The size requirement of the primary rock crusher is a function of grizzly openings, ore chute configuration, required throughput, ore moisture, and other factors. Usually, primary crushers are sized by the ability to accept the largest expected ore fragment. Jaw crushers are usually preferred as primary crushers in small installations due to the inherent mechanical simplicity and ease of operation of these machines. Additionally, jaw crushers wearing parts are relatively uncomplicated castings and tend to cost less per unit weight of metal than more complicated gyratory crusher castings. The primary crusher must be designed so that adequate surge capacity is present beneath the crusher. An ore stockpile after primary crushing is desirable but is not always possible to include in a compact design.
Many times the single heaviest equipment item in the entire plant is the primary crusher mainframe. The ability to transport the crusher main frame sometimes limits crusher size, particularly in remote locations having limited accessibility.
In a smaller installation, the crushing plant should be designed with the minimum number of required equipment items. Usually, a crushing plant that can process 1000s of metric tons per operating day will consist of a single primary crusher, a single screen, a single secondary cone crusher, and associated conveyor belts. The discharge from both primary and secondary crushers is directed to the screen. Screen oversize serves as feed to the secondary crusher while screen undersize is the finished product. For throughputs of 500 to 1,000 metric tons per operating day (usually 2 shifts), a closed circuit tertiary cone crusher is usually added to the crushing circuit outlined above. This approach, with the addition of a duplicate screen associated with the tertiary cone crusher, has proven to be effective even on ores having relatively high moisture contents. Provided screen decks are correctly selected, the moist fine material in the incoming ore tends to be removed in the screening stages and therefore does not enter into subsequent crushing units.
All crusher cavities and major ore transfer points should be equipped with a jib-type crane or hydraulic rock tongs to facilitate the removal of chokes. In addition, secondary crushers must be protected from tramp iron by suspended magnets or magnetic head pulleys. The location of these magnets should be such that recycling of magnetic material back into the system is not possible.
Crushing plants for the tonnages indicated may be considered to be standardized. It is not prudent to spend money researching crusher abrasion indices or determining operating kilowatt consumptions for the required particle size reduction in a proposed small crushing plant. Crushing installations usually are operated to produce the required mill tonnage at a specified size distribution under conditions of varying ore hardness by the variation of the number of operating hours per day. It is normal practice to generously size a small crushing plant so that the daily design crushing tonnage can be produced in one, or at most two, operating shifts per working day.