A ball mill is typically a grinder which is used for grinding (or mixing) materials into extremely fine particle or powder. It is used in paints, ceramics, mineral dressing processes, laser sintering, and pyrotechnics. A ball mill works on the principle of impact; where the grinding media is the balls, which may be made of steel (chrome steel), stainless steel or rubber. The ball mill is a key equipment extensively used for grinding crushed materials in production lines for powders such as cement, fertilizer, refractory material, silicates, glass ceramics as well as for ore dressing of both, black and non-ferrous metals.
Ball Mills Market: Segmentation
The market for ball mills can be segmented based on types of mills viz., drum ball mill, jet-mill, bead-mill, horizontal rotary ball mill and vibration ball mill. Along with these types, there is another type of ball mill called planetary ball mill. Planetary ball mill are small in size and takes less space compared to other ball mills and hence is used mainly in laboratory, for grinding samples to fine particles. These ball mills find extensive applications in the chemical industry, where the challenge is to have the synthesis which is free of any solvents, such as water, supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) or ionic liquids, presence of which would make the synthesis hazardous and can increase chemical waste.
As planetary ball mills provide an attractive synthesis solution for grinding of solvent-free samples, thus preventing chemical waste due to solvents and ensure a safe and less hazardous environment. Further, ball mills are divided into dry type ball mill and wet type lattice ball, according to different raw materials and discharging methods. These are especially used in mining industry to grind various ores and rocks in metal and non-metal mines, either wet or dry as per the requirements.
Ball Mills Market: Trends and Drivers
The key driver for the use of ball milling compared to other grinding systems is its low cost of installation and high energy-efficiency due to its low medium of grinding. Another major driver of ball mill is its adaptability for open as well as closed circuit grinding. Not only it is applicable for materials of all degrees of hardness but it is also suitable for both batch and continuous operations. The major concern with most of the industries is high maintenance costs of grinding mills which in turn contribute to excessive operating costs. Despite of ball mills working strength, frequent maintenance of components such as hollow shaft, bearings and replacement of lubricant oil is a challenge.
Innovation in ball mills with integration of drive systems by means of alternatives for variable speed solutions and fixed speed options provides customization to the user’s application. The inclusion of inching (variable speed) drives from ball mill manufacturers allows the rotation of the mill to slow down, enabling maintenance workers to safely replace the liners within the mill. This mode makes maintenance faster, easier and saves energy since it avoids restarting the mill several times. Moreover, the integrated drive system in the ball mill is extremely energy efficient helping operators to produce finished materials at the lowest possible cost per ton.