Controlling particle size distribution for increased grinding efficiency: Stuart Barton, Xoptix (UK)

Filmed at Cemtech Asia 2015, 21-24 June, Grand Hyatt, Bangkok, Thailand

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Okay, so let's just start talking about really the subject of what I want to discuss which is the development and the improvements of technologies for measuring particle size and where we are today in this technology. Okay, I've got to find the button and should we try that. Hey, I'm almost in control now, I think we are going to be alright.

Okay. Well, one thing that was absolutely clear from Michelle Malkin and Xoptix was that of course the cement fineness and the size of the particles is critical for its performance and whether you, and it's always been monitored, it's always been a key monitoring point for the quality of the product and the salability and the use of the product and usability of the product in the various industries.

Now up until the last few years, this was exclusively in laboratories, that was the only way to do it and I think Xoptix allowed this, Blaine aparatus are used, Sieves are used and more recently but perhaps not quite so widely, laser diffraction has started to be used as a technology for measuring particle size. Now they are all used, all of these techniques are used because of course they give valuable information on the finished product, they tell you information on whether the finesse of your product whether it is appropriately ground but like all techniques, that are advantages and disadvantages to each technique. I was very grateful in a way to Xoptix because of course you will see if you come to our booth that's the technology that we are advocating is a laser diffraction.

Now, I can argue I think somewhere on my business card I've got the name sales and so I have to argue all of the sales points, I can argue that laser diffraction is a technique, it has advantages over the others but no techniques is perfect, there are advantages and disadvantages to any technique. I would suggest that some of the benefits and we'll talk about the benefits first of laser diffraction is the results are fast and reproducible, instead of a single parameter, you get a complete distribution of the particle size but actually, that's the only useful if you know what to do with it.

To a certain extent, less operator to operator dependency, but that again depends on the quality of the operators and the key points, the key advantage I guess that I want to talk about is the possibility to automate the process because you don't have computer generally attached to the Blaine apparatus, you don't have a computer attached to a safe generally, automation and tying it up with your process was not so possible but as soon as you've got computers involved they can talk to each other and automation becomes possible.

So, I said that are advantages and disadvantages of every technique, some of the disadvantages are, well we give a complete distribution instead of a single Blaine number, what does that mean? How does that compare with a Blaine analysis or with a sieve analysis, and another rather difficult situation I'll use my pen, if those two particles in the sieve are the same size, and yet they are different by other techniques, so different techniques will give different answers, for different reasons.

So with that, which parameters do we trust? Do we trust the Blaine? Do we trust sieves? Do we try and pull them all together and become particle size technology experts? No we want to make good cement, that's what we are interested, that's what you guys are interested in

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