Investing in a replacement rotary retort requires careful consideration. A maintenance manager’s top priorities include consistent hardening performance, maximum efficiency and longevity. Purchasing managers should be mindful of these needs while also considering how the replacement will fit into the long-term success of the business.
Remember, there are many factors that affect efficiency and lifespan. When your company starts planning for a retort replacement, it’s smart to work together to identify what’s most important to your operation so you can make the best purchase.
The Stats You Should Know
In addition to the typical failure area of your retort, here are a few statistics you should know as you begin to engage with vendors and collect quotes:
- The typical lifespan of your rotary retort
- Your historic replacement costs
- The costs associated with furnace downtime
Knowing these numbers is important for making a smart purchase, but sometimes they can be difficult to obtain. This information can be lost due to employee turn-over or poor record keeping. If that’s the case, do what you can to start tracking this information now – it will help with future purchases.
Two Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Vendors
Many people assume that the performance and lifespan they’ve seen with their retort is set and can’t be improved. Don’t make the mistake of re-ordering without exploring ways to improve your retort. Here are two questions to consider:
- How can we improve performance?
- How can we save on production costs?
An exploration into retort performance is likely going to include a discussion about design and materials. There are two types of retorts – cast and fabricated.
In a cast retort, a specific metal is poured into the mold which limits the ability to address failure points. Fabricated retorts can be made from a combination of different nickel alloys. These materials have a lower carbon content than cast materials. They also provide a tighter grain structure with greater ductility, resulting in a greater resistance to thermal fatigue.
Fabricated retorts also allow for greater design flexibility. You can use a mix of materials to address failure points – three or perhaps four different materials can be incorporated throughout the length of the retort.
While there are varying opinions on the performance and lifespan of cast versus fabricated retorts, our experience and data show the long-term advantages of fabricated retorts.
Retort Production Costs
Failure points and longevity are important discussion points when considering fabricated versus cast designs. Casting new molds translates to a greater expense and longer lead time.
Fabricated retorts can also be routinely rebuilt in the failed areas. By salvaging the remainder of the fabrication, you’ll save on the cost of multiple retort purchases.
Keep these suggestions in mind as you are exploring design, materials selection and investment. Make sure you carefully consider these factors along with your specific needs. A reputable company will work with you to determine the best solution.
Alloy Engineering offers retorts custom-fabricated from corrosion-resistant alloys for use in high-temperature environments. To learn more, contact us here or call us at 440.243.6800.