That’s how long it’s been since Tom Sorensen, maintenance manager at Carbo Ceramics’ Eufaula, Ala. facility, has had to replace even a single elbow in his pneumatic conveying lines since making the switch to the Smart Elbow® deflection elbow by Hammertek.
Carbo Ceramics manufacturers ceramic beads for use as proppants in oil and gas exploration and drilling. Global producers Halliburton and Schlumberger pump these ceramic beads into open well bores to keep newly induced fractures open for more efficient flow of oil and natural gas to the surface.
In 1999 and 2000, the company was either repairing or replacing worn elbows at an alarmingly high frequency — every seven to 14 days. The elbows just couldn’t keep up with the manufacturing realties of transporting the highly abrasive calcined kaolin to a total of ten storage storage silos.
The maintenance team was constantly deployed to patch or replace the failing elbows. Patching only extended their life by a few days, and replacement required a two- to three- person crew and mechanical lifts. Maintenance and material costs were climbing. Spillage of the calcined kaolin meant lost production time and hours of cleanup.
Sorensen knew they had to make a change or resign themselves to the endless and costly repair cycle.
He chanced upon an advertisement for the Smart Elbow deflection elbow in a trade publication and was impressed by Hammertek’s track record of success with highly-abrasive materials across multiple industries.
HammerTek’s Application Manager Linn Riggert carefully studied Carbo Ceramics’ materials and processes to specify the ideal model for the company’s demanding manufacturing conditions — 300BHN hardness with an interior coating of tungsten carbide for a surface hardness of RC 69 – 70. Riggert also considered the air velocity of the conveying line, the rate of material loading in the line and the hardness of calcined kaolin when making his recommendations.
Since the initial installation in 2000, a single elbow has been patched and none have required replacement, and for Sorensen, “you can’t place a high enough value on the peace of mind.”
To find out how HammerTek Smart Elbow deflection elbows can save your company expensive repairs and downtime while increasing efficiency and productivity, visit us at HammerTek.com. Read the complete case study here.