Hosokawa engineers and manufactures ball milling systems to efficiently pulverize ceramic materials used in proppants. The Alpine Super Orion Ball Mill SO, in conjunction with Alpine High Efficiency Air Classifier, is designed to continuously grind hard materials down to D90 = 10 µm at rates up to 100 tons/hour.
In many modern oil and gas fracking, drill operators use proppants and fracking fluids to recover the highest volumes of fuel from well sites. The proppants or fracking fluids are injected into the wells below the surface under high pressure to open new veins and support the cavity created in the fracking process.
To maintain stability and maximize recovery, the proppant materials need to be nearly spherical and have high tensile strength. Due to the large quantities of proppants needed in these wells, the material cost and quality is tightly monitored and controlled.
Proppant material consists of tiny round pellets ranging from 500 µm to 3 mm in diameter. These pellets can be constructed with a variety of ultra fine raw and blended materials including sand, glass and ceramic depending on the well characteristics. Ceramic proppants are particularly popular due to their low material cost, high strength and roundness.
To produce these high quality ceramics proppants, producers prefer ultra fine ceramic powders with tight particle size distribution. The fineness of the powders increases the density and roundness possible when forming the pellets. Hosokawa’s ball milling system is specifically designed to produce this ultra fine ceramic powder with a high degree of accuracy and low energy costs.