Tecweigh, a Melbourne-based manufacturer of weighing solutions, is providing accuracy and reassurance to its quarrying customers with a range of weigh belt feeders.
Conveyor systems are an integral part of industrial mass production, enabling multiple items to be dispensed in the supply chain. But the system can become as useless as the dirt it delivers if it isn’t calibrated accordingly.
The repercussions of incorrect material weights or qualities have increased for the Australian quarrying industry of late with the introduction of Chain of Responsibility/gross vehicle mass obligations. Indeed, quarries can be held accountable for incorrect weights on a tipper truck, even if that truck is not part of its own fleet and being managed by a third party.
Further, accurate readings are important for quarries that need to provide the right grades and formulae for cement production and road construction materials, as dictated by roads and transport authorities around the country.
Recognising this situation, Tecweigh has custom-engineered a range of solutions to provide quarries peace of mind so they can get on with improving the efficiency of the many other processes that quarrying involves.
Conveyor belt scales and weigh belt feeders play an important role in minimising the risks for quarries of producing “bad batches” of end product.
Tecweigh business development manager Barry Gamble said that the two devices were quite similar – except one is designed for existing conveyor infrastructure while the other is custom-designed by Tecweigh.
“Say the customer has their own infrastructure running,” Gamble said, explaining the conveyor belt scales.
“Each scale has plus or minus three idlers which are shimmed level with the scale to ensure a smooth transition of the product over the weighing area. The centre idler is removed and remounted on the belt scale on a spreader bar connecting the two load cells and this becomes the weigh idler. We combine that weight information with belt speed data from the speed sensor which shows us the tonnes per hour.
“If you’re installing a weigh belt feeder, that’s when we provide both the conveyor infrastructure and drive mechanism.”
Gamble said weigh belt feeders are best-suited to meet a customer’s specific formula by blending aggregate products at exact percentages.
The weigh belt feeder’s shorter and more flexible nature – compared to a traditional conveyor – also allows it to be adapted to suit purposes such as truck-filling.
For example, weigh belt feeders can be fitted to a range of silos at the end of the conveying process to facilitate easier and more efficient filling of trucks en route to the weighbridge.
“You could have a silo of 5mm product, a silo of 10mm and a silo of 15mm, and then you can dispense a certain amount of each one as per the quarry customer’s requirements,” Gamble said.
“The benefit of the truck-filling is it guarantees one trip to the weighbridge. Normally, people will fill up a truck, the truck goes to the weighbridge, there’s not enough or too much material aboard, and the truck has to make another pass. With our products, we can fill to within a plus/minus percentage and the truck can go on its way.”
Tecweigh’s weigh belt feeders are custom-designed. The belt widths vary from 900–1600mm and lengths from 3–10m. For what the industry calls “the live load”, there are two load cells per weigh belt feeder and, depending on the throughput, the load cells can range from 30–300kg each.
Gamble added the average quarry would incorporate weigh belt feeders of about 3.2m in length.
“The longest weigh belt feeder we’ve manufactured is about 10m,” he said.
“It depends on what the customer requires to fill their battery limits and the delivery speed required. So going back to the silo application, if you’re just storing aggregate, you would want to fill trucks as quickly as possible and stop when you get to the right figure. However, if you’re overseeing the recipe blending application, you would want to control the blend as accurately as possible.”
The weigh belt feeders also use stainless steel, hermetically sealed IP66 load cells and utilise self-storing calibration weights.
Tecweigh reassures customers in more ways than one. Not only does it supply accurate and reliable weigh belt feeders, but it manufactures them in Australia at its Carrum Downs factory, in outer-suburban Melbourne.
This Australian Made certification has become increasingly important with supply chains tightening domestically and globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to its Australian Made credentials, Tecweigh can also provide a certificate from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce that shows its powdered steel and stainless-steel scales have been manufactured locally.
Gamble said there would not be a major quarry producer around Australia that doesn’t use Tecweigh’s conveyor weighing products on its sites, and the business caters to medium- and small-sized quarries alike. Tecweigh is also exporting its Australian-made steel products to China, Indonesia, the Philippines and other parts of south-east Asia.
Gamble also predicted that as the extractive industries wrestle with the dual challenges of skilled labour and automation, the need to improve product information and real time data would increase.
To that end, Tecweigh is working on next-generation iterations of its weighing solutions, promising some more reassurance for quarries in a period of uncertainty. •
For more information on Tecweigh’s weight belt feeders, visit tecweigh.com.au
This article also appears in the April edition of Quarry Magazine.