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Rotary Kiln: Damage Prevention

Published 2016/5/3 8:58:54


Rotary kilns are a valuable component in many industrial process systems. Protecting them is of the utmost importance in maintaining process efficiency, prolonging equipment life, and avoiding costly repairs. If properly maintained and serviced, a high quality rotary kiln should yield very little downtime.

Due to the high heat and process reaction that occurs within a rotary kiln, there are certain wear points to keep an eye on.

The main focus points to monitor are:

Refractory degradation or damage
Burner maintenance or upgrade
Worn out breeching seals
Drum misalignment
Refractory Degradation or Damage
A rotary kiln relies heavily on its refractory liner in order to operate efficiently and maintain the desired temperature within. Refractory is also what protects the shell of the kiln from the high temperatures within.

Unfortunately, refractory liners will begin to degrade over time, causing a loss in kiln efficiency. Also in some cases, an object, such as hard material build-up, may find its way into the kiln and cause damage to the refractory. The damage may seem minimal, but can cause a material trap or cold spot, resulting in process inconsistencies. Furthermore, since the refractory is meant to absorb the heat before it can come into contact with the drum shell, any thin or damaged areas may result in heat distortion. A distorted drum shell can cause serious damage to several components and will need to be replaced as opposed to repaired. Because of the significant role that the refractory plays in protecting the kiln, routine inspections should be scheduled with a HONGKE service technician. Each technician is trained to recognize when replacement or repair is required.

Burner Maintenance or Replacement
HONGKE only uses high quality burners that have proven to be reliable, but, issues can still occur. Parts such as the burner nozzle, burner cone, and burner sensors may need to be replaced for the kiln to operate as designed. In the case of an older rotary kiln, it may be beneficial to upgrade the burner. Burner technology is constantly progressing and a new burner may result in greater energy efficiency and material output, making for a very cost effective upgrade.

Worn out Breeching Seals
The main function of the breeching seals on a rotary kiln, no matter the style, is to prevent dust from escaping the kiln, as well as to prevent outside air from entering the kiln. HONGKE kilns are specifically designed to funnel exhaust air along with dust to a controlled area. Similarly, the design is configured to discharge the maximum amount of process material, while still maintaining the desired internal temperature. This also means keeping cool, ambient air from entering the drum; breechings seals prevent outside air from mixing with the controlled combustion air inside of the kiln. Worn out seals can alter this precise system, resulting in poor dust control and varying kiln temperatures. This can lead to added plant clean-up and process inconsistencies.

Drum Misalignment
Similar in all rotary drum equipment, proper alignment preserves all components from premature wear. Major damage to the inlet or discharge breechings from a misaligned drum can result in extensive downtime. Also, a drum that is out of alignment can accelerate wear on the trunnion wheels and thrust rollers, both of which are a necessity for rotary kiln operation. Misalignment can occur naturally over time, or as a result of improper installation. No matter how the misalignment happened, it should be re-aligned before operation continues in order to prevent further damage. HONGKE’s service engineers are trained to accurately re-align a rotary kiln with a limited amount of downtime.

General Rotary Kiln Maintenance
Since a rotary kiln is, in many ways, similar to other rotary drum equipment, many of the same preventive maintenance procedures apply, and should be routinely performed by the on-site maintenance staff. This includes:

Lubricating bearings
Changing gear box oil
Rechecking backlash
More extensive maintenance should be done with the assistance of a service technician on-site. Depending on the manufacturer you work with, a variety of field services will likely be available to help keep your rotary kiln operating efficiently. This could include:

Annual inspections
Tire and wheel grinding
Gear replacements
Spare part installations
Routine maintenance checks
24-hour emergency services
Training programs
Routine monitoring and preventive maintenance can mean the difference between hours and weeks of kiln downtime. HONGKE offers a variety of field services that will keep your rotary kiln operating efficiently and effectively. Whether that means replacing worn out components as part of a preventative maintenance plan, or re-aligning the kiln, having a HONGKE service technician on-site will ensure that the equipment will receive the proper maintenance, prolonging the life of the kiln, and ensuring process efficiency.

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