Solution Story: Engineer finds a better material for a heavy industrial machinery component

Knovel facilitates the adoption of a stronger steel alloy, delivering significant cost savings while extending product life

To extend the life and reduce service costs of a heavy milling machine, an equipment manufacturer sought a new steel alloy that would strengthen the machine’s protective chamber. The engineer tasked with finding this alloy turned to Knovel, an engineering information and data solution. With Knovel’s help, the company switched to an alloy that enhanced the machine’s durability while delivering measurable cost savings, significantly strengthening the company’s competitive advantage.

Equipment manufacturing materials selection - Knovel solution story

Challenge

A leading mining equipment manufacturer has complex, large-scale milling machines used in demanding environments around the world, often in remote locations. Designed for road-building projects, a particular type of milling machine used a rotor mounted inside a protective steel chamber, which undergoes significant wear due to the abrasive qualities of asphalt. Replacing the chamber required two trained mechanics working for three days, and in addition to the service costs, chamber replacement delayed customer projects up to two months. In light of these logistical difficulties, the company assigned a mechanical engineer to find a cost-effective material to extend the life of the chamber.

Solution

The engineer began by conducting a thorough investigation of various metals’ resilience to abrasion using Knovel’s extensive library of metal analyses. Meanwhile, Knovel’s comprehensive curated technical reference library on suitable stainless steel alloys enabled the engineer to see how each alloy compared against the one currently used in the machine. Once the engineer zeroed in on two alloys that might prove useful for strengthening the milling machine’s chamber, Knovel delivered comparisons of relevant data about each alloy, helping the engineer evaluate each metal’s strengths and weaknesses. After extensive research with Knovel, the engineer recommended a switch to a company-developed steel alloy for the protective chamber, instead of switching to an expensive, less-durable proprietary alloy.


Using Knovel’s comparisons - Knovel solution story

"Using Knovel’s interactive side-by-side comparisons, the engineer demonstrated that the use of the steel alloy developed in-house would deliver an 18 percent cost savings."

Impact

Using Knovel’s interactive side-by-side comparisons, the engineer demonstrated that the use of the steel alloy developed in-house would deliver an 18 percent cost savings. This insight enabled the company to design and manufacture a more durable version of the protective chamber, while simultaneously lowering costs. The use of the new alloy recommended by Knovel also increased the life of the milling machine’s protective chamber by 15 percent, which meant that substantial chamber-replacement interruptions to paving projects in remote areas would be less frequent—optimizing client resources and jobs calendars.


Knovel's engineering technical reference content - Knovel solution story

"Knovel contains engineering technical reference content that guide engineers on topics like extending a product’s life cycle."

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