Vortex Designs Solutions for Abrasive Applications

By Kevin R Peterson

What is a Titan? Some would answer it is Saturn’s largest moon. Some would say it is one of the pre-Olympian gods in Greek mythology. The younger generation might answer that it is a truck model or a professional football team from Tennessee. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Titan as something that is gigantic in size or power, similar to rocks in the aggregate industry.

Dealing with Titan-sized rocks require Titan-sized equipment to process them. Vortex Global, a dry bulk component manufacturer, engineers slide gates, diverter valves, and telescoping loading spouts for heavy-duty material handling applications. These applications include materials that create excessive abrasion or wear on the equipment, and situations that call for extremely large sized valves, and/or environments that are extremely harsh. Over time, Vortex has worked with several clients assisting them with Titan equipment to address their abrasive duty applications.

Titan Slide Gate
Vortex has always welcomed the opportunity to work with customers on special projects. Early on, one customer called regarding an application that required a dry ingredient batching system. The system incorporated 12, 7-in. square slide gates that would meter various materials into different batch recipes of 8,500 to 10,000 lb. The material to be handled included numerous metallurgical “ingredients” weighing between 40 and 300 lb./cu. ft. Sealing the different materials and the resulting abrasion from the materials handled would have to be addressed.

Vortex engineers designed a gate that incorporated features of the Vortex Slide Gate and Aggregate Gate, including an abrasive-resistant steel blade, abrasive-resistant inlet liners, and bonnet seals that are replaceable without having to remove the gate from service. The resulting successful product was the Titan Slide Gate.

Titan Lined Diverter
Upon hearing that Vortex was now addressing applications handling materials that created excessive wear, a Vortex representative presented an application for a rather large valve to divert coal.

A coal-fired energy plant was considering an expansion that included replacing a problematic, 7-ft. tall diverter handling 8-in. minus lignite coal. The diverter contained abrasion resistant polymer liners that had to be replaced every 18 months. Replacement required that the convey line be shut down, the diverter detached from the conveying line, and a crane brought in to move the diverter to a position where the liner replacement could be performed. Additionally, the leading edge of the diverter’s blade had to be rebuilt as it was always in the material flow stream and prone to abrasion.

Vortex designed a Titan Diverter that incorporated features of their smaller Seal Tite Diverter. The Titan Diverter contained access panels that allowed personnel to inspect or perform internal maintenance, without having to remove the diverter from place. Additionally, the diverter design hides and protects the leading edge of the blade.

When it came time to replace polymer liners the diverter remained in place and renting a crane was unnecessary. There was minimal repair required to the blade’s leading edge. The customer informed Vortex that after the second liner replacement, which occurred three years after the diverter was installed, the diverter had essentially paid for by maintenance cost savings.

Depending on the material handled, Titan Lined Diverters can be manufactured with a variety of internal liners to prolong service life (e.g. polymer, ceramic, abrasive-resistant steel).

Titan Pivoting Chute Diverter
As Vortex worked with more and more mining and minerals applications, they soon realized that a flapper-style diverter valve was not always the correct choice for abrasive, heavy-duty applications. Excessive wear to the blade seal and the fact that it was not recommended to shift this style of diverter on-the-fly (change the blade position while material was flowing through the diverter) created maintenance and processing issues.

To solve this problem, Vortex engineered and added the Titan Pivoting Chute Diverter to their product line. Material is diverted by means of an internal chute that pivots between desired placement destinations. All “wetted parts” (internal areas exposed to material wear) are lined or constructed of abrasion-resistant material.

The Pivoting Chute Diverter has no polymer seals to replace and it can be shifted on-the fly without any problem. It offers the same inline inspection and maintenance features as the Titan Lined Diverter.

Customers that have had difficulty handling material such as alumina, bauxite, cement, clinker, coal, fly ash, glass cullet, gravel, limestone, metal powders, potash, rock, and sand (to name a few) have appreciated the service life offered by the Titan Pivoting Chute.

Titan Engineered Gates
The Vortex Titan Line easily lends itself to applications where custom gates and diverters are requested by customers in the minerals handling industry. One such application involved replacement of a problematic gate with a 35- x 265-in. opening that handled gold ore.

Vortex manufactured a replacement gate that contained five individual, hydraulically actuated gates with 35- x 46-in. openings. The finished product weighed 18,500 lb. and was shipped in two sections.

Titan Engineered Pivoting Chute Diverter
Another interesting application involved a diverter that was designed for a cement producer to handle clinker.

This 8-ft. tall Titan Pivoting Chute Diverter contains an internal chute made of ¾-in. thick abrasion-resistant steel and outlet legs that feature ½-in. thick, replaceable abrasion-resistant liners (both 400 BHN). This Titan weighed in at 11,000 lb.

A nearby cement facility was so impressed with design and features of this diverter that they ordered one that was similar in size.

Titan Engineered Gravity Vee Diverter
The Vortex Gravity Vee Diverter offers multiple material handling options. Two independently actuated gates allow material to be shut off at the diverter, conveyed to destination A, conveyed to destination B, conveyed to destinations A and B at the same time, or metered to either or both destinations.

This application was for a 36-in. hydraulically actuated diverter handling urea prills. The diverter features 304 stainless steel “wetted” parts and exterior inspection doors. The outlet flanges matched a customer-specified bolt hole pattern. The diverter weighed 3,500 lb.

Titan Dependability
Companies involved in the rock products industry confront a variety of issues when mining, conveying, screening, hauling, and processing various aggregates and minerals. Safety, environmental concerns, and overall maintenance comprise some of these issues. Knowing that companies like Vortex have developed larger sized equipment to shut off, meter or divert the flow of abrasive duty material is a key factor in addressing material handling concerns where wear to equipment is such a problem and concern.

Kevin R Peterson just retired after 25 years with Vortex Global. He has shared many articles and case studies with readers of Rock Products relating to equipment that is appropriate for use with abrasive, dry minerals material handling.

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