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Working Through the Pandemic

First published in the January 2021 issue of Quarry Management 

The past few months have been challenging for most businesses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Like others, Welding Alloys Group have introduced new processes and procedures to allow them to continue to undertake urgent projects on site, such as the repair of a vertical roller mill for Hanson Cement 

In June 2020, Welding Alloys UK undertook a project to repair a vertical roller mill (VRM) at Hanson Cement’s site in Purfleet, Essex. The work involved the repair of a Loesche 46 2+2S VRM grinding table and rollers, which had become worn after processing more than 3,500 tonnes of granulated blast-furnace slag.

Welding Alloys have supported Hanson Cement at Purfleet since the initial commissioning of the VRM in 2001 and both companies were aware of the urgent need to carry out the refurbishment of the VRM table and rollers, as productivity reduces significantly once the rolls and table gap goes out of tolerance.

Both companies were also aware of the challenges that would need to be overcome to complete the project within a limited shutdown period while complying with the COVID-19 measures. To this end, a shift pattern was implemented, which reduced the time needed to complete the hardfacing operation; areas were marked out on site so social distancing could be adhered to and a canteen area was provided by Hanson Cement to limit the need for shared areas.

Following on from an initial ‘wear audit’ assessment, the grinding components were taken back to the profile template using Welding Alloys’ proprietary WA Integra mill wire products. These have been specifically designed for the hardfacing and re-profiling of grinding components in vertical grinding mills and are said to offer outstanding results on rollers and tables of all types, improving the service life, grinding efficiency and energy consumption.

The hardfacing was carried out using Welding Alloys’ automated WA Mill Kits for in-situ mill repairs. The use of a separate mill kit for each mill component allowed for a shorter repair time, as both the rollers and the table could be repaired at the same time, and once the software had been programmed the kits could run round the clock.

The welding was monitored by trained Welding Alloys Integra team members, all of whom have all the relevant safety training passports and first aid training. Risk assessments were adjusted to take into consideration new COVID-19 measures, including taking body temperature readings at the beginning of each shift, having a hand-sanitising station available, travelling to and from site in separate vehicles, and social distancing – which took a lot of planning due to the confined spaces in mills.

Welding Alloys were able to complete the work on site within three days, including the installation of the equipment in the VRM and removal of the equipment at the end of the refurbishment. The two rollers and the mill table were successfully built back to profile, with all the work completed ahead of schedule. 

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