3 common mistakes when managing fixed plant wear plates

Not matching wear plate service life with existing maintenance schedules, not planning ahead, and not removing wear plates before installing new ones are three common mistakes seen in fixed plant maintenance.

Cutting Edges’ Manager Mining Solutions, Ian Ewart said wear plates are a critical factor to an entire plant’s production and so avoiding these mistakes is essential for efficiency and cost savings.

Match service life and maintenance schedules

“It is a balancing act but you want your wear plates to last at least until your scheduled maintenance period. The last thing you want is unplanned downtime,” Ian said.

“People often buy the cheaper quench and tempered steel wear plates thinking they are saving money. However, they don’t last and they end up replacing them more often, costing you more in the long term.

The cost of these shutdowns far outweighs the initial savings, and they also add unnecessary risk to the workers who are performing the changeouts.

However, Ian also said to avoid using the heaviest / largest wear plate if their service life doesn’t match your maintenance cycles.

“You may need to consider using a thinner wear plate that will still get you to to your next scheduled maintenance period to save on costs and weight.”

What impacts wear plate service life

How abrasive and how much material being processed is the primary determinant of what type of wear plate you require.

“Hard rock containing quartz, high end silica and iron ore are typically the most abrasive and hardest to work with,” Ian said.

Other factors include plant design, as well as where, and on what you are installing wear plates. Feeders and feed lines, chutes, dump stations, crushers, screens and cyclones all require different wear plate strategies.

“For example, you cannot put a big heavy wear plate on a vibrating screen as it will put unnecessary stress on motors,” Ian said.

Designing your plant to minimise impact with deflector plates and transition impact zones is also important, while even the weather must be considered.

“In wet climates, wear will also increase. We see that in tropical sites.”

“You need to look at the big picture. Conduct a site audit and match the wear plate to the findings of your analysis.”

Cutting Edges Site Audit

Ensure you remove old wear plates before installing a new one

Too often, Ian sees fixed plant maintenance technicians weld new wear plates on top of old ones, which are already welded on top of even older ones.

“All this bulk will reduce the size of your material flow, bog up production and increase stress on machinery,” Ian said.

Plan and order ahead

Fixed plant wear plate protection is generally a custom order process with turnaround times varying depending on the nature of your order.

While Cutting Edges do stock off-the-shelf wear plates in 50mm, 100mm, 150mm and 200mm wide strips, they are generally better suited for urgent repairs.

“These enable you to have something in your warehouse for urgent patching, or offer a solution for small wear issues,” Ian said.

Instead, he encourages customers to plan to ensure the right solutions are delivered ahead of schedule.

“Our Australian-based Manufacturing facilities do offer reduced leads times, however, you are better off involving us early on. We will come out and perform a site audit and develop customised solutions for your business.

Further Reading:

The different types of wear plates and their uses

Case Study: Customised apron feeder pans parts kits

Case Study: Chromium carbide wear plates reduce costs by up 525%


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