Kingfisher Industrial has provided a long term, ceramic wear protection solution to a German OEM manufacturer of drying cyclones that are used in the wood panel processing industries, specialist producers of particleboard, Oriented Strand Board and Medium Density Fibreboard.

The Manufacturer identified that their cyclones were suffering from poor wear performance due to a combination of traditional construction materials and the harsh, abrasive nature of the new recycled material being processed. In some cases wear life of just one year was all that could be achieved. A new design, incorporating Kingfisher’s ceramic K-ALOX lining material has proved to be an excellent solution, being underwritten to last 5 – 7 years and going on to achieve double that figure in many applications.

Kingfisher was contacted by the OEM following a visit to another company in the wood processing industry that had achieved successful long-term protection against wear on its drying cyclones, using Kingfisher’s innovative wear protection technology.

The OEM has previously manufactured cyclones using a standard grade of steel as the main component; however, this material wore out consistently after just twelve month’s service. The company then tried using abrasion resistant steel, which was better, but only achieved double the life (2-years) before it too was worn out. Finally, chromium carbide deposit wear plate was tried, but even this wore out after 5 years of service.

The reason for the high levels of wear in all cases reflects the amount of highly contaminated product that wood processors are coping with, as virgin timber and higher specified recycled wood is increasingly redirected to power generators in a move to drive down CO2 omissions.

“With the current trend towards the use of biomass as a substitute for fossil fuels in the power generation sector, the wood processing industry has come under extensive pressure to use a greater percentage of recycled product,” said Kingfisher MD, John Connolly. “Blending this material with traditional lumber now accounts for the vast majority of finished goods produced.

However, the influx of recycled product, which is often contaminated with abrasive foreign matter, means that wear protection has become a major issue within the wood processing industry. It adds to the degradation of plant due to the contamination of lumber from felling and subsequent handling.”

In the case of the German OEM, the poorer quality of recycled wood supplied, meant that the product was heavily contaminated with glass, ferrous, non-ferrous and silica particles, which obviously increased the wear rate throughout the process. Despite using screening and classification technology to remove the mineral impurities, a percentage passed through the cleaning system and entered process flow. Magnetic and eddy current separators were also introduced to remove the ferrous and non-ferrous contamination and again only partial success was achieved which resulted in the remaining contamination again entering the process flow.

Due to the increased levels of contamination and abrasion issues for wood processors the OEM required a solution that could be relied upon to last longer than the maximum so far achieved with metallic systems.

“The chromium carbide deposit plate lining was delivering 5-years wear, but more was required,” said John Connolly. “In addition, the carbide plate greatly increased the weight and the cost of the cyclones. With our K-ALOX ceramic solution we were able to overcome both of these problems, by installing wear protection where it was most needed.

The main wear areas of the cyclones were lined with our 6mm thick K-ALOX 92P ceramic liners. These were attached using a high strength polymer adhesive system. Having provided this type of system for other users within the board processing industries, it is envisaged that the system will last in excess of 12 years: nearly two-and half times that of the previous OEM system.”

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