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Frequently Asked Questions

1.Q:WHY I SHOULD ONLY USE FLOW APPROVED SERVICE PERSONNEL AND GENUINE FLOW SPARE PARTS?

A: Flow can only guarantee field work done by Flow Sort / Flow Electronics employees or by one of our official agents. Work done by any other party or the use of any non Flow approved parts may not only invalidate your products warranty but also affect the efficiency of your FLOW machine and may even jeopardize the all important X-Ray Radiation safety standard built into our products!

2.Q:WHAT PRODUCTS OTHER THAN X-RAY DIAMOND RECOVERY MACHINES DOES FLOW MANUFACTURE?

A: For the past 14 years FLOW SORT ( FLOW ELECTRONICS) exclusively manufactures X-ray diamond recovery equipment.

3.Q:WHEN WAS FLOW SORT ESTABLISHED AND WHAT IS FLOW'S TRACK RECORD?

A: FLOW ELECTRONICS (FLOW SORT) was founded by Peter Wolf in 1971. FLOW has been involved in the design and manufacture of electronic sorting machines ever since! Today FLOW has grown to become the biggest manufacturer of x-ray diamond recovery machines in the world!

4.Q:WHAT EXPERTISE DOES FLOW HAVE IN THE FIELD OF X-RAY DIAMOND RECOVERY?

A: Peter Wolf, the founder of FLOW, has designed and built over 650 (six hundred and fifty) X-ray diamond recovery machines. Some 250 units via GUNSON SORTEX (commonly referred to as "A SORTEX"), FLOW has sold further 400 machines (commonly referred to as "A FLOW SORT" or as a "WOLF-MACHINE"). It will be hard to find another company which comes even near to our expertise in electronic sorting! Just for interests sake take note that Wolf also holds over a dozen patents relating to electronic sorting in his name.

5.Q:IS A "SORTEX" AND A "FLOW-SORT" ONE AND THE SAME THING?

A: No. They do however have one thing in common: Wolf was involved in the design of both and both became trade marks in x-ray diamond recovery!

6.Q:HOW TO EVALUATE AND COMPARE DIFFERENT MODELS AND MAKES OF X-RAY DIAMOND RECOVERY MACHINES?

A: Be sure that YOU know what you expect the x-ray sorters to sort!

7.Q:WHY SHOULD WE LINK OUR FLOW SORT X-RAY DIAMOND RECOVERY MACHINE TO A REMOTE SORTER MONITORING SYSTEM

A: You can obtain, at any time, precise information from any FLOW SORT machine connected to a FLOW SORT monitoring system.

8.Q:IS IT TRUE THAT A WET X-RAY SORTER IS LESS EFFICIENT THAN A DRY X-RAY SORTER?

A:No. Such nonsense has been circulated by our competitors (not with much success when we look at the number of sorters sold over the past 14 years)

9.Q: WHY MUST THE FEED TO AN X-RAY SORTER BE SPLIT INTO DIFFERENT SIZE FRACTIONS?

A: In order to successfully recover diamonds by means of the luminescence properties they exhibit when exposed to x-rays it is essential that each and every particle that passes through such a sorter is exposed to x-rays and at the same time is visible to an (optical) luminescence detection device. If the ratio between 'large' and 'small' particles becomes too large then there is an ever increasing probability that a large particle will shield a smaller one from x-rays or prevent the luminescence of a diamond from reaching the sorters optic!

10.Q: FLOW SORT 'XR' and 'TSXR' SORTERS ARE RATHER 'SMALL' CAPACITY (THROUGHPUT) MACHINES. WHY DOES FLOW NOT MAKE 'LARGER-THROUGHPUT' MODELS ?

A:In the past I (Peter WOLF) have designed and built 'large capacity' sorters. The famous 100 ton / hour SORTEX built for Cullinan Diamond Mine and for Letseng Diamonds in the mid 70's bear witness to this. So there is no technical reason for not building large capacity sorters. There is however a very real practical reason. Several 'smaller' sorters provide a much more flexible set-up for any recovery plant. Changing the allocation of sorters for different size fractions, taking individual sorters out for service without major plant through-put interruptions. If a large sorter breaks down a substantial amount of recovery plant capacity is lost which often causes a plant shut-down, this is not the case when a 'small sorter' goes down! Needless to say those small sorters are much more 'mobile' than large ones!

IF A CUSTOMER INSISTS ON INSTALLING LARGE CAPACITY MACHINES WE DON'T RECOMMEND IT BUT WE CERTAINLY CAN SUPPLY THEM!

11.Q:IS IT TRUE THAT FLOW SORT MACHINES CANNOT RECOVER 'LOW-FLUORESCENT' DIAMONDS?

A: NO! It's just another rumor created by FLOW'S competitors! We can prove the opposite!

12.Q:WHICH TRACERS TO USE?

A: Do not attempt to set-up or test any Flow Sort X-Ray Diamond Recovery Product with luminescent tracers which have not been officially approved by Flow Sort. If in doubt if the tracers that you are using have been approved by Flow Sort or not please verify with us before using them.

13.Q: WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF A "MECHANICAL" EJECTOR COMPARED TO A PNEUMATIC (AIR) EJECTOR?

A: No need for (additional) compressors and air filtration and air-drying equipment. A positive, 'clear-cut' diamond removal. No dirty water spray near the sensitive optical luminescence detectors etc.

14.Q:HOW MANY DIAMONDS CAN FLOW'S MECHANICAL EJECTOR ELECT PER SECOND?

A: UNLIMITED. Our ejector gates can perform 20 (twenty) full opening / closing cycles per second. If this is not enough then the ejector gates simply remain open until all diamonds (tracers) are recovered!

15.Q:DOES FLOW SORTS MECHANICAL EJECTOR GENERATE A HIGHER YIELD THAN A PNEUMATIC EJECTOR?

A:This is a very debatable subject. The answer is YES and NO, it depends on many circumstances. But what we can say with confidence, when comparing apples with apples, is that our mechanical ejector does not generate more than 25% concentrate as compared to a pneumatic ejector. For actual yield figures refer to our technical sorter specifications.

16.Q:WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF USING A TWIN-STAGE (TSXR) FLOW SORT RATHER THAN A SINGLE STAGE (XR)?

A: A twin stage provides a 100% back-up. Please note that any of the two stages of our TSXR machines can operate on it's own as a stand-alone sorter. This is ideal when operating in a remote area, as you don't need any 'stand-by' spares. Further note that all parts of the two sorter stages are fully interchangeable.

17.Q: WHY DOES A FLOW SORT LOOK FOR FLUORESCENCE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE FEED MATERIAL THAT IS EXPOSED TO X-RAYS WHEN ALL OTHER SORTERS LOOK FOR LUMINESCENCE FROM THE SAME SIDE?

A: Flow Sort's concept can distinguish between a luminescent diamond and many other luminescent materials.

18.Q: HOW MUCH DOES A SECOND STAGE IMPROVE THE DIAMOND RECOVERY AS COMPARED TO A SINGLE STAGE SORTER?

A: It does not! A single stage sorter that is properly set-up and operated within its operating limits will recover as many diamonds as a twin stage sorter (two sorters in series). If overfeeding (up to some 50%) or poor material sizing (ratio of greater than 3.1) is envisaged then a TSXR sorter will improve the sorters diamond recovery effeciency quite considerably.(The masking of the same diamond in two successive sorter stages is rather unlikely!)

19.Q:IF WE FIRST BUY A SINGLE STAGE FLOW SORT, CAN WE 'ADD' A SECOND STAGE AT A LATER STAGE.

A:Yes, this modification can be (and has often been) done on-site!

20.Q: WE BOUGHT A TWIN STAGE SORTER BUT WE NEVER FIND ANY DIAMOND AT THE SECOND STAGE. WE WOULD LIKE TO INCREASE OUR X-RAY RECOVERY PLANT'S THROUGHPUT. CAN OUR TSXR FLOW SORT BE CONVERTED INTO TWO SINGLE STAGE 'XR' MACHINES?

A: Yes, any TSXR sorter can be split into two (2) separate single stage (XR) sorters. This separation can (and has often been) done on-site.

21.Q:HOW IS THE FLOW SORT SPARE PART AND SERVICE BACK-UP?

A: With over 550 FLOW SORTS sold we guarantee spares availability to all our customers for all our sorter models. Please feel free to check references. We provide 24/7 world wide service for all our products.

22.Q: FLOW SORT CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVES IT'S PRODUCTS. CAN EARLIER MODELS BE UPGRADED TO THE SAME STANDARD AS FLOW'S LATEST SORTER MODELS?

A: Yes, all FLOW SORT machines can be upgraded to the latest standard. This holds right down to the sorter with serial number 001 !

23.Q:HOW DO WE DETERMINE IF OUR DIAMONDS ARE RECOVERABLE BY AN X-RAY SORTER?

A: For those 'doubtful', FLOW SORT runs a free diamond luminescence test facility. We have yet to lose a sale due to our sorter not performing to its specification!

24.Q: DOES FLOW SORT GUARANTEE A 100% DIAMOND RECOVERY?

A: FLOW SORT has a track record of supplying sorters that recover well over 99% of diamonds that become luminescent when exposed to x-rays. By 'diamond-value' our sorters efficiency gets very close to 100% indeed! The guarantee for this performance lies in the hands of the operators of our sorters! (good maintenance, proper sorter set-up, keeping to the sorters operating limits etc.)

25.Q:WHAT IS THE LIFE TIME OF A FLOW SORT?

A: FLOW SORT machines are of modular design, which allows ongoing replacement of wear parts and/or replacement of faulty parts. There is no limit to the service life of a FLOW SORT.

26.Q: FLOW SORT IS A WET-MATERIAL SORTER, WHAT IF WE WANT TO SORT DRY-MATERIAL? CAN THE SORTER BE CONVERTED TO A DRY SORTER?

A: No problem, there is no need for any conversion!

27.Q:HOW MANY TONS PER HOUR CAN A FLOW SORT HANDLE

A: An often asked question indeed! The answer obviously depends on the size and type of material put through the sorter! A 'thumb-suck' kg/hour figure can be obtained by multiplying the average particle size (given in mm) by 200 (two hundred). Please refer to the relevant sorter specifications).

28.Q:WHAT HAPPENS IF I BUY A FLOW SORT AND FIND THAT IT DOES NOT RECOVER MY DIAMONDS?

A: If it's our sorters fault you get your money back!

29.Q:WHAT ARE THE WEAR PARTS OF A FLOW SORT MACHINE AND HOW OFTEN MUST THEY BE REPLACED?

A: Wear parts are all components that come into contact with feed material. I.e. feeder tray, feed dewatering panel, feed-control gate, feed slide, window frame, ejector gates.

The life time of these components depends on the feed material itself (mainly the abrasiveness), the feed rate, material size, etc.

30.Q:WHAT ARE THE OPERATING COSTS OF A FLOW SORT?

A: Operating costs do vary substantially according to operating conditions and material properties. As an all-inclusive (labour and parts) guideline figure you can use ZAR 8.00 per sorter operating hour.

31.Q:WHERE CAN I BUY A SECOND HAND FLOW SORT?

A: They pop-up every now and then. If you are lucky to be at the right place at the right time you might get lucky! Check with FLOW SORT, we sometimes have second hand sorters!

32.Q:DOES FLOW SORT SUPPLY MACHINES FITTED INTO A CONTAINER?

A: Yes. We have supplied many FLOW SORT container plants.

33.Q:WHAT WATER QUALITY DOES A FLOW SORT REQUIRE?

A: No special requirements, 'general' river water is acceptable, sea water is acceptable.

34.Q: WHAT IS THE DELIVERY TIME OF A FLOW SORT?

A: Standard sorters are often available ex-stock, seldom longer than 6 weeks.

35.Q:HOW MUCH DOES A FLOW SORT COST?

A: Single stage sorter costs approx. ZAR 840 000.00.

36.Q: IS IT TRUE THAT A FLOW SORT CANNOT RECOVER 'LOW LUMINESCENT TRACERS' THAT OTHER MAKES OF X-RAY SORTERS CAN RECOVER? HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THE DIAMOND RECOVERY EFFICIENCY OF A FLOW SORT?

A: Just another smear campaign by our competitors. There are tracers and there are tracers! Some which do not possess luminescence properties of a diamond but rather the properties of "other" luminescent minerals (which we avoid to recover).These tracers CANNOT be used on a FLOW SORT sorter.

Then there are tracers which are good replicas of diamonds (as far as their x-ray luminescence is concerned). THESE are the ones to use with FLOW SORT machines! (Please check with FLOW SORT which tracers have been approved for use on a FLOW SORT.)

Recovery of tracers that do NOT have the luminescence characteristics of diamonds bear NO relevance to the recovery of 'real' diamonds!

37.Q:IS OPTICAL SORTING THE FUTURE IN DIAMOND RECOVERY?

A: Optical sorting has potential in separating particles which have a different appearance (including differences that show up under IR as well as UV). A diamond can most definitely be distinguished from the gang material that it appears in by means of its optical characteristics. In practice it is however difficult to achieve the high recovery efficiency (close to 100%) that is demanded from a diamond recovery machine. X-ray luminescence sorting has been around for many years and is a well proven technology. We only see optical sorters as a complimentary technology to x-ray sorting. Where it might find use is diamond mines that have a sufficient amount of non-luminescent diamonds that warrant the extra capital investment.

38.Q:X-RAY DIAMOND RECOVERY VERSUS GREASE BASED SYSTEMS?

A: Grease based diamond recovery technology a much more likely back-up to x-ray sorters then optical sorting machines. Grease tables and grease belt / drums etc. have been around for a long time. The technology itself has proven itself over 100 years. The reason for x-ray sorters having replaced grease tables at diamond recoveries all over the world is manifold. Security being the biggest factor, followed by the operator skill that is required (water, temperature, grease-properties etc.) and also the problem encountered with "coated" diamonds.

If there is any possibility of a feed material containing non-luminescent diamonds then we strongly advise to feed the FLOW SORT tailings over grease (not another x-ray sorter). If feed material to an x-ray sorter does contain non-luminescent diamonds (which is rather the exception than the rule) then their percentage as compared to the luminescent type diamond is generally very small.

39.Q:WHERE IS THE LARGEST FLOW SORT INSTALLATION AND HOW MANY SORTERS DOES IT COMPRISE OF?

A: At a diamond digging near Kimberley, South Africa, known as Sydney on Vaal owned and operated by Sonop Diamond Mining.

There are currently 24 (twenty four) FLOW SORT machines operating in two banks of 12 machines.

40.Q:WHAT SORT OF GUARANTEE DO WE GET WITH A FLOW SORT?

A:Officially its one year, but in reality FLOW gives you a lifetime guarantee on their products.

41.Q: IS THERE ANY PRODUCT AVAILABLE FROM FLOW SORT TO PROTECT THE FLOW SORT X-RAY MACHINE FROM MAINS POWER FLUCTUATIONS?

A: Yes, Flow Sort has a "Same-Shaft Motor-Generator" (Electric Generator) available in standard 5.5kVA and 10kVA. The principle of this device is simple yet extremely effective. The supply to the sorter is fed to an electric motor which in turn drives an altenator which supplies the sorter(s). There is no galvanic connection between the supply to the motor and the output of the generator. This option if FLOW SORT'S preferred sorter protection.


 
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