Media Maintenance Matters
Maximize the payback of synthetic screen media with proactive vs. reactive maintenance.
by Marc Lovallo and Alan Tindall
Proactive maintenance is described as preventive, planned, and predictive — while reactive maintenance is simply a run-it-until-it-breaks approach. Indeed, the latter leads producers into a costly crisis mode. Regarding synthetic screen media, proactive maintenance delivers numerous benefits — maximum cost efficiency and uptime, longer wear life, consistent specification accuracy, and the security of a reliable and sound screening system.
Proactive maintenance appears to be a no-brainer, yet in reality, according to a recent survey, nearly 50 percent of plant operators consider their maintenance practices to be merely satisfactory or poor. The remaining 50 percent rank themselves in the good to excellent category — and this top half is arguably the clear winner where profitability is concerned.
With that said, let’s take a look at some media maintenance matters that are guaranteed to maximize the payback of your synthetic screen systems.
Due to its long wear life, it’s common to find a set-it-and-forget-it attitude surrounding synthetic media — and that should be avoided. It’s very important to inspect your synthetic screen decks periodically for loose panels or unusual wear patterns which may be caused by a change in feed rate or by high-pressure spray water, for example. Consider that if a screen panel is not replaced before it is worn entirely through, it could result in out-of-spec material, damage to the fastening system, or even to the steel supporting deck.
Monitor quality control samples
Regular sampling can tell producers a lot about the wear life and condition of the synthetic screen panels. A sudden or gradual change in specifications indicates a need to inspect the screen deck for wear. Operations that do not conduct frequent sampling may not realize that the deck has worn to a point that material is out of spec.
Fixing the feed box
Consider lining your feed box (and discharge lips as well) with the same high-quality synthetic material that is used on the screen deck itself. This will help prevent a premature failure of the feed box. Prone to much wear, steel feed boxes are most often patched and plated in an attempt to extend their useful life — a tactic that affects the feed distribution of the material onto the screen deck itself, creating more impact and causing excessive wear at the feed end of the deck.
Check side wear liners
Synthetic side wear liners are bolted or clamped onto the side of the screen box to protect the walls of the deck and to hold the synthetic screen panels down along the outside edge. As side wear liners typically last longer than the actual screen surface, they are often overlooked during inspections. Side wear liners should be checked for wear and for any loosening of the bolts or clamping hardware. If all liners are not securely tightened, screen panels can move, resulting in damage to the side wear liners, the screen panels themselves, or even to the modular screen system support structure. Loose side wear liners can also allow screen panels to disengage, causing material to go out of spec.
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