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Grinding Media for Mining: Steel Rods VS Steel Balls

Introduction- What is grinding media?

Grinding media are instruments used to break down or pulverize material in a mill. This could be material from mining, construction materials and more. It comes in different forms such as:

  • Alumina oxide balls
  • Cast-iron balls
  • Ceramic balls and cylinders
  • Soda lime glass.


We have three types of grinding media which we produce at Camasteel:

●    Forged steel grinding balls

Steel balls are components used as grinding media and as a rolling mechanism in rotary motion components like wheels and bearing. Steel balls are commonly used in automobiles for semi-precision bearings, as well as for other commercial uses.

●    Cast iron grinding balls

Cast iron grinding balls are grinding media with the geometric shape of a ball. They are manufactured  by casting molten iron tino chill molds or sand molds. They are used in large quantities in grinding mills for crushing coal, ores, cement, and many other objects.

●    Steel grinding rod

Grinding rods are a type of grinding media, made of steel, that has gone through specific degrees of heat treatments to enhance the wear and impact resistance of the material. Grinding rods are usually used in rod mills.

Steel Grinding BallsGrinding Rods & Cylpebs for Grinding MillNon-metallic grinding balls

Steel Grinding Balls, Grinding Rods & Cylpebs for Grinding Mill | Non-metallic grinding balls

What is a Steel Grinding Rod?

Steel grinding rods are high quality steel rods that have undergone various heat treatments to maximize the wear and impact resistance.

Rod mills are very similar to ball mills, except they use long rods for grinding media. The rods grind the ore by tumbling within the mill, similar to the grinding balls in a ball mill. To prevent the conditions leading to rod charge tangling, the length to diameter ratio is maintained at 1.4 to 1.6.

Quality Forged Steel Grinding Rod

Quality Forged Steel Grinding Rod

What is a Forged Steel Grinding Ball?

Forged Steel Grinding Balls are used in metallurgy and gold mining for grinding the ores. It is used for enrichment of extracted raw materials in drum mills. It used for the preparation of pulverized coal

Forged Steel Grinding Balls

Forged Steel Grinding Balls

What is a  Steel Ball Mill?

The ball mill is made up of a hollow section that spins down either a horizontal or a vertical axis. The section is packed with balls. The materials to be crushed are added and the balls move around inside the mill, colliding with the materials. Grinding balls are used to grind materials into fine powders.

Ball Mill for Mining

Ball Mill for Mining

What is a Steel Grinding Rod Used For?

Steel Grinding Rods are used in metallurgy and mining for grinding metal ores such as iron, copper, and gold. Further uses are listed below:

  • It is used for the processing of extracted minerals.
  • It can be used for grinding coke and friable non-metals.
  • It is used to grind material for glass.
  • It is also used to grind gravel to produce sand


Fine Crushing

Rod mill can be used as the fine crushing equipment to replace short-type cone crushers when crushing soft ores. It has a simple configuration, less costs and low dust pollution, which can save a lot of investment in dust removal machines.

Prevention of Over-Crushing

When the tungsten ore, tin ore or other rare metal ores are selected by gravity separation or magnetic separation, rod mill is often used to prevent over crushing.

Preliminary Grinding for Larger Capacity

In the two-stage grinding process, rod grinding machine is generally used as the first grinding equipment, which has the advantages of larger production capacity and higher efficiency.

What are Steel Grinding Balls used for?

Steel Grinding balls are used in the mining, coal, construction (for example, to make cement) and other industries: in ball mills as grinding bodies for grinding materials by impact, abrasion and crushing. Some of the uses are listed below:

  • It is used for enrichment of extracted raw materials in drum mills.
  • It is used for the preparation of pulverized coal.
  • It is used for grinding materials for pottery in ball mills.
  • It is used for making cement in cement industries.
  • It is also used for oil processing.


The uses can also be placed into categories. Let's take a further look:

Steel balls for mining

Ball mill has a wide range of applications. It can grind metal ore and non-mental ores, which is suitable for hard materials, such as quartz, gold ore, copper ore, iron ore, potash feldspar, etc.

Construction and Industrial uses of steel balls

A steel ball mill can also be applied in the industries such as cement, construction materials, fireproofing materials, chemical fertilizer, ore beneficiation, glass and ceramics. And the fineness of the finished product can reach 800 meshes.

What is the difference between Steel Rods and Steel Balls?

The difference between grinding media steel rods and steel balls is that the ball mill and the rod mill are suitable for grinding different materials. This along with characteristics like the density and size of each product differentiates them.

Quality Steel Grinding Balls and Steel Rods For Mining

Quality Steel Grinding Balls and Steel Rods For Mining

These differences between steel balls and steel rods can be measured by:

1. Selection by material's hardness

Ball mill has a strong adaptation of material, and it is suitable for grinding hard materials, such as slag, iron ore, copper ore, etc.

Rod mill is suitable for grinding brittle material, such as rare metals.

2. Selection by required particle size

The steel ball and the mineral material are in point contact, so the finished product has a high degree of fineness, but it is also prone to over-grinding. Therefore, it is suitable for the production with high material fineness and is not suitable for the gravity beneficiation of metal ores. When the required particle size of the finished product is less than 0.5mm, it is recommended to use a ball mill.

The steel rod and the material are in line or surface contact, and most of the coarse particles are first crushed and then ground. Therefore, the finished product is uniform in quality, excellent in particle size, and high in qualification rate.

When the finished product size is required to be 1 to 3mm, it is recommended to use a rod mill.

3. Selection by the work site

In the design of the dressing plant, it is usually necessary to design the floor plan of the grinding workshop in advance, so it is necessary to consider the shape and size of the equipment. The cylinder shape of the rod mill and the ball mill is different: the cylinder of the rod mill is a long type, and the floor area is large. The ratio of the length to the diameter of the cylinder is generally 1.5 to 2.0; The cylinder of the ball mill is a barrel or a cone. And the ratio of the length to the diameter of the cylinder is small, and in most cases the ratio is only slightly larger than 1, and the floor area is small, too.

Which is better- Steel Balls or Grinding Rods?

Due to the similarities of both steel rods and steel balls, it may be quite a task determining which is better. Both bring about efficiency but to decide which grinding media type is better for you, It should be considered whether the equipment installation conditions can be met when selecting.

To learn more about grinding media and how to establish which one works best for you, please watch the video below:

Whilst the ball mill and the rod mill are the same type of machine on the appearance, there are still great differences in the interior. It is very necessary to select a suitable machine for the production to optimize the product effect and maximize its efficiency.

Moreover, Camasteel offers you the opportunity to get the best recommendation from our esteemed representatives, who are experts in the business of steel making and usage. These recommendations are offered based on the location, weather, budget, industry and intended use of our clients. Contact  Camasteel today for your quality grinding media, in bulk purchase.

Where to buy Steel Rods and Steel Balls?

You may be able to find steel grinding rods and forged steel grinding balls in small quantities in your area. But if you want to buy large quantities of steel rods and steel balls, it is preferable to import directly from the manufacturers. This guarantees the issuing of certifications and cost savings, making it better than hot-hipped grinding rods and forged steel balls in small quantities locally or from a distributor.

At Camasteel, we have steel rods and steel balls for your bulk purchase. If you require bulk quantities of grinding media, you can purchase steel grinding rods and forged steel grinding balls right here on our website!

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