Tag Archives: bulk handling

BEUMER Group develops hybrid conveyor technology for ports

BEUMER Group has responded to the changing demands of dry bulk customers with two new products that leverage its existing expertise in pipe and troughed belt conveying technology.

Speaking at a recent virtual media event, Andrea Prevedello, CEO of BEUMER Group Austria, announced the new additions under the U-Shape conveyor family.

Leveraging the advantages of pipe conveyors and troughed overland belt conveyors, the U-Shape conveyor enables an environmentally friendly and efficient operation in port terminals, BEUMER Group said. The design allows the implementation of more narrow curve radii than a troughed belt conveyor with higher mass flows than a pipe conveyor, all with dust-free transport, the company says.

The company explained the hybridisation of the two: “The troughed belt conveyors allow high mass flows even in case of heavy and robust materials. Their open design makes them suitable for coarse materials and very large volumes.

“The pipe conveyors, on the contrary, present other specific advantages. The idlers form the belt to a closed tube protecting the material transported against external influences and the environment from emissions such as material loss, dust or odours. Partition plates with hexagonal cuts and idlers in a staggered arrangement keep the tube shape closed. The pipe conveyors allow the implementation of more narrow curve radii and larger angles of inclination than open troughed belt conveyors.”

With requirements changing – the quantities of bulk materials growing, the routing becoming increasingly complex and environmental considerations rising – BEUMER Group found the need to develop the U-Shape conveyor.

“In this solution, a special idler configuration brings the belt in a u-shape,” it said. “Thus, the bulk material reaches the discharge station. An idler configuration similar to that for the troughed belt conveyor is used for opening the belt.”

Bringing together the advantages of open troughed belt conveyors and closed pipe conveyors, conveyed material is protected against external influences such as wind, rain or snow; and the environment against possible material loss and dust.

Within the family are two products that offer higher curve flexibility, higher capacity, bigger lump size allowance, no spillage and reduced power consumption, according to Prevedello.

The T-U-Shape conveyor is a U-shape conveyor designed like a normal troughed belt conveyor, but comes with a 30% reduction in width, allowing the ability to take on tighter curves, Prevedello says. This looks to have many applications in tunnelling applications.

The P-U-Shape conveyor, as the name would infer, is derived from the pipe conveyor, but offers 70% higher capacity with the same width and 50% higher lump size allowance, Prevedello says, explaining that it could allow BEUMER Group to consider the use of pipe conveyors in space-constrained environments.

New installations will obviously be targeted as part of this new product launch, but Prevedello says there are both greenfield and brownfield application possibilities with these new conveyors.

The T-U-Shape conveyor had more ‘new’ installation opportunities in tunnelling applications, he said, with the tight turning radii benefits allowing for small installations in tunnels.

With many ports shifting focus away from coal and handling different materials, the P-U Shape conveyor’s increased capacity and higher lump size flexibility could be of benefit in brownfield applications, he added.

“The ports are facing the challenges of dealing with new materials, so adapting what they have is important here,” he said.

Superior finishes construction of ‘world’s largest telescopic radial stacking conveyor’

Superior Industries Inc has completed design and manufacturing work on what it considers to be the world’s largest telescopic radial stacking conveyor.

The brand-new TeleStacker® Conveyor model is a 48-in-wide by 210-ft-long telescoping conveyor (1,220 mm x 64 m) capable of building 425,000 t stockpiles.

Superior says the record-breaking stacker will be used to unload dry bulk ships along the Atlantic Coast in Florida.

Operators at the port will take advantage of the TeleStacker Conveyor’s PilePro™ Automation. This Superior-designed-and-supported system automatically controls the stacker’s actions while building partially- or fully-desegregated stockpiles. Some popular features include pile volume reporting, maintenance triggers and diagnostics screens, the company said.

In 2022, Superior is celebrating 25 years of manufacturing its famous TeleStacker Conveyor. During that time, the conveyor has earned a reputation as the best tool for defeating costly material segregation while bulk stockpiling, the company said.

Martin Engineering compiles conveyor operation, safety educational resource

Martin Engineering, a leader in conveyor accessories and bulk material handling solutions, has launched what it says is a comprehensive digital educational resource for conveyor operation and safety.

The online Foundations™ Learning Center draws from the collective knowledge and expertise gathered over nearly 80 years solving bulk handling challenges. Aimed at apprentice technicians and experienced engineers alike, the non-commercial information is offered at no charge and is accessible by computer, tablet, or smartphone.

An extension of the Foundations training curriculum, the Learning Center uses a mix of text, photos, videos, webinars, online events, and live experts available to answer questions. The result is a unique central hub for industry professionals of all knowledge levels to use as a resource for building a deep understanding of material flow and safe, efficient conveyor operation, Martin Engineering says.

Not everyone learns by reading a textbook or following a lecture, so we set up the Learning Center as the place to go for all things conveyor and bulk handling for all types of learners,” Jerad Heitzler, Foundations Training Manager and curator of the Learning Center, said. “Technology allows us to accommodate different learning styles by offering several avenues to the same knowledge. The centre is designed in categories to provide easy access to the resources and organised so that people can find what they need quickly.”

The Learning Center is an online portal where plant operators, managers, and supervisors can send members of their teams to build their understanding of every aspect of conveyor operation and safety practices. The platform provides visitors with immediate solutions that are applicable and actionable, regardless of the equipment manufacturer. It is also a place to learn about the latest technologies, techniques, and compliance measures.

Building from its comprehensive training resources Foundations, The Practical Resource for Cleaner, Safer, More Productive Dust & Material Control and Foundations for Conveyor Safety, the Learning Center has been modelled on decades of knowledge from Martin’s experienced team of engineers and field technicians in every corner of the bulk materials handling industry. To start with, the creators have focused on the basics of conveyor operation and safety, with more advanced subject matter being added regularly.

The Learning Center resources supplement and enhance Martin Engineering’s extensive Foundations training program. The in-person training program combines the hands-on instruction and personal attention found in a classroom setting with the Learning Center technology, the textbook, and comprehension testing.

The modules of the Learning Center are split into nine categories:

  1. Material carryback & belt cleaning
  2. Dust management
  3. Material spillage
  4. Belt conveyor safety
  5. Conveyor belt & component damage
  6. Conveyor belt mistracking
  7. Material flow problems
  8. Belt conveyor system maintenance
  9. Basics of belt conveyor systems
Once the category is chosen, the learner is greeted with the core issues related to the module and examples of best practicesVideo overviews are immediately available to introduce the subject. The navigation bar to the right of each module page provides a detailed walkthrough of the subject from beginning to end with text information, topical webinars, videos and related articles.
“Our goal is comprehension and retention,” Heitzler pointed out. “Visitors might be pressed for time or may become distracted. While an experienced live instructor can see that and overcome it in a face-to-face training session, online learning is a different animal. So by providing visitors with options for learning and ways to break up the information rather than hours of reading or long videos, we’re able to better engage them, improving their experience and their learning.”

Once the Learning Center has been fully explored, users should have the foundation needed to operate belt conveyors safely and effectively. If managers choose, they can refer their employees to the Learning Center to gain professional development credits toward their certification to become qualified as maintenance technicians, operators, foremen, millwrights/fitters and so on.

The feedback from people who have already used the Learning Center has been excellent, according to the company. Users find it informative, easy to use, engaging, and an overall enjoyable experience. Managers and supervisors say they like having a trustworthy and cost-effective source for quick, unbiased information.  

“Of course, nothing replaces hands-on training and on-the-job experience, so that’s why the training system is called Foundations,” Heitzler said. “We provide the basic knowledge needed to work safely and efficiently in a platform that they can easily access when they need it.”

Chute Technology improves the flow at Ulan operations

Chute Technology says its new coal and ore handling technologies, designed to overcome production-limiting factors at mines and bulk handling terminals throughout Australia, are proving their worth in service at the Ulan operations in New South Wales.

The technology packages are designed to eliminate potential bottlenecks, occupational health and safety issues and weak links in the production chain that can increase downtime and reduce output, Chute Technology says.

Typical issues include bin surging, bulk cleaning, spillages, blockages and reduced throughput rates, resulting in inefficient production.

According to Dennis Pomfret, Managing Director, Chute Technology, the company designed a customised chute to eliminate potential downtime for a specific section of the bypass system at the Ulan Surface Operations, which IM understands is owned by Glencore.

The new chute has dramatically reduced downtime since commissioning, according to the company, whereas the legacy arrangements were a source of multiple hours of lost production.

“The new chute allows Ulan Surface Operations to operate with a full feed rate of 2,000 t/h without any stoppages or blockages, so they can maximise their productivity and our profitability,” Pomfret said.

Chute Technology says it combines its decades of Australian and international practical engineering experience with advanced expertise in new flow enhancement and problem-solving technologies to produce modern answers to minerals and materials handling problems. The company provides audits and solutions extending from single issues at individual plants through to whole-of-process improvements extending from mines to port or point of resource use.

Pomfret said Ulan Surface Operations was looking to the future by investing in a solution designed to maximise productivity and eliminate unwanted downtime.

“We’re delighted that we could make Ulan Surface Operations’ bypass vision come to life, and it’s rewarding to see it working out in service,” he said. “Ulan Surface Operations is always looking to employ modern solutions that avoid problems in the first place, rather than cleaning up a mess after it occurs.”

Chute Technology performed an audit of current operations to gain a holistic view of current operations, before recommending the solution. The engineering audit determined that functionality of one known trouble spot, the bypass hopper and vibratory feeder, could be taken out of service and replaced with a simpler transfer chute with an in-built surge capacity.

The chute was designed in such a way that it could all be lifted and installed in one go, minimising installation downtime, the company said.

Chute Technology also designed and installed an adjustable surge control baffle device to control the height of material on the conveyor belt. The device acts like a trimmer on the end of the chute, where it trims the height of material during times of surge loading, to avoid belt overloading, side spillage and keep material heights consistent.

“We anticipate the surge control device will reduce spillage considerably, especially when taking into account the typical delays in conveyor stopping and starting sequences,” Pomfret said.

“A major consideration for the project was to design the new chute around the existing structures as much as possible, so that there was as little rework or modifications needed before installation.

“We also took into consideration that the drop height is almost 15 m. Ulan Surface Operations wished to retain their surge bin, floor structure, vibrating feeder and conveyor structures, so we designed around these as much as was possible. Additionally, the design was modular, so the installation took as little time as possible.”

Chute Technology says it selected an asymmetric chute to avoid belt mis-tracking issues, a “virtual skirtboard” to optimise the internal flow geometry and designed a single point of contact flow path so the material flow is constantly in contact with the chute from the head pulley to the receiving belt.

Pomfret concluded: “This project has been an excellent success, and we look forward to a long-term relationship with Ulan Surface Operations, as they look to maximise productivity and profitability.”

Martin Engineering on resolving bulk material handling issues with flow aids

In order to achieve controlled and consistent flow on conveyors handling large volumes of bulk material, transfer chutes and vessels must be designed not just to accommodate – but to actually facilitate – the flow of the cargo they will be handling.

Unfortunately, because so many conditions can hamper effective cargo flow, engineering a conveyor and chutework that would handle every material situation is virtually impossible.

Even modest changes in moisture content can cause adhesion to chute or vessel walls or agglomeration at low temperatures, especially if the belt is stagnant for any period of time. Even during continuous operation, a bulk material can become compressed, and physical properties often change due to natural variations in the source deposits, suppliers or specifications, or if the material has been in storage. If left to build up, material can encapsulate belt cleaners and deposit harmful carry-back onto the return side, fouling idlers and pulleys, according to Martin Engineering. At worst, systems can become completely blocked by relatively small (and common) changes. To overcome these issues, a variety of devices collectively known as flow aids can be employed.

What Are Flow Aids?

As the term implies, flow aids are components or systems installed to promote the transport of materials through a chute or vessel, controlling dust and spillage. Flow aids come in a variety of forms, including rotary and linear vibrators, high- and low-pressure air cannons and aeration devices, as well as low-friction linings and special chute designs to promote the efficient flow of bulk materials. These modular systems can be combined in any number of ways to complement one another and improve performance. The components can be used for virtually any bulk material or environment, including hazardous duty and temperature extremes. One of the primary advantages is that an operation can obtain a level of control over the material flow that is not possible any other way.

When employing flow aids, it is critical that the chute and support components are sound and the flow aid be properly sized and mounted, because the operation of these devices can create potentially damaging stress on the structure, the company says. A properly designed and maintained chute will not be damaged by the addition of correctly sized and mounted flow aids.

It is also important that any flow aid device be used only when discharges are open and material can flow as intended. The best practice is to use flow aids as a preventive solution to be controlled by timers or sensors to avoid material build-up, rather than waiting until material accumulates and restricts the flow. Using flow aid devices in a preventive mode improves safety and saves energy, since flow aids can be programmed to run only as needed to control buildup and clogging.

Air cannons

One solution for managing material accumulation in chutes and vessels is the low-pressure air cannon, originally developed and patented by Martin Engineering in 1974. Also known as an “air blaster”, it uses a plant’s compressed air to deliver an abrupt discharge to dislodge the buildup. Cannons can be mounted on metallic, concrete, wood or rubber surfaces. The basic components include an air reservoir, fast-acting valve with trigger mechanism and a nozzle to distribute the air in the desired pattern to most effectively clear the accumulation.

The device performs work when compressed air (or some other inert gas) in the tank is suddenly released by the valve and directed through an engineered nozzle, which is strategically positioned in the chute, tower, duct, cyclone or other location. Often installed in a series and precisely sequenced for maximum effect, the network can be timed to best suit individual process conditions or material characteristics. The air blasts help break down material accumulations and clear blocked pathways, allowing solids and/or gases to resume normal flow. In order to customize the air cannon installation to the service environment, specific air blast characteristics can be achieved by manipulating the operating pressure, tank volume, valve design and nozzle shape.

In the past, when material accumulation problems became an issue, processors would have to either limp along until the next scheduled shutdown or endure expensive downtime to install an air cannon network. That could cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars per day in lost production. Many designers proactively include the mountings in new designs so that future retrofit can be done without hot work permits or extended downtime. A new technology has even been developed for installing air cannons in high-temperature applications without a processing shutdown, allowing specially-trained technicians to mount the units on furnaces, preheaters, clinker coolers and in other high-temperature locations while production continues uninterrupted.

Engineered vibration

The age-old solution for breaking loose blockages and removing accumulations from chutes and storage vessels was to pound the outside of the walls with a hammer or other heavy object. However, the more the walls are pounded, the worse the situation becomes, as the bumps and ridges left in the wall from the hammer strikes will form ledges that provide a place for additional material accumulations to start.

A better solution is the use of engineered vibration, which supplies energy precisely where needed to reduce friction and break up a bulk material to keep it moving to the discharge opening, without damaging the chute or vessel. The technology is often found on conveyor loading and discharge chutes, but can also be applied to other process and storage vessels, including silos, bins, hoppers, bunkers, screens, feeders, cyclones and heat exchangers.

There is another innovative solution that prevents carry-back from sticking to the rear slope of a discharge chute. The live bottom dribble chute uses material disruption to reduce friction and cause tacky sludge and fines to slide down the chute wall and back into the main discharge flow. By addressing these issues, operators can experience a reduction in maintenance hours, equipment replacement and downtime, lowering the overall cost of operation.

Flow aid devices deliver force through the chute or vessel and into the bulk material. Over time, components will wear, or even break, under normal conditions. Most of these devices can be rebuilt to extend their useful life. Because clearances and fits are critical to proper operation, it’s recommended that flow aid devices be rebuilt and repaired by the manufacturer, or that the manufacturer specifically train plant maintenance personnel to properly refurbish the equipment.

This article was provided to International Mining by Martin Engineering

Kinder Australia takes a liking to AirScrape non-contact conveyor skirting solution

Australia-based conveyor component developer and supplier, Kinder Australia Pty Ltd, has added the AirScrape® non-contact conveyor skirting solution to its range.

From July 2021, the AirScrape has been included in the product range of Kinder Australia following an agreement between Kinder Australia and ScrapeTec Trading.

The AirScrape, as a side seal, and the TailScrape®, as a back seal of the transfer point, complement Kinder’s range of conveyor components and seals, according to ScrapeTec Trading, the company behind AirScrape.

AirScrape founder and mining engineer, Wilfried Dünnwald, came up with this contact-free side seal for conveyor transfer points after trying to reduce dust build-up during mining, a particular problem in underground applications.

After an initial positive response in Germany, the innovation has gained international recognition with miners in Africa and America now using the device. The agreement with Kinder is looking to expand the product’s reach to the Asia Pacific region.

“In contrast to many side sealing solutions, the AirScrape works completely contact-free at transfers,” ScrapeTec says.

“This eliminates frictional losses due to belt abrasion and extreme belt wear, because the AirScrape is mounted at a distance of 1-2 mm from the belt. In addition, there are the specially arranged blades in this innovative conveyor seal. They create the so-called ‘Venturi effect’. This is the air suction that is created by the movement of the belt and suction of air in from outside. This prevents dust or fine material from escaping through the gap between the belt and the seal.

“In addition, thanks to their arrangement, the lamellas convey coarse material that is pushing outwards back to the centre of the belt. These effects have also piqued Kinder’s interest in Australia.”

Kinder Australia Pty Ltd has been operating in the field of conveyor technology for the mining and bulk materials handling industries since 1985.

Martin Engineering expands conveyor training scope with LMS integration

Martin Engineering has added new online conveyor training content specifically designed to integrate with Learning Management Systems (LMSs) so users can assign, monitor and certify progress of all participants during its courses.

The new offering from Martin Engineering includes eight self-paced modules that address methods to identify, understand and correct common bulk conveying issues to improve safety on powerful and potentially dangerous systems, while complying with regulations, maximising productivity and achieving the lowest operating costs.

“Online conveyor training is delivering critical knowledge to companies around the world, and that’s never been more important than in these pandemic-restricted times,” Training Manager, Jerad Heitzler, said. “But, even as the popularity of these programs continues to rise, larger firms face challenges integrating the content into their LMSs so they can ensure thorough and convenient training for all employees – at all levels – across multiple sites. These modules create a verifiable record of employee training, so customers can track and confirm the participation of individuals company-wide.”

Organised into 90-120 minute segments, the virtual classes cover topics such as best practices for safety, fugitive material control and belt tracking.

With the training modules easily accessible and conveniently located in company-wide LMSs, the new Martin content gives customers complete control over scheduling and tracking, the company says.

“This is the type of training that everyone should have, and companies no longer need to rely on an outside vendor to schedule individual or group sessions,” Heitzler continued. “It delivers an in-depth and consistent understanding of conveyors and their hazards, ensuring that personnel at all levels can work safely and efficiently around these powerful systems.”

Martin Engineering has been providing training for much of its 75-plus year history, helping customers better control bulk material flows while reducing the risks to personnel. Designed to maximise employee engagement, the modules deliver topic-specific, non-commercial content that can be put to immediate use, and the new format allows even the most remote locations to take advantage, the company says.

The eight modules cover essential subjects that include an introduction to the concept of total material control, with content on transfer points, belting and splices, as well as belt cleaning, alignment and dust management.

“This system is created using a SCORM 1.2-compliant format, so it will integrate seamlessly with most existing LMSs,” Heitzler added.

SCORM is a widely used set of technical standards that provides the communication method and data models that allow eLearning content and LMSs to work together. All eight modules are currently available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and can be provided in a variety of formats to meet the requirements of specific customers and their LMSs.

“Seven of the eight modules have a test at the end, requiring a minimum score of 70% to move on to the next module,” Heitzler said. “SCORM allows the content to interact with the LMS and leverage any features that a customer’s system has, which could include tracking the progress of each learner, providing reports or issuing certificates of completion.”

He concluded: “With this new effort in place, Martin has taken another step forward in global conveyor training. We’ve emerged as an LMS content provider to deliver greater flexibility and control over employee learning, helping customers attain the highest levels of efficiency and safety.”

BEUMER Group’s conveyor and ship loading solutions to be highlighted at MINExpo

BEUMER Group is planning to highlight just how conveying and loading systems enable safe, efficient and environmentally friendly handling of bulk materials at the upcoming MINExpo 2021 event in Las Vegas, USA.

The company’s overland conveyors and pipe conveyors enable mine operators to create individual routes for the transport of raw material with steep angles of inclination and narrow curve radii that are adapted to the respective task and topography, BEUMER says. When planning these systems, the system provider also relies on camera-equipped drones for planning, implementation and documentation. Using special software solutions, the engineers evaluate the aerial photographs photogrammetrically to generate digital terrain models.

The product range includes stackers and bridge reclaimers for storage yards, with or without blending bed systems. These reclaimers stack bulk material and guarantee a maximum blending effect, according to the company. Users can also efficiently homogenise large quantities of different bulk materials and bulk material qualities and, thus, ensure the uniformity of the raw materials used. For efficient loading, BEUMER Group also offers ship loaders with fixed booms and extendable telescopic belt conveyors. To supplement these, users can also procure bulk loading heads to use when loading bulk materials into silo vehicles quickly and without dust.

The company will present efficient system solutions with overland conveyors, pipe conveyors and ship loaders from September 13-15 at MINExpo.

Conveyor Components tackles belt alignment with latest control solution

Conveyor Components Company has added a Tilt Action (TA) belt alignment control solution to its offering for use on most belt conveying systems and wastewater filter presses.

The model TA is available in weatherproof or explosion-proof enclosures, with 120 VAC or 240 VAC input power rated microswitches, the company said.

This belt alignment control has dry, unpowered 20 amp SP/DT microswitches, or 15 amp DP/DT microswitches, to allow control of four separate output functions. The unit is bi-directional, able to operate in either direction and the red-coloured roller is highly visible from a distance.

The trip points are field-settable with a simple set screw adjustment on the cam, while the housing is cast aluminum, with optional epoxy coating available for corrosive environments.

PROK takes conveyor roller durability to a new level with HDPE solution

PROK has just released a new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) roller which, the company says, is lighter, more durable and avoids secondary conveyor damage in the event of a failure, reducing the unscheduled downtime that costs mining companies millions of dollars in lost productivity annually.

PROK Global Product and Engineering Manager, Ray Anderson, said the new roller was specifically designed for high speed and large tonnage applications where reliability was crucial.

“Conveyor rollers are a big cost and can cause huge risk to an operations output,” he said. “A mine or port facility with a large conveyor system will often need to replace several rollers in a day, and that requires a lot of maintenance manpower.

“If a traditional steel roller breaks it can damage the conveyor belt and the whole conveyor system can go offline, so the mining industry has been steadily moving towards lighter, more durable rollers made of advanced composite materials.

“Reliable rollers are crucial to maintaining production levels. If a conveyor stops due to roller failure, you start losing money.”

The global conveyor component manufacturer says it pioneered the use of lightweight HDPE material in conveyor rollers over 10 years ago searching for a solution that would not damage the conveyor belt in the event of failure, while reducing the risk of manual handling injuries when rollers were being installed or changed out.

Built on more than 18 months of research and development, its latest solution is state-of-the-art, taking low maintenance rollers to a whole new level, PROK said. Using a specially formulated reinforced polymer matrix, the lightweight, belt-friendly, wear-resistant roller has been created for heavy-duty applications.

Incorporating features to lower maintenance costs and a high-performance bearing housing to ensure there is no risk of end-cap walk over time, PROK HDPE delivers the reliability that can help mining companies increase production and improve safety, according to the company.

The HDPE rollers are made from a specifically engineered high-density polyethylene, which means they are suitable for corrosive environments. They also have a premium seal arrangement (with low friction properties to ensure low break away mass and run resistance during operation) and come in a range of sizes to suit a variety of mining operations and applications.

In what PROK claims to be a world first, the new HDPE roller also includes visual wear indicator technology to assist mining companies in improving their maintenance planning.

The original PROK yellow tube combines with a green inner layer to act as a visual wear indicator for maintenance teams so they can better plan their roller changeouts. This innovative feature will help customers to simplify idler maintenance and reduce costs, according to the company.