Hammer Mills and Impactors

Eacret, R. L. ; Klein, E. F.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 17
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
Introduction In contrast to the general type of crushing mechanism in which the crushing surfaces alternately approach and withdraw from each other, described earlier in this section, and continuous-pressure break¬ers such as rolls and roller mills that will be described in a later chapter, impact crushers load by striking pieces of rock while in free fall and hurling them at high speed against stationary surfaces. Because the impact crusher depends for its effectiveness upon high velocity, wear is greater than in the slower-moving jaw and cone¬type wear parts, and for this reason its use is strictly limited to rela¬tively soft, friable, and sticky rocks that are characteristic of many nonmetallic mineral deposits. A few of these are phosphates, lime¬stone, barite, clay, asbestos rock, and coal. However, several examples of their use on soft lead-zinc and precious metal ores have been known. Although the use of impact crushers is expanding today into the range of ores containing as much as 15-18% silica, Taggart16 set the practical limit at 5%, and in the 1940s and 1950s several installa¬tions in the US and western Europe exceeded the limits of economical maintenance and were quickly superseded by the slower-moving, con¬ventional crushers. A rock that tends to be plastic or bouncy in a jaw or gyratory crusher when the force is applied slowly to reach ultimate strength, may become brittle with rapid loading and thus increase the effective¬ness of the applied forces. For this reason it is to be expected that as the quality of hammers, grates, plates, and cages improves with advances in steel technology, the use of high-speed crushers of this kind will increase. Terminology Modern usage differentiates between the impactor and the hammer mill, the former relying primarily on the impact of hammers (fixed or free-swinging) and secondarily upon pieces striking one another or steel surfaces; the hammer mill relies on both the centrifugal impact force of free-swinging hammers and the attrition and shear action between these hammers and well-placed grates suspended at the bot¬tom just below the hammer circle. The hammer mill, because of its grate discharge, restricts discharge of oversize rock to the grate open¬ing, while at the same time providing a trap for removal of tramp iron or other uncrushables. The impactor discharges free, so generally works with a screen to control product sizes. The question of terminology, impactor vs, hammer mill, creates difficulties because the similarities appear to outweigh the differences by far; if one were to list the similarities in order of importance and then the differences, he would be forced to conclude that they would best be dealt with as a single kind of crusher. Taggart16 gave it four names and added "as it is variously known," but it must be remembered that in 1945 the machine was nearly exclusively of the flailing-hammer type, while today the fixed-hammer rotor is also com¬mon. In this chapter the terms impactor and hammer mill will be used where they seem to apply. It is perhaps unfortunate that this terminology is being confused with rock breaking at the mine, usually with hand-held tools, e.g., the article "High-Energy Impact Rockbreaking" by Grantmyre and Hawkes, CIM Bulletin, August 1975. General Description Impact breakers, impact crushers, and hammer mills accomplish material breaking and reduction primarily through impact action of the material with fixed or free-swinging hammers revolving about a central rotor. The material to be crushed enters through an opening at the top or top side known as the "feed opening" or "hopper opening" and falls into the path of rotation (hammer circle) of the hammers. Initial breakage is accomplished in midair by collision of the dropping feed material with high-speed hammers. The second stage of breakage occurs when the pieces hit plates or breaker bars which line the crusher boxlike frame. Hammer mills rely further on a shearing and attrition action between free-swinging hammers and grid bars or grates at the crusher bottom which restrict discharge of oversize material until it is broken sufficiently to pass through the grid opening. The term hammer is used in reference to the piece which strikes the material, whether it is fixed on the rotor or free-swinging. It
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