Transfer point optimisation key to productivity improvements

Maintenance teams are quick to notice a decrease in productivity, especially when frequent downtime occurs over long periods.

Other factors for stoppages include cleaning time due to spillage and repair to the damaged conveyor belt and structure.

Neil Kinder, CEO of Australian-owned conveyor components supplier Kinder Australia, said that in downtime the spotlight often turned to maximising performance.

“Paying time and attention to enhancing the performance of a plant’s conveyor system can have long-lasting profitability and productivity benefits,” he said.

The core of bulk handling operations relies on quickly and efficiently transporting materials from one conveyor belt to another. Minimal spillage, no damage to the material and the retention of the belt’s structural integrity are all crucial to the long-term viability of a materials handling operation.

“A critical element of an effective conveyor system is the transfer point,” Kinder said. “By identifying, evaluating and optimising existing belt loading, sites can reduce many unpleasant issues, plus address safety issues of dust emissions. This process all leads to improving and extending the service life of the conveyor belt.”

Belt edge sag

A customer in Ormeau, Queensland, oversees an output of about 400,000 tonnes per annum and is involved with handling greywacke with gritty characteristics.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-I:2-Q:"Paying time and attention to enhancing the performance of a plant’s conveyor system can have long-lasting profitability and productivity benefits."-WHO:Neil Kinder, CEO of Kinder Australia}}The weight pressure of the transferred material loading was causing conveyor belt sagging issues between the supporting rollers. Belt edge sag caused material to spill through gaps between the skirting and belt, while general spillage was a problem. Small rocks could also get caught between the belt and skirting, causing premature groove lines on the belt’s top cover.

The impact of the spilled material caused dust emissions, requiring containment and deployment of labour to clear up the dust, as well as mitigating potential safety hazards and environmental issues.

The quarry addressed the belt sag issues by installing the K-Sure belt support system to control dust emissions and material spillage. The belt support system provided even, consistent support under the belt, utilising low friction ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene slide surface bars. The bars do not have moving parts, so there was no need to replace rollers in the foreseeable future.

Dust emissions solution

Similarly, maintenance teams at a Victorian quarry had dust emissions issues. The transfer point under the tertiary crusher was a source of constant, excessive spillage and caused significant dust emissions from the conveyor belt skirting system.

A 2.5m vertical impact drop height from the cone crusher and a -60mm material lump size were proof that the conveyed material was pooling. This was due to the material not moving in the direction of the conveyor belt. A combination of belt sag and inconsistent idler profile gave way to an ineffective skirting system. This inefficiency aggravated dust emissions and ongoing spillages.

“The maintenance team followed our recommendation to overhaul the conveyor system by fabricating a new tail section and installing the K-Impact and K-Sure belt support systems and the K-Ultra dual seal skirting system,” Kinder said.

He highlighted how the K-Impact modular system successfully stabilised the load at the transfer point, improving “material containment” and averting “additional maintenance and labour costs”.

Transfer points are instrumental for conveyor belt systems to run efficiently. Integral to this is the incorporation of an exceptionally designed and executed transfer chute.

“The key to measuring efficiency of transfer points is the continual monitor and assessment of the conveyor system, both before and after the load transfer point,” Kinder said.

Kinder Australia designs transfer points and engineering solutions that can resolve bulk materials handling problems. Recent additions to its product line include the K-Dynamic and K-Flexal elastic belt support systems, both designed for better absorption of energy and to provide an even weight dispersion of the conveyed material.

Additional cost advantages are also realised, such as improved wear life of the conveyor belt and components, and reduction in conveyor belt maintenance costs, which can assist the operational bottom line.

Source: Kinder Australia

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