ometimes one may face a prettyintriguing fact: two kilns constructedaccording to the same design,practically at the same time and fed withvirtually the same raw meal and fuelpresent different behaviour. When you askthe operators which kiln is best, they willbe unanimous: kiln “A” is better than kiln“B”. Why do these things happen?Every equipment has its own history.Incidents that may have occurred toone may never happen to the other. Weknow that, depending on the kindof incident that can occur to a kiln,its performance can be affected for a long time, if not for the rest of itsworking life. Particular fails demandspecific maintenance solutions and thesuccession of different events to eachpart of the kiln can lead to differentbehaviour with identical kilns.This article deals with one of themost important operations that willaffect a clinker kiln performance,especially concerning refractory lininglife: the phases of preheating andfeeding a new kiln or one that hassuffered a large lining change. Duringmany years, Dynamis experts have beendesigning and putting to work hundredsof combustion systems for rotary kilns.During new burner start-up operations,normally following major refractorymaintenances, it was very common tohear from operation managers: “Let usfollow the recommended time multipliedby the temperature curve at the smokechamber” – and also: “Don’t allow thatflame to impinge on the new bricks!”.The manager was totally right. But werethose two recommendations enough toguarantee the desired performance of thebrand new bricks? – Certainly not.We know that the preheating andfeeding of a rotary kiln are criticaloperations. Normally, they are conductedeither with natural gas or fuel-oil untilthe kiln operation has reached a steadysituation. The use of one of those fuels isproper for a better combustion control,making it easier to adjust temperaturepeak position and to follow the heatingcurve through an accurate handlingof fuel flow. Additionally, those fuelsmake flame stability a lot easier under cold secondary air conditions, even atrelatively low excess-air rates. Also, itis important to control the combustiongases draft, which has an important rolein the temperature profile, including bothkiln and preheating tower. Normally, theoxygen content of those gases will varywithin 4-6 per cent at preheater exhaust,depending on kiln characteristics (generaldimensions, number of cyclone stages,false air infiltrations, etc).Figure 1 shows some variationsconcerning kiln pre-heating procedures.The diagram indicates preheating cantake 20 to 36 hours, depending on thetype of refractory, as well as the extensionof the maintenance services. Mode 1refers to short warm-up. Mode 2 refers toa more conventional heating rate. Finally,Mode 3 corresponds to extended warm-up period, which is recommended after large refractory maintenance or after thecast of refractory concretes. In some casesthe kiln is fed with 750˚C at the smokechamber (red dotted line), while in other cases the raw meal feeding starts at evenhigher temperatures (solid blue line).Two main tendencies can be identified,not properly referring to the preheatingitself, but concerning the flameadjustment after the desired smokechamber temperature had been reachedand raw meal feeding had started.
1. Classical procedure
Most of kiln operators had the tendencyof using a narrow and soft flame,in many cases a very long one.Sometimes the flame length was arequirement, but normally it was amere consequence of the combustionparameters that had been adopted toprotect the bare lining and nothingcould be done to shorten the flame,if so wanted. The lack of resourcesin the main burner for shaping theflame is often worsened by the coldsecondary air. Figure 2 presents adiagram showing the evolution of theprotective coating over the refractorybrick lining in a kiln running under theso-called classical procedure.
What can we say about thisprocedure?
•the operator must keep the flame awayfrom the bricks even after a significantincrease in fuel flow•as the flame tends to be long,temperature peak will probably be locatedat upper transition zone•the hot meal reaches the upper transition zone and starts to form thecoating that protects the bricks there•the coating formation proceeds fromupper to lower sections passing throughburning/clinkering zone and then to lower transition zone•lower transition zone bricks are putunder moderate to intense heat flux for along period of time.
A better kiln coating?
After studying the kiln preheating and feeding procedures of hundreds of kilns around the world, Dynamis experts show twoopposite tendencies and examine the characteristics of each one. Thisarticle discusses how the proper formation of kiln internal coating can dramatically improve the life of refractory bricks.
by Guilherme Ferreira andLuiz Pinho, Dynamis Ltda,Brazil
Figure 1: kiln heating variations