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BALL MILL INSPECTION PROCEDURE
Introduction
This document is intended to help the staff of the cement plants.
On a process point of view, a mill inspection is only representative if the grinding mill circuit is in a steady working
condition with a representative cement product.
If this condition is fulfilled, the whole installation must be stopped in crash-stop (it means all the equipments
must stop at the same moment).
It is better to enter first into the first compartment in order to follow the flowpath of the material from the
beginning of the grinding process.
Generally, people enter in a manhole. From time to time, when the mill diameter is larger, it is possible to enter
from the mill inlet.
This procedure was performed for a 2 compartments mill.

For other configurations of mills, a simple adjustment is necessary.
For outside staff, it is also necessary to check the kind of internals and the length of the chambers.
What we need:













Now, let's go inside the mill (for the turkish bath...)


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First chamber

Action

Data-Measurement

Reason

1 Mill inlet:


- Check if the inlet is clean and not
blocked

To allow a good ventilation of the mill.

- Check the mill material feeder

To allow a good progression of the feed.

- Check if there are screws and their
condition

Height of screw
Number of screws

To avoid accumulation of material and
balls.

- If there is water injection system,
check its

Visual appreciation

Water injection in chamber 1 can be
necessary in case of very hot clinker.





2 Feed end liners:


- Check the condition and the wear of
these liners

Thickness

To maintain the mill shell protected.

- Check if there are broken liners

Number






3 Volume load or filling degree


- The measurement must be achieved
in 3 points on the mill-axis (inlet,
middle of compartment and
compartment outlet). The best
procedure is probably to measure
the height from the ball charge to
the linings

3 points
(mesure height H)

To maintain the production (tons/hour) of
the mill because the volume load is directly
linked to the mill absorbed power and the
mill efficiency.



- Other method: count the number of
visible lining plates (less reliable
At least 3 points

If it is the only way to measure the volume
load.
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method)






4 Linings


- Check the condition and the wear of
the linings (Lining practically worn-
out on the picture)
Thickness
Lifter height

To maintain the lining efficiency (don't
forget that the function of the 1st chamber
is TO CRUSH).

- Check if there are broken plates

Number

To maintain the mill shell protected.

- Check if there is coating

Evaluate if it is hard
to remove, measure
the thickness

This phenomenon can happen, especially in
the case of raw mills.
Causes inefficient grinding, low throughput
and high energy consumption.





5 Ball charge


- Check the ball charge: the principle
is to evaluate visually the proportion
of big balls (90mm) and small balls
(60mm)

Better with
experienced
persons

To maintain the crushing efficiency of the
1
st
compartment.

- Measure the biggest and the
smallest ball diameter

Minimum
Maximum

To determine the next ball make up
composition or the substitution of the ball
charge.

- Check if there are broken balls

Visual estimation

To avoid blockage of the intermediate
diaphragm.
To analyse the balls quality with the
supplier.

- Check if there is coating

Evaluate if it is hard
to remove

Causes inefficient grinding, low throughput
and high energy consumption.

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6 Material level


- Check the material level at mill inlet

Not enough material may be due to high air
velocity.
Result is the loss of this part of chamber.

- Check the material level (too high
you don't see the balls, good if you
see the top of the balls, not enough
material if you don't see it)

Make a design
Visual estimation
Measure if too high

Not enough material can cause breakage of
balls.
Too much material results in a drop of
efficiency.

- Check specially at the intermediate
diaphragm

Remove the balls

Not enough material may cause excessive
wear of the grid plates of the diaphragm.





7 Sampling of the first chamber


- Take 3 or 4 samples (inlet, 1 or 2
intermediate samples, at the
diaphragm)

2-3kg/sample

In order to know the efficiency of the first
compartment.

- Ideally for each sample, take
materiel in three points as shown on
drawing here below


Mill-axis point is the
best if only 1 point

This is more representative.

- Remove the balls at the sampling
point

Depth of 20-30 cm

To allow the sampling with the collector.
This is more representative.

- Don't reject the unground particles
from the sample

Especially at the
diaphragm

It is important to know the percentage of
uncrushed particles, especially at the
diaphragm.

- Drop a ball on unground grains (put
these grains on the top of a ball)
near the diaphragm
Height 30-40cm

To have an idea of the hardness of these
grains.

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8 Intermediate diaphragm


- Check the general aspect of the
diaphragm

Visual


- Check the condition and the wear of
the plates and the grid plates

Visual and thickness

To insure the protection of the diaphragm
frame.

- Check the width of the slots and if
there are blocked by unground
particles or scraps

Maximum width
Minimum width
% of area blocked

To insure that the slots of the intermediate
diaphragm are smaller than the slots of the
outlet diaphragm.

- Check the condition of the central
screen

Visual

To prevent the passage of balls from one
compartment to the other.

- Check other specific features like
control systems

To determine if these features have the
good settings.






Second chamber


Action

Data-Measurement

Reason

1

Intermediate diaphragm



- Check the condition and the wear of
the back plates

Visual and thickness To insure the protection of the diaphragm
frame.
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2 Volume load or filling degree


- The measurement must be achieved
in 4 points on the mill-axis (inlet, first
third of compartment, second third
and compartment outlet). The best
procedure is probably to measure
the height from the ball charge to
the linings

4 points
(mesure height H)

To maintain the production (tons/hour) of
the mill because the volume load is directly
linked to the mill absorbed power and the
mill efficiency.



- Other method: count the number of
visible lining plates (less reliable
method)

At least 4 points

If it is the only way to measure the volume
load.





3 Linings


- Check the condition and the wear of
the linings

To maintain the lining efficiency (don't
forget that the function of the 2nd
chamber is TO GRIND).


- Check if there are broken plates

Number

To maintain the mill shell protected

- Check if there is coating on the
linings

Evaluate the impor-
tance of the problem
Evaluate if it is hard
to remove, measure
the thickness

This phenomenon can happen, especially in
the case of open circuit.
Causes inefficient grinding, low throughput
and high energy consumption.


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4 Ball charge and classification


- Check the ball charge: the principle
is to evaluate visually the proportion
of big balls (60mm) and small balls
(17-15mm)

Better with
experienced
persons

To respect the initial ball charge
recommendation.
To maintain the efficiency of the 2nd
compartment.

- Measure the biggest and the
smallest ball diameter

Minimum
Maximum

To determine the next ball make up
composition or the substitution of the ball
charge.

- Check if there are broken balls

Visual estimation

To avoid blockage of the outlet diaphragm
slots.
To analyse the balls quality with the
supplier.

- Check if there is coating on the balls

Evaluate the impor-
tance of the problem
Evaluate if it is hard
to remove
Causes inefficient grinding, low throughput
and high energy consumption.


- In case of classifying lining, check the
classification of the balls (perfect,
good, poor or disturbed, mixture of
the balls, reversed classification)



Visual estimation
Sampling of the
charge but takes
time and a lot of
hard work


Bad classification may be due to a bad
lining, excessive coating or presence of
unground particles coming from the first
compartment.
Causes inefficient grinding, low throughput
and high energy consumption.





5 Material level


- Check the material level (too high
you don't see the balls, good if you
see the top of the balls, not enough
material if you don't see it)


Visual estimation
Make a design

Not enough material may be due to high air
velocity.
Result is a higher wear, a drop of efficiency
and lower throughput.
Too much material may cause overfilling, a
drop of efficiency and lower throughput.
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6 Sampling of the second chamber


- Take 6-8 samples (inlet, 4-6
intermediate samples at equal
distance, diaphragm)

500gr to 1kg for each
sample

In order to know the reduction efficiency of
the second compartment.


- Ideally for each sample, take
materiel in three

Mill-axis point is the
best if 1 point

It is more representative.

- Remove the balls and the material at
the sampling point

Depth of 20-30 cm

To collect the material only in surface is not
correct.

- With the shovel, put balls and
material in the sieve which is above
a paper bag. Remove the balls from
the sieve. Put the collected material
in a bag

Don't forget to put possible uncrushed
particles with the material sample!


- Check the presence of uncrushed
particles, especially an accumulation
at mill outlet

Visual estimation

Accumulation causes blockage of the outlet
diaphragm and a drop of efficiency and
throughput.






7 Outlet diaphragm


- Check the general aspect of the
diaphragm

Visual


- Check the condition and the wear of
the plates and the grid plates
Visual and
thickness
To insure the protection of the diaphragm
frame.
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- Check the width of the slots and if
there are blocked by unground
particles or scraps

Maximum width
Minimum width
% of area blocked

To insure that the slots of the outlet
diaphragm are bigger than the slots of the
intermediate diaphragm.

- Check the condition of the central
screen

Visual estimation

To prevent the passage of balls.

- Check the condition of the water
injection system and if it is blocked
by material (nozzle)


Visual inspection

Maybe, it is useful to make a test in order
to see the trajectory of the water jet.