Achieving peak performance with your synthetic media

By |  January 31, 2018

Photos courtesy of Polydeck Screen Corp.

Maximizing the performance and efficiency of synthetic screen media is both art and science. For optimum form and function, effective screen media design involves a number of variables.

Peak screening efficiency is the result of a carefully targeted mix of apertures and surface configurations tailored to the needs of each application. With the right screening strategies in play, producers can realize greater capacities, maximize uptime, increase product quality and lower costs per ton.

When selecting screen media, take stock of the entire screening circuit, as this evaluation will help pinpoint the best media materials for the application. Some factors to consider: Is the material wet or dry? Is blinding or pegging an issue? How does weather or climate affect processing? How abrasive is the material?
Remember that precise data yields smart screen panel selection and maximum productivity.

Photo courtesy of Polydeck Screen Corp.

Regularly scheduled inspections of screen media are vital to keep screen maintenance emergencies to a minimum.

Next, consider that polyurethane and rubber have significant differences. Polyurethane has higher abrasion and sliding resistance and is more often used in wet applications. Rubber is typically favored in dry applications, and special compounds and design options can offer excellent anti-plugging and blinding characteristics.

Both polyurethane and rubber are effective when it comes to reducing noise, and modular screen panels offer great control in meeting product specifications, as the deck surface is customized in 1-ft. increments.

Also, consider working closely with a screen media supplier that offers a variety of screen panel options, surface features and fastening configurations. And rely on the company’s expertise to specify the optimum panel types and opening sizes to meet the given gradations.

The media must be correctly matched to the vibrating screen parameters, making sure the circuit will keep pace with the crushing side. Review all potential product mixes so potential gradation inconsistencies and plant bottlenecks can be identified and adjustments made upfront.

When it comes to eliminating costly maintenance downtime and saleable product loss owing to sand and fines buildup, anti-blinding panels are highly effective. When an operation runs all week without blinding – regardless of the rain or moisture content – it doesn’t take long to get the payback from a new deck surface.

To avoid bottlenecks in the screening circuit, the open area must be correctly calculated. It’s important to calculate the total number of “usable” openings on the screen by looking at the percentage of open holes versus the area of the entire screen panel surface. Also, thinner bridges allow greater open area, which can remove further incidents of bottlenecking, resulting in a more efficient process. However, a possible downside of thinner bridges can be decreased wear life of the screen panel.

The open area of the screen deck can also be impacted by the panel support structure.

Proactive maintenance

Photo courtesy of Polydeck Screen Corp.

Issues like extreme wear patterns caused by high-pressure spray water can be identified through regularly scheduled inspections.

Keep proactive maintenance practices to ensure maximum cost efficiency, longer wear life, consistent specification accuracy and the security of a reliable screening system.

Whether using wire cloth or a synthetic option, periodic visual inspections are needed to detect any extreme or unusual wear.

It’s important to inspect synthetic screen decks periodically for unusual wear patterns, which may be caused by a change in feed rate, uneven material distribution or by high-pressure water spray, for example. Consider that if the screen media is not replaced before it’s worn entirely through, this could result in out-of-spec material or damage to the fastening system or steel support structure.

When using side-tensioned media, make sure screens are tensioned correctly. Look for loose clamp bars or blocked apertures that are plugged with material, or blinded over. Support side-tensioned synthetic screen decks with high-quality bucker bar rubber. It’s also important to tension the screen properly upon installation and to check on a regular basis for the need to re-tension it.

Photo courtesy of Polydeck Screen Corp.

Narrow attachment rails allow for more apertures on the screen panel surface, which results in greater throughput.

When replacing modular synthetic media, be sure to clean sand or fines from the frame surfaces and the fastening cavities to ensure a secure attachment to the frame. Inspect side wear liners periodically. As they typically last longer than the actual screen surface, side wear liners are often overlooked during inspections.

They should be visually checked for wear and for any loosening of the bolts or clamping hardware. If all liners are not securely tightened, screen panels can move, resulting in damage to the side wear liners, the screen panels themselves or even to the modular screen system support structure. Loose side wear liners can also allow screen panels to disengage, causing material to go out of spec.

Another key maintenance issue is the evaluation of your screen machine for unusual variations in operating parameters, such as acceleration, displacement, deflections and critical frequency. Issues like these can negatively affect screen performance, and can even result in serious damage to the support structure. It is important to work closely with your screen media manufacturer to perform a screen analysis on the machine itself in order to isolate the possible cause of poor screening performance.

Photo courtesy of Polydeck Screen Corp.

Using a modular approach to screen media allows precise aperture selection and panel positioning to maximize screening efficiency.

Quality control

Frequent quality control sampling to detect sudden or gradual spec changes is an effective method to monitor the wear life and condition of your screen media.

With modular synthetic panels, the maintenance crew should look for any wear issues before they become a contamination problem. For example, the quality control team can monitor gradation changes, which alert the crew to start gauging the screens and check for any wear.

Consider replacing affected modular synthetic media when a product gradation trends to the high or low end of the range. It simply takes a few minutes to change out any worn screen panels and resume operation.

Proactive screen media maintenance strategies lead to peak performance. By repairing or replacing worn components before they fail, operations can ensure the day-to-day reliability of valuable processing equipment while meeting or exceeding production goals.

Dennis Zeiger is the senior marketing manager for Polydeck Screen Corp., a manufacturer of synthetic screen media.

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