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# The Metcom Engineering and Management

## System for Plant Grinding Operations

MODULE #2:
ROD AND BALL MILL
POWER DRAW

## Metcom Consulting, LLC

1992 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Objectives
Introduction
Energy and power
Mill power draw at the pinion
Progress Review 1

page
1
2
3
5
8

14

## Rod mill power draw

Ball mill power draw
Accuracy of power draw calculations

15
21
27

29

## Mill volumetric loading

Mill speed
Other factors

30
36
41

Progress Review 2

43

Closing word
References

50
51

52

Glossary

56

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

ii

LIST OF FIGURES
page
Figure 1. Tumbling charge inside a grinding mill.

and pinion.

## Figure 3. Power draw versus volumetric loading

curve for a rod mill.

30

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

OBJECTIVES
This module will introduce you to rod and ball mill power draw *.
At the end of this module, you will be able to:
Differentiate between "energy consumed" and "power drawn"
by grinding mills.
Calculate the approximate mill power draw of operating rod
mills and ball mills given basic design and operating
conditions.
Specify practical means (and limitations) to increase the
power draw of operating rod mills and ball mills in the plant.
There is no prerequisite to this module. You will need a scientific
calculator to perform the calculations.
This module contains two Progress Reviews: one following the
Introduction and one at the end of the module. Estimated time for
completion is two hours including the two Progress Reviews.

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

INTRODUCTION
In this module, you will learn about the energy consumption
characteristics of rod mills and ball mills.
Energy is the primary input of size reduction processes. The
efficiency of the size reduction process is measured on the basis of
energy consumption as this energy is delivered to the ore through the
grinding mill. Therefore when studying grinding, we are intimately
concerned with the energy consumption characteristics of the grinding equipment.

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

ENERGY AND POWER
Throughout this module, we will be using both units of energy
consumption normally used for motors. The units of energy are the:
Kilowatt-hour, kwh (metric).
Horsepower-hour, HPh (British).
The units of power are the:
Kilowatt, kw (metric).
Horsepower, HP (British).
You will need the following conversion factors to convert units from
metric to British and vice-versa:
1 kwh = 1.341 HPh
1 kw

= 1.341 HP

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Some important definitions follow:
Energy: Energy equals work. Energy is power consumed over
time as the work is done. In terms of units, we have:
Energy consumed
(kwh)

Power (kw)

x Time (h)

## Power: Power is the instantaneous measure of energy drawn

per unit of time. In terms of units, we have:
Power drawn
(kw)

## Energy (kwh) / Time (h)

Note
To help you differentiate between "energy" and "power", remember
that energy is consumed while power is drawn.

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

MILL POWER DRAW AT THE PINION
Energy is utilized inside the grinding mill by lifting the charge * on the
rising side of the rotating shell liners. This is shown in Figure 1.

## Figure 1. Tumbling charge inside a grinding mill.

As the mill rotates, the energy is expended by the impact and attrition
of the falling and tumbling charge. You can envision the constant
work load created by the charge in suspension against gravity. This
work load is proportional to the mass of the charge and the horizontal
distance d between the centre of mass of the charge, (represented
by M) and the longitudinal axis of the mill. When the mill is stopped,
M falls directly under the longitudinal axis of the mill: D is zero and
the work load is zero.

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

The power required to lift the charge inside the mill is transmitted
through the ring gear and pinion. Figure 2 illustrates this event.

## Figure 2. Tumbling grinding mill with ring gear and pinion.

There are certain losses in power transmission between the pinion
and the charge. For example, losses occur in the mill bearings,
where the ring gear and pinion meet, and on the outside of the
rotating shell due to air resistance. These small losses total less than
2 to 3% of the load created by the charge. Furthermore, these losses
are virtually constant (as a fraction of the total load) for all commercial
size tumbling mills.
Throughout the Metcom System, by convention, we refer to the mill
power draw at the pinion (unless otherwise noted).

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Notes
1. Mill power draw calculations will give you approximate values of
mill power draw because they include basic design and operating
variables for grinding mills. The basic variables are: mill
dimensions, speed and volumetric load *, and charge density.
2. There is a difference between the power at the pinion and the
power you read on the kilowatt-meters in the plant. This will be
discussed in greater detail in the module on "Power and Charge
Level Measurements".

## To make sure you understand the information presented in the

introduction to this module, answer the questions in the following
Progress Review.

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PROGRESS REVIEW
Estimated time for completion: 3 minutes

There are six questions in this Progress Review. Refer back to the
text if necessary.
1. Answer the following "true" or "false" questions about why, in the
technical sense, we are concerned about the energy consumption
characteristics of grinding mills. Check the appropriate box.
True

False

## a) Energy is the primary input for size

reduction to take place.
b) Energy consumption is the basis for
measuring grinding efficiency.
c) It is the grinding mill that delivers the
energy to the ore.

2. Select the two units of measure normally used for mill energy
consumption.
Btu
joules
kilowatt-hours
gram-calories
horsepower-hours

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

Correct

Incorrect

Power consumed
Energy drawn
Power drawn
Energy consumed

## 4. Give the usual units of measure for grinding equipment which

apply to:
Energy, metric system
British system

___________________
___________________

## Power, metric system

British system

___________________
___________________

5. A motor has an output rating of 1000 kw. What is the output rating
of this motor in British units (HPh)?

## Write your answer:

___________________

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

## 6. Select the reference point which is used by convention in the

industry for "mill power draw":
At the kilowatt meter
At the motor input
At the motor output
At the pinion
At the mill shell
At the charge

10

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

11

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

Answers
1.

2.

True
a) Energy is the primary input for size
reduction to take place.

## b) Energy consumption is the basis for

measuring grinding efficiency.

## c) It is the grinding mill that delivers

the energy to the ore.

False

Btu
joules
x kilowatt hours
gram calories
x horsepower hours

3.

Correct

Incorrect

Power consumed

Energy drawn

Power drawn

Energy consumed

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

Answers (continued)
4. Energy, metric system:
British system:
Power, metric system:
British system:

kwh
HPh
kw
HP

6.

## At the kilowatt meter

At the motor input
At the motor output
x At the pinion
At the mill shell
At the charge

12

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

How did you do in this Progress Review?
If you scored 100%, congratulations!
If you had problems answering some questions, make sure to
go back to the text and understand it clearly before moving on.
This concludes the introduction to the module. In Part I, you will learn
how to calculate power draw at the pinion for rod mills and ball mills.

13

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PART I - MILL POWER DRAW CALCULATIONS
Part I presents the mill power draw equations developed and used by
Fred Bond and his co-workers.
There have been numerous individuals and organizations
researching mill power draw characteristics over the years. While all
have arrived at slightly different conclusions, the results are similar
when the same basic design and operating conditions are
considered. Some secondary factors such as liner design, feed rate
and size are a cause for variations in results and will be discussed
later in this module.
The discussion in this module is limited to rod mills and ball mills
operated under normal, stable operating conditions with the feed ON.
Mill power draw may be affected by circuit instability.

14

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

ROD MILL POWER DRAW
The following method for calculating rod mill power draw applies to
wet grinding overflow rod mills* . The equations presented were
originally developed with both the metric and British units. If you
prefer to work with metric units when dealing with results from your
plant, use the equations presented in Appendix A.
To estimate rod mill power draw, follow these five steps. Notes on
the presented variables follow.

Procedure
1. Estimate the weight of the rods, Tr, inside the mill in short tons:

Tr
(short tons)

where

= Vp

D2 L
)
4

375
)
2000

## Vp = Mill volumetric loading, when stationary

(fraction)
D = Mill inside diameter (feet)
L = Mill inside length (feet)
375 = Average bulk density of a rod charge (lbs/ft3)
2000 = Conversion factor to short tons.

## Notes on these items follow.

When all the constants are combined, the equation simplifies to:

Tr
(short tons)

= Vp D2 L
6.8

15

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Procedure (continued)

Cs
(rpm)

76.63
D

## 3. Calculate the speed of the mill as a % of critical speed, %Cs,

using the actual mill speed in revolutions per minute (rpm):
%Cs

## Actual mill speed (rpm)

Cs (rpm)

4. Calculate the power draw per short ton of rods in the mill, kw :
r

kwr
= 1.07 D0.34
kw/short ton
of rods )

## When using this equation, "%Cs" must be entered as a fraction.

5. Calculate the power draw of the rod mill (at the pinion), Prm:
Prm
(kw)

Tr

kw

16

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Notes
1. For the purpose of this module, you can simply assume a value
for Vp. In the module entitled "Power and Charge Level
Measurements", you will learn how to determine Vp for your mills.
2. For the purpose of this module, the internal diameter of the mill, D,
does not need to be exact. Subtract 0.5 foot from the nominal
mill diameter (measured inside the shell) to account for the
thickness of the liners.
3. You can obtain the actual mill speed by either timing it or by
calculating it from the motor speed and gear reduction ratios to the
mill shell.
4. The density of a rod charge may vary slightly from 375 lbs per
cubic foot for either a brand new rod charge (with no broken
pieces of rods in it) or very large rod mills that contain an
excessive amount of pieces of rods. Go to the reference by
Rowland if either one of these factors applies to your case.

17

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Example
A wet grinding overflow rod mill has the following characteristics:
Mill dimensions:
Mill speed:
Mill volumetric loading:

D
= 10 ft (inside diameter)
L
= 16 ft (inside length)
18.4 rpm
40% of total mill volume.

To calculate Prm for this mill, we must estimate Tr, Cs, %Cs,
and kwr :
2

Tr

= Vp D L = 0.40 x 10
6.8
6.8

Cs

D
10

Cs
24.2 rpm
kwr

## = 1.07 D0.34 (6.3 - 5.4 Vp) %Cs

= 1.07 100.34 [6.3 - 5.4 (0.40)] 0.76
= 7.37 kw/short ton of rods

Prm

= Tr x kw

## = 94.1 short tons x 7.37 kw/s.t.

= 694 kw

This rod mill will draw approximately 694 kw (931 HP) at the pinion
under the given conditions.

18

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Exercise
Given the following characteristics of a wet grinding overflow rod mill,
estimate the power draw at the pinion during normal operation.
Mill dimensions:
Mill speed:
Mill volumetric loading:

## D = 8.5 ft (inside diameter)

L = 12 ft (inside length)
19.1 rpm
42% of total mill volume

What is the power draw at the pinion for this rod mill in both the
metric and British units? _____________________________

19

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Answers
This rod mill draws approximately 347 kw or 465 HP at the pinion
under the given conditions.
Tr

6.8
6.8

Cs

D
8.5

%Cs

Cs
26.3 rpm

kw

## = 1.07 D0.34 (6.3 - 5.4 Vp) %Cs

= 1.07 8.50.34 [6.3 - 5.4 (0.42)]

0.726

Prm

## = Tr x kwr = 53.6 short tons x 6.48 kw/s.t.

= 347 kw
= 465 HP

Now you know how to calculate the power draw of a rod mill at the
pinion. Next, let's see how to calculate the power draw of a ball mill.

20

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

BALL MILL POWER DRAW
The following power draw calculations apply to wet overflow ball mills* .
The approach to calculate ball mill power draw is the same as for rod
mills. However, there is an additional step for ball mills with inside
diameters greater than 3 meters (10 feet). In such mills, media size
noticeably affects power draw and must be considered in the
calculations.
To calculate ball mill power draw at the pinion, follow these six steps.
Notes on the presented variables follow.

Procedure
1. Estimate the weight of the balls inside the mill in short tons, Tb:

Tb = Vp

where

Vp
D
L
290
2000

D2 L
)
4

290

( 2000 )

## = Mill volumetric loading, when stationary

(fraction)
= Mill inside diameter (feet)
= Mill inside length (feet)
= Average bulk volume of a ball charge (lbs/ft3)
= Conversion factor to short tons.

## Notes on these items follow.

When all the constants are combined, the equation simplifies to:

Tb
(short tons)

Vp D2
8.8

21

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

22

Procedure (continued)
2. Calculate the mill critical speed, Cs:
Cs =
(rpm)

76.63
D

## 3. Calculate the mill speed as a % of critical speed, %Cs, using the

actual mill speed in revolutions per minute (rpm):
%Cs = Actual mill speed (rpm)
Cs (rpm)
4. If D is smaller than 3 meters (10 feet) for your mill, the media size
correction factor, S, is zero. Go to step (5).
For ball mills greater than 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter,
calculate the media size correction factor, S:
S = B - 0.15 D
2
where

## B = Make-up ball size (inches)

D = Mill inside diameter (feet)

5. Calculate the power draw per short ton of balls in the mill, kwb:

kw

(kw/short)
( ton of )
( balls )

[1

0.1
2

(9 - 10 x %Cs)

]+

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Procedure (continued)
6. Calculate the power draw of the ball mill (at the pinion), Pbm:

Pbm = Tb x kwb
(kw)

Notes
1. These calculations are for overflow ball mills. However, full grate
discharge mills* draw approximately 15% more power on average
than overflow mills with the same internal length.
For dry grinding, grate overflow ball mills, the power draw is
approximately 8 % higher.
2. For the purpose of this module, you need only a rough estimate of
Vp. In the module entitled "Power and Charge Level
Measurements", you will learn how to determine Vp for your mills.
3. For the purpose of this module, the internal diameter of the mill, D,
needs not be exact. Subtract 0.5 foot from the nominal mill
diameter (measured inside the shell) to account for the thickness
of the liners.
4. You can obtain the actual mill speed by either timing it or by
calculating it from the motor speed and gear reduction ratios to the
mill shell.
5. The density of a ball charge may vary slightly from 290 lbs per
cubic foot for a brand new ball charge (with very few small balls
in it).

23

24

## Here is an example on how to estimate Pbm.

Example
An overflow ball mill presents the following characteristics.
Mill dimensions:
Mill speed:
Mill volumetric loading:
Make-up ball size:

D
= 13 ft (inside diameter)
L
= 20 ft (inside length)
16.3 rpm
34% of total mill volume
1.5 inches

To calculate Pbm for this mill, we must estimate Tb, Cs, %Cs,
and kwb:
Tb = Vp D2 L = 0.34 x 132 x 20 = 130.6 short tons
8.8
8.8
Cs = 76.63 = 76.63 = 21.3 rpm
D
13
%Cs = Actual mill speed = 16.3 rpm = 76.5%
Cs
21.3 rpm
Since the mill diameter is greater than 3 meters (10 feet), S must be
calculated:
S

kw

2
2
b

1 -

0.1
(9 - 10 %Cs)

10.1

(9 - 10 x 0.765)

+S

] + (-0.225)

kwb

Pbm

= Tb x kwb
= 1371 kw

## = 130.6 short tons x 10.50 kw/short ton

of balls
of balls

This ball mill draws approximately 1371 kw (1839 HP) at the pinion
under the given conditions.
Solve this exercise.

Exercise
Given the following characteristics of an overflow ball mill, estimate
the power draw at the pinion during operation in both metric and
British units.
Mill dimensions:
Mill speed:
Mill volumetric loading:
Make-up ball size:

D
= 16 ft (inside diameter)
L
= 23 ft (inside length)
14.1 rpm
35% of total mill volume
3 inches

## The answers follow.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

25

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Answers
The ball mill draws approximately 2618 kw, or 3511 HP, at the pinion
under the given conditions.
Tb

8.8
8.8

Cs

D
16

## %Cs = Actual mill speed = 14.1 rpm = 73.4%

Cs
19.2 rpm
Since the mill diameter is greater than 3 meters (10 feet), S must be
calculated:
S

2
2

= 3.1 x 160.30

## [1 - 2(9 - 100.1x 0.734) ] + (0.300)

kwb = 11.18 kw per short ton of balls.
Pbm = Tb x kw

## = 234.2 short tons x 11.18 kw/short ton

of balls
of balls

= 2618 kw
= 3511 HP
Next, let's look at the accuracy of these power draw calculations.
1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

26

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

ACCURACY OF POWER DRAW CALCULATIONS
The method presented in this module excludes a number of
secondary factors relative to power draw. Some of these factors are:
1. The shape of the mill ends (flat, partially conical, or conical).
2. Density variation of steel versus cast media.
3. Charge density variation due to media shape (slugs versus balls
and degree of distortion of worn media).
4. The density of the solids and slurry in the mill.
5. The size and rate of feed to the mill. These affect volumetric
loading by causing the charge to shrink or swell.
6. Liner design and degree of wear.
7. Details of the discharge design (size of trunnion opening or grate
locations).
8. The presence of a scoop or other energy consuming type of
feeder.
These secondary factors may vary in importance from one plant to
another. They are included in certain methods for power draw
calculations; however, as previously mentioned, most methods give
results similar to the method presented in this module.
You may be surprised to note the effect of certain factors on mill
power draw. Here are some examples:
Increasing the feed rate to a rod or ball mill decreases the power
draw slightly due to the effect of charge swelling (M gets closer to
the longitudinal axis of the mill and d gets smaller).
As liners wear, lifting action is lost. However, resulting power
losses may be more than offset by increased internal mill
dimensions with liner wear.

27

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Your approximations of mill power draw will generally be
conservative, i.e., mills will draw at least as much power as
calculated.

## The calculated values of Prm and Pbm, determined from

the method presented in this module, are accurate to
+ 10 to 15% of the "true" power draw of a mill.
You can compare a calculated power draw value to the power draw
derived from plant instrument readings (see the module entitled
"Power and Charge Level Measurements". With properly calibrated
plant instruments and good charge level measurements (also see the
module just listed), the two power draw values will agree within 10 to
15%.
In this section, you have learned how to calculate approximate values
of power draw for rod mills and ball mills. You have also learned
about secondary factors which affect power draw.
In the second and last part of this module, you will learn how to
increase the power draw of mills in your plant.

28

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PART II - INCREASING THE POWER DRAW
OF GRINDING MILLS
Your approximations of mill power draw are not very accurate in an
absolute sense. However, they are quite accurate in a relative
sense for the mills in your plant.
To change the power draw of a mill in the plant (the objective is
almost always an increase), we can use the equations presented in
this module to see how changes in the mill design and operating
conditions will affect mill power draw.
If the motor has (or is enlarged to) sufficient capability, you can
increase the power draw to either:
Increase grinding capacity (in terms of tonnage and/or fineness).
Effectively treat a tougher ore.
The following discussion covers possible ways of increasing the
power draw of rod and ball mills in the plant and practical and
economic limitations.

29

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

MILL VOLUMETRIC LOADING
Increasing the mill volumetric load (when possible) is the simplest
way of increasing mill power draw. Figure 3 shows a typical curve
depicting the relationship between power draw at the pinion and mill
volumetric loading for a rod mill.

Figure 3. Power draw versus volumetric loading curve for a rod mill.
This curve is basically the same for ball mills except that it may peak
at a slightly lower charge level.
It is recommended to operate rod mills and ball mills at a volumetric
loading no greater than 40 to 45%. Because the curve levels off (as
shown in Figure 3), a higher loading contributes little to an increase in
power draw, but will naturally result in greater media consumption.
Some very large overflow ball mills cannot sustain a volumetric
loading much greater than about 35%. At higher levels, balls may be
discharged with the slurry or may occasionally (and dangerously) fly
out of the mill during operation. When the mill is stopped, they may
also roll out of the discharge opening.
1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

30

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

If your mill operates at a low charge level, you may wish to increase
the charge level to increase the power draw. You can estimate the
potential increase in power draw from both:
A set of power draw versus volumetric loading measurements.
The relationship between volumetric loading and power draw as
characterized by the equations already presented.
For rod mills and ball mills, follow this procedure to estimate a
potential increase in power draw from an increase in volumetric
loading.

Procedure
1. For rod mills, enter the known set of values of Prm and Vp to
estimate the constant in the following equation:
Prm = constant x Vp (6.3 - 5.4 Vp)
This equation is a combination of the equations in steps (1) and
(4) of the rod mill power draw calculations procedure.
2. For ball mills, enter the known values of Pbm and Vp to estimate
the constant in the following equation:
Pbm = constant x Vp (3.2 - 3.0 Vp)
This equation is a combination of the equations in steps (1) and
(5) of the ball mill power draw calculations procedure.
3. Substitute the desired value of Vp in the calibrated equation for
your mill. The resulting value of power draw, Prm or Pbm, gives
the anticipated increase (or decrease) in power draw.

31

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Here is an example.

Example
The average power draw of a rod mill was measured to be 310 kw at
the pinion, corresponding to an average volumetric load of 35%. The
potential for increasing the power draw for a mill volumetric loading of
40% can be calculated using this equation:
Prm = constant x Vp (6.3 - 5.4 Vp)
Substituting the known values of Prm and Vp, the constant is
estimated to be 201:
310 = constant x 0.35 (6.3 - 5.4 x 0.35)
The equation for this mill (assuming other conditions such as liner
design and condition, feed, etc., are held constant) is therefore:
Prm = 201 x Vp (6.3 - 5.4 Vp)
For a new desired value of Vp of 40%, the expected power draw is:
Prm = 201 x 0.40 (6.3 - 5.4 x 0.40)
Prm = 333 kw
If you increase the volumetric load of this rod mill from 35 to 40%, the
average power draw will increase from 310 to 333 kw. This
represents an increase of approximately 7%.
Solve the following exercise.

32

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Exercise
The average power draw of a ball mill was measured to be 550 kw
at the pinion, corresponding to a volumetric loading of 38%.

Questions
1. What is the potential for increasing the power draw of the ball
mill if the volumetric load is increased to 45%?

2. What will be the likely effect on ball consumption over the long
term?
Write your answer: _______________________________

33

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Answers
1. The power draw could be increased to 585 kw from 550 kw.
The constant in the power draw equation for ball mills equals 703:
Pbm

550

585 kw:
Pbm

34

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Notes
1. Increasing the media charge level of a mill up to 50% of the mill
volume is normally within the mechanical design limitations of the
equipment. However, sometimes this does not hold true,
especially for very large ball mills that were designed for relatively
low charge levels. Always check with the equipment manufacturer
before increasing charge levels by any significant amount.
2. Check the motor rating against the present motor power output
measurements to make sure it will not become overloaded at the
higher power draw.
3. When you add balls to the ball mill, the increase in power draw
should be noticeable. As you approach the peak of the power
draw versus volumetric loading curve, power draw will no longer
increase. You will learn how to determine the particular
relationships between power draw and volumetric loading in the
module entitled "Power Draw and Charge Level Measurements".

35

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

36

MILL SPEED
Power draw is directly proportional to mill speed over the normal
operating range of a rod mill. The following equation (previously
shown on page 16) illustrates this:

## = 1.07 D0.34 (6.3 - 5.4 Vp) %Cs

kwr
kw/short ton
)
of rods

This is also virtually true (to a reasonable level of accuracy) for ball
mills: the second term containing %Cs in the following equation
(previously shown on page 22) has a negligible effect on power draw:

kw = 3.1 D
kw/short
ton of
balls

0.30

## (3.2 - 3.0 Vp) %Cs 1 -

0.1
2

(9 -10 %Cs)

]+S

Consider 80% of critical speed as the normal practical limit for both
rod and ball mills (consult with Metcom if you are considering a higher
%Cs).
Mill speed can be expressed in terms of either rpm or % of mill
critical speed for purposes of power draw calculations. They are
directly proportional to each other.
The normal method of increasing mill speed is by changing the pinion
to one with a larger number of teeth. The speed increase (and
therefore the power draw increase) is directly proportional to the ratio
of the number of teeth in the new and old pinions:
Speed increase =
(ratio)

## # teeth in the new pinion

# teeth in the old pinion

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Example
If you change a pinion that has 19 teeth to one that has 21 teeth on a
rod mill, the speed increase will be 10.5%:
21 teeth = 1.105 (10.5%)
19 teeth
If the rod mill normally draws 500 kw, the new power draw will be:
500 kw x 21 teeth = 553 kw
19 teeth
This estimate holds assuming that no mechanical or electrical
restrictions apply, and the mill is operated at the same charge level.
Using the ratio of the number of teeth on pinions is the simplest way
to estimate an expected increase in mill power draw. Alternatively, if
this change in pinion increases the mill speed from 20 rpm to 22 rpm,
the new power draw can also be estimated from the old power draw
(500 kw):
500 kw x 22 rpm = 550 kw
20 rpm
The new % of critical speed can be estimated by multiplying the old
%Cs (70%) by the ratio of the teeth or rpm created by the change:
70% x

21 teeth = 70% x
19 teeth

22 rpm = 77%
20 rpm

37

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Exercise
The average power draw of a rod mill was measured to be 310 kw at
the pinion. The mill operates at 17.0 rpm (equivalent to 67% of
critical speed).

Questions
1. What is the potential for increasing the mill power draw if you
increase the mill speed to 19.3 rpm by a pinion change?

## 2. Is this new % of critical speed reasonable for this mill?

Write your answer:

38

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Answers
1. The new power draw should be 352 kw:
310 kw x 19.3 rpm = 352 kw
17.0 rpm
2. Yes. The new % of critical speed is 76%. This is less than the
maximum recommended of 80%.
67%

17.0 rpm

39

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Changing the mill pinion requires that you:
a) Verify the feasibility of design of a new pinion with the desired
number of teeth with the mill (or pinion) supplier.
b) Verify the mechanical and electrical design of all other drive
components with the mill supplier, particularly for starting the mill.
c) Verify that the mill can be shifted over to accommodate the larger
diameter of the new pinion (if an increase in speed is the goal).
d) Once again, verify that the motor is rated to handle the new
power.
Increasing mill speed can have an advantageous effect on media
consumption in addition to increasing mill power draw. The savings
on media consumption expected by operating at reduced charge
level and increased speed (to achieve the same net power draw) are
often very favourable.

40

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

OTHER FACTORS
Aside from adding new mills to a circuit, there are a few other means
of increasing rod or ball mill power draw that are not usually practical
for this singular purpose. These include the following
possibilities:
A) Media material: Forged or cast steel has a slightly higher solids
density than some cast irons. If you are using cast iron balls, it
may be possible to increase power draw slightly (i.e., 0 to 5%) by
changing media material. However, media cost and consumption
rate will usually be the key factors which determine media material
selection.
B) Media size and shape: As indicated by the media size
correction factor S, the use of larger balls will cause a particular
mill to draw slightly more power. However, the effect is quite
small and grinding efficiency will definitely be an overriding
concern.
Non-spherical shapes (e.g., slugs) tend to increase packing
density of the charge and hence increase power draw for an equal
charge level. However, the material consumption rate and
grinding efficiency will once again take precedence.
C) Mill dimensions: Increasing the mill diameter or length is rarely
feasible. Liner design and liner wear profile throughout its life
affect power draw noticeably. (For example, when new liners are
installed in a rod mill, power draw is often noted to decrease).
The use of higher lifters willl also tend to increase power draw
slightly. However, maintenance costs and wear life will
usually be overriding factors in the liner design.
The weight of the liners themselves does not affect power draw as
the complete mill shell assembly is a rotating balanced mass.
Consequently, rubber versus steel lining (of similar overall
thickness) does not noticeably affect mill power draw.

41

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

D) Grate discharge versus overflow ball mills: A grate discharge
ball mill will draw approximately 15% more power than an
overflow flow mill of the same internal dimensions. This will offset
the loss in mill length if you decide to convert an overflow mill to a
grate discharge as a method of trying to improve grinding
efficiency.
E) Water usage (at the ball mill feed): The effect is minor but
sometimes measureable. The overriding concern is grinding
efficiency.
This section wraps up the information presented to you in this
module. Review the contents of the module in Progress Review 2.

42

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PROGRESS REVIEW
Estimated time for completion: 5 minutes

This Progress Review contains four problems. Refer back to the text
when necessary.
1. John has the following information on the rod mill in his plant:
Mill dimensions:
Mill speed:
Mill volumetric loading:

D
= 10 ft (inside diameter)
L
= 15 ft (inside length)
17.5 rpm
43% of total mill volume

What is the power draw of this rod mill when operated under these
conditions? (Reference: page 15)

___________

43

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

## 2. Continuing on Problem #1, John wishes to increase the power

draw of the mill by raising the volumetric load to 46%.
What is the expected mill power draw for the new load?
(Reference: page 31)

____________

44

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

## 3. John has raised the mill volumetric load to 46%. To further

increase mill power draw, he has studied the physical and
economical impact of replacing the actual pinion (18 teeth) by a
new pinion (20 teeth).
a) What is the expected power draw following this change?
(Reference: page 37)

## b) What is the expected rpm following the change in pinion?

(Reference: page 36)

## c) What is the expected % of critical speed following this change?

(Reference: page 37)

45

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

## 4. It is necessary to increase the grinding capability of an overflow

ball mill by approximately 10% because mining is reaching a zone
that contains ore which is tougher to grind.
From the following list, select the two most practical and useful
methods for increasing the power draw of this ball mill.
Increase the size of the motor
Increase the mill speed
Increase the charge volume
Increase the tonnage feed rate
Increase ball diameter

46

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

Answers
1. 639 kw or 857 HP
Tr

6.8
6.8

Cs

D
10

%Cs

Cs
24.2 rpm

kw

## = 1.07 100.34 [6.3 - 5.4 (0.43)] 0.723

= 6.73 kw/short ton of rods
Prm

= Tr x kwr

## = 94.9 short tons x 6.73 kw/s.t.

= 639 kw
= 857 HP

2. 655 kw or 878 HP
The constant in the equation for rod mills equals 373.6:
639 kw

Prm

= 655 kw
= 878 HP

47

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

Answers (continued)
3. a) 728 kw = 655 kw x 20 teeth
18 teeth
(Remember that John has raised the volumetric loading. The
power draw is now 655 kw, not 639.)
b) 19.4 rpm = 17.5 rpm x 20 teeth
18 teeth
c) 80.3 = 72.3

x 20 teeth
18 teeth

## 4. Increase the size of the motor

Increase the mill speed

## Increase the tonnage feed rate

Increase the size of balls
In order of practical and economical priority, increasing the mill
volumetric loading should be considered prior to changing the mill
speed.

48

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

This concludes Progress Review 2. How did you do?
If you scored 100%, good work! If not, study the solutions carefully.

49

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

CLOSING WORD
You have completed the module on rod mill and ball mill power draw:
congratulations!
This module is a prerequisite to the module entitled "Power and
Charge Level Measurements". In that module, you will learn how to
estimate the actual power draw and volumetric load of your grinding
mills.

50

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

REFERENCES
Bond, F. C., "Crushing and Grinding Calculations", reprinted
from British Chemical Engineering, Part I - June 1961,
Part II - August 1961, with additions and revisions, April 1962.
Rowland, C. A., "Selection of Rod Mills, Ball Mills, Pebble Mills,
and Regrind Mills", Design and Installation of
Comminution Circuits, SME of AIME, New York, 1982,
Chapter 23, pp. 393-438.

51

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

APPENDIX A
POWER DRAW CALCULATIONS USING METRIC UNITS

## Rod Mill Power Draw Calculations

1. Estimate the weight of rods, Tr, inside the mill in metric tons:

Tr
= Vp
(metric tons)
where

Vp
D
L
6.008

=
=
=
=

D2 L
)
4

6.008

## Mill volumetric loading (fraction)

Mill inside diameter (meters)
Mill inside length (meters)
Average bulk density of a rod charge

3
(tons/m )

2

Tr
= Vp D L
(metric tons)
0.2119

Cs
(rpm)

= 42.31
D

52

53

## 3. Calculate the speed of the mill as a % of critical speed, Cs:

%Cs = Actual mill speed (rpm)
Cs (rpm)

4. Calculate the power draw per metric ton of rods in the mill, kw

kwr
= 1.766 D0.34
kw/metric
)
ton of rods

## (6.3 - 5.4 Vp) %Cs

5. Calculate the power draw of the rod mill (at the pinion), Prm:
Prm
(kw)

Tr

kwr

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

Ball Mill Power Draw Calculations
1. Estimate the weight of balls, Tb, inside the mill in metric tons:

Tb

where

Vp
D
L
4.646

= Vp

=
=
=
=

D2 L
4

4.646

## Mill volumetric loading (fraction)

Mill inside diameter (meters)
Mill inside length (meters)
Average bulk density of a ball charge
(tons/m3 )

Tb
(metric tons)

Vp D L
0.2740

Cs
(rpm)

42.31
D

## 3. Calculate the mill speed as a % of critical speed, %Cs

%Cs = Actual mill speed (rpm)
Cs (rpm)

54

55

## 4. Calculate the value of S if your mill has a diameter greater than 3

meters (10 feet):
S = 0.3937 B - 0.4921 D
2
where

## B = Make-up ball diameter (cm)

D = Mill inside diameter (m)

5. Calculate the power draw per metric ton of balls in the mill, kwb:
0.30
(3.2 - 3.0 Vp) %Cs
kwb = 4.879 D

(kw/metric
ton of balls)

[1

0.1
2(9 - 10 %Cs)

6. Calculate the power draw of the ball mill (at the pinion), Pbm:
Pbm = Tb x kwb
(kw)

]+S

## ROD AND BALL MILL POWER DRAW

GLOSSARY
Charge: The charge is composed of grinding media, solids, and
water.
Full grate discharge mills: A grinding mill from which the pulp is
discharged through a grate. "Full" grate implies that the
grate openings extend over the full diameter of the mill.
This results in a low pulp level in the mill.
Mill critical speed: The minimum mill rotational speed at which a
small particle will centrifuge on the internal wall of a grinding mill.
Mill power draw: The instantaneous work load created by the lifting
and tumbling of the charge measured at the pinion.
Overflow discharge rod/ball mills: A grinding mill from which the
slurry is discharged through the opening in the trunnion
because of the pulp level in the mill. This results in a high
pulp level in the mill.
Volumetric load: The fraction or percentage of the mill internal
volume that is occupied by the (bulk of the) grinding media
charge (voids and media).

56

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