Tag Archives: bulk material handling

Kinder engineers a case for high performance plant, equipment in bulk handling ops

As mining companies continue to search for cost efficiencies at their operations against a backdrop of subdued metal prices and uncertainty related to the onset of COVID-19, bulk materials handling equipment provider, Kinder Australia, is warning them to focus on sourcing engineered and high-performance components that have been optimised for the application at hand.

Today’s global economy means when sourcing bulk handling equipment, operators are spoilt for choice with the vast selection of conveyor component suppliers and access to highly engineered and innovative solutions to advance their end to end handling processes, Kinder Australia says.

“For most operators, price alone is often the motivator for purchase,” it said. “However, buyer beware, lower price products are more often ‘copycat’ and ‘knockoffs’ offering on-par standards and functionality benefits to the original product.

“The reality of inferior, lower price copycats is the untold costly, irreversible damage these products can have to the conveyor structure, conveyor belts itself and the unscheduled maintenance and productivity downtime to replace these inferior products…only to be discovered shortly after the installation hurdle.”

When considering cost cutting on a corporate level, many plant and equipment suppliers are also challenged by the dilemmas of large corporate purchasing department heads who are ignorant of the engineering differences between genuine and counterfeit products, and quite often make their purchasing decisions based solely on price, often at the expense of quality, Kinder Australia says.

Trusted quality

In the case of lower cost polyurethane skirting and anti-wear lining products, on the surface, they look and feel the same as the genuine engineered polyurethane skirting.

“However, conduct a quick internet search and you’ll soon realise the countless suppliers using sub-standard/cheaper manufacturing practices to design, manufacture and market far inferior polyurethane products and conveyor components and pass them off as high-quality engineered equivalents,” the company said.

The use of non-genuine engineered conveyor components can lead to frequent production stoppages, belt wear damage, other unpleasant material spillage and safety hazards, according to the company.

Neil Kinder, Kinder Australia CEO, says: “The mark of quality in our industry is ISO 9001 certification. These international standards provide assurance and commitment to our diverse customer base that Kinder provides highly customer-focused bulk materials handling products and solutions that are safe, reliable and of high-quality standards.”

He added: “Kinder Australia partners with an independent laboratory to facilitate and conduct ASTM D 4060 quality testing and certification of competitive lower cost conveyor components”.

The “Taber Test” carried out by independent testing laboratory Excel Plas, showed Kinder Australia’s K-Superskirt® Engineered Polyurethane abrades less by comparison with the competitor’s polyurethane and is therefore four times more durable than the competitor’s polyurethane tested, according to the company.

This polyurethane has been successfully and effectively installed in a multitude of applications, including the harshest mining environments, delivering significant cost and labour savings to operators globally, Kinder Australia said.

Conveyor planning & engineering design

Conveyor engineering design focuses on providing solutions to customers issues around three key areas: productivity, safety and cost reduction, Kinder Australia says.

Materials handling operators are constantly challenged by increasing production outputs and cost reduction targets. Ensuring the recommended solution is fit for purpose and practical from a cost, installation and maintenance perspective are also key engineering considerations.

Cameron Portelli, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Kinder Australia, says: “The issue of poor belt life is often encountered during on-site evaluation; it’s one of the top conveyor problems seen by our mechanical and field applications engineers.”

Conveyor Belt Support Systems are designed to protect this expensive and important asset, according to the company.

At the critical conveyor transfer points, having the full force of the impact absorbed rather than resisted means the impact load zone belt support system below the belt takes the hit rather than the conveyor belt itself. This effectively improves and extends the wear life of all conveyor components such as the belt, idlers and structure life and makes for a quieter transfer in serious applications.

Kinder’s K-Dynamic Impact Idler/Cradle Systems (pictured) target conveyor transfers as “burden is being accelerated due to fall and changes in direction from one system to the next which prevents steady state flow and requires additional thought into supporting the belt to improve the life of the belt and transfer components”, says Portelli.

“It would be wise to start from the problem at hand and work backwards to isolate the root cause. This may involve chute design improvements before any transfer chute sealing options should be looked at.”

Another regular occurrence encountered on-site are grooves on the top cover created by product getting under hard and soft skirts, particularly at the transfer point.

This problem can often be solved through the installation of a combination of conveyor skirting and sealing & conveyor belt support system, which can also effectively eliminate dust and material spillage and create work environments that are productive, clean and safe, Kinder Australia said.

This is where SOLIDWORKS® Simulation Finite Element Analysis, an upgrade to the basic software licence, can accurately predict and design solutions that mimic real-world applications and scenarios.

“With this powerful information, industry lead mechanical engineers have the necessary tools to analyse results, plan and expertly optimise future designs, geared at maximising productivity improvements and efficiency gains,” the company said.

When planning, designing, and recommending solutions, safety is an integral part in delivering operational productivity and efficiency, with engineers ethically and legally responsible for the solutions they recommend and implement.

“In some cases, if all reasonable risks are not considered, the risk of legal action against the company and the individual could have massive financial ramifications, along with the ongoing damage to the brand and stance in the industry,” Kinder Australia said.

Portelli says all of Kinder Australia’s new and innovative designs are stringently risk assessed for hazards at the critical installation, operational and maintenance stages.

“Through the effective use of SOLIDWORKS, Simulation Finite Element Analysis tools can potentially reduce any ongoing risks by analysing the specific areas where a design can be better improved,” he said.

Portelli elaborated on this: “This software can also assist clients to see the overall bigger picture, as well as take into consideration future installation and maintenance issues.

“Although SOLIDWORKS doesn’t produce all scenarios, it can be a beneficial tool for starting a conversation with clients. This mostly centres around how the solution will function after installation and its serviceability.”

In recent years, materials handling conveyor components supplier Kinder Australia has made significant investments in engineering design through the expansion of its mechanical engineering team to three staff. The engineering team’s capabilities extend to high proficiency in Helix Conveyor Design and AutoCAD, it said.

These tools can help make decisions on the drive power requirements; belt tensions and a suitably specified belt; specifications for suitably sizes idler rolls; take-up dimensions and gravity take up weight requirements; specifications for a suitable gearbox; and the design of pulleys to meet standards AS1403 (shafts) and limit stresses in the shells.

Neil Kinder concluded: “For the past 30 years, the driver for the business has been the resolution and advancement of our customers end-to-end handling processes, harnessing our engineering expertise and keeping abreast of innovative and emerging industry technologies.

“Developing a connection with our diverse customer base who have differing application needs and expectations through on-site visits, our highly technical mechanical engineering and field applications team become better at solving our customers problem and measuring up the solution.”

Air Springs Supply provides silent solution for vibrating machinery issues

A broken coil spring isolator or actuator in conveyors, vibrating screens, crushers, tanks and bin hoppers can bring processes to a complete halt, sending in maintenance staff to undertake the heavy and hazardous task of disassembling and returning to service vital machinery used in industries such as bulk material handling and mineral processing.

Actuation and isolation specialists, Air Springs Supply Pty Ltd, provides silent rubber solutions to such issues with complementary products engineered by Firestone Industrial to overcome both breakage and noise issues endemic to vibrating machinery, it says.

This includes solid no-maintenance Marsh Mellow™ rubber and fabric-reinforced bias ply isolators, which offer high load capacity with constant vibration isolation through changing loads, according to Air Springs Supply. Marsh Mellows will not bottom out like coil springs and offer low natural frequencies to provide excellent isolation (including forced frequencies in the range of 800-1,200 cycles a minute at 13-20 Hz), the company said.

Ruggedly engineered bellows-type air springs Airstroke® pneumatic actuators, which are friction-free for immediate response, and complementary Airmount® pneumatic actuators, which do not require periodic maintenance or lubrication, provide another solution. They are available in sizes ranging from 58-940 mm in diameter and 445 kN force capacity, meaning they can be used for delicate tasks and conveyors, through to heavy shakers, screens and crushers, the company said.

Air Springs Supply said: “Before Marsh Mellows were developed to solve problems with metal springs – including breakdown, replacement and noise – solid rubber springs were either physically too large or became unstable laterally when they were made long enough to provide good isolation.

“The concept of ‘stacking’ rubber springs answered the latter problem but introduced the need for complicated mechanical guide systems to control the lateral movement.”

The Marsh Mellow fabric-and-rubber spring solved this problem and provided a new way to make use of the many advantages of rubber as an isolator, Air Springs Supply Sales and Marketing Manager, James Maslin, said.

“The basic construction of the Marsh Mellow spring includes a solid rubber core with a hollow centre and fabric-reinforced body,” he said. “The controllable variables of this construction are the keys to the extreme design flexibility that the Marsh Mellow spring offers. And the same springs can eliminate potential problems of broken coil springs causing fragment damage to vibrating, stamping and metal forming equipment.”

Marsh Mellow Die Springs can be compressed by up to 40% of their free height at a cycling rate of 50 cycles/min or less, the company said. Cycling rates of up to 300 cycles/min can also be attained.

“Marsh Mellow Springs’ high load capability means fewer springs may be needed in an application, resulting in less overall cost,” the company said. “A spring with a smaller overall size than an all-rubber spring of identical load capacity can be chosen, which is an important factor where space is restricted.”

Airstroke pneumatic actuators and complementary Airmount Isolators provide a further alternative to metal springs, the company says. In effect, these are heavy-duty balloons that both contain no internal moving parts to break or wear. The resulting lack of internal friction and inherent rapid cycling capability makes them very suitable for actuation tasks such as conveying equipment and vibrating machinery, the company said.

“They are also outstanding isolators, in which role Airmounts reliably achieve isolation efficiencies often well exceeding 99%,” Air Springs Supply said. “Their outstanding performance suits them to applications such as suspending vibrating screens or motors and compressors commonly found throughout industrial plants, where they are generally used where weights exceed 100 kg per mounting point.”

A common materials handling isolation application is isolation of bin vibration. This type of vibration is typically used to maintain a homogeneous mix or flow of material inside a hopper where it must be isolated from bin supports to prevent structural fatigue.

Steel springs can be used, but they must be tuned to one specific load and a single height. Air springs provide a high degree of isolation compared with other methods, where they are used down to disturbing frequencies of 3-4 Hz, according to the company. Isolator inflation can be changed to compensate for different loads or heights without compromising isolation efficiency.

Airstrokes and Airmounts offer 40-40,000 kg of pushing or lifting power and strokes (extensions) of up to 350 mm, powered by simple, basic compressor equipment found in nearly every factory, Air Springs Supply said.

thyssenkrupp boosts Australia mining service offering with new Brisbane facility

thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions says it has opened a new service centre in Brisbane, Australia, which is ideally located to support its customer base on the East Coast of Australia as well as clients in Oceania using major logistics channels through the Queensland capital.

The facility, opened on May 14, is the result of a roughly A$1 million ($1.1 million) investment, the company said. It includes a 350 sq.m office and 1,000 sq.m of warehouse and workshop space with room for 30 employees. “The portfolio includes, among others, the warehousing and servicing of wear and spare parts, equipment refurbishments, engineering and field services and revamps,” the company said.

thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions says it offers mining companies “tailored, cost-efficient and responsible solutions for mining, processing, handling raw materials”.

Donald Weir, CEO of the Service business unit of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, said the company is continuously expanding its service offerings in these regions in order to offer the best possible service to its customers.

“Through our investment in Brisbane, we make sure that also our customers on the East Coast of Australia profit from the knowledge and experience thyssenkrupp’s global service network offers,” he said.

Andrew Howie, CEO of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Australia, said the new facility enables the company to co-locate its engineering and project staff with service personnel.

“For our clients in the mining, cement and chemical industries, this means they benefit from an integrated project lifecycle approach, incorporating the latest products and technologies,” he said. “After having worked successfully with our customers in Australia for many years, this investment was a logical consequence.”

ABB to digitalise dry bulk handling solutions at stockyards

ABB has launched a new digital application to optimise dry bulk material handling for stockyard operations and beyond.

The new ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System enables fully integrated collaborative operation by connecting all available information and process data to optimise bulk material handling terminals and stockyards of coal-fired power plants, steel plants or mines, the company said.

“Offering sophisticated material tracking and quality management, the new ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System increases the efficiency of stockyards in connecting consecutive steps in complete materials transportation chains,” ABB said.

This enables seamless integration in production planning, providing real time information on handled material and supports the management of one or multiple inputs and outputs of different material qualities, storage, mixing and blending, ABB said.

It is a configurable system that can be used to digitalise the complete material handling chain, according to the company. The material flow can be modelled across all belt conveyors and transportation equipment with material properties and quality information via automated data interfaces.

Franz Rietschel, Global Product Manager for Stockyard Management System, said: “This application is the latest example of how ABB as a pioneering technology leader in digital industries is helping our customers to realize the true potential of digital to optimise their operations and achieve a certain quality of outgoing material. Just-in-time or even just-in-sequence is long-established in the automotive industry; now these techniques are available for bulk material handling logistics too.”

Notable features of ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System include:

  • A calculated stacking model built up according to the tracked material and acting as a ‘digital twin’ of the stockyard. This provides the operator with an inventory overview at any time, without the need of an extra survey. All data can be used for operational optimisation such as efficient space use in a yard, better planning and scheduling, or more accurate mixing and blending processes;
  • Control and prediction of the material flow in various lines with material forecast, tracking and production history;
  • The ability to coordinate all excavators in the mine or yard machines in the plant at the right position with the right timing to realise proactive production control which enables online mixing material according to tracking, forecasting and online quality control;
  • Laser scanners or drones which can provide additional surface information of their environments enable a nearly real time update of the pile surface even after material movements due to environmental influences or due to the use of mobile machines;
  • A ‘slice view’ feature which allows operators a look at the inside of a pile to check the material mix and quality, determine its arrival time or changing material properties when more accurate information are available;
  • Modelling for intra-supply-chain quality optimization allowing operation staff to view tonnes and grade by digging position and belt scale values according to geological model and online analysers which provide information on the various material properties, and;
  • Automated interfaces to different systems provide a seamless workflow from ERP to control system for mine, plant and stockyard operations. An integration of PIMS, MES, production-, maintenance- and down-time planning or laboratory management systems combines all available information for analytics at the right time.

ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System employs sophisticated data collection and configuration management to interface with and various IT and OT applications and systems. This includes connectivity to IT and ERP systems through web services, TCP/IP socket communication or direct database access; data interfaces OT automation systems through OPC and if OPC is not supported thru low level data interfaces based on data wrappers.

ABB said: “The new ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System is the latest addition to the portfolio of ABB Ability™ digitally-enabled industry solutions, products and services. Developed out of years of sector expertise and customer insights, ABB Ability facilitates automation, the integration of data and the real-time optimisation of mining and plant processes.”