Wear protection improves life performance of quarry plant improving ROI via increased throughput & reduced maintenance
- 21 September 2011
- Company & Industry News
The arduous conditions encountered in quarrying applications cause many types of plant and equipment to degrade and fail prematurely. One of the major reasons for these failures is abrasion. During the many stages of the quarrying process - crushing, washing, screening and classifying — abrasive minerals are in direct contact with equipment. The resulting friction causes equipment to degrade at a rate dependent upon the type, size, volume and Mohs hardness of the material being processed. Establishing this rate is important because it determines the extent of investment needed to protect plant and equipment from future failures.
"Investment in plant is always about achieving an economic balance," said John Connolly, Managing Director of wear protection specialist, Kingfisher Industrial. "However, employing wear protection is far more cost effective than having to provide regular maintenance and repair of equipment at regular intervals due to problems associated with wear and erosion. We have calculated that, on average, users of our wear protection systems - Polymer, Ceramic and Metallic - benefit by a factor of 5 times their initial outlay, with many installations providing wear life of up to 20-years following appropriate wear treatment."
Traditionally, metallic materials such as QT, and manganese plate and castings have been used as wear protection solutions in the various quarrying crushing operations, where the product is handled and crushed down to a minus-sized aggregate. As further processing is undertaken for sand and small aggregate, polymer type materials such as rubber and polyurethane operating in a hydraulic state have been used with great success. As with all solutions to problems, careful consideration has to be given in identifying what unique issues associated with grades and mineral types are prevalent, as a 'one size fits all' approach very rarely succeeds.
"By implementing sound practice at the design and refurbishment stages of plant improvements, we can often match the protection system to plant and operation longevity and prevent the ongoing problems associated with maintenance and repair," said John Connolly. "As a result of identifying all key criteria, we are able to make sound recommendations supported by firm performance guarantees. This option reduces the inherent risk of uneconomic investment as the costs of replacement can sometimes outweigh the initial CAPEX cost."
A key benefit of Kingfisher's wear protection systems is that they can be employed at any time in the life of quarrying plant. However, if the plant is designed with wear protection from its inception, then overall equipment costs can usually be reduced. This is because the system chosen to protect the equipment (the liner) can often remove the requirement to manufacture components using heavier grades of material. The liner provides the required protection, rather than the structure itself; consequently, protection need only be applied to areas of plant that are most vulnerable to wear, further reducing upfront costs and improving ROI for the system user.
Using a combination of ceramic, metallic and polymer lining systems, Kingfisher has had overwhelming success in protecting equipment and extending the service life of quarrying plant that would otherwise be designated as scrap. In many cases the benefits of protecting plant are threefold: in addition to protecting against wear, the low friction nature of the lining material reduces energy usage and allows a greater volume of material to be throughput.
Kingfisher has achieved particular success in quarrying applications with its low friction K-PLAS lining system. K-PLAS is lightweight, quick and uncomplicated to install. It protects capital pieces of equipment, providing a sacrificial liner that guards against wear, at the same time allowing total discharge of product enabling operators to achieve maximum efficiency of discharge versus load. In the right application, a 10mm to 20mm thick K-PLAS liner offers comparable performance to various grades of stainless and abrasion resistant steel plate, and is well suited to materials such as chalk, limestone and gypsum.
Due to the maintenance process of quarrying plant being a complex and multi-layered operation, in quantitative terms the benefits of using linings such as K-PLAS are huge. With a suitable lining system in place, the ongoing cost problems of interruptions to production, as a result of blocked hoppers, silos and transfer chutes are avoided. The same is true as regards the requirement for specialist labour; and the operator also has none of the safety risks involved with personnel working in confined spaces, sometimes at height, performing hot work and lifting operations. In addition, the tasks of organising access platforms and plant hire, with their attendant costs — and risks — are no longer necessary. As a result, the quarry operator benefits from continuous operational gains which defray the cost of the protection system, guaranteeing a prompt return on investment.