Drill & Blast

Upgraded conveyor systems have proven results

Many quarries and mines still rely on old technology to power their conveyors, using indirect V-pulley or belt-drive systems. These exposed belts and pulleys require continual adjustment to optimise performance, and invariably require significant levels of safety guarding. Servicing these systems results in excessive conveyor downtime?both as a consequence of the constant attention required, and the time-consuming task of removing guarding before work on the drive systems can begin.

A company with first hand experience of this situation is construction materials producer Mawsons. At the company?s Glenrowan quarry in Victoria?s northeast, V-pulleys drove all the conveyors on-site. Additionally, most of the gear units in use were torque-arm types driven by remote three-phase electric motors via separate drive belts. With 25 conveyors on-site, maintenance on these drive systems was onerous and often impacted production.

When Mawsons decided to upgrade these drive systems, it turned to drive solutions specialist SEW-Eurodrive. ?We were looking for a suitable drive solution that would overcome the need for belts and pulleys,? says Mawsons quarry manager Trevor Gilbert. ?SEW?s direct drive solution promised to be a neater, simpler system that would minimise ongoing maintenance requirements.?

SEW-Eurodrive provided a total engineered solution which was robust enough to withstand demanding environments and requires minimal servicing. SEW-Eurodrive KT helical-bevel right-angled gear units were used, in conjunction with the company?s TorqLOC keyless hollow shaft mounting system. Two sizes of 2300Nm-rated gear units were supplied, each paired with a high efficiency motor up to 15kW in output. The drive packages were engineered to deliver reliable service in tough conditions, coupled with ?install and forget? convenience.

This solution delivers numerous advantages to EB Mawson. The drive system was straightforward to install, and the need for maintenance has been greatly reduced, due to the simplicity of the direct drive arrangement. The absence of exposed belts and pulleys enhances safety, and the reduced need for guarding facilitates quicker servicing, resulting in less production downtime. Moreover, SEW-Eurodrive?s TorqLOC innovative mounting system effectively overcomes the fretting-corrosion issues often associated with direct drive gear units, and facilitates their easy removal?even after extended periods of operation in harsh environments.

 ?This was the first time I had come across TorqLOC, and I was initially sceptical that it would be rugged enough for our operations. However, I?ve now installed this mounting system on some fairly heavy duty conveyors, and am incredibly impressed with its ease of installation, its reliable performance, and the simplified maintenance it allows,? says Trevor Gilbert. ?The quarry industry is often loath to install direct drive gear motors because of the myth that it?s hard to change conveyor speeds. With the solution SEW provided for us, we have only had to change the speed on one conveyor. This involved the simple removal of the gear unit, a modification of the ratios, and a return to service. The whole process was extremely straightforward.?

The SEW-Eurodrive solution has also improved the operating efficiency on-site. ?Direct drive systems will always outperform indirect systems in their efficiency, as there are fewer transmission elements to waste power, and no possibility of slippage within the drive mechanism,? says Craig Munro, SEW-Eurodrive?s technical sales representative. ?The overall operating efficiency of the solution we delivered to Mawsons is also significantly enhanced by the high efficiency motors used in the upgrade.?

Furthermore, without belt and pulleys, Mawsons is able to run its quarry operation with minimal spares. ?This alone has freed up tens of thousands of dollars worth of capital, previously tied up in spare belts and pulleys,? says Trevor Gilbert. ?With these new drive systems in place, we are able to rely on the stocks SEW keeps on its shelves in case we require gear unit or motor spares.?

Following the upgrade, the quarry at Glenrowan has never looked back. ?We have replaced virtually all our conveyor drives with the SEW gear, and have had an incredible run of trouble-free operation with these drive systems since,? says Trevor. ?We are currently installing the same motor and gear unit combination at our quarry site at Yabba in the north of Victoria, and I would have no hesitation in recommending their use to our other quarry managers.?

Source: SEW-Eurodrive/Relate Technical Communications

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