Heyl & Patterson Blog

Rare Earth Elements Processed with Rotary Calciners

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 @ 09:38 AM

Rare earth elements are a set of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table, and are known to the U.S. Department of Energy as "technology metals." Their magnetic, phosphorescent and catalystic properties are greatly responsible for our 21st century high-tech society. Despite the name, they are relatively abundant in the Earth's crust, but it is unusual to find them in quantities significant enough to support economic mineral development. Rare earth elements have become a hot commodity as more and more uses for them are found. Used in everything from computer memory to nuclear reactors, rare earths are becoming increasingly important in the development of modern technology.

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Tags: process equipment, calciners, mineral processing, catalyst processing

Maintain and Upgrade Railcar Dumpers for a Lifetime of Unloading

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

Maintenance involves any actions that are necessary to conserve the condition of a piece of equipment to achieve its maximum useful life, while compensating for normal wear and tear. Routine operations are performed to both keep the device in working order and prevent trouble from arising. Different machines often have their own best practices and maintenance schedules that are unique to their own operation. Similarly, upgrades are the replacements of mechanical or electrical systems with a newer or better version, in order to bring the entire system up to date and improve its overall functionality.

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Tags: maintenance, wagon tipplers, upgrades, railcar dumpers

Frac Sand Dryers: Analyzing the Merits of Rotary and Fluid Bed Styles

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

Frac sand plays the essential role of preventing fractures in oil and gas wells from closing prematurely.  Fluid bed and rotary dryers are used to thermally treat the sand to remove impurities before it is injected into the fissures.  Both methods of frac sand drying have their merits, and a decision between them ultimately comes down to equipment costs and maintenance issues. Heyl & Patterson recently explored the two types of frac sand dryers in an article published in Process Heating magazine's June 2015 issue, entitled "Using Rotary and Fluid Bed Dryers for Drying Frac Sand."  The article was featured as the cover story.

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Tags: industrial dryers, rotary dryers, fluid bed dryers, sand

Pilot Plant Testing Leads to Better Results from a Fluid Bed Dryer

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jul 08, 2015 @ 09:46 AM

A pilot plant is a small-scale industrial plant in which problems can be identified and solved before the corresponding full-scale facility is built. In terms of thermal processing, such a testing ground is a basic laboratory that uses stock process equipment to provide valuable data for the design of a larger version, so that any anomalies in the process can be worked out before the full-scale plant is constructed. Scientific data about reactions, material properties and even corrosiveness may be gathered, and it helps to predict the behavior of a process. Plant designers use data from the pilot facility to refine their design of the production scale facility. When bulk materials must be dried as a part of the process, a fluid bed dryer is often a key component.

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Tags: industrial dryers, process equipment, fluid bed dryers, testing lab, dewatering

Foundry Sand Reclamation via Thermal Processing

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jul 01, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Foundry sand, or molding sand, is essential to the metal casting industry.  It consists of a clean, uniformly sized, high-quality type of silica sand that can be used to form molds for ferrous and nonferrous castings.  Formed metal objects ranging from engine parts to building plaques are made with two halves of a sand mold that produce a pattern, and molten metal is then poured to into holes to fill the void inside.  Silica's high fusion point and low rate of thermal expansion produce sturdy molds compatible with a wide range of pouring temperatures and alloys.  Once the casting process is complete, the molds are broken apart and the foundry sand is recycled to produce new molds.

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Tags: process equipment, calciners, sand

Heyl & Patterson Compares Railcar Unloading Methods in World Coal

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Unloading railcars is usually accomplished in one of two ways:  a railcar dumper turns cars upside down in order to spill their contents, or bottom dump railcars drop their contents through chutes and gates. There are obvious differences between the two methods, but also some surprising similarities. Choosing between these systems calls for a number of factors to be considered, namely capital costs, maintenance, climate, versatility and economics.  Heyl & Patterson recently explored both sides of the matter in an article published in World Coal magazine's June 2015 issue, entitled "Which Unloading System?"

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Tags: bulk material handling equipment, coal handling, wagon tipplers, railcar dumpers

Heyl & Patterson Blog Celebrates Five Years

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 09:44 AM

The word "blog" is short for "web log," and is a website with posts providing commentary on a particular subject, much like a newspaper editorial column.  Blogging grew out of the burgeoning digital communities of the 1980s, which included Usenet, CompuServe and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), and featured running commentary about various topics.  Early versions were a form of web diary that kept an intimate account of the authors' personal lives, and these ultimately evolved into the distinct class of online publishing we know today.  According to the web platform Technorati, there are now over 2.7 million blog posts published each day, and other recent statistics show that there are over 172 million Tumblr blogs and 75.8 million WordPress blogs in existence.

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Tags: Heyl & Patterson, rotary dryers, torrefaction, MultiDisc thermal processor, conduction drying, wagon tipplers, company history, railcar dumpers

Drying Potash Leads to the Highest Quality Final Product

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 @ 09:18 AM

Mined and manufactured salts containing water-soluble potassium are known as potash.  Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the primary means of obtaining it was by using water in a pot to leach it from wood ash, hence the name "potash."  In fact, the scientific name "potassium" was derived from the word.  It is now mined from ancient marine seas where it is found in abundance, occurring naturally as potassium salts, or as we know it, "table salt."  Potash is then processed from potassium compounds and potassium-bearing materials, usually as potassium chloride.  This salt is separated from the potash and used for a variety of salts -- table salt, livestock salt, water softener, and road de-icer.

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Tags: industrial dryers, fluid bed dryers, fertilizer, mineral processing

Thermal Processing of Zeolites for Catalytic Cracking

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, Jun 03, 2015 @ 09:11 AM

Zeolite refers to a family of more than 200 different minerals with a variety of interesting uses, ranging from water softeners to cat litter to industrial process catalysts.  Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals, made from interlinked alumina and silica tetrahedrons.  Their porous crystalline structure is built from aluminum, oxygen and silicon, and water molecules and alkaline metals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium are trapped in the gaps between their lattice-like components.  The framework of zeolites is what makes them useful, allowing them to trap other molecules inside, where their bonds can be broken down.

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Tags: process equipment, calciners, upgrades, mineral processing, catalyst processing

Unit Train Positioning Systems for Faster Unloading

Posted by David Phillips on Wed, May 27, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

The railcars in a unit train all carry the same commodity, originate from the same location and travel to the same destination. High-volume bulk materials such as coal, coke, iron ore and aggregates are typically transported this way, as well as bulk liquids like ethanol, crude oil and condensate.  All the railcars tend to be nearly identical, inside and out.  Unit trains save time and money for a railroad, and eliminates any delays and confusion associated with assembling and disassembling the trains at railyards at both ends of the operation.  This type of service enables railroads to more effectively compete with truck transportation and river barges.

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Tags: railcar movers, side arm chargers, train positioners