Rod and Ball Mills

Rowland, Chester A. ; Kjos, David M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 20
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
INTRODUCTION Mineral ore comminution is generally a feed preparation step for subsequent processing stages. Grinding, the fine product phase of comminution, requires a large capital investment and frequently is the area of maximum usage of power and wear resistant materials. Grinding is most frequently done in rotating drums utilizing loose grinding media, lifted by the rotation of the drum, to break the ores in various combinations of impact, attrition and abrasion to produce the specified product. Grinding media can be the ore itself (autogenous grinding - primary and secondary), natural or manufactured nonmetallic media (pebble milling) or manufactured metallic media - steel rods, steel or iron balls, or a combination of autogenous media and steel balls (SAG milling). This chapter covers rod and ball mills utilizing manufactured metallic grinding media. MILL DESIGN The interior surface of rod and ball mills exposed to pulp and/or grinding media are protected from wear and corrosion by rubber, metallic or a combination of rubber and metallic wear resistant materials. Rod and ball mills essentially draw constant power, thus are well suited for use of synchronous motors with power factor correction capabilities as drive motors. A net of approximately 120 to 130 percent of running torque is required to cascade the charge in these mills. The pull-in torque is about 130 to 140 percent with the pullout torque to keep the motor in-step (in-phase) generally in excess of 150 percent. When rod and ball mill are started across-the-line the starting and pull-in torques result in inrush currents exceeding 600 percent which possibly result in high voltage drops. To deliver 130 percent starting torque to the mill the motor design must take into account the maximum anticipated voltage drop. Motor torque decreases as the decimal fraction of the voltage available squared. E.g., a motor rated 160% starting torque with a 10% system voltage drop will deliver 160% x or 129.6% torque to its output shaft When it is not possible or practical to start a fully loaded synchronous motor across-the-line it is possible to utilize the motor's pull- out torque to start the mill. By using a clutch, normally an air clutch. between the motor and the mill, the motor is brought up to synchronous speed before the clutch is energized. If the motor has an adequate amount (175 or greater) of pull-out torque the pull-out torque starts the mill without major disruptions on the electrical system. Since the energy release at initial cascade of the mill charge is an inverse function of acceleration time, a minimum acceleration time of 6 to 10 seconds or more is recommended to prevent damage to the mill or the mill foundation. Economics at the time of plant design and mill purchase determine the drive to be used. The simpliest drive is the low speed synchronous motor with speeds in the range of 150 to 250 RPM connected to the mill pinionshaft by either an air clutch or flexible coupling. Using a speed reducer between the motor and pinionshaft permits using motors having speeds in the range of 600 to 1000 RPM. In this speed range, if power factor correction is not required induction motors can be used; squirrel cage where there is no restriction on inrush current; slip ring where a slow start and low inrush current is required. Air clutches can also be used to ease starting problems with squirrel cage motors. In some areas of the world induction motors and starters are less expensive than synchronous motors at a sacrifice of motor efficiency and power factor correction. Dual drives, that is two pinions driving one gear mounted on the mill, become economical for ball mills drawing more than 3500 to 4000 horsepower (2600 to 3000 kilowatts). Further developments of the low frequency, low speed synchronous motors with the rotor mounted on the mill shell or an extension of one of the mill trunnions could improve the cost picture for these "gearless drives", making them practical for large ball mills. The percent of critical speed, which is the speed at which the centrifugal force is sufficiently large to cause a small particle to ad- here to the shell liners for the full revolution of the mill is given in mill specifications. Critical speed is determined from the following: Where D is mill diameter inside liners (specified in meters). Cs is critical speed in RPM. When D is specified in feet
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