New elbows help company's conveying system turn corner toward improvement
A ceramic-bead manufacturer installs specialty elbows in its conveying system to eliminate leaks caused by material abrasion.
A southern US company manufactures small ceramic beads (called proppants) that are used by the oil and natural gas industries in drilling applications. After a well is drilled, the proppants are pumped down through the well bore under high pressure to create cracks and crevices in the ground so that the oil or natural gas can move more easily to the surface. The company produces about 750,000 pounds of proppants a day and makes several different proppant sizes, the largest of which is about the size of a grain of sand. The proppants are classified by size, and each size is stored in one of 10 large outdoor silos. Conveying the proppants from the plant to the silos was proving to be a challenge for the company. The proppants quickly wore holes in the conveying system's elbows, causing leaks and high maintenance costs.