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Ball mills are giant drums that are filled to between 30 and 40% of their volume with freely moving grinding media - in this case balls. The diameter of the balls is between one and several centimetres to suit the application - smaller balls for fine milling results and larger ones for coarser milling tasks.

The drive sets the milling drum into slow rotation and the bed of milling media is thus activated, i.e. the balls are lifted and then impact back against the bed. Ball mills are usually operated at 75% of the critical speed. The critical speed is the speed where, mathematically calculated, the grinding media would centrifuge out. Mills of 2 m in diameter therefore rotate in operation at about 23 revolutions per minute, which corresponds to a peripheral speed of 2.4 m/s.

A mill of this size equipped with steel grinding media converts approx. 50 kW per m³ of feedstock. The feed product is fed continuously through the trunnion and is discharged through slots on the opposite side. The discharge rate can be adjusted as a function of the number of open slots. The ground product is transported - often pneumatically - and is charged to a downstream classifier. The coarse material is returned to the mill together with the feed product.

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It takes a lot of minerals, energy, and water to make glass from raw materials. Fortunately, glass can be recycled endlessly without any loss in purity or quality. With the abundance of recycled glass, the demand for finely ground glass powder is rapidly increasing in the construction industry.

Recycled glass can be turned into countertops, flooring, tile landscaping stones and bricks. For added strength and lower costs, glass powder is being used in cement as an alternative to Portland cement or fly ash. It can also be used to make light-weight aggregates/bricks with chemical resistant properties.

Glass is one of the more difficult materials to process as it has a high hardness (Mohs hardness of ~5.5 to 7) and sharp edges upon fracture. Durable, field-proven, equipment and techniques are required for successful glass grinding, especially for ultra-fine milling requirements.

For high quality, ultra-fine, glass powder production, Hosokawa Micron Powder Systems offers the Alpine Super-Orion Ball Mill in circuit with an Air Classifier. For glass applications, the ball mill will typically be constructed with hardened, high chrome, steel media and ball mill lining. A second option would be Aluminum Oxide media and lining.

The most common Hosokawa Air Classifier used for glass is the Hosokawa Alpine Stratoplex (ASP) which is used for a cut point (top size) of 20 to 200 microns.  The Hosokawa Alpine Turboplex (ATP) air classifier is used for super fine applications with a cut point (top size) of 5 to 50 microns, with single and multi-wheel options.  Both classifiers are made with Aluminum Oxide classifier wheels, with an interior Aluminum Oxide tiling. This allows for fine grinding and durability.

Hosokawa Micron Powder Systems has the experience and expertise to set up quality systems for these challenging applications. Contact us today to learn more.