the mills. The noise generated is not random and can be attributed to a range of events that occur inside these mills, consequently non-contact acoustic determinations of in-mill behaviour provide powerful insights into the operation of primary comminution tumbling mills.

To enable a logically coherent picture to be formed of the processes inside a mill, arrays of microphones have been used. This approach allows a clearer picture of the in-mill behaviour of the charge to be accessed. In contrast to single microphone approaches, usually located near the expected charge toe position, an array of microphones allows much more useful information to be obtained from grinding mill noise.

This paper will discuss and present data obtained from microphone arrays positioned at the toe and shoulder locations of a mill, and how this information can then be used for the optimisation of grinding mills in real-time.