A Spanish technology provider for the ceramics industries, replaces a conventional austenitic grade with Outokumpu’s duplex LDX 2101® in silos for atomized clay, achieving better durability, corrosion resistance and economy.
Clay accounts for a good part of the Spanish economy. It is the raw material for tiles, bricks and other ceramics, which are some the country’s main export items. The products find their way to approximately 180 countries, and the trade is valued at more than 2 billion euros. To accomplish this, the industry consumes millions of tons of clay each year, atomized into a fine grain size.
To be able to handle the clay properly and ensure high product quality, clay suppliers need stainless steel silos for the intermediate storage and distribution of this aqueous product; if made from carbon steel, the silos would corrode and contaminate the clay.
Clay silos have traditionally been fabricated from the standard austenitic grade 1.4301/1.4307 (304/304L). Today, however, this grade’s standing in this application is challenged by the newcomer LDX 2101®, Outokumpu’s proprietary duplex grade.
While 1.4301 fights corrosion adequately well in clay silos, it suffers from abrasion caused by the stone product which is in frequent motion (moving down in silos as product is being drawn out). To find a solution, Spanish ceramics technology providers have turned their eyes to LDX 2101®, attracted to the grade’s hardness that solves the problem, as well as to its many additional benefits that help enhance the competitiveness of the Spanish ceramics industries.
Talleres Jois is the first to switch to LDX 2101®, having completed 40 new silos for the Spanish atomized clay supplier Nuevas Atomizadas in summer 2007.
With technical assistance and support from Outokumpu’s Spanish team, Talleres Jois convinced Nuevas Atomizadas that LDX 2101® would award them with a long maintenance-free service life. The grade has mechanical strength close to double that of austenitic grades, and better corrosion resistance compared to 1.4301. The strength allows for considerable reductions in material thickness, resulting in major weight savings. Importantly, LDX 2101® has a very low nickel content (1.5%), which translates into good price stability at times of sharply fluctuating nickel price levels.
Talleres Jois fabricated the LDX 2101® clay silos for Nuevas Atomizadas from 2.5mm-thick sheet; using 1.4301, sheet thicknesses must be between 3.0mm and 6.0mm. In the conical bottom section of the silos, the fabricator used 4.0mm thickness, down from the traditional 6.0mm.
Talleres Jois’s Managing Director Juan Vicente Bono comments: “Our experience with LDX 2101® has been very positive. Despite its high mechanical strength, it’s easy to bend and has good machinability. Overall, we are happy with the material, as well as with Outokumpu’s efforts to develop this new application with us.”