The Most Important Rotary Kiln Maintenance Issues to Watch For

If your operations rely on a rotary kiln, then proper maintenance of your kiln is a must.  Keeping a good supply of replacement kiln parts on hand can help, but nothing beats frequent check-ups and awareness of the overall condition of your kiln.

With decades of experience maintaining, repairing, and refurbishing kilns, we know what problems are most likely to occur – and are likely to be the most damaging.  These are the critical issues to watch out for.

Four Critical Kiln Maintenance Issues to Watch Out For

Improper lubrication

It’s only common sense that your kiln needs lubrication, and most kiln-owners are scrupulous about making sure it’s running smoothly.  However, did you know it’s also possible to over-lubricate a kiln?  Too much lubrication on the shell, guards, housings, or foundation can create a fire hazard, or damage the grout.


The most common maintenance issue we tend to see on kilns is misalignment.  This will lead immediately to unpredictable operation, as well as significantly increased wear-and-tear on the entire structure – especially the rollers, and the foundation.  You should have your kiln professionally aligned every 1-2 years for best performance.

Kiln shell dogleg

Another form of misalignment, dogleg (also called ‘banana’ or ‘crank’) happens when the kiln shell center is eccentric to the axis of rotation.  In extreme circumstances, it can end up entirely offset, like the crankshaft of a car.  This places significantly more strain on the rollers, as well as causing vibrations and – if left unfixed long enough – changes to the shell structure or shape.

Shell flex

If your kiln runs for too long with misalignments or other issues rolling smoothly, you can get shell flex – where the shell begins to take on an oval cross-section, rather than being perfectly round.  This, of course, can seriously affect the operation of the kiln, as well as disrupting the heat levels inside.  You should be regularly measuring your shell on both the horizontal and vertical axis for any signs of flex.  If the shell is becoming misshapen, it’s probably due to larger uncorrected maintenance problems.

Cracks and Wear Can Cripple Your Kiln

Imagine the walls of your furnace cracking and letting heat escape. That’s what happens when your kiln shell gets worn or damaged. This can lead to:

  • Wasted fuel: The kiln has to work harder to maintain temperature, guzzling up more fuel and driving up costs.
  • Uneven cooking: Hot spots and cool zones mean your product quality suffers.
  • Safety hazards: A cracked shell is a ticking time bomb, potentially causing catastrophic failures.

Neglecting Lubrication of Gears and Rollers

Without proper lubrication and rotary kiln repair, gears and rollers will grind and screech, causing problems like:

  • Premature wear and tear: Friction eats away at components, leading to costly replacements.
  • Excessive noise and vibration: Your kiln will sound like a grumpy dragon, and that’s not a good sign.
  • Seized-up systems: Imagine the music stopping abruptly. That’s what happens when gears lock up, bringing your entire operation to a halt.

The Refractory Lining

The refractory lining is like your kiln’s thermal insulation, protecting the shell from the scorching heat. If it gets damaged or worn, it could cause issues including:

  • Hot spots and temperature imbalances: Your product cooks unevenly, leading to inconsistent quality.
  • Fuel guzzling: The kiln has to work overtime to maintain heat, burning a hole in your budget.
  • Environmental worries: Cracks can release harmful emissions, causing pollution concerns.

Keep the Dampers Working with Rotary Kiln Repair

  • Incomplete combustion: Wasted fuel and harmful pollutants are no one’s idea of a good party.
  • Temperature swings: Your product quality goes on a rollercoaster ride, making it hard to achieve consistent results.
  • Safety first: Uncontrolled combustion can lead to explosions or fires, putting everyone at risk.

Kiln Technology Company Company Has You Covered

We are one of the nation’s few true specialists in kiln maintenance, repairs, and operation.  We keep a huge stockpile of replacement kiln parts on hand, as well as possessing the expertise to fix broken kilns.  If your kiln isn’t operating properly, contact us to start working on a solution.