In ceramics, ball mills are used to grind down materials into very fine particles. Materials such as clay and glaze components can be broken down in a ball mill by getting placed into rotating or rolling jars with porcelain balls inside them. During milling, the porcelain balls pulverized the materials into an incredibly fine powder. Ball mills can be used to further break down or refine a single material, or you can place multiple materials into a ball mill jar to mix as you pulverize -- this is a very common industrial solution for mixing glazes that require the smallest of mesh sizes. Ball mills basically function like a mortar and pestle, but on a much larger scale.
Here at The Ceramic Shop, we carry ball mills and accessories produced by strong and reliable Shimpo. Shimpo's line of heavy duty ball mills allow for very precise grinding and mixing of both dry and wet materials. The porcelain jars are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from one liter to ten liters in capacity, so you can really customize your ball mill outfit to suit your needs. If you are a potter working out of your home or a shared studio, and dont have the space or budget for a full-scale ball mill setup, consider Shimpos ball mill wheel attachment -- this ingenious setup allows you to turn any standard potters wheel into a makeshift ball mill!
As the developer and manufacturer of industry-leading particle size reduction equipment, including Attritors (internally agitated ball mills) and DMQX horizontal media mills, Union Process is uniquely positioned to help you identify and source the correct grinding media for your application.
Union Process customers know they can rely on our extensive technical expertise and years of experience to ensure they get the right grinding media at the right time and the right price for their specific needs. Working in close consultation with our customers, our skilled technical service representatives reviewcustomer requirements like final particle size, physical compatibility and contamination concernsand then recommend media with the right characteristics, including:
metallic grinding medialike carbon steel, forged steel, stainless steel or chrome steel grinding balls are best for some applications, while others requirenon-metallic mediamade of alumina, ceramics, glass, silicon carbide, zirconium oxide or other specialized materials
Union Process is the source for the most up-to-date information on grinding balls and other media. Download our Grinding Media Literature (PDF) to view a detailed sheet, outlining factors to consider when selecting grinding media, along with specifications on the most common types of media.
Offering the optimal combination of grinding media knowledge and manufacturing expertise, Union Process takes your entire operation into account to identify the best grinding media to consistently generate the final particle size and shape required by your application, optimizing the cost effectiveness of your process and extending the life of your mills.
Backed by our long-standing commitment to customer satisfaction, we ensure quality manufacturing and reliable supply of grinding balls and media specifically engineered to meet the requirements of your most demanding milling applications.
Through-Hardened Carbon Steel Balls are magnetic and can be used in the food industry along with 440C stainless steel media. They are a low-cost media that are superior and recommended over case-hardened carbon steel media which have a soft core. They are packaged with no oil finishalways dry packedas they will rust in water.
Chrome Balls (steel type 52100) are through-hardened and tempered steel balls designed to achieve maximum strength and quality. Ball hardness is in the 6067 HRC range. They wear better than 440C stainless steel and through-hardened carbon steel. They are also recommended for applications where a through-hardened steel ball is needed in larger sizes ( and larger). They are sometimes packaged with a very light oil finish to reduce rust due to humidity.
440C Stainless Steel Balls are through-hardened and tempered throughout for maximum strength and quality. They are magnetic, and corrosion-resistant (generally rust-resistant). They are recommended for food applications and lighter colored slurries.
Forged Steel Balls are used for gold mining, cement factories, oil processing and large scale industrial applications. They are made by machine (standard) sizes 20mm75mm. They are manually made (hit by air hammer) sizes 75mm125mm. They have hardness 5563 HRC. All forged balls are through-hardened, and shipped in 55-gallon steel drums. They range in sizes from 20mm125mm. Standard lead time is 68 weeks FOB Akron, Ohio USA.
High Chrome Steel Balls can be used for many different applications. They are available in two grades1013% chrome (surface hardness 60 HRC, core hardness 58 HRC), and 1418% chrome (surface hardness 62 HRC, core hardness 60 HRC). They have a very rough black finish which quickly wears off during initial milling. After that, they have an excellent wear rate. They are available in sizes 6mm120mm. They are shipped in 55-gallon steel drums with standard lead time of 68 weeks FOB Akron, Ohio USA.
Union Process is the one source for 90%, 94%, 99.5% and 99.9% alumina media. 90% alumina is available in satellites and rod/cylinders. 94% alumina balls have excellent wear resistance with higher impact strength to save running costs with less contamination. They have great wear rate generally better than 90% or 99.5%. 99.5% alumina balls have the highest alumina content for a moderate price. The .5% impurity is MgO that is added to inhibit grain growth during sintering in the kiln. There is less than 0.1% silica in the media. 99.9% alumina balls are made of very pure and reactive (expensive) raw materials. They are for high purity alumina applications where contamination is a factor.
Alumina Beads are specially formulated to be used in high-energy mills in which a high degree of fineness is required. They are used in various industrial fields such as inks, paints, advanced ceramics, mining, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. They are a perfectly spherical shape with high mechanical properties and high wear resistance at a moderate price.
Silicon Carbide Balls are very high-cost grinding media that are used for milling same materials (silicon carbide ball to mill silicon carbide materials) to avoid contamination. They are only available in 5mm,10mm, 15mm and 20mm sizes. They are a special order item.
Silicon Nitride Balls are very high-cost grinding media that are used for milling same materials (silicon nitride ball to mill silicon nitride materials) to avoid contamination. They are now available in 2mm and 3mm and sizes up to 25mm. They are a special order item.
Tungsten Carbide media is the hardest and densest (highest specific gravity) media and is available in both satellites and balls upon request. They are available in sizes ranging from 3/32 to 1 in diameter. They are a high-cost media and are a special order item.
Zirconium Oxide Balls (95% ZrO2) are the strongest, best wearing ceramic media for metal-free, pharmaceutical and food processing grinding. These balls have a white, shiny appearance. They are also available in 38 and cylinders. This 95% grade is high-cost.
Zirconium Oxide SatellitesCeria stabilized (rare earth)are a cheaper zirconium oxide alternative for metal-free applications. They are a brown, shiny ball media that come in size ranges in the smallest sizes (ex: 0.4 0.6mm), then at 6mm come in uniform sizes (6mm, 8mm, etc.) up to 31mm.
Zirconium Silicate Beads are available in fused 68% ZrO2 beads which are a standard reliable media at low cost, and sintered 58% ZrO2 beads which have high breakage resistance, are durable and cost effective. They are used to microgrind paints, inks, dyes, magnetic coatings, minerals, agrochemicals and ceramics.
NOTE: Grinding balls and media are sold on a per pound basis, but ATTRITORS and DMQX-Mills are loaded by volume. Therefore, the more dense the media, the more pounds of media required. For instance, a machine requiring only 40 lbs. of stainless steel may require up to 80 lbs. of tungsten carbide. Information contained herein is accurate and reliable to the best of our knowledge, but our suggestions and recommendations cannot be guaranteed because the conditions of use are beyond our control.
Our skilled technical service representatives also are available for consultation and are always ready to assist you with the selection of grinding media that best answer your particular needs. For assistance, contact Media Sales by calling (330) 929-3333 x228 or byemailing us.
The Boca Bearing Company offers and extensive line of miniature, metric and inch, industrial grade balls. Sizes range from as small as .5 millimetersto as big as 3 inches. Different materials like steel, ceramic, plastic or glass can be used as outlined below. If you cannot find what you are looking for please feel free to contact us directly.
Metal balls are rolling, spherical elements that are used in check and ball valves, bearings, and other mechanical devices that provide rotary or linear motion. They are usually made from alloy steel, carbon steel or stainless steel. Metal balls are characterized by the Outer Diameter, Permissible Deviation, Surface Roughness and Tolerance. The Outer Diameter (OD) is the overall width or average diameter of the ball. Permissible Deviation is the greatest radial distance in a radial plane between a sphere around the metal ball surface and any point on the ball surface. Surface Roughness measures the irregularities that form on the surface, but are not significant deviations. Basic diameter Tolerance is the maximum allowable deviation average diameter from the diameter specified. Boca Bearings stocks a wide assortment of 52100 Chrome Steel Balls, 440C Stainless Steel Balls and Carbon Steel Balls.
Ceramic balls are rolling, spherical elements that are used in check and ball valves, bearings, and other mechanical devices that provide rotary or linear motion. They are made from inorganic, nonmetallic materials that are processed at high temperatures. Many ceramic balls are capable of achieving an extremely smooth surface finish to a high degree of tolerance. As a result Ceramic Balls have an extremely low coefficient of friction as compared to Metal Balls. Grinding removes cuts, scratches, scuffs, and other irregularities. Many ceramic balls exhibit much greater hardness than steel balls and are capable of handling much higher operating temperatures, resulting in longer life and improved reliability. Ceramic balls can also provide high stiffness, low thermal expansion, light weight, increased corrosion resistance, and electrical resistance. Boca Bearings stocks a wide assortment of Silicon Nitride Ceramic Balls, Alumina Oxide Ceramic Balls and Zirconia Ceramic Balls.
Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) Ceramic Balls are formed from a new material suitable for applications where high loads, high speeds and extreme temperatures are factors. Long life and the need for minimal lubrication make this material appropriate for extreme applications. Silicon Nitride is non-porous, non-magnetic, non corrosive, lighter than steel and, in ball form, is harder than steel. Because ceramic balls are non-porous they are virtually frictionless and are capable of spinning faster than steel balls.
The C-HIP Ceramic Balls are similar to our Si3N4 Ceramic Ball series, but these C-HIP ballsare made with by Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP). These ceramic ballshave an even greater density and hardness than a standard ceramic ball. Ceramic balls are suitable for applications where high loads, high speeds and extreme temperatures are factors. Long life and the need for minimal lubrication make this material appropriate for extreme applications. Ceramic is non-porous, non-magnetic, non corrosive and lighter than steel. In ball form, ceramic balls are also harder than steel and because ceramic balls are non-porous they are virtually frictionless and capable of spinning faster than steel balls.
Alumina Oxide (Al2O3) Ceramic Balls are resistant to most corrosive materials except for hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids or strong alkaline solutions. Alumina Oxide is non-porous, lighter than steel and, in ball form, harder than steel. Because ceramic balls are non-porous they are virtually frictionless and are capable of spinning faster than steel balls.
Stainless Steel 440C Series Balls containa martensitic-type stainless steel used extensively in bearing applications that require hardness, dimensional stability, corrosion resistance and toughness. Stainless Steel 440C Balls are resistant to corrosion from fresh water, steam, crude oil, gasoline, perspiration, alcohol, blood and food stuffs. Stainless Steel does contain some carbon so it is still slightly magnetic.
316 Stainless Steel contains chromium, nickel and small amounts of manganese and molybdenum which make it more resistant to chlorides and saline environments. 316 Stainless Steel is resistant to most forms of oxidation. It is used in industrial applications where chemical exposure is high. 316 is also frequently used in saltwater environments and in medical and surgical equipment.
304 Stainless Steel contains chromium, nickel and small amounts of manganese. 304 Stainless Steel is resistant to most forms of oxidation. The durability makes 304 easy to sanitize, and therefore ideal for kitchen and food applications and environments. 304 Stainless Steel is susceptible to corrosion from chloride solutions, and from saline environments like the coast, those conditions would warrant a different material need.
302Stainless Steel contains chromium andnickel. 302 Stainless Steel is resistant to most forms of oxidation. The primary difference between 302 stainless and 304 or 316 is that in addition to being corrosion resistant, it is also non-magnetic.
Chrome Steel 52100 Series Balls contain chromium and, due to thorough hardening, has excellent surface quality and high load capability. 52100 Chrome Steel is a universal material for many applications. Chrome Steel is magnetic.
Plastic Balls are made from a white hardened plastic. Plastic balls are often used in industrial applications for sizing, for non-crush applications, as rollers for tracks, among many other applications. Plastic balls are able to be graded in precision from 1-100.
Hollow Stainless Steel Balls can be made from several different types of stainless steel. These hollow metal balls are used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. They are often used as float valves, also they are used as mechanisms for weight measurement. These are also popular among various commercial entities they are used as flag pole toppers. They are often times used by mixed media artists in their outdoor sculptures, kinetic art pieces,and in other artistic endeavors.
Zirconia is inert to corrosive materials, with the exception of hydrofluoric acid and hot concentrated sulfuric acid. Zirconia is lighter than steel, non-magnetic and has a maximum useful temperature of 1800F or 968C.
Metallic alloy balls such as brass balls and bronze balls exhibit excellent corrosion resistance to chemicals, water, gas and oil. Brass balls are used in measurement devices, flow meters, pumps and valves. Brass balls are also ideal for electrical conductivity, electrical appliances and electrical contacts. Due to the low friction properties of brass balls gasoline rollover valves and fire equipment hose couplings are also common applications.
Brass balls are very hard, very salt water stable, water resistant. Due to its unique properties, which include corrosion resistance, common uses for Brass include applications which require low friction. These applications can include fittings (fasteners and connectors), tools, appliance parts, and ammunition components. It is good for electroplating and any electrical conductivity requirements. The metal has both good heat and electrical conductivity (its electrical conductivity can be from 23% to 44% that of pure copper), and it is wear and spark resistant (energy exploration).
Soft Carbon Steel Balls are used in applications where the ball would need to be welded, modified, or drilled. The softer carbon steel allows these balls to be modified more easily than a standard chrome steel or stainless steel ball.
S-2 Rockbit Steel balls are hardened steel balls often used in mining and drilling applications. The steel has been hardened to withstand the heavy loads and abrasive conditions associated with drilling into the ground. The S-2 Rockbit Balls are resistant to wear associated with the most extreme conditions.
In his book Ball Milling Theory and Practice for the Amateur Pyrotechnician, Lloyd includes a section on casting your own lead media. Some folks melt used lead automobile wheel weights or hardened linotype as the raw material for casting media. Lloyd does begin this chapter with the warning, though: "Casting metals is dangerous. If you don't have experience, make up the molds, then seek a plumber or firearms reloader for assistance." There are other types of media as well. Here's a shot of some stainless steel media and ceramic media. The stainless steel must be spark-resistant, non-magnetic steel in the 300-series. Alloys 304 and 316 are the most common stainless steels of this type. High-density alumina ceramic media is the type I've heard of most often being used in ball mills.
Our automatic production line for the grinding cylpebs is the unique. With stable quality, high production efficiency, high hardness, wear-resistant, the volumetric hardness of the grinding cylpebs is between 60-63HRC,the breakage is less than 0.5%. The organization of the grinding cylpebs is compact, the hardness is constant from the inner to the surface. Now has extensively used in the cement industry, the wear rate is about 30g-60g per Ton cement.
Grinding Cylpebs are made from low-alloy chilled cast iron. The molten metal leaves the furnace at approximately 1500 C and is transferred to a continuous casting machine where the selected size Cylpebs are created; by changing the moulds the full range of cylindrical media can be manufactured via one simple process. The Cylpebs are demoulded while still red hot and placed in a cooling section for several hours to relieve internal stress. Solidification takes place in seconds and is formed from the external surface inward to the centre of the media. It has been claimed that this manufacturing process contributes to the cost effectiveness of the media, by being more efficient and requiring less energy than the conventional forging method.
Because of their cylindrical geometry, Cylpebs have greater surface area and higher bulk density compared with balls of similar mass and size. Cylpebs of equal diameter and length have 14.5% greater surface area than balls of the same mass, and 9% higher bulk density than steel balls, or 12% higher than cast balls. As a result, for a given charge volume, about 25% more grinding media surface area is available for size reduction when charged with Cylpebs, but the mill would also draw more power.
When you run a large-scale studio or classroom that goes through a lot of clay, recycling the scraps by hand is often not an option the work can be laborious and time-consuming, not to mention hard on the wrists and hands. This is the reason that pugmills are such coveted pieces of equipment for programs where there are large amounts of clay to be reclaimed and recycled. They truly are the potters best solution for transforming scraps into workable clay. These industrial machines, with their large internal mixing blades, can be used to thoroughly reconstitute clay to a desired consistency and, in some cases, additionally remove air from, or de-aerate, clay bodies. Clay that has dried out or become too stiff to work with can be run through a pugmill with some water, which helps to evenly add moisture to the clay body and bring it back to life! Again, this can be an ideal alternative to wedging clay by hand, particularly if this motion could cause discomfort in your wrists or arms. In this way, pugmills can save both time and money.
Some pugmills have an additional vacuum mechanism that acts to remove air that inevitably becomes entrapped in the clay during mixing. This makes the motion of a pugmill similar to the act of wedging, except you can go through much larger volumes of clay. Clay that has been de-aired is preferred by many people, particularly those who throw on the wheel. By removing the air bubbles, you can cut back on production mishaps, such as pottery breaking during firing due to trapped air pockets. Even without this additional vacuum feature, most pugmills do a great job of cutting back on the amount of air that has been folded into a clay.
If you are interested in mixing clay from scratch, or recycling scraps of clay at various stages of drying, then you may consider a combination clay mixer/pugmill. These machines combine the pugging ability of pugmills with the mixing properties of traditional clay mixers, allowing you to add bone dry scraps in with water to create evenly mixed and wedged clay. You also have the option of working from a recipe based on dry materials alone. This method is particularly great for artists working with finicky clay bodies such as porcelain you will be able to easily make a homogenous claybody with a specific consistency on a regular basis!