Innovative engineering design for productivity, safety

Mechanical conveyor problems and productivity irregularities are common challenges for today’s materials handling operations, with profitability expectations and continuous productivity deliverables also the norm.

These mechanical problems can be minor but can quickly escalate to frequent unscheduled production downtime if not identified and resolved in a timely manner. In turn, they can pave the way for potential safety hazards and clean-up costs due to material spillage and excessive dust emissions.

The key to on-site productivity, efficiency and safety can often be traced back to correct initial plant planning and design.

In recent years, materials handling components supplier Kinder Australia has invested in conveyor engineering/design software Helix, Solidworks and AutoCAD. By utilising AutoCAD in the production of two-dimensional layout drawings or Solidworks in the creation of three-dimensional modelling, Kinder’s team of mechanical engineering specialists can provide quarrying producers with comprehensive recommendations on the correct installation of conveyor components and bulk materials handling accessories and lining materials.

Cameron Portelli, Kinder’s senior mechanical engineer, heads the young and aspiring engineering team. Mechanical engineer Bradley Owen and undergraduate mechanical engineer Jack Cain assist him. Together they focus on advancing producers’ end to end handling processes, with productivity and safety at the core.

“The use of SolidWorks has streamlined our product development process,” Portelli said. “The innovative, detailed and customised conveyor componentry designs generated to solve our customers’ everyday problems can now be fast-tracked with ease and efficiency.”

Productivity and safety go hand in hand. With this in mind, the engineering team can use Simulation Finite Element Analysis, an upgrade to the Solidworks basic licence, to more accurately predict and design innovative products and solutions simulating real world scenarios. From there, the team can analyse results and optimise designs for future productivity improvements and gain.

New full-scale conveyor componentry projects and the troubleshooting of existing problems, on the other hand, are best handled with the Helix software, in which the three engineers are fully versed.

With today’s production facilities/operators concerned with increasing their outputs and reducing costs, the engineering team’s expertise in manoeuvring the Helix software helps producers define more accurate specifications and requirements that lead to optimum productivity and profitability outcomes.

For example, if the system is designed, commissioned and installed larger than required or necessary, operations can face high initial and ongoing maintenance costs. On the other hand, if it is underspecified, the resultant system can become overloaded and more likely to underperform, fail and experience production bottlenecks, affecting operational bottom lines.

“Our practical knowledge and installation experience have a global reach, with extensive customer networks at international, national and local locations,” Kinder Australia CEO Neil Kinder said. “For our customer base spanning a multitude of bulk materials handling industries and applications, overall conveyor design and componentry can be checked with Helix software, which ensures the correct product application and design duty is in place.”

With their Helix expertise, Kinder’s engineering team can provide comprehensive mechanical conveyor advice on:

  • Equipment selection for idlers, pulleys and shafts.
  • Conveyor pulley and idler shaft dimensions calculations.
  • Idler bearing life and shaft deflection calculations.
  • Size requirements pulleys and drives to minimise capital and spares holding cost.

“Field experience and direct liaison with our materials handling customers, in particular fixed plant maintenance supervisors, site managers and reliability engineers, provides invaluable insights into the mechanical, maintenance and safety issues experienced on-site,” Portelli said.

This knowledge of on-site intricacies has provided inspiration and ideas for future engineering designs and innovations. Portelli is confident his team will grow and take on highly technical, more customised projects, with the potential to design and install complete conveyor systems solutions for a diverse customer base.

Kinder Australia’s 3000m² warehouse facility in Braeside, Victoria, stores more than 8000 conveyor hardware components and accessories. The company supplies to every state and territory, and earlier this year announced it would begin supplying its products to the Asia-Pacific market.

Source: Kinder Australia

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