Mercer Lime approached us regarding issues in sealing their lime kiln in Slippery Rock, PA. We began conversations with them over the phone and shortly after made a plant visit to witness the issue first hand. Their kiln shell was out of round, and the seal at the time was the remnants of a labyrinth seal that had long worn out. Dust would occasionally puff out of the process, and the operators often time had difficulty keeping the process on smooth waters.
We looked at what was going on and determined that a FlexMET sealing system would be the best solution for their application due to temperature and other environmental conditions. The design process began by measuring the open gap between the stationary end housing and rotating shell. Other measurements included the face area of the housing, longitudinal clearance on the shell, and a run out of the rotating kiln shell. A sketch of the equipment was made, and it was determined that a standardized mounting ring and seal could easily retrofit onto their equipment.
After Mercer Lime installed the seal, they realized that their old operating parameters were no longer valid. They were pulling too much draft, and the burner was set at too high of a percentage. After a couple of weeks of adjustments, the process was very much under control to the tune of approximately $1,000 per operating day in energy savings. Mercer further enhanced their process by building a dam toward the discharge end of the kiln to increase the dwell time of the product in the firing zone.
The result? The FlexMET seal saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other maintenance costs over its lifetime.