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Tackling Wear And Tear Anita Chumber, Kingfisher Industrial Ltd, UK, highlights wear-resistance benefits against coal.

Reliability and predictability are pivotal to the operational success of industrial equipment in aggressive applications. By implementing preventive and scheduled maintenance regimes, it helps maximise the life and structural integrity of large and small metal components, such as mixing vessels, pumps, hoppers, housings, tanks, chutes, pipes and centrifuges. These heavy duty parts are often exposed to aggressive slurries, sand aggregates, particulates and large stones that can damage and abrade even the hardest reinforced steel substrates, whether that be within the cement, bulk cargo or steel industry, each of which face similar issues when handling abrasive material such as coal.

Kingfisher Industrial is a leader in this field, and have successfully manufactured a range of wear-resistant process plant and equipment to assist customers in the fight against wear and abrasion when handling aggressive material such as coal. The company has also worked across a range of industries, from steel, cement and the bulk cargo sector. Steel industry Handling, storing and conveying high moisture content iron ore for manufacturing needs can be quite a challenge. One such type of iron ore is a well-known product used within the steel manufacturing industry, with natural high moisture content. Likewise, other aspects also contribute to the built-in moisture such as open stockpiles and utilising water jetters to clear existing equipment from material build-up and bridging. UK Steel’s IBT and OBT plants were both experiencing major issues with the material build-up and blinding of its conveyor chutes. Plant engineers were able to identify that as the ore escalated through the manufacturing process the moisture content increased, leaving the material to become clay-like. This then causes further serious blockages and material build-up as the clay then sticks to other equipment, such as conveyors, idlers and screens, throughout the process. 

Existing chutes were installed with a dirt box – an idea adapted by the suppliers of the raw material. Dirt boxes help protect high levels of wear and abrasion, not a suitable solution to resolve the material build-up and bridging. Thus, Kingfisher’s collaboration and service provision for the end-user was to primarily increase the flow of promotion, as well as provide a solution that would sustain the levels of wear and abrasion. Following the modifications suggested by engineers at Kingfisher, it was proposed that all dirt boxes be removed and replaced with an adjustable baffle lined with Kingfisher K-ALOX ceramic lining system. Following a six month review from the installation, it was highlighted that the constant bridging and material build-up issues had been eliminated. However, there had been an increase in wear, but this was managed by applying an increased thickness of the K-ALOX ceramic lining in the high impact areas. Kingfisher Managing Director John Connolly commented that the company adds significant value to its customers’ assets, ensuring that processes remain operational and online producing. Since the modification, the customer has confirmed they have had no blockage issues. As part of the company’s free onsite inspection service, its engineers are equipped with the skills and knowledge required to assist customers and provide an unbiased solution. Cement plant Another project awarded to the company refers to a cement manufacturing plant, and the process within the roller mill, which handles raw coal as it is fed into the mill. As the raw coal feeds through the vertical mill, it is crushed through the roller mill and grinded into finer particles, which is then fed through filters before it is burnt within a kiln. There are a number of areas that are prone to wear within a vertical roller mill, which can cause ongoing wear and abrasion issues. Plant managers expect equipment to last and achieve optimal operating capacity. However, before they know it, material begins to leak from ductwork and production soon comes to a standstill. One such customer within the UK – classed as a large cement manufacturer – has been installing a combination of wear-resistant lining systems to help improve the life expectancy of key equipment in situ. Kingfisher was contracted for the project, to surface protect the internal surfaces of the equipment that was handling coarse, abrasive coal by installing a system. Kingfisher proposed lining newly fabricated equipment, such as the raw mill outlet duct, with the company’s K-CAST BKR wear-resistant lining system.

By implementing best engineering practice, key plant and equipment can operate on a continual basis, and lead to increased efficiencies and profitability. Kingfisher has considerable expertise in combating wear and corrosion within a number of industries handling coal, and has frequently extended the service life of key processing equipment by utilising its range of protection systems. Many of these issues are caused by the characteristics of the material, such as the size, shape, density and tonnages that are handled. A Kingfisher solution will allow for this, and will optimise plant layout for clear flowlines without bottlenecks or other points of weakness. Ports and terminals Another industry that handles abrasive coal material are bulk terminals. Efficient ports can lower transportation costs and maintenance overheads. With activity levels in ports and terminals now on the increase, many problems have arisen from transporting bulk material from A to B. Different materials cause different types of problems – such inefficiencies are mostly found in a substantial number of ports handling abrasive bulk material. Material is processed through a number of transportation points as it is handled, stored and conveyed. For example, sticky iron ore causes material build-up, blockages amongst equipment and restricts material from flowing through the process. Material can arrive in a number of different forms and modes of transport, the most common being railcars, trucks, barges and ships.

The choice of transport depends on market requirements and economics. Bulk material handling containers may either be open or closed, and are quite heavily influenced by external factors such as weather conditions. For example, high value commodities such as metal concentrates, which are relatively resistant to weathering, may be shipped in open containers. In contrast, low cost items, such as cement and iron ore, must be protected from elements that could evidently add to the problem. Therefore, the material is shipped in closed containers. In addition, the physical properties of the bulk material will determine the suitability of containers.

These properties include ease of flow, corrosiveness and sensitivity to contamination. Combating such problems can mean implementing specific design measures from the initial build of the plant or equipment vs implementing repair and maintenance regimes during annual plant shutdowns. Kingfisher has been providing both onsite and in-house protection systems for UK’s largest bulk handling ports since the HIT2 terminal was commissioned back in 2006. The vast majority of transfer points within the plant are now protected with K-ALOX alumina ceramic wear-resistant linings. However, the company was awarded recently an inspection contract which involved an annual refurbishment of the bulk handling port. Kingfisher carried out a through site inspection and examination of equipment used within different points of the plant, including transfer chutes, hoppers, chain conveyors and storage silos. “Throughout the years, Kingfisher has carried out equipment maintenance for our client as and when inspections have deemed necessary,” commented Kingfisher’s Sales Manager. “As we have now been awarded this annual inspection, we are able to provide our customer with ongoing suitable and cost-effective solutions throughout the year.

Publish Date: 20/08/18