Having a Ball – The metal machinery repair which saved a Ball Mill in Puerto Rico $60 million in lost revenue
A three week lead time on replacing heavily damaged metal machinery at a Ball Mill in Puerto Rico looked set to cost a company $60 million in lost revenue – until Sylmasta Ceramic Supergrade carried out a repair in under 24 hours
Case Study Data
Heavily damaged metal machine part
Ceramic Supergrade epoxy paste filled in the significant crack in the metal machine for a hard wearing surface repair
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Ball Mills are used for mixing a wide variety of materials together by grinding particles down in size, often with the aim of turning them into powders.
A rotating shell is filled with balls or beads alongside the materials which are to be turned into powder. As the shell rotates, the balls and beads drop from near the top and impact on the materials towards the bottom, which grinds them down.
The process is hard wearing and the balls and beads have to be regularly replaced as a result. Whilst this maintenance work was being carried out, a part had been forced, causing significant damage to a metal part.
It was not until a few days after the maintenance work had been completed that the Ball Mill noticed there was a problem. Water which ran between the liner and the outer wall of the machine was now leaking into the tank through a visible crack.
The cost of a replacement part was $200,000 with a three week delivery time from Germany. A specialist installer would also have to be flown over to Puerto Rico to fit the new part.
More pressing a concern for the Ball Mill was that daily production was worth $4 million. A three week wait would therefore have cost the Mill approaching $60 million in lost revenue.
Rather than replace the part, the Mill instead sought out a means to carry out a repair to the metal machinery. Sylmasta recommended the use of Ceramic Supergrade, a two-part epoxy paste designed to repair heavy damage to industrial machinery including silos, chutes, pumps, impeller blades, valves, fan blades, metals castings and tanks.
The ease with which Ceramic Supergrade can be applied enabled the Ball Mill to carry out the repair themselves. Prior to application, the surface of the metal machinery undergoing repair was prepared by roughening it up. The epoxy paste was then spread over and pushed into the crack with a trowel, filling in the damage before it hardened.
Ceramic Supergrade is reinforced with silicon carbide for ultimate surface hardness, offers excellent protection against future wear and corrosion, and is moisture tolerant which would prevent any water leaking into the shell.
The repair was carried out whilst the Ball Mill was shut for business on a Sunday. Ceramic Supergrade has a full cure time of 24 hours. By the time the site reopened for business on Monday, the Ball Mill was able to operate at full capacity with tens of millions of dollars saved.
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