Kingfisher Industrial, headquartered in the West Midlands in the UK, claims to be one of the world’s leading specialists in plant protection systems, providing wear-resistant lining solutions for bulk materials-handling applications around the globe.

From coal and aggregate handling systems, to metal and mixed material recycling machinery, including wood, Kingfisher says it has the knowledge and expertise to take care of all wear protection requirements.

Working closely with preferred material partners, Kingfisher says it offers an unbiased approach to solving the problems experienced when handling bulk solid materials.

"Despite manufacturers’ many claims to offer the ultimate material in the ‘fight against wear’, success levels vary from extremely good to extremely poor," says the company. "Sometimes, the wear-resistant properties of one material type may be in excess of requirements and conversely, those same properties may under-perform in a different application, putting the material’s suitability in either case under question."

For wear protection, three familiar material groups: ceramic, metallic and polymer are commonly marketed with all economically-produced materials belonging to one group or another and all playing a part in protecting plant and equipment from plant degradation, points out Kingfisher.

The company offers all three material groups but says it carefully tailors its solution to each specific problem. In undertaking a full in-depth analysis of the plant’s operational criteria, it says it will identify a system that is fit-for-purpose to meet the many requirements of the end user.

"Whether these are driven by budget, operation, safety or other plant criteria, such individual requirements justify our unique approach to solving their inherent problems," says Kingfisher.

The company says it can engineer, design, manufacture and install process plant and equipment that is used to convey, store or handle virtually any bulk materials. Whether it is manufacturing or repairing a coal chute, hopper, cyclone, or pipework transporting powdered or pulverised coal, glass, ash, wood, cement or indeed any other bulk solid material, in dry or wet state, Kingfisher says it aims to provide the ideal material and method of protecting surfaces to prevent or reduce wear, impact and erosion damage.

Such plant often suffers premature wear due to handling large quantities of materials at velocity in a constant operational cycle.

To address this kind of problem, the company offers its range of ceramic, metallic and polymer protection systems, which are designed to overcome these wear problems. The company engineers suitable protection systems which it says can add many years to the life of a plant and, in some cases, even outlast the design life of a process completely.

These solutions, says Kingfisher, cater for the operating criteria, budget and life cycle of either new equipment – particularly when initially installed – or existing equipment, which can be retro-fitted with a protection system to add to its current asset value.

Kingfisher became involved with one company in the wood industry when a German oem manufacturer of drying cyclones realised that those cyclones were suffering from poor wear performance due to a combination of attack by traditional construction materials and by the harsh, abrasive nature of the new recycled material that was being processed.

The company found that, in some cases, wear life of only one year was achieved.

However, a new design of cyclone, incorporating Kingfisher’s ceramic K-ALOX lining material has, says Kingfisher, proved to be an excellent solution, being guaranteed to last five to seven years and going on to achieve double that life in many applications.

Kingfisher was originally contacted by the German oem following its visit to another company in the wood processing industry which had achieved successful long-term protection against wear on its drying cyclones by using Kingfisher’s innovative wear protection technology.

The oem had previously manufactured cyclones using a standard grade of steel as the main component; however, this material wore out consistently after just 12 months’ service. The company then tried using abrasion resistant steel, which was better, but still only achieved double the life (two years) before it, too, was worn out. Finally, chromium carbide deposit wear plate was tried, but it was found that even this wore out after five years of service.

The reason for the high levels of wear in all cases reflects the amount of highly contaminated product that wood processors are coping with these days, as virgin timber and higher-specification recycled wood is increasingly redirected to power generators, allegedly in a move to drive down CO2 emissions.

"With the current trend towards the use of biomass as a substitute for fossil fuels in the power generation sector, the wood processing industry has come under extensive pressure to use a greater percentage of recycled product," said Kingfisher managing director, John Connolly. "Blending this material with traditional fresh wood now accounts for the vast majority of finished goods produced.

"However, the influx of recycled product, which is often contaminated with abrasive foreign matter, means that wear protection has become a major issue within the wood processing industry. It adds to the degradation of plant, due to the contamination of lumber from felling and subsequent handling."

In the case of that German oem, the poorer quality of recycled wood being fed into its plant meant that the material was heavily contaminated with glass, ferrous, non-ferrous and silica particles, which obviously increased the wear rate throughout the process.

Despite using screening and classification technology to remove the mineral impurities, a percentage still managed to pass through the cleaning system and enter the process flow.

Magnetic and eddy current separators were also introduced to remove the ferrous and non-ferrous contamination but, again, only partial success was achieved, resulting in the remaining contamination again entering the process flow.

Due to the increased levels of contamination, and abrasion issues for wood processors, the German company required a solution that could be relied upon to last longer than the maximum so far achieved with conventional metallic systems.

"The chromium carbide deposit plate lining was delivering five years of wear, but more was required," said John Connolly. "In addition, the carbide plate greatly increased the weight, and the cost, of the cyclones. With our K-ALOX ceramic solution we were able to overcome both these problems, by installing wear protection where it was most needed.

"The main wear areas of the cyclones were lined with our 6mm-thick K-ALOX 92P ceramic liners. These were attached using a high-strength polymer adhesive system. Having provided this type of system for other users within the board processing industries, it is envisaged that the system will last in excess of 12 years: nearly two-and half times that of the previous OEM system."