06/06/2012 | Editor: Marcel Dröttboom
The newest cement company in the Southwest of the USA has specified a total of 53 air cannons to prevent accumulations and ensure process flow, with the timing and firing sequence determined primarily by programmable logic control.
The efforts have been so successful that the plant is now running at its rated capacity of about 90 tonnes per hour. With no shutdowns for manual cleanout in almost a year of operation, the Drake Cement Plant located near Paulden, Arizona, USA, has avoided the lost production time and maintenance costs associated with excessive material buildup.
The Drake plant began operations in 2011, specializing in high quality Portland cement products for the North American market. Located at the site of an old rail town about ten miles north of Paulden, the facility includes a state-of-the-art, six-stage precalciner/preheater with a rated capacity of 660,000 tons of clinker per year (approx. 600,000 metric tonnes per year).
Efficient material flow is a key component of Drake’s dry-process manufacturing, and accumulation in storage bins, process vessels or feed pipes could choke even this well-designed system. Blockages can create expensive obstacles to equipment performance and process efficiency, raising maintenance expenses and diverting manpower from core business activities, in some cases introducing safety risks for personnel.
Engineers designing the process at Drake Cement initially specified 15 air cannons from Martin Engineering in critical locations to control accumulation and enhance material flow. Introduced by Martin Engineering in 1974, air cannon technology has developed a proven track record around the world for relieving bulk material bottlenecks. The Martin Extra High Velocity Air Cannons at Drake Cement fire a powerful discharge of compressed air to remove material adhered to the vessel walls.
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