Tag Archives: Beumer Group

BEUMER Group provides further customer support with Smart Glasses

BEUMER Group, a designer and manufacturer of overland and pipe conveyors, has tackled the need to address machine malfunctions and standstills as soon as possible by developing the BEUMER Smart Glasses.

BEUMER Customer Support technicians use these specialised glasses to take a “virtual look over the shoulder” of a customer’s service technician to solve the problem together, with the digital solution reducing travel times and costs.

“With the BEUMER Smart Glasses, our customers can get in live contact with our service experts anywhere and at any time,” Christopher Kirsch, Team Leader of BG.evolution, said.

The Smart Glasses originated from the university location of Dortmund, with BEUMER Group bringing this digital innovation into the group to address customer needs.

Together with their colleagues from BEUMER Customer Support and the Department for Research and Development in Beckum, the employees in Dortmund made this digital solution ready for the market.

“From October 2018 to January 2019, long-term tests were carried out with various customers, including one with live testing with a long-term customer from the building materials industry,” Kirsch said. “We were successful in concluding this phase.”

Kirsch explains the rationale for commercialising such a product: “If a machine suddenly breaks down, the problem must be solved as fast as possible.”

The company expanded on this: “If the users are not in a position to handle this by themselves, the BEUMER Group sends their globally located technicians to prevent longer downtimes. In addition to service technicians, Customer Support also provides qualified telephone support for troubleshooting, which is available 24/7.

“However, it can be challenging to successfully communicate complex problems quickly and clearly over the phone. Imagine if the customer had the opportunity to have a BEUMER technician take a quick and easy look at the problem at any time – on-site support, without actually being there. The BEUMER Smart Glasses make it possible.”

The employee at the machine puts on the glasses and starts the BEUMER Support app via voice command. The employee transmits a service number and a pin code to the hotline, and the connection with image and sound is established, with the BEUMER technician receiving the same image as the customer.

The technician can directly give instructions and display all relevant information in the field of vision. The employee has both hands free to follow the instructions of the expert and carry out the necessary actions. Faults can be solved quickly and precisely – at any time, BEUMER Group says.

BEUMER Group makes the economic case for ore transport by conveyor

BEUMER Group thinks more miners should include the use of conveyor belts for ore transport in their mine development calculations, as, on many occasions, the investment can pay off in the short- to medium-term.

Raw materials must be transported from the mine to a factory or port, often over uneven ground and across populated areas. To do this, companies often choose trucks for transportation.

As an alternative, system suppliers including BEUMER Group offer open troughed belt conveyors or closed pipe conveyors. These solutions are more environmentally friendly and can be considerably more economical, according to BEUMER.

“Deciding if the investment is worthwhile depends on several factors,” the company said, adding that a feasibility study and cost comparison can help with the decision.

Richard Munson, who manages the development and sales of conveying systems for the energy, cement and mining industries and port terminals, says a positive investment outcome depends on the application at hand, adding: “Companies should carry out a profitability evaluation beforehand.”

Whether it is calculating the net present value, or carrying out a cashflow analysis, the comparison needs to factor in the topography, length and power consumption associated with running the conveyor systems.

BEUMER Group says costs for conventional conveying systems average between €1,000 ($1,084) and €3,000 per metre. “More costs are added for the construction, supply and the mechanical and electrical installation,” it said.

Complex construction work is also often necessary, which makes the initial investment in a conveying system fairly high, the company says.

Munson says the operating costs are, however, considerably lower than the use of trucks.

The costs for the vehicles also include the labour input, vehicle depreciation, maintenance, repair, fuel and street maintenance, for example. And, oftentimes there are additional, more difficult to identify charges.”

To operate a conventional conveying system, the typical costs for transporting one tonne of material amounts to €0.20, with trucks the costs are roughly €3, according to BEUMER Group.

“The biggest variable for the vehicles is the number of trips per hour,” Munson said. “In the case of short and direct routes, this ranks better than for long routes, where detours are necessary to get to the destination.”

Troughed belt conveyors and closed pipe conveyors lead directly to the destination, on the other hand. They can also be adapted to the specific surroundings, with an essential feature of the technology being the ability to handle horizontal and vertical curves. Angles of inclination of up to 15° are possible, depending on the characteristics of the material to be transported and the topography, with lengths greater than 12 km.

“Due to their ability to navigate curves, considerably fewer and − in some cases no − transfer towers are required,” BEUMER Group said. “This results in substantial cost savings for the customer and the system continuously transports the material even over challenging ascending and descending sections, rivers or street crossings.”

Using BEUMER calculation programs, the experts precisely calculate the static and dynamic tractive forces of the belt during the system development phase. This is the prerequisite for the safe dimensioning of the curves, according to the company.

For trucks, more cost factors must be accounted for that are not as easy to estimate; control measures against dust and rain drainage, for example. These variables are eliminated completely in the case of closed pipe conveyors.

Munson said: “If circa-1 Mt of bulk material are moved per year, then the gross differential value between trucks and a conveyor, using the above mentioned costs of the material that needs to be conveyed, is at €2.8 million.”

According to Munson, such a conveying system pays for itself after only a few years.

The electric drives and low-energy belts also have a positive effect on the operating costs of the belt conveying systems. They are also better for the environment compared with truck transport.

“Therefore, especially in these times of climate change and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, they are considered a more sustainable option,” BEUMER Group said. “The motors used for these systems are usually adjustable, which permits the loads to be optimally distributed on the drive units under various operating conditions. If the belt conveying system conveys downhill, the system works in regenerative operation. The generated electric energy is fed to the mains by a regenerative feedback unit. This way the owners can further reduce the operational costs of the entire system.”

Depending on the project, belt conveying systems require up to 90% less primary energy compared with truck transport, Munson says, referencing a project implemented for China cement manufacturer Sichuan Yadong Cement. Here, trucks operated with diesel fuel required a specific primary energy of 11.4 kWh for each tonne of transported material at the site. The belt conveying system built later on required only 1.44 kWh.

“If, as in this case, 7.5 Mt of raw material are transported annually, the user can save a total of 74 million kWh/y with the belt conveyor,” BEUMER Group said. “This corresponds to an energy consumption of more than 20,000 single-family houses. Solely by saving diesel fuel, the operational costs of the company are reduced by more than €5.5 million/y.”

Munson concluded: “In the end, the operator needs to consider the total costs per tonne over time when evaluating both transport options.”

The operational costs for a belt conveyor are considerably lower than for a truck, but the decisive factor is how much material is transported during the project term and the environmental concerns at play with the project.

BEUMER Group helps coal miners with environmental impact, optimal stockpiling

The combination of BEUMER Group’s sophisticated modelling techniques and use of drones has enabled Knight Hawk Coal’s Prairie Eagle mine, in the Illinois Basin of USA, to reduce its long-term environmental impact.

Drone technology is being used more frequently during project planning, implementation and documentation to optimise the design phase, according to BEUMER. The recorded aerial photos are reconciled with regards to their perspective and evaluated photogrammetrically.

The software calculates a point cloud in order to generate 3D models from the 2D views, ie digital terrain models, allowing stockpile designs to be generated for both greenfield and brownfield developments.

Opened in 2005 as a surface mine, Prairie Eagle was expanded over time to include two underground mines, Knight Hawk’s main coal preparation plant and multiple truck load-out facilities. Now one of the most efficient underground mining plants in the US, according to BEUMER, it produces around 5 Mt/y of coal, of which more than 80% is processed and delivered to the Prairie Eagle preparation plant.

Management was looking for a more sustainable operating solution that reduced its reliance on truck transportation, according to Andrea Prevedello, System Technology Global Sales Director, BEUMER Group, Germany.

“We provided an overland conveyor that transports the coal from the mine to the main processing plant,” he said. “Our conveyor helps the company to considerably reduce its ecological footprint. With this technology, Knight Hawk can significantly reduce its long-term environmental impact compared to using truck transportation.”

BEUMER’s solution at the mine features a single-flight curved conveying system that eliminates the cost of tower steel, and greatly reduces the quantity of components and necessary spare parts, according to the company. It reduces the dust, noise, maintenance and operating costs associated with the transfer points, BEUMER said.

BEUMER not only supplied the conveying solution to Knight Hawk. As a system supplier, the company also supported the mining group in building a stockpile for hard coal.

“The requirements for storing coal are obviously very different from other materials,” Prevedello said. Some of the requirements change if the stockpile is covered and if explosion-proof equipment is needed. Hard coal is very susceptible to spontaneous combustion, which is why the height of the stockpile must, in certain cases, be limited.

Depending on the customer, stockpile dimensions and design can vary. Two layouts are generally available: circular and longitudinal.

“Their dimensioning and design depend on the purpose of the stockpile,” Prevedello said. Space availability and possible future expansions are also critical factors.

The application must also be considered: does, like Knight Hawk, the customer want to store the bulk material temporarily, then continuously feed it for further processing? “Then longitudinal stockpiles are your best choice,” Prevedello said. These structures can also be extended, if necessary, according to BEUMER. The irregular flow of bulk material arrives at the stockpile and can then be continuously introduced to the process.

Circular stockpiles are frequently used for other bulk materials, eg limestone and clay.

Once the layout of the stockpile has been decided on, the next task is to stack the bulk material efficiently. BEUMER also provided these components, such as the stacker, to Prairie Creek.

“Depending on its mobility, the systems can be categorised into three groups,” Prevedello said. The stacker can be stationary, travel on rails, or be circular with endless movement.

If the machine is circular with endless movement, it is positioned on a column in the centre of the stockpile. Over a conveyor bridge installed above the stockpile, the material is transported directly into the axis of rotation of the stacker, and from there distributed centrally. Depending on the stacking method, the boom conveyor can be fixed, or it can be lifted and tilted.

The stacking method of choice depends on whether the bulk material is only temporarily stored, or if it also needs to be blended.

“For simple stockpiling without blending, we provided the simple ‘cone shell method’,” Prevedello said. The stacker only moves up and down, ie does not slew, and the stacker design can be simplified. This method works for longitudinal as well as circular stockpiles, according to BEUMER.

For blending the bulk material, the ‘Chevron method’ can be used. The boom of the stacker starts in its lowest position; the first row is deposited in the centre of the stockpile and the next rows are layered on it. In longitudinal stockpiles, the stacker usually moves in a tilting and slewing motion; in circular stockpiles, the stacker moves in a circulating and luffing motion.

Prevedello said: “The perfect system solution is always an optimal relation between stacker and reclaimer.” Reclaimers such as side reclaimers or bucketwheel reclaimers remove the material as necessary. The best option for the customer depends, again, on the stockpiling task at the end.

Side reclaimers work for both types of stockpiles – longitudinal or circular – with the bulk material reclaimed from the front or the side. When reclaiming from the side, scraper chains move the material on a belt conveyor. Front reclaiming usually uses a rake that, in small side-to-side movements, pushes the material on a scraper chain to be transported further to the conveyor, BEUMER explained. The advantage is the bulk material is reclaimed from the entire cross-sectional area. Bucketwheel reclaimers are generally used when the bulk material, especially large quantities, needs to be blended.

Each operator has their own specific requirements when it comes to the stockpile and stockyard machines.

This is shown in a project BEUMER engineers are currently implementing for a customer in the energy industry. The order includes the delivery of several conveyors, including pipe conveyors, and a ship loader. The challenge: “On the ground where we will install our solution, there can be violent gusts of wind,” Prevedello said. “That’s why we pay special attention to the dimensioning of the steel structure.”

The system provider will be able to hand over a tailor-made system to the customer, with investment expenditure tailored precisely to them, according to BEUMER, which said the expected commissioning is scheduled for the September quarter of 2020.

BEUMER Group Pipe Conveyor cleaning up legacy coal operation in Belgium

In Wallonia, southern Belgium, the BEUMER Group Pipe Conveyor has been transporting fly ash quietly and dust-free as part of a project that will eventually see the residue from a former operating coal-fired power plant emptied to create a nature park.

The coal-fired power plant was in operation in the Belgian town of Flémalle, with the coal residues since landfilled on a fly ash stockpile.

With the stockpile to be entirely emptied and the terrain transformed into a nature park, a BEUMER Group Pipe Conveyor is being used to transport the fly ash to the Maas River for shipment.

BEUMER Group said: “The system has not only been adapted to operate along the steep mountains, but its enclosed design prevents the volatile material from coming into contact with the environment, while enabling a low-noise transport to the destination. This is important as the Pipe Conveyor passes over public motorways, railways and residential areas.”

This project has seen close cooperation between the BEUMER Group team and the customer, Tractebel Engineering (Group ENGIE), with the transport of the fly ash carried out in strict compliance with safety standards, taking into consideration environmental protection and the effect noise pollution has on local residents.

In Flémalle, less than 20 km away from Liège, there are about 2 million cu.m of residues of slates and stones or bottom ash in a fly ash stockpile within proximity of the coal-fired power plant. The stockpile is surrounded by a wall but, according to a study, it will over the long term represent a major threat for the local residents as it is displaced every year by several millimetres. In addition, the fly ash is an important additive in the manufacture of cement and concrete, with the material prepared to remove foreign substances such as wood or metal and the grain size reduced.

In a project that is the only one of its kind in Europe, the Belgian power supplier Elektrabel commissioned its subsidiary ENGIE to plan and install a processing plant. This could see the complete stockpile dissipated in the next 10 years, before the area is transformed into a nature park.

Pipe Conveyor: the economical alternative

Until then, the bulk material must be transported to the Maas River, around 2 km away.

The terrain leading to the river is very mountainous and the use of trucks would imply driving on public roads for long distances. This would have caused detours, slowed down transport times and raised costs, according to BEUMER Group. In addition, there would be the environmental effects of exhaust gases, dust and noise. The project lead opted for the BEUMER Group Pipe Conveyor as an economical alternative, the company said.

Vincent Ferlay, Managing Director for BEUMER Group France, said: “To be able to support companies like Tractebel Engineering with turnkey solutions, we have bundled our comprehensive expertise worldwide spanning various industries and established different Centres of Competence.

“It includes also our Pipe Conveyor. This international team of BEUMER Group bundles the know-how and supports the Sales Department and the Project Management. With Tractebel ENGIE, we have developed a solution adapted to the special routing and the ambient conditions.”

Dust-free conveying

The system supplier provided a conveying system with a centre distance of 1,800 m. “Due to the system design and the required system capacity, we have designed the Pipe Conveyor with a diameter of 260 mm,” Ferlay said.

The conveyor transports 300 t/h of fly ash at a speed of 2.3 m/s with, most importantly, enclosed transport to protect the environment from the dry and dusty material. This was an important requirement for the construction of this solution to be approved in the first place, according to Ferlay. “The project planning absolutely had to guarantee a safe transportation of the material,” he said. “The fly ash had to be prevented from exiting or falling on the ground, even in the smallest quantities.”

Noise emissions played an important role too: “We had to minimise the noise to an extremely low level,” Ferlay said.

The BEUMER Group team developed special sound-absorbing elements that were also used to enclose the Pipe Conveyor bridges. “Along certain line sections, the noise level had to be kept under 35 dB(A),” says Ferlay. This is also possible with special sound insulation, idlers and low-noise bearings.

The Pipe Conveyor transports fly ash across the open environment, navigates large inclines reliably and can be designed to accommodate tight curve radii, according to the company. Therefore only a few transfer towers are required, depending on the length of the conveyor, the terrain conditions and the curves.

The company said: “BEUMER Group can customise the conveying system to match the individual routing, thus protecting the environment and reducing the costs. The system supports are up to 10 m high. Durable conveyor belts guaranteeing tensile strength are used.”

The company also makes use of its dimensioning programs to determine the ideal belt design, enabling the analysis of tractive forces, as well as forces that occur due to acceleration and deceleration – always the company to consider the net weight of the belt and the transported material. This method also allows calculation of possible curve radii. “This is particularly important for ascending and descending conveyors,” Ferlay said.

Efficient ship loading

The system supplier provided the turnkey system and all necessary components such as filters, strippers and dedusting units. It also provided the engineering, automation and steel structure, as well as loading systems: excavators load the material into hoppers and on vibrating feeders. From there, it is transported to the feeding area of the Pipe Conveyor.

BEUMER Group installed a ship loader at the end of the conveyor line, which consists of a fixed boom with an extendable telescopic belt conveyor. This way the ships are loaded efficiently.

The ship loader is also equipped with a dedusting unit which keeps the process emission-free. Every day, 2,000 t of fly ash are loaded on a ship and from there transported to a cement plant.

BEUMER’s drone and 3D modelling combination speed up conveyor builds

BEUMER Group’s ability to combine high-resolution drone surveys with detailed 3D modelling is reducing the amount of time required to develop and install complex conveyor systems in the mining space, Andrea Prevedello, Global Sales Director CL Systems, told IM on the sidelines of the Bauma fair in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday.

BEUMER has been offering modelling solutions for many years, while it has been working with drones for about the past three years but combining the two for conveyor design is something new.

The first project to involve this combination is a 6.5 km conveyor installation at Knight Hawk Coal’s Prairie Eagle underground coal mine in Illinois, US.

The curved troughed belt conveyor carries coal from Knight Hawk’s new underground mine portal to its main coal preparation plant at Prairie Eagle. It allows Knight Hawk to seal a portion of its underground mine and bring coal to the surface near its current mining activities. Commissioning of the new conveying system was previously scheduled for this month.

BEUMER’s solution at the mine features a single-flight curved conveying system that eliminates the cost of tower steel, and greatly reduces the quantity of components and necessary spare parts, according to the company. It reduces the dust, noise, maintenance and operating costs associated with the transfer points, and offers 98% reliability compared with roughly 92% reliability of four conveyors operating in series, Beumer said.

In addition to this recent drone and modelling development, Prevedello said BEUMER is also now able to provide fully-erect shiploaders to customers. Instead of having to transport individual parts and erect on site, the company can now deliver a complete system that customers can slot in, he said.

For companies looking to replace an old shiploader with a new one, this is very important, Prevedello said, allowing companies to make a quick switch that minimises operational downtime.