Top ways to improve wear part life
Recently, I was asked the best way to prolong the life of wear parts, specifically HSI blow bars, jaw dies, VSI parts and cone liners. Producers often want to know how many hours can be logged or how many tons of material can be produced before having to replace wear parts. The answer is the same every time: It depends on each operation and application.
There are a number of variables to examine when considering wear parts life, including:
- Feed size. By feeding too large of material or producing too many fines, producers can cause damage to a crusher and dramatically affect throughput production and wear parts life. Using screens to separate the material so that material is at product size, near size or smaller prevents the material from getting reintroduced into the crusher and helps prevent accelerated wear.
- High-quality parts. Using quality OEM wear parts that fit your crusher and application can also prolong wear life. Using after-market or pirated parts can have warranty implications if the use of these parts causes any damage to the crusher.
- Crusher settings and speeds. Crusher settings and speeds can change the outcome of single pass crushing. Improving the efficiency of a crusher can reduce wear and extend wear part longevity.
- Dust suppression. Water is very abrasive and is often the necessary evil, as it has both a health and an environmental impact. Using dust suppression can have positive results if the nozzle type and placement, pressure and volume are correct and meet the goal for dust control. Nozzle placement is very critical for wear parts life. If nozzle placement is incorrect, it can accelerate wear.
- Composition of material. The natural characteristics of material have an impact of wear parts longevity as well. The characteristics include chemical composition, hardness and abrasiveness. Although producers cannot change the material characteristics, they can educate themselves. I often hear from producers that their rock is really abrasive or very hard, but when asked, they don’t know exactly how abrasive or hard the material is. Knowing the exact characteristics of material can empower producers to select the best wear parts for their operations.
The best way to learn about material characteristics is to have samples tested. These tests include:
- A crush test. This determines how friable the rock is. A crush test provides you with information on how much product tonnage you can make in a single pass, depending on your gradation requirements. If the material can be crushed in a single pass, the wear parts only see the material once, thus prolonging the wear parts life.
- The Burbank Abrasion test. This test demonstrates how abrasive material is on steel parts, which enables producers to select the best wear parts for their equipment.
- A chemical analysis. This determines the chemical composition of the rock, which defines the amount of silica oxide, iron oxide and aluminum oxide present in the material. This test provides producers with the percentage of silica present in material, or as we call it, percentage hard parts.
- A compression test. This test determines the psi (pounds per square inch) strength of the rock. In other words, how much energy is required to break the rock? This test is especially targeted for jaw and cone crushers and will help determine your closed-side-setting (CSS) and reduction ratio.
By considering all of these variables, producers can realize significant savings when it comes to wear parts and production. Of course, it all boils down to education. By regularly attending factory training and consulting factory experts, producers can make the right choices to improve their operations. Taking time to invest in education will always help producers save money and improve the efficiency of their operations by eliminating the downtime associated with uninformed choices. We all benefit from ongoing training, regardless of our role in a business.