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It’s winter time, and rock salt, or what many identify as “road salt,” is a critical part of everyday life to help minimize ice and snow on sidewalks and roads. The rock salt’s chemical reaction with ice and snow causes a lower freezing point and allows it to be cleared with greater ease. Coming from the Midwest, I can say this product is a life saver.
Some of the most prominent producers of rock salt include Morton Salt/K+S, Cargill, United Salt, Lyons Salt, Independent Salt, Hutch Salt, American Rock Salt, Detroit Salt, Redmond Salt, Gunther Salt, and Compass Minerals. All of these major producers need to ensure that the rock salt they produce is around 3/8” (10mm) in size. The ability to ensure precise sizing, with minimal impurities, is necessary in order for the product to be spread evenly over surfaces and achieve maximum effectiveness.
Removing impurities from rock salt and getting it to the proper size do have some challenges. For one thing, rock salt is relatively friable. Also, manufacturers have to account for what is called “parting,” the area where shale and salt are formed together. The shale can be especially challenging to size due to the hardness of the materials. Because of this hardness, fines can often be produced, creating particles that are smaller than those desired for the end-product. The definition of what is considered “fines” is ultimately determined by the customer.
In most instances, companies producing and/or refining salt are looking to reduce or even remove fines in some way during the crushing of the raw material. The key to diminishing fines lies in proper feeding of that material into the crushing machinery, which is typically a roll crusher. Rules of thumb include:
Rather than trying to forcefit a limited amount of feeding options into diverse rock salt processing solutions, TerraSource has learned from our decades of experience that several feeding options need to be made available in order for customers to decide on what works best for their specific application. As such, we’ve worked alongside our salt production partners on developing the following types of feeder options that are ideal for handling rock salt:
In my over 40 years in the business, here are the most common questions I get regarding reducing fines and proper processing of rock salt.
The key to proper material flow is feeding the material into a roll crusher’s roll gap. Ensuring that material is spread evenly across the full roll length helps ensure more uniform crushing action, produce a more consistent product and reduce uneven wear of the rolls.
Inconsistent material feeding or improper installation of a feeder means the crusher rolls will not wear evenly. The negative repercussions of an improperly installed feeder are broad, including increased maintenance costs, reduced wear-life, and more downtime for customer operations.
Even if you have the right feeder for your application – and it is properly installed – you obviously need to have the right companion crusher to support a seamless operation, reduce fines and ensure your intended processing outcomes. TerraSource Global has hundreds of crushers in operation around the world that are handling heavy volumes of friable materials. Although a diverse portfolio of high-performance crushing options exist across the TerraSource Global flagship, perhaps the most popular is the Gundlach multi-roll crusher. These crushers are available in a vast number of customized configurations to give our customers real choice for meeting their precise application needs and end-product specifications.
One-, two-, or four- roll Gundlach crushers are available, depending on the application. The Gundlach 3-D crushing technology produces the best dimensional product control on the market, with fewer fines and better elimination of oversize material. These crushers utilize application-specific roll geometry and tooth configurations to be able to produce maximum yield. This crusher is one of the only solutions in the industry that offers coupling mounted rolls, which facilitate safer and quicker maintenance without having to disturb bearings, drive components or overhead chute work.
Overall, TerraSource’s application experts know the crushing and feeding solutions to get maximum rock salt product yield with the least amount of maintenance. If you are looking to have a consultation on what our team can do to help improve the operational efficiency at your rock salt or other industrial minerals facility, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Phil Schaefer, Regional Sales Manager