Important Information for Maintaining Kiln Alignment

For your rotary kiln to continue functioning properly day after day, despite the pressure and intense heat, it needs to be correctly aligned.  Due to the size and weight of the kiln, even tiny problems with its alignment on the rollers and support structures can end up creating major performance problems.

There are relatively few companies offering replacement kiln parts or handling rotary kiln repair, so you should understand what’s involved.  Whether you do the maintenance yourself or call in professionals, here are some things to keep in mind.

The Causes of Kiln Misalignments

While there are occasional exceptions, there are usually four main issues that could cause a rotary kiln to become misaligned.  These are:

  • Component wear – 

    The currently installed components have gone too long without being replaced and have worn down to the point it affects operation.

  • Component replacement – 

    Repairing a kiln with mismatched components, or failing to align it after a repair job, will usually result in misalignment.

  • Adjustment of carrying rollers – 

    Any adjustments to the carrying rollers or supports must be tiny, and you should give them several hours for the effects to propagate.  Adjusting the rollers too often, or too roughly, will cause alignment issues.

  • Foundation settlement – 

    Is the kiln on a surface capable of supporting it firmly?  Even truly minimal shifts in its foundation will throw the balance and alignment off.

The Consequences of Kiln Misalignment

Keeping your kiln properly aligned is critical for keeping your operations running smoothly. Allowing your kiln to become misaligned can lead to:

  • Increased wear and tear.

    The worse the alignment issues are, the more strain it will put on the struts, rollers, motors, and other attached systems. This, in turn, leads to more costly maintenance and repair issues.

  • Higher energy consumption.

    The more unbalanced a kiln is, the harder the motors have to work to power it. So this directly wastes power and drives up your energy costs.

  • More frequent breakdowns.

    If a misaligned kiln leads to equipment failure, that means extremely costly shutdowns – for days, if not weeks – until the problem can be fixed, leading to a huge hit to your productivity.

  • Poor quality control.

A misaligned kiln will heat materials inside unevenly, leading to more variation in the product being created.

Finding A Trustworthy Kiln Alignment Service

The typical way of re-aligning a rotary kiln is called hot kiln alignment, and it is best done by professionals.  This should ideally be done at least every 1-2 years, to account for tiny shifts over time.  However, you should carefully vet candidates for this job.  Kiln repair and maintenance is a niche field, and you do not want to trust your rotary kiln to an unqualified shop.

Questions you ask of your would-be contractors should include:

  • How will you be taking measurements?
  • What is the accuracy of your equipment?
  • Do you also provide corrective roller adjustments?
  • What other services come with your hot kiln alignment service?

A quality contractor will be taking measurements on numerous aspects of the kiln, including a shell survey, shaft deflection, ovality, tire wobble, and the base and roller slopes.  These should be conducted with tolerances well below 1mm.

Kiln Technology Company Can Help

If you need quality kiln alignment services or replacement kiln parts for your shop, Kiln Technology Company is trusted by companies across America.  Contact us for assistance!