Author information - This article was prepared through joint efforts between Kalenborn Abresist Corp., Urbana, IN and A.E. Staley. Reprinted with permission from FOOD ENGINEERING (December 1984 issue) and POWDER/BULK SOLIDS (January 1986 issue)
One of our customers processes 35,000 bushels of corn per day while producing corn syrup and starches. The company was stopping production three or four times a day due to clogging in the steel pipeline. Additionally, the corn's abrasiveness was eroding the pipes. Fine dust from the ground corn was also leaking through the pipes and creating safety hazards and housekeeping problems.
To address the problem, the company began replacing elbows in steel piping as often as every four to five months. The solution proved to be both uneconomical and time consuming. When a pipe blew, production stopped.
The unplanned maintenance was a problem. The company uses different sizes of piping and duct work and had to plan specifically for replacement and downtime repair to ensure they had the right material on-site. Otherwise, they had to patch with whatever materials were on-hand.
The company began installing ABRESIST® abrasion-resistant cast-basalt lining in the existing pipelines to stop the erosion and corrosion process. Since the installation, no erosion or clogging of the new piping has occurred. The plant is much cleaner and without pipeline leakage, housekeeping problems are drastically reduced. The potentially dangerous accumulation of leaking dust has also been minimized and downtime almost eliminated.
The company has since installed ABRESIST® as hopper linings and in cyclone receivers within the hoppers and in feed mixers where dry and wet materials are combined.
Another of our customers conveys a dry animal feed supplement, protein enriched diatomaceous earth. This company had recurring problems with the frequent repair and replacement of air separator cyclones. Five cyclones each measuring (6 ft diameter, 15 ft high) are used in drying the product. Conveyed at high velocities the dry feed is extremely abrasive, wearing holes through the 9/16" thick steel walls of the cyclone.
The worn areas needed frequent repair. Maintenance welded stainless steel patches on, but even these were damaged by the abrasive feed particles. The patched areas sometimes lasted for less that a year, but after four to five years the entire unit had to be replaced. Replacement of the cyclones was time consuming and costly. Some type of protective liner was needed.
After extensive research, the company decided in 1982 to install ABRESIST® ceramic tiles made from fused cast basalt. The tiles are attached to the inside walls of the cyclone with Portland cement mortar, reinforced with a wire mesh underlay. Performance requirements for the tile liners are severe. About 210,000 pounds of dry, abrasive material pass through each cyclone daily. The product is hot (up to 250°F) and is moving at a high rate of speed when it enters the cyclone. This adds to the abrasiveness of the product and increases the need for secure bonding of the tiles.
After over two years of continuous use the tiles were inspected and showed no measurable wear. Cyclone walls were intact and no product leakage had occurred. No repairs were needed. The company has since converted all cyclones to ABRESIST®.