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cone crusher precaution

avoid unplanned downtime: 5 crusher maintenance best practices

avoid unplanned downtime: 5 crusher maintenance best practices

According to leading aggregate producers, repairs and maintenance labor average 30 to 35 percent of direct operating costs, says Erik Schmidt, ResourceDevelopment Manager, Johnson Crushers International, Inc. Thats a pretty large factor towards the overhead of that equipment.

There are three approaches to maintenance: reactive, preventative and predictive. Reactive is repairing something that has failed. Preventative maintenance is often viewed as unnecessary but minimizes downtime because the machine is getting repaired before failure. Predictive means using historical service life data to determine when a machine will likely breakdown and then taking the necessary steps to address the problem before failure occurs.

According to Schmidt: 75 percent of companies are operating in the run until its broke mentality. Maintenance is sacrificed. As a result of that, the costs are high when you have unplanned down time due to equipment failure, he says. It can lead to loss of production, ancillary or consequential damages, expedited freight costs for parts, loss of production, and even low morale.

According to Schmidt, daily visual inspections will catch a vast majority of impending failures that could be costing operations in unnecessary and preventable down time. That is why it is number one on my list of tips for crusher maintenance, says Schmidt.

The lack of daily inspections is going on a lot more than people would like to admit, says Schmidt. If you get into the crushing chamber every day and look for blockage, material build up and wear, you can prevent failures from occurring by identifying future problems today. And, if you are operating in really wet, sticky, or clay material, you might find that you need to get in there more than once a day.

Visual inspections are crucial. In the scenario where the conveyor underneath a cone crusher stalls, the material will build up inside the crushing chamber and eventually stall the crusher. Material can stay stuck inside that cannot be seen.

No one crawls inside there to see that it is still blocked inside the cone, says Schmit. Then, once they get the discharge conveyor going again, they start the crusher. Thats the absolute wrong thing to do. Lock out and tag out, then get in there and look, because material can easily block off chambers, causing excessive wear and even sub-sequential damage to the anti-spin mechanism or related internal components.

In cone crushers, one common form of abuse is bowl float. Also called ring bounce or upper frame movement. It is the machines relief system that is designed to allow uncrushables to pass through the machine, but if youre continually overcoming relief pressures due to the application, that is going to cause damage at the seat and other internal components. Its a sign of abuse and the end result is expensive down time and repairs, says Schmidt.

To avoid bowl float, Schmidt recommends you check the feed material going into the crusher but keep the crusher choke fed. You might have too many fines going into the crusher, which means you have a screening problemnot a crushing problem, he says. Also, you want to choke feed the crusher to get maximum production rates and a 360-degree crush. Dont trickle feed the crusher; that will lead to uneven component wear, more irregular product sizes and less production. An inexperienced operator will often reduce the feed rate rather than to simply open the close side setting.

For HSI, Schmidt recommends providing well-graded input feed to the crusher, because this will maximize production while minimizing costs, and to properly prep the feed when crushing recycled concrete with steel, because this will reduce plugging in the chamber and blow bar breakage. Failure to take certain precautions when using equipment is abusive.

Always use the fluids prescribed by the manufacturer and check with their guidelines if you plan on using something other than what is specified. Be careful when changing viscosities of oil. Doing so will also change the extreme pressure (EP) rating of the oil, and may not perform the same in your machine, says Schmidt.

Contaminants such as dirt and water can also get into fuel, either while in storage or when filling the machine. Gone are the days of the open bucket, says Schmidt. Now, all fluids need to be kept clean, and a lot more caution is taken to avoid contamination.

Tier 3 and Tier 4 engines use a high-pressure injection system and, if any dirt gets into the system, and youve wiped it out. You will end up replacing the machines injection pumps and possibly all other fuel-rail components in the system, says Schmidt.

According to Schmidt, misapplication leads to a lot of repairs and failures. Look at whats going in and what youre expecting out of it. What is the top-sized feed material going into the machine and the machines closed side setting? That gives you the machines reduction ratio, explains Schmidt.

If you exceed what an HSI or cone crusher is designed to do within its configuration, you can expect to decrease the lifespan of certain components, because you are putting stresses on parts of the machine that werent designed to bear that stress.

Misapplication can lead to uneven liner wear. If the crusher is wearing low in the chamber or high in the chamber, you are going to get pockets or a hook, and its going to cause overload, either high amp draw or bowl floating. This will have a negative effect on performance and cause long-term damage to componentry.

Knowing a machines normal or average operating conditions is integral to monitoringmachine health. After all, you cant know when a machine is working outside of normal or average operating conditions unless you know what those conditions are.

If you keep a log book, long-term operating performance data will create a trend and any data that is an outlier to that trend could be an indicator that something is wrong, says Schmidt. You may be able to predict when a machine is going to fail.

Once you have logged enough data, you will be able to see trends in the data. Once you become aware of the trends, actions can be taken to make sure they dont create unplanned down time. What is your machines coast down times? asks Schmidt. How long does it take before the crusher comes to a stop after you push the stop button? Normally, it takes 72 seconds, for example; today it took 20 seconds. Whats that telling you?

By monitoring these and other potential indicators of machine health, you can identify problems earlier, before the equipment fails while in production, and the servicing can be scheduled for a time that will cost you little downtime. Benchmarking is key in executing predictive maintenance.

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safe and sound: crusher safety : pit & quarry

safe and sound: crusher safety : pit & quarry

After securing the chain around the rock in the crushing chamber, a man still in the chamber tells the loader operator to lift the rock. The operator lifts it about three feet into the air when, suddenly, the chain snaps. The rock plunges back into the crusher, missing the mans leg by a matter of inches.

Stories like these involving crusher blockages unfortunately still happen in the industry. Fortunately, this particular event unfolded without an injury. Still, an inch or two one way or another can often make the difference between a safe trip home from work and no trip home at all.

Ive heard and read stories about guys getting killed, says Paul Smith, international marketing manager for Astecs Aggregate and Mining Group. These machines can be deadly. After 20 years of climbing into quarries, I still keep my head on a swivel.

Aggregate producers cant control all of the factors that lead to accidents related to crusher blockages. They can, however, create a work environment and culture that best positions people to return home from work every day.

To Smith, one of the key factors that should be addressed related to crusher safety is a companys workforce. A number of people operating and working around crushing equipment dont have the adequate experience, he says. Producers and recyclers sometimes turn to a transient workforce, and that can present problems.

Our industry is so much about tribal knowledge, Smith says. Were still relying on grandpa to educate a grandson to operate a plant. Or, were adding crews to do short-time jobs and leaning on temporary labor.

Effective operators and contractors tend to put one of their best teams on crusher duty because they realize production starts and stops with these workers. But teams often consist of just two people a loader operator and a plant operator. A third person can make a difference in a number of areas, Smith says.

Its a luxury to have a third guy, but I would argue that having a guy at $15 an hour on the ground pays for itself, Smith says. Maybe this is the new guy whos being trained, or its the boss son. I do know that if that guy prevents a cone crusher from going down and losing a thrust bearing once or twice a year, hes going to pay for himself.

Operating a crusher at 90 percent efficiency versus 80 percent or less will boost a companys bottom line, as well. A third person focused on the crushing operation should improve efficiency, Smith adds.

Use a 30-[in.] x 54-[in.] jaw for example, he says. Take 80 percent of the first number thats 24 in. Thats the lump size you want to put into that crusher. Size the crusher to the size of the material. If you want to have max production, youll pay attention to those rules.

The workforce isnt the only area producers can focus on to avoid crusher blockages and enhance safety related to crushers. The most economical form of crushing is blasting, Smith says, so tighten shot patterns to reduce the amount of oversized material.

Its very practical to have a rock breaker right next to the primary crusher, says Ilkka Somero, Metsos product manager for jaw crushers. Often, you dont even need to break the rocks. Its enough to pull or push the rocks a little bit. Then the materials flow again.

Breakers and hydraulic hammers attached to excavators are also useful to reduce oversized material that can be loaded into a crusher, Somero adds. Smith suggests prepping material with a grizzly feeder if possible, as well.

Still, theres an additional cost associated with a grizzly, he says, as there is with a breaker. A sensor is yet another option for operators to alert themselves when oversized material is present in the feeder. Sensors obviously wont pull a large rock from the crusher for you, though.

They still cause the operator to react, Smith says. The oversized piece of material still has to be extracted. You have to shut down the plant. Its not a perfect solution, but it does help you from plugging the crusher.

Crusher design is another area some manufacturers have focused on to help producers and recyclers avoid blockages and create safer work environments. Sandvik, for example, addresses the blockage issue with its Prisec horizontal shaft impact (HSI) crusher.

According to Rowan Dallimore, an impact crusher manager at Sandvik, the Prisec model can be cleared while the crusher is running. To clear blockages, Dallimore says users stop the feeder and activate the hydraulic system. This lifts either the first or second curtain, allowing a blockage to pass through the crusher.

Once the blockage has been cleared the curtain can be lowered, and they will reset automatically into the previously set position with the hydraulic system switched off and the feed re-started by the crusher, says Dallimore, who estimates that the Prisec clears about 90 percent of blockages without having to stop the crusher. All of this is done with the crusher still running and no operator intervention inside the crusher.

Such a system saves users considerable time, too. Clearing a blocked crusher can take an hour or more, Dallimore says. He estimates that a typical blockage occurs in a stationary plant between five and six times a year, with mobile crushers experiencing even more blockages.

With the recycling business we never know what were going to crush within reason, Dallimore says. When its on a tracked mobile unit, they can be on one site one week and on a completely different site crushing completely different material the next week.

These dont necessarily behave well in a crusher, Smith says. You have the potential to rip belts; for stuff to get hung up at the bottom of the crusher. Or, it might block the discharge part of the crusher and you get buildup in that area.

Every producer is encouraged when they start up a new plant to baby the plant for a period of time, he says. See how the equipment handles that material. If they move it to a second location, things like moisture index change.

Ive read a story about a guy inside an impact crusher on a recycle job, Smith says. The door of the impactor was open, and he was inside it cleaning off some of the asphalt buildup. While in there, he motioned the guy to turn the impactor a little bit. When the guy did that the impactor came up to full speed, and the guy got chewed up in a matter of seconds.

Some of these machines behave like Swiss watches: They require a certain amount of oil, Smith says. We do a lot of things to safeguard and keep bad things from happening, but you still need to find, hire and train the right people. We really need to do that.

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