Maintaining Your Rotary Kiln Drum While Creating Roofing Granules (Part 1)

With housing construction continuing unabated, as well as people starting to do more home repairs that they put off during the COVID-19 crisis, demand for roofing granules is high.  As one of the main components in all standard asphalt roofing shingles, construction supply companies need all the granules they can get, making them a highly lucrative product for manufacturers running industrial rotary kilns.

Unfortunately, no matter how well the original rotary kiln manufacturers made your kiln, roofing granules can quickly damage the interior of the drum.  By their nature, as a collection of tiny rock fragments, they’re extremely abrasive and will wear down the drum lining more quickly than many other materials you might fire in the kiln.

Proper preventative maintenance and an awareness of potential problems will be critical if your company is creating roofing granules.  So, in the next two articles, we’ll be talking about how to maintain your rotary kiln when making granules.

The Importance Of Maintenance When Creating Roofing Granules

Roofing granules are created almost entirely within a kiln, starting from the pre-heating through the curing process.  If any element of your kiln breaks down, it stops the entire production process – and that’s a problem if you have asphalt tile manufacturers waiting for delivery.

The issue is that most standard rotary kilns lack proper protection against the level of abrasion caused by roofing granules.  Heavy-duty kiln drum linings do exist, but many facilities switching over to roofing granule manufacturing lack these upgrades.  Plus, the older the kiln is, the more susceptible it will be to damage in general.

Equipment upgrades can mitigate the problem, but that isn’t an option for many factories.  So, instead, inspection and maintenance are key to keeping everything running.

You should employ regular inspections throughout your facility, on at least a weekly basis, to ensure everything is still functioning properly when creating roofing granules.  Some of the most important elements to check include:

  • Thrust rollers and assemblies
  • Motorized belts
  • Lubrication on the gears, chains, and other areas
  • Condition of the roller bearings
  • Reducers and couplings
  • Contact points, such as between rollers and tires, or tires and trunnions
  • Any signs of warping, which could indicate drum lining problems

Essential Maintenance and Rotary Kiln Services for Roofing Granule Production

Refractory Resilience

The drum’s interior lining, called the refractory, takes a beating from the hot, abrasive granules. Regular inspections are crucial. Look for cracks, spalling (flaking), and worn-out sections. Don’t wait for a complete breakdown – replace damaged refractory promptly to avoid costly production downtime and rotary kiln services.

Shell Alignment

Over time, the kiln shell, the metal casing around the drum, can shift due to wear or thermal expansion. Misalignment can cause uneven wear on the refractory and other components, leading to bigger problems. Schedule periodic realignment checks and adjustments to keep everything running in perfect harmony.

Bearing Balance

The kiln’s rotation relies on smooth-running bearings. Lubricate them regularly with the right type of oil or grease, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Monitor for excessive noise or vibration, which could indicate bearing wear or misalignment. Prompt action can prevent costly bearing failure and extended downtime.

Tire & Trunnion

The tires and trunnions support the rotating drum. Inspect them for cracks, wear, and loose bolts. Replace worn parts before they cause major damage. Regular lubrication minimizes friction and extends the life of these critical components.

Early Intervention

The best rule of kiln maintenance and rotary kiln services is prevention. Don’t wait for breakdowns – schedule regular inspections for all drum components. Early detection of wear and tear allows for timely repairs, preventing costly breakdowns and ensuring your kiln keeps producing valuable roofing granules.

We also strongly recommend an annual inspection from the original rotary kiln manufacturers or a qualified kiln repair company.  Experts can dig into every aspect of your kiln and ensure it’s in top condition, even if it’s doing a punishing job.

If you ever need repairs, maintenance, inspections, or consulting on your rotary kiln, Kiln Technology Company Company is here to serve!  In the next article, we’ll break down more specific ways to protect your kiln from damage when creating roofing granules.  Until then, if you need assistance, please contact us!