Category Archives: News from Industry

Heyl & Patterson – Lithium Mineral Processing for a Variety of Uses

Lithium has quickly become one of the best and most popular material choices for batteries.

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Heyl & Patterson – Yellowcake Processing to Remove Impurities From Uranium

Yellowcake is a mixture of uranium oxide that is produced from the milling of uranium ore.  It is an intermediate step in the processing of uranium after it has been mined, but before fuel fabrication takes place. The material is characterized by small, coarse granules with a pungent odor.  Even though it is radioactive, it is safe when stored and handled properly.  This yellow cake is typically created from ore at the mine site through a leaching process, and is what remains after drying and filtering, before being stored in drums to be transported to an enrichment plant.

Nuclear Power Station







The common name for yellowcake is U3O8 or triuranium octoxide, which is a stable, common form of uranium oxide.  Uranium itself is a metal with physical properties that give it the potential to generate large amounts of energy without releasing greenhouse gases.  Traces of uranium are found in everything from rocks to seawater, and its natural radioactivity contributes to Earth’s so-called “natural background radiation.”  It takes many forms, but it combines with oxygen into oxides to be the most common and most stable.

The material’s name comes from the color and texture of the concentrates produced by early mining operations, but modern mills produce material that is more commonly brown, black, or ranging from yellowish orange to greenish black.  The color often relates to the highest temperature that the material was exposed to during processing and the amount of ammonium diuranate contamination.  For example, when the uranium oxide is dried at a higher temperature, it will result in a darker material than some that was dried at a lower temperature.

Since the stable oxide is most commonly a transport or storage form, there are not many uses for it.  Upon further conversion to pure uranium, it has a variety of uses, though mainly for nuclear fuel reactors, naval warships and nuclear weapons.  The danger it poses depends on the concentration of uranium in the material and the duration of unprotected exposure.  In general, yellowcake is only mildly radioactive.  While protective clothing must be worn while handling uranium to avoid its harmful effects, human skin actually protects from exposure to certain isotopes.

The majority of U3Ouranium ore is mined in just six countries: Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Niger and Russia.  Methods of mining uranium include open pit mining, underground mining, in situ leaching (ISL), and heap leaching.  Once the uranium ore is excavated in a conventional mine, it is crushed and ground.  Further processing involves leaching, filtration, striping, precipitation, more filtration and finally drying or calcining.  It is then sealed in drums for storage or transport to enrichment facilities.

Processing until this point is just a prep stage for further processing, when it is commonly converted or “enriched” into uranium hexafluoride, UF6.  The majority of nuclear reactors require this enriched uranium as fuel.







The calcination process for yellowcake stabilizes the uranium oxide, removing the impurities that are present. The process involves heating the material to a high temperature in the presence of a reducing agent such as ammonium carbonate or ammonium bicarbonate that reacts with the free oxygen that evolves from the heating process. This retards the evolution of chlorine gas from sodium chloride that is present in the yellow cake. This produces a purer form of uranium oxide that is suitable for enriching into nuclear fuel or weapons grade material.

Processing yellowcake and other sensitive materials can be a potentially dangerous task, and Heyl & Patterson rotary calciners are designed to meet and exceed customer demands.

Heyl & Patterson‘s Renneburg Division manufactures calciners that transform the material into a more stable form of oxide, while burning off any impurities.  This equipment rigorously engineered with a robust design, for efficient and effective performance in the most demanding processes and elements.  Rotary calciners are an ideal choice for a wide variety of specialty applications that include drying, chemical reactions and thermal desorptions.

Calciner specifications can be customized according to the equipment’s use, including sizes up to nine feet in diameter and over 75 feet in length, materials of construction for high-temperature strength or corrosion resistance, multiple heating zones, and specific process atmospheres. All process and product objectives can be investigated in the company’s pilot plant testing lab facility.

To learn more about Heyl & Patterson rotary calciners and start processing with the highest standards, contact us or click here:

Posted by David Phillips
Heyl & Patterson, USA

Heyl & Patterson Celebrates 125 Years in Business

New IND570 Industrial Terminal for Weighing in Any Environment

METTLER TOLEDO  offers a new industrial terminal, the IND570. Accuracy, durability and versatility are the hallmarks of the IND570. It is constructed and approved for the harshest industrial environments and offers flexible control options for simple to complex weighing applications.

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Carrier Vibrating Equipment is New and Old “bulk-online Leader”

We welcome the old and new “bulk-online Leader”

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Applied DEM Inc. – Belt Analyst V15 Released

Belt Analyst is the number one conveyor belt design software in the world


Belt Analyst is a belt conveyor design software that was first created in 1996. It was developed by conveyor engineers as a consulting tool in order to design and analyze the most difficult belt conveyor applications. The list of successfully built applications is huge. This is not just design software, but a real engineering tool.

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WAMGROUP – Schwerstarbeiter Verladegarnituren: Optimale und sichere Verladung von Schüttgütern

Schwerstarbeiter Verladegarnituren: Optimale und sichere Verladung von Schüttgütern

Schüttgüter werden heute in nahezu allen Industriebereichen verwendet: Als Rohmaterial, das während der Produktion zu Zwischen- und Endprodukte verarbeitet wird, oder als Endprodukt selbst. Und das je nach Produktionsumfang in unglaublich großen Mengen – täglich. Um Produktions- bzw. Lieferengpässe zu vermeiden, müssen die Materialien in ausreichender Menge beschafft, bevorratet, und der Produktion oder Distribution zugeführt werden. In Zeiten von Global Procurement und Supply-Chain-Management werden Schüttgüter in Massen auf Schiffe, Bahnwaggons oder Fahrzeuge verladen und weltweit auf verschiedenen Transportwegen bewegt. Und auch hier gilt: Zeit ist Geld. Insbesondere bei großen Schüttgut-Umschlagsorten wie See- und Binnenhäfen oder Abfertigungsbereiche großer Produktionsbetriebe gleichen die Be- und Entladeprozesse einem Uhrwerk – die Abläufe werden oft minuziös geplant und gesteuert, was die Prozesse zwar effizient und wirtschaftlich, aber sehr störungsanfällig macht.

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Konecranes and Terex form Global Lifting and Material Handling Solutions Company

Konecranes and Terex to form leading global lifting and material handling solutions company through an all-stock merger of equals


Hyvinkää, Finland & Westport, CT, USA, August 11, 2015 — Konecranes Plc (Helsinki: KCR1V.HE) (“Konecranes”) and Terex Corporation (NYSE: TEX) (“Terex”) announced today that their respective Boards of Directors have unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine their businesses in a merger of equals. The combined company, to be called Konecranes Terex Plc, will be a leading global Lifting and Material Handling Solutions Company with estimated combined 2014 revenues and EBITDA of €7.5/$10.0 billion and €636/$845 million.

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Eriez® Larger BAM Magnets Accommodate Belt Widths up to 144 Inches

Erie, PA — The SE 7000 model line from Eriez® includes a series of larger suspended electromagnets designed especially for heavy-duty applications in the coal and mining industries. The larger magnets–called BAMs–are specifically designed to accommodate belt widths up to 144 inches.

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