Cement, Lime & Alumina
Cement plants, lime plants and alumina refineries are all under pressure to reduce costs by minimising refractory maintenance repairs and extending the run-time between shutdowns. In cement plants refractory linings, anchors and metallic structures face harsh operating conditions undergoing pervasive chemical attack and can prevent plants achieving their desired refractory life. Rotary kilns typically dictate campaign length, and too often refractory failures force shutdowns to be brought forward. Lime plants face similar issues but usually to a lesser degree, however older plants can experience reliability issues and unnecessarily high maintenance costs.
Monolithic Refractory Design
We have a proven successful record in refractory and mechanical designs for cyclones, ducts, roofs, coolers and calciners. By taking a combined engineering approach, our designs match materials to your process, engineer anchoring for increased life, stop shell corrosion and increase energy efficiency. This results in improved reliability and helps you extend time between maintenance.
Our P-Response technology can survey refractory anchored to any flat steel surface. It improves safety by generating a refractory damage map that allows contractors to remove damaged overhead panels. Furthermore, it reduces maintenance costs and shutdown time by ensuring only precision repairs are carried out.
Our professional engineers can independently assess the refractory repair scope required to meet reliability goals and ensure unnecessary repairs are avoided. We can also generate ‘on the spot’ technical solutions that account for site material limitations and provide engineered solutions to emergent problems within the resource constraints of the shutdown. Additionally, we provide future scope of works for the next shutdown.
Typical industry dryout schedules assume ambient conditions, which does not effectively mitigate risk for pressurised processes. Additionally, these dryouts attempt to cater for all plant configurations and variations resulting in substantial inefficiencies. Our bespoke dryouts use proprietary software to calculate the most optimal, safe dryout by targeting your plant geometry, material properties, process environment and burner capacity. We have helped customers safely reduce their dryout time by over 50%.
Rotary Kiln Refractory
It is well known that kiln ovality and shell distortion impact refractory life. Bricking handbooks set the correct goals for bricking over shell distortions but offer no methods or objective limits to achieve improved reliability. We can analyse the kiln ovality and shell distortion data that you already collect to create a bricking plan tailored specifically to each local distortion. In addition, our analysis can set achievable and measurable quality assurance guidelines specific to your kiln and brick supply.
Additionally, brick material optimisation is typically done by trial and error which can be a slow and costly pathway to improvements. Through scientific analysis, we can recommend materials that directly address the degradation mechanisms specific to each section of the kiln and process.
It is through this scientific approach that plants can achieve their desired reliability goals.
When refractory linings fail unexpectedly, it is critical that any investigation correctly identifies the underlying mechanism. We not only know which material and anchor tests to perform but also how to interpret the results. Combined with our computer simulation & modelling capabilities, we have helped many clients correctly identify the root cause of refractory failure and eliminate the problem without multiple attempts.
Concrete Assessment & Repairs
We specialise in the assessment of concrete structures degraded by corrosion, chemical attack, thermal stress, weathering. We undertake assessment of your structures, identify key failure mechanisms, and carry out repairs. Our experts are familiar with silos, stacks, sulphur pits, effluent tanks, plinths, columns, and other structures.
Cement Plant Cyclone Roof
Palmer Technologies has been working with a cement client in Tasmania for a number of years to improve refractory reliability. We were engaged to redesign the Dust Settling Cyclone roof which was limiting kiln campaign to less than 12 months. Our design increased refractory life by 700% and won a Holcim Excellence award. In addition to major redesigns, the partnership has focused on continuous improvements and in 2016, the plant was able to move major plant maintenance to every two years.
Alumina Refinery Improvements
In 2014, Palmer Technologies was engaged by an Alumina plant in Gladstone, Australia to review and reduce refractory maintenance costs in their calciner. Palmer Technologies provided a number of services including refractory design, shutdown support and an optimised refractory dryout. Through engineering analysis, we were able to reduce the shutdown repair scope by 30% from 974m2 to 694m2 thereby reducing the shutdown duration. We reduced the dryout by 50% which enabled a return to production multiple days earlier. We provided a redesigned lining with 30% decreased thickness which reduced installation time and saved material costs, without loss of service life.
Rotary Kiln Bricking Research
We have conducted geometric analysis of kiln bricking, common sources of lining instability and improvements to bricking practice possible with analysis. Our analysis has shown that to significantly improve kiln bricking reliability, new approaches must be considered. Instead of trial and error through the use of samples, detailed analysis of the process must be used to determine the optimal brick composition. Additionally, current bricking practices which try to account for localised distortions often do not achieve optimal stability leading to loss of life. Bricking installation practices can be enhanced by using bespoke bricking plans for individual distortions computed from existing scans of the kiln shell.