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Difference and Choice of 2 Common Mills, Ball Mill and Grinding Mill

user avatar By Hubery Editer

At present, the common grinding equipment on the market are ball mill and grinding mill, both of which can be used for powder production. Investors often struggle with the selection between the two kinds of milling machine. 

This article analyses the following aspects of ball mill and grinding mill to give some suggestions on how to select a suitable mill. At the end of the article you will see a comparison of the table forms for you to choose from more clearly.

Why Choose Grinding Mill or Ball Mill?

Before understanding the difference between ball mill and grinding mill, we first overview the general situation when we shall make choice between ball mill and grinding mill.

As we know, ball mill and grinding mill are mainly as the equipment for making powder. Generally, a grinding mill or ball mill is used in all powder production lines that grinds large pieces of ore into fines for the next production process. For example, phosphate powder is needed in the production of phosphate products. A grinding mill or ball mill is used to grind the phosphate ore into powder.

When to choose the ball mill and when to choose the grinding mill? In the following text, we analyze the structure principle, working mode, applied materials, production capacity, cost and other aspects to show a clear comparation between these two milling machine stars.

Ball Mill VS Grinding Mill.jpg

Ball mill VS Grinding mill

What is the Difference Between Grinding Mill and Ball Mill?

Grinding mill is also called grinding machine, pulverizer or grinder to be distinguished from ball mill. As the key milling equipment, there are considerable differences between grinding mill and ball mill from the outside and inside.

Method of Operation

From the view of method of operation, grinding mill uses the method of dry grinding, while ball mill adopts the method of dry grinding as well as wet grinding. For this reason, there are fewer requirements for the moisture of material in ball mill grinding process.

For example, grinding mill is the better choice for making powder of gypsum or other materials the like that cannot contact with water. While in the powder production line for some metal ore, wet grinding of ball mill is the more recommended and its dry grinding is the following recommendation.

Different grinding methods result in different grinding efficiency. Investors shall consult professional engineers according to their own requirements.

Dry grinding of grinding mill VS Wet grinding of ball mill-video

Applicable Materials and Industrial Fields

Grinding mill is more used to process the soft non-metallic materials with Mohs hardness of 5/6 grade and below, and below 6% humidity, such as dolomite, limestone, potassium feldspar, barite, calcite, talc, marble, fluorite, activated clay, bentonite, kaolin, cement, gypsum, etc.

The ball mill is suitable for all grindable materials. For example, metal ores can be processed by ball mill including gold ore, copper ore, iron ore and chromium ore, etc., and non-metallic ores including cement clinker, slag, quartz sand, feldspar and limestone and so on.

In the view of application areas, both of ball mill and grinding mill can be used in building materials production, coal mine processing, cement production and other fields. What is different is that the ball mill can also be used in metal ore dressing and some other plants for its ability to grind harder materials.

Applications examples of ball mill and grinding mill.jpg

Difference on applications between ball mill and grinding mill

Grinding Fineness

Depending on fineness demand, investors need different products. At this point the appropriate powder machine can be selected based on the discharge size requirements.

Grinding mill operated more precisely. The grinding efficiency is improved by the grinding roller and grinding ring and the size of discharged powder can be adjusted in 80-800/1000 mesh. It is also equipped with a powder separation machine, which can quickly screen unqualified materials and return them for re-grinding.

Ball mills are different. The grinding media is unfixed steel ball, etc., which produces larger sized powder than grinding mill. the size of the discharged product can mainly be adjusted between 40-250 mesh. If the size of discharged product is uneven, it is needed to equip a powder separating machine.

Under normal circumstances, in addition to the material itself, the discharge fineness of the grinding mill is adjusted by the fan air volume, the roller speed, ability of the analyzer etc. while the ball mill is mainly adjusted by the length of the roller and grinding cylinder specifications.

Production Capacity

Influenced by the material hardness and size as well as the discharge size requirement, the production capacity of the grinding machine and ball mill is different.

According to the fineness requirements of discharged material, the shift production capacity of the grinding machine can be adjusted between 0.6-176 tons. Ball mill production capacity can be adjusted between 0.65-615 tons.

In general, according to the grinding process and investors demand, manufacturers can provide customized grinding machine and ball mill with different output capacity.

Occupied Area

Because of the different structure, the occupied area of grinding machine and ball mill is obviously different.

As mentioned above, the grinding machine is of vertical structure. The grinding device and powder separation device are relatively compacted as a whole. The ball mill is of the horizontal structure, powder separation device needs to be matched exclusively. Its structure is relatively loose. In addition, the length of the ball mill grinding cylinder is adjusted to meet the discharge size requirements.

Therefore, the difference of occupied area is clear just from the appearance. In view of a sole machine unit, grinding machine takes less area than ball mill, for which the land investment is lower than ball mill.

Occupied area difference between grinding mill and ball mill.jpg

Occupied area difference betweengrinding mill and ball mill

Working Principle and Structure

The grinding machine is of vertical structure. A plum stand is arranged inside to hang the grinding rollers. When the grinding machine is working, the rotated center shaft drives the grinding rollers. With the action of centrifugal force, the grinding roller swings outward and compacts the grinding ring. The shovel blade picks up the material and send it between the grinding roller and grinding ring.

The ball mill is a horizontal structure. When ball mill works, the rotation of grinding body drives the steel balls inside. The grinding media, steel balls, reach a high point and fall down. The compaction against each other grinds materials into powder. The product is discharged through the discharge grates.

Inside the ball mill, lining plate is equipped to protect the cylinder body from direct impact and friction from the grinding media and materials. At the same time, different forms of lining plates are used to adjust the movement state of the grinding media, so as to enhance the grinding effect of the grinding media on the materials and improve the grinding efficiency.

Principle difference between ball mill and grinding machine .gif

Principle difference between ball mill and grinding machine


In addition to the product quality and performance, investors are more concerned about the cost of ball mill and grinding machine.

There are many factors that affect the price of the ball mill and grinder, such as capacity, production process, raw materials of the milling machine, manufacturers and so on. As we all know, the larger demand for production, the bigger of the milling machine, and the more investment.

Well, in general, the cost of a single grinder is lower than ball mill when these two milling machines meet the material and capacity requirements.

Environmental Protection

With the increasing global concerns to culture and ecology, environmental protection can also be considered as a factor of grinder machine and ball mill selection.

Compared with ball mill, the grinder machine produces less noise, thus less noise pollution. In addition, the grinder machine can be equipped with dust removal device to reduce dust pollution.

Therefore, if ball mill and grinder machine both meet your requirements, while your factory is closer to the residential area or more environmental protection is needed, grinder machine may be a better choice.

How to Choose a Suitable Mill?

To sum up, the choice of grinding mill and ball mill is based on a comprehensive consideration.

If you need a powder making equipment for process metal ore, ball mill is a better choice;
If you need more fine product, grinding mill is your only choice;
If you have more production requirements, and are not so concerned about the powder fineness, you can choose a professional ball mill manufacturer;
If both kinds of milling machine meet your needs, in order to save costs, the grinding mill may be more suitable for you.

… …

Of course, different requirements, different equipment. Here is a simple collation in form of table for you, so that you can understand the needs more clearly.

Grinding millBall mill
Milling partsGrinding rollers and grinding ringSteel balls
Materials Requirements Mohs hardness<5/6,moisture<6%Any grindable materials
Working methodsDry grindingDry grinding + Wet grinding
Grinding finenessAdjusted from 80-800/1000 meshAdjusted from 40-250 mesh
CapacityShift capacity: 0.6-176T0.65-615TPH
Occupied AreaSmallerLarger
Environment protectionLess noise, dust remover deviceMore noise
Note: all the data are based on the objective circumstances of Fote Machinery products; expect for the material requirements and working method, other data comparation is based on the situation that two kinds of mills are both adoptable.

Any questions about the choice of grinding machine and ball mill, please feel free to consult the online engineer. 40-years of professional powder equipment manufacturer, Fote Machinery, will provide you with customized solution and patient service.

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