When you’re in the business of manufacturing and handling abrasive materials, line plugs and worn-out elbows (and the resultant downtime and losses in productivity) are troublesome and costly realities.
That was exactly the case for Dave Goodwin, Plant Maintenance Superintendent for the Scarborough, Ontario plant of Fiberglas Canada. Goodwin’s plant suffered through as many as 20 wear-related clogs per year — always occurring at the same two refractory elbows in the conveying system connecting the batch house and the furnace hall.
Whenever one of the clogs would occur, costly fabrications delays followed, and the overall quality of the fiberglass was considerably lower. Replacing failed elbows carried a price tag of $350 each, and with an average of five failures per year, that translated into substantial cost.
Fiberglass is comprised of six highly abrasive ingredients, including sand, borax, soda ash and limestone. These materials are mixed and conveyed under pressure into the plant’s furnace hall where it is melted into glass and spun. The refractory elbows that redirected the flow of the pre-furnace mixture just couldn’t withstand the combined effects of high pressure, high velocity and high levels of abrasiveness.
Frustrated by the frequency of clogs, line shutdowns and lost productivity, Goodwin decided to try Hammertek’s Smart Elbow deflection elbow, which is specifically designed to minimize flow turbulence, plugging and impact-related wear.
The first Smart Elbow model installed at Fiberglas Canada functioned trouble-free for 15 months: no wear-through and no plugging. Though Smart Elbow products cost more than conventional elbows, Fiberglas Canada realized considerable savings. A single Smart Elbow unit costs much less than the three or four conventional elbows it replaced, not including the maintenance expenses related to down time that were all but eliminated.
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