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INTRODUCTION

Comminution as crushing and grinding of minerals and foodstuff has been practised by

mankind for several thousand years. During the last 100 years, comminution of minerals and

other raw materials has developed into the most important mechanical operation of raw

material dressing industry.

In a modern cement plant the electrical energy consumed in connection with comminution may

add up to be appx. 70 % of the total energy consumption for the plant.

COMMINUTION THEORIES

The purpose of comminution theories is to define a numerical description of the size reduction

in relation to the energy consumption.

Numerous attempts have been made to relate energy input to the degree of comminution

produced. These attempts have resulted in a number of so-called laws. They are not really laws

of nature, and since none of them have been conclusively proved they should rather be called

hypothesis or theories.

Various theories of comminution are, in principle, included in the following formula with

different values for the constants:

dE

dX

c X

n

· − ∗

Where

E : Specific energy consumption

X : Particle size

c and n : Constants

The constant n is not really a constant since the best approximation to comminution in practise

is obtained if n becomes smaller when the particle size is reduced. So, n should be considered

constant only within limited size ranges.

____________________________________________________________________________

1

Comminution as a First Order Process. For practical mill calculations and for evaluation of

separators used for closed circuit grinding it has been found useful to consider the reduction

of sieve residues by comminution as a first order process.

dR

dE

cR · − or in integrated form

E W

R

R

o

f

· ⋅ log

(1)

where

E : Specific energy consumption.

W : Comminution index.

R

o

: Sieve residue of feed material.

R

f

: Sieve residue of final product.

Based on this theory, a useful tool for evaluation of closed circuit grinding can be developed.

This will be demonstrated in the following.

CLOSED CIRCUIT GRINDING

In closed circuit grinding the mill product is passed to a separator where oversize particles are

removed and returned to the mill inlet.

The efficiency of the separator used for closed circuit grinding is of great importance, not only

in terms of energy consumption for grinding to a certain fineness, but also in terms of the

particle size distribution of the final product.

Several methods have been developed for the purpose of evaluating the separation obtained in

a classifier. The advantages of the separator efficiency applied in the following are that it offers

a procedure to calculate directly how the separator influences the energy consumption by

grinding.

The separator efficiency by closed circuit grinding is now defined as the calculated reduction in

energy consumption when going from open circuit to closed circuit grinding in proportion to

the maximum reduction in energy consumption calculated for ideal separation.

____________________________________________________________________________

2

The basis for the following calculations is that the reduction in sieve residue by grinding can be

considered a first order process. Laboratory tests, as well as experience from mill installations,

indicate that this assumption is a good approximation for grinding taking place in ball mills and

tube mills.

If the open circuit grinding in a tube mill is considered as a first order process, the energy

consumption by grinding one ton of feed material with sieve residue R

o

to a final product with

sieve residue R

f

can be calculated as follows:

E W

R

R

s

o

f

· ⋅ log

(2)

The energy consumption for closed circuit grinding can be calculated in the same way, using

the same comminution index for reduction of sieve residue. By using the indications in the flow

sheet it is possible to arrive at an equation containing, as for open circuit grinding, sieve

residues for feed and final product and as characteristics for the separator the circulation factor

and sieve residue for the coarse fraction:

____________________________________________________________________________

3

Mill

Mill Sep

E C W

R

R

c

t

M

· ⋅ ⋅ log

(3)

Since and we have: R

R R C

C

R

R R C

C

t

o g

M

f g

·

+ −

·

+ − ( ) ( ) 1 1

E C W

R C R

R C R

c

o g

f g

· ⋅ ⋅

+ − ⋅

+ − ⋅

¸

¸

_

,

log

( )

( )

1

1

(4)

Closed circuit grinding with ideal separation is now defined as a condition where the coarse

fraction from the separator does not contain any particles which can pass the sieve used for

determination of fineness. The energy consumption for closed circuit grinding with ideal

separation can therefore be calculated by using the above equation for closed circuit grinding

with the only difference that the coarse fraction has a sieve residue of 100 % or fraction 1 (Rg

= 1).

E C W

R

R

ci

t

M

· ⋅ ⋅ log

(5)

E C W

R C

R C

ci

o

f

· ⋅ ⋅

+ −

+ −

¸

¸

_

,

log

1

1

(6)

____________________________________________________________________________

4

Mill Sep

Energy Saving and Separator Efficiency in Closed Circuit Grinding

The relative energy reduction which can be obtained by changing from open circuit to closed

circuit grinding can now be calculated as:

B

E E

E

s c

s

·

−

(7)

The maximum relative energy reduction can be calculated in the same way when, instead of

energy consumption in closed circuit grinding, we look at energy consumption in closed circuit

grinding with ideal separation:

B

E E

E

s ci

s

max

·

−

(8)

Now the separator efficiency for reduction of energy consumption by closed circuit grinding

can be calculated according to our definition as the energy reduction in proportion to the

maximum energy reduction:

V

B

B

E E

E E

s

s c

s ci

· ·

−

−

max

(9)

Enclosure 1 shows the maximum reduction in specific energy consumption for closed circuit

grinding compared with open circuit grinding in relation to the circulation factor. Curves have

been drawn for different sieve residues of the final product.

With increasing circulation factors, the maximum energy reduction starts to increase rapidly,

however, circulation factors larger than approx. 3 do not give any significant further increase.

If, for instance, we consider the grinding of raw meal to 1 % residue on a 200 micron sieve (70

mesh), then the curve for R

f

= 1 % indicates that closed circuit grinding compared with open

circuit grinding involves the possibility of a maximum energy reduction of 75 %.

In case of grinding cement to 30 % residue on say a 30 micron sieve the maximum energy

reduction is only 35 %.

____________________________________________________________________________

5

Enclosure 2 shows the separator efficiency for energy reduction in relation to the sieve residue

for coarse material from the separator with curves for different fineness of the final product.

The curves have been calculated for a feed material with 100 % residue on the sieve being

considered and for a circulation factor of 2.5.

It can be seen that the separator efficiency decreases when the coarse fraction becomes finer. If

the coarse fraction is very fine, the possibility exists that we get a negative separator efficiency,

which means that the specific energy consumption for closed circuit grinding is larger than for

open circuit grinding.

By using this concept it is possible to calculate energy consumptions for closed circuit grinding

from energy consumption for open circuit grinding if we know what energy reduction the

separator can bring about. This energy reduction is equal to the maximum energy reduction

multiplied by the separator efficiency. If we also include the equation for open circuit grinding

we get a suitable formula for calculation of the specific energy consumption of closed circuit

grinding:

E E B

c s

· ⋅ − ( ) 1

(10)

V

B

B

B B V

s s

· ⇔ · ⋅

max

max

(11)

By combining eq. (2) with (10) and (11) we find:

E W

R

R

B V

c

o

f

s

· ⋅

¸

¸

_

,

⋅ − ⋅ log ( )

max

1

(12)

This formula is based on the assumption that the reduction of sieve residue is a first order

process as stated in (1).

Examples of Energy Saving in Closed Circuit Grinding

The influence of the separator on energy consumption for grinding to a certain fineness can be

illustrated by examples. The following is an example of grinding to different sieve residues on a

30 micron sieve. For ordinary cement clinker, the comminution index, W, for reduction of the

30 micron sieve residue is of the order of 75 kWh/t.

____________________________________________________________________________

6

Enclosure 3 shows the percentage finer than 30 micron in relation to the specific energy

consumption. The calculations have been made for a circulation factor of 3 and for different

values of separator efficiency. Separator efficiency equal to zero corresponds to open circuit

grinding.

The curves indicate that the specific energy consumption when grinding to a certain percentage

finer than 30 micron can be considerably reduced, when the separator efficiency is increased.

If, for instance, we consider grinding to 20 % residue and a 30 micron sieve, then the specific

energy consumption for closed circuit grinding compared with open circuit grinding can be

reduced from 52.5 kWh/t to 47 kWh/t or by 11 % if the separator efficiency (V

s

) is 25 %.

For higher separator efficiencies and lower sieve residues the reduction in energy consumption

is higher:

Separator Efficiency % Reduction in Energy Consumption

20% Sieve Residue 10% Sieve Residue

25% 11 13

50% 20 28

75% 31 41

100% 41 54

SEPARATORS

Types of Separators

The dynamic air separator or classifier was invented around one hundred years ago. The

Circulating Air Separator, developed in 1889 by Gebr. Pfeiffer is still widely used as separator

for closed circuit grinding. The original principle has been adopted by a large number of

manufacturers. This type of separator is also called Conventional Air Separator. It is

characteristic that the air separator, the fan for circulating air, and the cyclone for separation of

fines from the air are combined in a single machine. The name Sturtevant Type Separator is

often being used because Sturtevant is one of the most well known suppliers of this type of

separator (Enclosure 4).

____________________________________________________________________________

7

A lot of separators of this type are still in operation. However, the efficiency as well as the

capacity of this Conventional Air Separator is low compared with later generations of

separators, and it is therefore actually not sold any more.

The second generation of separators with improved efficiency is the so called Cyclone Type

Separator. Here we have an external air circuit from fan through separator and cyclones back

to fan. It is then possible to control and maintain a proper air flow through the separator, and

the cyclone can be designed with a better efficiency than is the case for the Conventional Air

Separator. This separator was introduced by Wedag and is often called the Wedag Type

Separator (Enclosure 5).

The third generation of so called high efficient separators was introduced to the market during

the eighties. Here Onoda was the pioneer with the O-Sepa separator. However, many other

separator manufacturers have developed "High Efficient" air separators, and there are now a

number of very efficient separators in the market.

An example of a third generation separator is the SEPAX separator shown in Enclosure 6.

Evaluation of Separator Performance

The procedure for calculation of separator efficiency with regard to energy saving, as

developed by FLS, has been described previously. However, there are a number of other ways

to evaluate the performance of a separator. Some of the most common ones will be described

in the following.

Recovery of fines:

In the air separator, fine particles are separated from coarser particles. The separator has a high

efficiency if the fine fraction has a low content of over-size particles and the coarse fraction a

low content of under-size particles.

It is therefore common to calculate the separator efficiency as recovery from feed material into

the fine fraction of particles smaller than a certain size. The recovery of fines (R.F.) can be

calculated from sieve residues on a certain sieve for the different material streams in the circuit:

____________________________________________________________________________

8

R F

R

R C

R

R

R R

R R

f

m

f

m

g m

g f

. . ·

−

−

⋅ ·

−

−

⋅

−

−

⋅

100

100

100

100

100

100%

(13)

where

R

f

: % sieve residue for fines

R

g

: % sieve residue for separator reject material

R

m

: % sieve residue for mill discharge material (separator feed)

C : Circulation number

The relation between the separator efficiency for energy reduction, V

s

, and the efficiency for

recovery of fines, R.F., is shown in Enclosure 7.

It appears, that the relation is very much dependent on the circulation number. This means

further that the recovery of fines figure for a certain separator does not tell anything about the

influence of the separator on the mill performance unless the circulation number is considered

as well. For example, if the circulation number is very low, around 1.5, a separation with a

recovery of fines of 70 - 75 % will have no positive influence on the specific energy

consumption for the grinding.

Trump Curves or Fractional Recovery:

It is generally realized, that the Recovery of Fines is not a good method for evaluation of

separators. A method which is being used more and more is to calculate the Fractional

Recoveries (F.R.) and to present the results as a so called Tromp curve.

The Tromp curve shows what fraction of particles of different sizes in the feed material is

going into the coarse fraction (the separator reject).

The calculation is based on a number of sieve residues on sieves corresponding to different

particle sizes, d

1

, d

2

,........d

n

. The Fractional Recovery of particles of size d

12

= ½ (d

1

+ d

2

) is

calculated as follows:

F R d

R R C

R R C

g g

m m

. . ( )

( ) ( )

( )

12

1 2

1 2

1

·

− ⋅ −

− ⋅

(14)

____________________________________________________________________________

9

Enclosure 8 shows an example of a Tromp curve. The particle size can be read (normally in

micron) from the abscissa, and the ordinate gives the percentage by weight of particles of the

size indicated by the abscissa going into the coarse fraction. From the Tromp curve different

characteristics for the separation can be found:

The cut size (x50) is defined as the size of particles distributing with equal quantities in the fine

fraction and in the coarse fraction.

The Sharpness Factor (κ) is a measure for the steepness of the Tromp curve and is calculated

as the size of particles of which 25 % pass into the tailings divided by the size of which 75 %

pass into the tailings:

κ = (D25)/(D75) (15)

A Tromp curve will usually show a minimum. The minimum value (δ) is often called by-pass or

Short Circuit. It indicates that a certain amount of small particles end up in the coarse fraction.

Reasons could be poor dispersion, partly due to presence of agglomerates caused by very fine

particles in the separator feed material, or large quantities of fines circulating with the air. For

good separator efficiency the amount of by-pass should be low.

Although the Tromp curve gives useful information on the separation taking place there is no

fixed relation between the shape of the Tromp curve or the three characteristics and the saving

in grinding energy consumption caused by the separator. As for recovery of fines, the Tromp

curve (Fractional Recovery) is much influenced by the circulation. For instance, the by-pass (δ)

is an increasing function of the circulation number.

When the performance of two different separators is to be compared they are to be evaluated

individually. However, in order to make a fair comparison, the evaluation should be made on

equal basis. It is therefore important to keep in mind that the calculated separator efficiencies

and Tromp curves are dependent on a number of factors, such as:

Quantity and type of grinding aid.

Quantity of material and air through the separator and the ratio between these.

Cement type and fineness.

Circulation factor.

Quality of the material sampling.

Method of the particle size analysis.

____________________________________________________________________________

10

MILL CALCULATIONS

None of the previously mentioned comminution theories make it possible to calculate the

proper mill size for a certain grinding job from physical constants for the material to be ground.

The normal procedure for mill calculations is to carry out a laboratory grinding test and to

perform a mill calculation by using empirical formulas based on experience from operating

mills. The better the laboratory grinding test simulates the grinding in practice and the more we

know about influence from mill dimensions and separator efficiency, the more accurate the mill

calculation can be.

Over the years a number of test procedures have been used to determine the grindability of

different materials. Some of these will be described in the following:

Bond's theory of comminution has been widely used for mill calculations and is still used. The

basis of the calculations is the work index W

i

which represents the work required to reduce the

materials from infinite size to 80 % finer than 100 micron. W

i

is calculated as net kWh per

short ton.

The work index is determined by a standardized wet laboratory grinding test in a ball mill with

1 ft diameter and 1 ft length. The specific energy consumption by closed circuit grinding in

practice is calculated from:

E W

X X

kWh

sh ton

i

p f

· ⋅

¸

¸

−

_

,

¸

1

]

1

100 100

.

(16)

where

X

p

: Aperture in microns of sieve giving 20 % residue for final product.

X

f

: Aperture in microns of sieve giving 20 % residue for feed material.

In the case of open circuit grinding, the energy consumption is increased by a factor of 1.33. In

the same way a factor of 1.33 should be used in the case of dry grinding instead of wet

grinding.

____________________________________________________________________________

11

For wet closed circuit grinding the method may be practicable, but rather inaccurate. For open

circuit grinding, and especially for dry grinding, the method can hardly be used with any

reasonable accuracy.

The Hardgrove Index for grinding is determined by a laboratory grinding test where 50 g of

material between 590 and 1190 micron is being ground 60 revolutions in a small bearing mill.

The product is then sieved on a 200 mesh (74 micron) sieve. The Hardgrove Index is then

determined from a calibration curve which, for instance will give:

H = 11 + 6.7 ⋅ W (17)

where

W is grams passing 200 mesh.

The Hardgrove Index is used especially for calculation of coal mills. An approximative relation

between the Hardgrove Index and the specific energy consumption for coal grinding in a

vertical roller mill appears on Enclosure 9.

The Zeisel grindability method is similar to the Hardgrove test, but adopted for harder

materials. In the laboratory test the specific energy input is measured in relation to the specific

surface.

FLS Mill Calculations

Ball mills:

For many years the FLS mill calculations for ball mills have been based on laboratory grinding

tests in 0.5 × 0.5 m mills. The idea being to simulate the grinding in practice in the best possible

way.

The sample to be ground is usually precrushed to a maximum size of 16 mm, and the grinding

starts with 40 - 90 mm balls, corresponding to the first compartment in a three compartment

ball mill.

After each period of grinding, the fineness is determined by sieve analysis, and, in case of

cement grinding, also by determination of the specific surface (Blaine).

____________________________________________________________________________

12

The mill calculations are based on accurate measurements of the energy consumption in the

laboratory grinding test.

A mill calculation for a cement mill is still usually based on a required specific surface (Blaine)

for the final product.

The grinding test is then carried out as open circuit batch grinding.

The grinding process in an open circuit ball mill can be described as:

E W s S

o

n

· ⋅ ( ) (18)

where

E

o

: Open circuit specific power consumption

W(s) : Open circuit grinding constant

S : Specific surface (km

2

/t)

n : Open circuit surface exponent

The grinding constant used in open circuit in practice is determined by the laboratory grinding

test simply as follows:

W(s) = k⋅ W(s)

lab (19)

where

k is an empirical constant.

The specific energy consumption for the mill operating in open circuit to a certain Blaine

surface can be calculated using the formula given above.

For closed circuit, the calculation becomes somewhat more complicated. However, a grinding

constant is determined as explained above, and the specific energy consumption for the mill

operating in closed circuit can in principle be calculated according to a formula as the

following:

E W s f S C S

c

n

o

· ⋅ ( ) ( , , , Type of separator) (20)

____________________________________________________________________________

13

f is an empirical function of the specific surface of the final product, the circulation number, the

specific surface of the new feed (S

o

), and the type of separator (or rather the expected

efficiency of the separator).

In conventional closed circuit grinding the specific surface of the new feed may be insignificant.

However this may not be the case for a closed circuit mill with a roll press as a pregrinder.

Further, if a roll press is included as a pregrinder, the grinding constant determined by the

laboratory grinding test has to be reduced by an empirical roll press improvement factor.

A mill for grinding of cement raw materials is usually sized for grinding to a certain sieve

residue.

For this purpose the laboratory grinding test is carried out as closed circuit grinding in

stages.

After grinding with one or two different ball mixtures the material is separated, usually by

screening, and the oversize material together with new feed material is used for the next stage

of grinding. This procedure is continued until an equilibrium is obtained.

When calculating a mill for continuous grinding, distribution on retention time and on grinding

over the cross section of the mill, as well as the separator efficiency and the circulation factor

have to be taken into account.

This method of mill calculation is probably one of the most elaborate in the world, and suitable

for calculation of ball mills for any grinding job.

Vertical Roller Mills:

For calculation of vertical roller mills, continuous grinding tests are carried out in the

laboratory using a small vertical roller mill. The laboratory test is carried out in exactly the

same way as plant operation, except for the mill being smaller.

As a result of the grinding test in the laboratory, figures are obtained for the specific energy

consumption, the wear rate, and the friction factor for rolling friction, the so called µ-factor.

____________________________________________________________________________

14

The required power consumption for a mill for a certain job is calculated as follows:

N(kW) = P(t/h) ⋅ E(kWh/t) (21)

The proper mill size is then obviously one which satisfies the following:

N(kW) ≤ K⋅ µ⋅ v (22)

where

K : The total grinding force (kN)

µ : The friction factor for rolling friction.

V : The speed of the grinding track. (m/s)

In case of extending the capacity of an existing plant, the best basis for calculation of new mills

will be exact performance figures from existing mills.

In any case, in order to keep the investment cost for new equipment as low as possible it is

important not to offer larger and more expensive mills than necessary for the grinding job in

question. It is therefore very important to use accurate methods for mill calculations.

____________________________________________________________________________

15

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