MechProTech | MPT

Ball Mills in the Mineral Processing Industry

Ball mills are crucial for grinding and pulverising ores and other materials. Their significance lies in their ability to reduce particles to finer sizes, facilitating the subsequent extraction of valuable minerals.

Efficient mineral processing is essential for the optimal performance of industrial applications; in this article, we unpack the function of Ball Mills, introducing MechProTech’s Ball Mill OEM equipment.

The General Function of Ball Mills

A ball mill is a grinder used for grinding and blending materials for mineral dressing processes, paints, pyrotechnics, ceramics, and selective laser sintering.


Ball mills have various designs and functions, ranging from laboratory-scale versions to large industrial models.

  • The ball mill consists of a large cylindrical shell, typically made of steel or other materials, and lined with abrasion-resistant materials to protect it from wear and tear.
  • Inside the shell, grinding media, usually steel or ceramic balls, are filled, the size and quantity of which can vary depending on the milling process.
  • The cylinder is mounted on bearings and is rotated around its axis, either by an external motor or by gears.
  • Additionally, the cylinder has openings at both ends – an inlet for feeding materials into the mill and an outlet for discharging the ground material.

How It Works

It operates on the principle of impact and attrition: size reduction is achieved by the impact as the balls drop from near the top of the shell.

  1. Loading the Mill: The ball mill is loaded with the material to be ground and the grinding media (balls). The material can be fed into the mill either wet or dry.
  2. Rotating the Mill: Once loaded, the cylindrical shell starts rotating around its horizontal axis. Various mechanisms, such as gears, belts, or direct drives, can facilitate this rotation.
  3. Grinding Process: As the shell rotates, the grinding media inside the mill is lifted along the rising side of the shell and then cascades down or drops from near the top of the shell. This movement causes impact and attrition forces, which grind the material into finer particles.
    • Impact: The balls fall from near the top of the shell, impacting the material below and crushing it.
    • Attrition: The rolling and sliding action of the balls against the material grinds it into finer particles.
  4. Continuous Operation: In a continuous ball mill, the material flows through the mill, entering at one end and exiting at the other. In batch operations, the mill is loaded, operated for a certain time, and then emptied.
  5. Discharging the Product: Once the material reaches the desired fineness, it is discharged from the mill through the outlet. The ground material is then ready for further processing or use.

Detailed Function

  • Rotation and Lifting: The shell’s rotation causes the grinding media to lift along its inner wall until it cascades down due to gravity.
  • Impact Zone: When the media falls, it impacts the material at the bottom of the mill, causing it to break into smaller pieces.
  • Attrition Zone: The rolling and sliding of the media along the sides and bottom of the shell create a grinding action that further reduces the size of the material.

> See MechProTech’s Ball Mills

Applications of Ball Mills in Mineral Processing

Ball mills are widely used in the beneficiation process for various ores and minerals, including gold, copper, iron, and zinc.

They fall part of the comminution process, where ores are crushed to separate valuable minerals from the gangue. In mineral processing plants, ball mills are employed in grinding circuits to reduce the particle size of the ore further, enabling the liberation of the desired mineral for subsequent extraction.

Efficiency and Optimisation of Ball Mills

Several factors influence ball mill efficiency, including the speed of rotation, the size of the feed material, and the size and density of the grinding media.

Performance can be improved through:

  • Optimisation techniques such as adjusting the mill speed, ensuring the proper size distribution of the grinding media, and maintaining an optimal filling level.
  • Advanced technologies, such as automated control systems and real-time monitoring.

MechProTech OEM Equipment

Speaking of efficiency and optimisation, MechProTech’s ball mills and chargers are part of our trusted comminution equipment range.

TITAN Ball Mills

The TITAN Ball Mills, based on the MPT TITAN™ design, are renowned for their durability and high performance. These mills are girth gear and dual pinion driven, with self-aligned flanged motors running on hydrodynamic oil-lubricated bearings. This robust design ensures reliable operation and long service life, even under the most challenging conditions.

Key Features of TITAN Ball Mills:

  • Girth Gear & Dual Pinion Drive: Provides maximum torque and power transmission for high grinding efficiency.
  • Self-Aligned Flanged Motors: Ensures optimal alignment and reduces maintenance requirements.
  • Hydrodynamic Oil Lubricated Bearings: Offers superior lubrication and minimizes friction, enhancing the lifespan of the mill.

Performance and Efficiency

The TITAN design enables you to run a full process load with a 40% ball charge at 80% of the critical speed, achieving maximum grinding power for every shell size. This design ensures that the mills operate at peak efficiency, delivering optimal particle size reduction and throughput.

Standard Mill Types Available

MechProTech offers a range of standard mill types to suit various applications and processing requirements:

  1. Overflow Ball Mill: Suitable for applications where a finer grind is desired. It allows the ground material to overflow out of the mill.
  2. Grated / Diaphragm Ball Mill: Designed to discharge material through slots or grates, providing efficient grinding and separation.
  3. Peripheral Discharge Ball Mill: This mill features discharge ports around its periphery, allowing quick removal of the ground material.
  4. Rod Mill: Uses long rods for grinding media, ideal for coarse grinding applications.

Integration with TITAN Automatic Ball Charger

To further enhance the performance of the TITAN Ball Mills, MechProTech offers the TITAN Automatic Ball Charger.

This automated grinding media feeder is designed to maintain the optimal grinding media load in the mill, ensuring consistent power draw and efficient operation. The PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers) is programmed to monitor the power draw of the ball mill, automatically dispensing grinding media when needed to maintain the desired load and optimise milling conditions.

Choose MechProTech for Your Comminution Equipment

Ball mills’ efficiency and performance can be optimised through proper design, maintenance, and advanced technologies like MechProTech’s TITAN Ball Mill and TITAN Automatic Ball Charger.

Investing in cutting-edge equipment improves operational efficiency and contributes to a more sustainable and productive future for the mineral processing industry.

Reach out to our team and find out how we can improve your process efficiency. 

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