• Short case studies of solutions delivered across a range of industries


Sinter breaker stars





The sintering process used in the steel and associated industries for compacting and forming solid masses of material by heat and pressure results in the exposure of sinter stars to extreme conditions, resulting in aggravated wear. The sinter breaker, situated at the end of the sinter plant, is constantly exposed to extreme levels of wear due to impact and mineral abrasion, all occurring at elevated temperatures. This combination of wear mechanisms makes condition monitoring and management of sinter breakers highly complex and the selection of their materials and design crucial factors to consider.


For over 50 years, our technical experts at Welding Alloys developed unique wear solutions for components, such as sinter stars used in the steel industry. One such example is our innovative 3D-Carb™ technology, which came about through ongoing research and development and our partnerships with leading, global universities, customers, and research institutions, keeping us at the forefront of wear protection.

The effectiveness of our 3D-Carb™ solution was fully demonstrated when we approached a sinter plant customer in the steel industry and requested a meeting to introduce our wear solutions. The customer had a small team of on-site technical resources responsible for managing component wear and maintenance but expressed dissatisfaction with the rapid sinter star deterioration experienced over the previous two years.

During the initial customer meeting, our team presented the Welding Alloys class-leading range of wear solutions, including our 3D-Carb™, showing performance improvement data collected from previous projects in the steel industry. Shortly afterwards, our team was invited back to undertake a more in-depth, on-site analysis and to propose a long-term sinter star wear protection solution.

The data collected enabled our team to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the specific challenges and to provide a total cost analysis of implementing a 3D-Carb™ solution for the plant. Customer records revealed that the sinter stars lasted on average only nine months before deteriorating beyond productive use due to the excessive wear the sinter stars experienced. The stars were simply not performing at acceptable industry norms, and the customer was forced to frequently interrupt production in order to perform much-needed repairs. The increased downtime and associated maintenance costs led to reduced production output and sinter quality of the plant.


Reduced productivity due to frequent repairs to the sinter stars


Welding Alloys 3D-Carb™ solution


300% increased in sinter star lifetime

In the final Welding Alloys proposal to the customer, our team provided substantive cost-benefit data, as well as technical data that demonstrated the potential value of using a 3D-Carb™ solution in their plant. The customer agreed that by maintaining the sinter star geometry with our solution, the stars would be more resistant to wear. Uninterrupted production for longer periods would also result in an increase in productivity and a decrease in downtime and maintenance, directly impacting on and lowering overall maintenance cost of the plant.

Upon acceptance of the Welding Alloys proposal, the local Integra™ Services team began by redesigning the teeth of the sinter stars using a highly alloyed chromium cast iron with a high concentration of complex carbides, then proceeded to hardface the surface to increase resistance to wear. By redesigning the teeth, the stars would be able to maintain their shape far better and teeth could be replaced separately from the discs, making maintenance easier. Once the stars had been manufactured, our team prepared the series of stars for shipment to the customer.

After the stars had been in use for nine months, we conducted a follow-up visit to analyse the performance of the stars. During this visit, the customer told us that they were extremely satisfied with the performance of the solution. Even after nine months of use, the stars were showing minimal wear and sinter production was at an all-time high.

Before the Welding Alloys 3D-Carb™ solution was implemented, sinter stars lasted a mere nine months. Based on the current rate of wear on the 3D-Carb™ stars, it is expected that they will last for up to 39 months or roughly 300% longer.

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