Tag Archives: Conveyors

Martin Engineering restructures Italian business to boost service and growth prospects

Martin Engineering says it has restructured its Italian business and relocated to a new purpose-built facility to boost customer service and accelerate growth.

The move heralds a new chapter for the Italian branch of the US engineering firm, which supplies belt conveyor products and material flow aids to bulk handling and material processing companies to boost production efficiency and workplace safety.

Martin Engineering has been present in Italy for more than 30 years, supporting the country’s producers of coal, cement and aggregates. Moving to a new fit-for-purpose warehouse near Monza, northeast of Milan, allows the company to broaden its remit to solve material handling problems in various industries, it said.

The new location also enables Martin to bring a wider range of products to the Italian market, including the N2® remote monitoring system for conveyor belt cleaners, which enables maintenance teams to track conveyor belt cleaner blades on a mobile app. Also being introduced in Italy is Martin’s range of CleanScrape® belt cleaners, which, it says, are proven to last up to four times longer than standard cleaners with no retensioning or extra maintenance required after installation.

Restructuring the business means Martin Italy is now jointly led by Sales Manager, Matteo Manghi, who heads a team of sales engineers and service technicians, with Administration and Accounts Manager, Simona Farina, who is responsible for accounts, customer service and head office functions. Both Manghi and Farina report directly to Robert Whetstone, Martin Engineering’s Area Vice President for EMEAI (Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent).

Manghi said: “It’s an exciting time for Martin Engineering in Italy as we now have the capability to apply our bulk handling expertise in new ways to solve problems for customers in a broader range of industries. Our new facility gives us the space to assemble and distribute our products for installation by our team of trained specialist service technicians.”

Farina added: “Martin Engineering has a long history in Italy and the move to our new headquarters represents a new beginning for our Italian business. We are now in a strong position to provide better service to our existing loyal customers and we have a solid base from which to grow our business into new segments of the market and bring new customers on board.”

Whetstone concluded: “Italy has been a key market for Martin Engineering and we firmly believe there are opportunities for growth. Investing in our new office and warehouse facilities will allow us to bring a broader range of products and solutions to Italian customers. I am proud of what our Italian team has achieved through the transition and I look forward to future success supporting our customers.”

Superior Industries unveils enhanced conveyor idler for extra longevity

Superior Industries, Inc., a US-based manufacturer and global supplier of bulk material processing and handling systems, has announced what it says is the most significant redesign to conveyor idlers in decades.

This update is backed by a substantial $4.5 million investment in cutting-edge idler manufacturing equipment at its US production locations, the company says.

According to Superior Industries, these are the key innovations of the new idler design:

  • Ironclad weld joint at tube to end disc: a flush end disc prevents material entrapment between the roll and frame, while a weld bead is securely housed within the roll’s structure, ensuring added durability. This also comes with modern, robotic welding for greater weld penetration and extreme consistency;
  • Revamped designs of idler bearing seals: a decade of rigorous testing results in an unmatched bearing protection system, according to the company, with the lifespan of standard bearing seals surpassing all other models tested. The Premium Titanium® seal, in this case, provides extended longevity for demanding applications; and
  • Major upgrade to idler manufacturing:Improving industry-leading pace, Superior says it has achieved new heights in manufacturing speed. The manufacturing production rate of standard and custom idlers has witnessed a 35% increase, while the integration of robotic manufacturing ensures a level of consistency previously unseen.

Jason Adams, President of Superior, said: “Tens of thousands of Superior idlers are installed on our own conveyors every year, so roll performance really, really matters. The new idler exceeds our own high performance standards and we’re excited for other conveyor owners and operators to benefit from this upgrade.”

Martin Engineering launches next-gen conveyor belt tracking tech

Martin Engineering has launched what it says is the next generation of tracking technology for a global marketplace with its Martin® Tracker™ HD (heavy-duty) belt conveyor alignment system.

This system comes with widely available plate steel to increase availability and affordability across all six continents the company serves.

A mistracking belt produces excessive spillage, which increases labour costs for clean-up and may cause contact with the mainframe. This damages both the belt and the structure and increases the potential for a friction fire, according to the company. The Martin Tracker HD upper and lower units provide immediate, continuous and precise adjustment of the mistracking belt. The result is greater productivity with less unscheduled downtime from both equipment replacement and spillage cleanup for a lower cost of operation, Martin Engineering says.

“Since most OEM mistracking devices are only designed to prevent contact with the stringer and don’t actually realign the belt, operators can spend a lot of time monitoring the system and adjusting idlers to achieve consistent alignment,” Dave Mueller, Product Manager for Martin Engineering, said. “With enough manual adjusting, operators find that idlers must be recentred if there’s a change in cargo characteristics or to install a new belt. The Tracker HD automates the alignment process, eliminating the need for constant monitoring and manual adjustments, reducing the labor and downtime for maintenance.”

The Martin Tracker HD’s precision comes from sensing rollers that ride either side of the belt edge and are attached to the end of an arm assembly. As the rollers detect slight variations in the belt path, the force of the wandering belt causes the arms to automatically position a pivoting idler in the opposite direction of the misalignment. The lever action requires less force to initiate the correction and only slight adjustments mean the consistent contact between the belt and idlers reduces the energy needed to bring the belt back into alignment, the company explains.

“Certain countries can’t buy the square tubing, so we’re now manufacturing the equipment from readily-available plate steel without any changes to the performance or life of the unit,” Mueller said. “This allows the Tracker HD to be produced and supplied across all global business units.”

The upper unit of the Tracker HD comes with the specified trough angle of the conveyor system

Easy to install and designed to withstand the stress associated with wider, thicker belts moving at higher speeds and carrying heavier loads, the Martin Tracker HD is suitable for a belt thickness up to 28.5 mm and speeds up to 4 m/s. Both the upper and lower units accommodate belt widths of 915-1,828 mm with an effective tracking distance of 45.72 m.

Available in 20°, 35° and 45° trough angles, there are options for the addition of a Martin Trac-Mount™ Idler, which allows the entire troughed idler unit to be slid away from the mainframe and safely serviced from outside of the system by a single worker, the company says. This safety element can considerably reduce the amount of labour and maintenance time for the replacement of broken or frozen idlers. Also available are rubber-lagged rollers on the lower tracker and a grease kit for both the upper and lower assemblies. The unit is not suitable for reversing conveyors, belts with substantial rollback, or paddle or chevron belts, Martin Engeering clarified.

It is recommended operators install Martin Tracker HDs after the load zone on belts wider than 610 mm with additional units placed down the system to keep the belt centred and tracking. By placing an upper unit before the discharge, operators ensure the belt is centred on the head pulley allowing for optimal belt cleaning with maximum cargo discharge.

The lower tracker has been redesigned to include an extra safety feature not found in competitor units, the company says. Regardless of the conveyor, return rollers have been known to detach and drop, creating a serious safety issue, so the Martin Tracker HD has been equipped with safety guarding on the steering roll to prevent the roller from coming off or putting workers in harm’s way. On the return, it is recommended to place a tracker after the discharge zone or take-up pulley, as well as periodically down the system depending on length. To ensure centred loading, the belt must enter the loading zone aligned, so installing a lower unit approximately five times the belt’s width in distance from the tail pulley will support an efficient loading process.

Since the basic design of the Martin Tracker HD is similar to that of its predecessors with square tube construction, the testing that has taken place focused on performance, durability and installation time. Tested in bulk handling operations including mining and cement where mistracking leading to spillage had historically been a concern, the unit performed up to Martin Engineering’s high standards, the company said.

“Martin Engineering believes safety should be a core function in any conveyor accessory we design, and the Tracker HD is no different,” Mueller said. “By automating consistent belt tracking, this solution reduces equipment wear, maintenance time and downtime. These factors lower the cost of operation offering the best return on investment of any tracker on the market.”

Martin Engineering recognises 20 years of growth in Africa

Martin Engineering has celebrated its 20th anniversary of growth across the African continent, recognising its roots in the South Africa-based business, Scorpio Conveyor Products, it acquired in November 2003.

Two decades after this activity, Martin Engineering has grown significantly, with employee numbers increasing 10-fold to almost 200 people, and a customer base that now spans 10 countries and a range of industries across Africa.

The business also has plans for further growth thanks to a team of technical experts and an innovative range of products that deliver cleaner, safer and more productive materials handling, it said.

Joining the 20th anniversary celebrations was global CEO, Robert Nogaj, who travelled from the USA to visit Martin’s regional headquarters in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, South Africa, to meet employees and business partners who have played a key role in Martin’s success.

Nogaj said: “The African continent is a global supplier of essential minerals and metals, and an important market for Martin Engineering, so I am delighted to be spending time with colleagues to celebrate 20 years’ supporting producers here in South Africa and across the continent.

“Over the past two decades, we have made substantial investments in our production facilities and introduced new technologies that have helped our African business to grow and evolve. Yet the most important investment we have made is in supporting and developing our people, fostering talent and promoting diversity in the workplace.

“This is no better evidenced than by the recent appointment of Fran van der Berg as General Manager for Africa. What makes Fran’s achievement even more remarkable is that she began as a temporary member of staff in our marketing team 12 years ago and has proved herself in a number of roles before becoming General Manager. It’s great to see such personal development and we hope her achievement will inspire many others to aspire to leadership roles, regardless of their gender or background.”

Martin is among the engineering firms in South Africa that have achieved ISO45001 (health and safety management) accreditation, reflecting the company’s commitment to maintaining high safety standards and fostering a true safety culture. The team has also achieved B-BBEE Level 2 in South Africa, demonstrating the significant steps taken to promote black economic empowerment, through training programs and an approach to community development that prioritises the employment and support of local people in each operating location.

Robert Whetstone, Martin’s Area Vice President for Europe, Middle East, Africa & India, who also took part in the 20-year celebrations, said the firm’s involvement in Africa has brought huge benefits to Martin Engineering globally: “As a company we’re renowned for having unrivalled know-how and expertise when it comes to solving common problems faced by bulk materials handlers in many foundation industries, from mining and quarrying to fertilizers and freight.

“In Africa we have a team of engineering professionals who have been able to export their specialist knowledge – along with new ways of working and their characteristic can-do approach – to benefit customers in other parts of the region and around the world. This is another demonstration that there is great strength in the diversity and empowerment of our people and that ultimately, we are better together.”

FAM ship loader keeps copper ore moving at Anglo American Quellaveco

FAM, a member of the BEUMER Group, is helping Anglo American keep copper ore moving continuously at the Quellaveco mine in Peru, with a closed-loop ship loading system.

One of the world’s largest and best-known deposits with estimated reserves of 1,100 Mt of copper ore, Quellaveco is located near the port city of Ilo – just under 37 km northeast of Moquegua in southern Peru.

Jointly developed by Anglo American and Mitsubishi Corporation, the goal is to mine 1.1 Mt/y of copper. The mine hit commercial production in September last year.

To ship this amount of raw material to target countries, Peru is investing heavily in the country’s infrastructure – for example, in a new port terminal located just under 20 km south of the city of Ilo, BEUMER Group says. The terminal is operated by the energy company, ENGIE. In search of a suitable partner to supply the ship loading system, the project managers selected FAM Minerals & Mining GmbH, a Germany-based manufacturer of conveyor systems. Since the summer of 2022, FAM has been wholly owned by the BEUMER Group, headquartered in Beckum, Germany.

The Quellaveco open-pit mine relies on a high level of automation to protect workers and minimise dust pollution. The copper ore is transported via a conveyor belt to the truck loading station. Sensors signal when a truck arrives for transport. The gate opens automatically and closes again behind the truck. An extraction system is activated to prevent dust from escaping during loading. Once the raw material has been loaded and hermetically sealed on the truck, the gate opens again. Now the truck continues to a tyre wash facility. “The facility is automatically activated via sensors – until the tyres are 100% clean,” Martín Cabrera, Port Project Manager at Anglo American, said.

No dust formation is to be expected when the copper ore is received, stored and shipped. To be on the safe side, however, the plant operator has installed systems that can capture the particles. “These efficient systems work similarly to large vacuum cleaners,” Karen Huaraca, Anglo American’s Environmental Officer, explains. “They filter the dust and then release the clean air into the environment.”

All the information collected by the sensors is sent to the operations centre in real time, enabling the plant to be controlled automatically. This facility is about 90 km from Quellaveco.

The trucks transport the raw materials to the port. There, the copper ore is stored in a warehouse, which has a capacity of more than 80,000 t. A conveyor system conveys the material from the mainland and transfers it to the new SL1320.51/30 ship loader. The loader has a swivelling superstructure. At the end of the boom is the loading device with a belt conveyor. The material slides down a telescopic tube into the cargo hold. This means there are no major environmental emissions during loading. The telescopic tube can be swivelled hydraulically to reach every corner of the cargo hold. The ship loader has a conveying capacity of around 1,320 t/h.

FAM successfully commissioned the system at the end of 2022. The supplier also handled the installation of all the mechanical components, as well as the electrical and control engineering, project planning, production, transportation and consulting.

FAM Project Leader, Alexander Kammerer, said: “This project was challenging in many ways. We had to deal with both high seismic loads and COVID-19 pandemic delays. But thanks to the support of our colleagues from FAM América Latina Maquinarias Limitada in Chile, we succeeded in implementing the project within the given parameters.”

Martin Engineering addresses conveyor safety misconceptions

Martin Engineering is disputing the idea that putting conveyor equipment out of reach or inconveniently placed away from workers – known as “guarding by location” – is a valid form of safety.

After decades of safe equipment design and comprehensive conveyor safety training in the bulk handling industry, Martin Engineering experts have witnessed where “guarding by location” has led to a lapse in workplace safety, resulting in injuries and – in some cases – fatalities, the company says.

Most people readily accept that conveyors and other machinery require safety guards when positioned near workers or walkways. Guarding by location is the assumption that when hazards, such as moving conveyor belts, are positioned beyond the normal reach of a worker they don’t require a guard. Yet they can still present a serious hazard.

Worker risks from guarding by location

Some regulations define a general safe height for components based on the average height of workers. This means taller employees (1.82 m in height or more) can easily suffer an injury reaching up into a moving component that is 2.13 m above the ground. Working above machinery that is considered guarded by location exposes workers to increased severity of injury if they slip or fall to a lower level.

Most regulations do not account for the potential buildup of spillage underneath the conveyor or in walkways, which can easily change the distance between the working surface and a hazard. It’s also fairly common practice to purposely collect a pile of material or fill a bin to gain access for service or inspection of an elevated component. Using tools and methods that extend a worker’s reach while the belt is running is a hazardous activity that can contribute to serious – and possibly fatal – accidents.

Height prevents a worker from reaching hazardous areas until the reality of bulk operations proves otherwise

Hazards from above

By not requiring a physical barrier, guarding by location creates what is considered by some to be an exception to the general requirements for the guarding of hazards in the workplace. Several hazardous locations are beyond the normal reach of staff when working or walking under or around elevated conveyors. These hazards are commonly found in or around nip points between the belt and return rollers or drive components such as pulley shafts, couplings, drive belts, gears and chains. Additional hazards from falling components may be inadvertently ignored if considered guarded by location.

Guarding best practices

The logical solution to guarding by location is to simply install guards and baskets to protect workers from lateral and overhead hazards, while still offering safe and easy access. For maximum risk reduction, all nip points, shear points and moving or rotating components should be guarded, regardless of location or access. However, there is also no global standard for guard mesh sizes and mounting distance from the hazard. Most standards use a gauge to measure the distance which varies by mesh size. When a bulk material handling guard is placed relatively close to a hazard it greatly reduces the ability to inspect components without removing the guard, thereby encouraging guard removal for routine inspections.

It would be far better (and safer) to standardise on a few mesh sizes and mounting distances allowing maintenance workers to build guards to a short list of materials, using standard mounting distances and eliminating the use of the gauges. Below is the recommendation included in Martin Engineering’s book ‘FOUNDATIONS for Conveyor Safety’.

Put an end to the myth

Despite its nearly global acceptance as a concept in industrial safety, the practice of guarding by location remains a particular problem for overhead conveyor applications. It’s time to accept that as far as conveyors are concerned, ‘guarding by location’ is a myth. As such, it’s a concept that should be abandoned in order to make conveyors – and those who work on and around the equipment – safer.

Martin Engineering urges operators to think long term with conveyor acquisitions

Martin Engineering is warning that a lack of understanding of the operational basics of belt conveyor systems, regarding the hardware installed and the performance required from the components, is creating a knowledge gap that is putting employee safety on the line.

Since personnel are the single most important resource of any industrial operation, to meet workplace safety standards, the consensus among safety professionals is to design the hazard out of the component or system, which historically yields more cost-effective and durable results.

Designs should be forward-thinking, according to Martin Engineering. This means exceeding compliance standards and enhancing operators’ ability to incorporate future upgrades cost-effectively by taking a modular approach. This method alleviates several workplace hazards, minimises clean-up and maintenance, reduces unscheduled downtime and extends the life of the belt and the system.

Before the drafting phase, designers should:

  • Establish the goals of reducing injuries and exposure to hazards (dust, spillage, etc.);
  • Increase conveyor uptime and productivity, and;
  • Seek more effective approaches to ongoing operating and maintenance challenges.

To meet the demands for greater safety and improved production, some manufacturers have introduced equipment designs not only engineered for safer operation and servicing but also reduced maintenance time. An example is the Martin® QC1™ Cleaner HD/XHD STS (Safe-to-Service) primary cleaner and the Martin SQC2S™ STS secondary cleaner, designed so the blade cartridge can be pulled away from the belt for safe access and replacement by a single worker.

The same slide-out technology has been applied to impact cradle designs. Systems like the Martin Slider Cradle are engineered so operators can work on the equipment safely, without breaking the plane of motion, it says. External servicing reduces confined space entry and eliminates reach-in maintenance while facilitating faster replacement. The result is greater safety and efficiency, with less downtime.

An example of a safer belt cleaner is the CleanScrape® (pictured), which has a patented design to reduce the need for bulky urethane blades altogether. It delivers extended service life, low belt wear and significantly reduced maintenance, which improves safety and lowers the cost of ownership, the company says.

Unlike conventional belt cleaners that are mounted at an angle to the belt, the CleanScrape is installed diagonally across the discharge pulley, forming a 3D curve beneath the discharge area that conforms to the pulley’s shape. The approach has been so effective that, in many operations, previously crucial secondary belt cleaners have become unnecessary, saving further on belt cleaning costs and service time, according to the company.

Although the policy is generally not explicitly stated by companies, the “low-bid process” is usually an implied rule that is baked into a company’s culture, Martin Engineering says. It encourages bidders to follow a belt conveyor design methodology that gets the maximum load on the conveyor belt with the minimum compliance to regulations using the lowest price materials, components and manufacturing processes available.

“When companies buy on price, the benefits are often short-lived, and costs increase over time, eventually resulting in losses,” Martin Engineering says. “In contrast, when purchases are made based on the lowest long-term cost (life-cycle cost), benefits usually continue to accrue and costs are lower, resulting in a net savings over time.”

Engineering safer conveyors is a long-term strategy. Although design absorbs less than 10% of the total budget of a project, EPCM services can be as much a 15% of the installed cost of a major project, additional upfront engineering and applying a life cycle-cost methodology to the selection and purchase of conveyor components proves beneficial.

Safety-minded design at the planning stage reduces injuries by engineering hazards out of the system, the company states. The system will likely meet or exceed the demands of modern production and safety regulations, with a longer operational life, fewer stoppages and a lower cost of operation.

PROK ready to highlight conveyor pulley and wear solutions at Expomin 2023

PROK, a leader in conveyor equipment manufacturing, is planning to showcase its range of engineered pulleys, PROK HDPE and ROXDUR wear solutions at the upcoming Expomin 2023 event in Santiago, Chile, from April 24-27.

Visitors to the PROK booth will have the opportunity to participate in live product demonstrations, view products in augmented reality, and experience PROK’s holographic display. This interactive display will allow visitors to explore PROK’s conveyor components in an entirely new way, it says.

PROK Chile General Manager, Andres Virot, said: “At PROK, we are committed to innovation and pushing the boundaries of conveyor component technology. Our team of experts has designed and manufactured products that have revolutionised the industry. We are proud to showcase our range of products at Expomin 2023, and we look forward to meeting visitors and demonstrating the capabilities of our conveyor components.”

One of those products on display is PROK HDPE (pictured), a high-performance non-metallic composite roller that has helped mining companies across the globe reduce costs and improve safety, according to the company. PROK HDPE includes dual-layer wear indicator technology which provides a proactive tool for improving roller maintenance scheduling. The lightweight construction also assists to avoid manual handling injuries when changing out rollers.

Martin Engineering sets ‘new standard’ in conveyor wear liner technology

Martin Engineering has introduced what it says is a new standard in wear liner technology with the Manufactured Canoe Liner.

Made from durable urethane moulded around a rugged steel plate to absorb impact and abrasion from the punishing bulk handling environment, the Manufactured Canoe Liner is expected to deliver extended equipment life, longer periods of dust and spillage control, improved safety and less maintenance, reducing the overall cost of operation, according to the company.

With the protective plate integrated directly into the urethane liner, the design delivers superior shielding of the skirt sealing system and chute wall from heavy, fast-moving cargo, it says.

“This is a shift in the engineering and role of wear liners,” Dave Mueller, Manager of Conveyor Products for Martin Engineering, said. “Like most conveyor components, the design has evolved into a component that is more effective, safer to maintain and more reliable.”

Previously, most wear liners were sheets of steel welded onto the internal chute wall of the conveyor loading zone. These protected the wall from the punishing effects of splashing, shifting and abrasive material. But since they are wear parts, periodic replacement of these early designs involved enclosed chute entry and hot work using a blow torch, which required certification and supervision, while running the risk of igniting explosive dust. The steel plates generally did not effectively protect the rubber skirt seal, leading to more frequent skirt replacements.

Moreover, the wear liner’s position often left a gap between the liner and the skirting, which captured small lumps of material that could damage the belt. These design issues resulted in excessive downtime, premature equipment replacement and extra labor to monitor and maintain.

The Martin Manufactured Canoe Liner is an engineered urethane strip moulded directly around a protective steel plate.  The unique approach avoids the bonding issues common to previous designs, preventing urethane separation from the plate that could damage the belt and enclosure, the company says.

Each section has a series of 2 in (51 mm) long bracket holes for vertical adjustment. The bottom “belt side” of the liner is cut to an optional 20º, 35º, or 45º angle to maximise belt sealing and protect the softer material of the skirt seal from premature wear. Depending on the weight and abrasiveness of the conveyed material, customers can choose a urethane thickness of 1.3-2 in (33-51 mm).

Delivered in storable cartridges 48 in (1,219 mm) in length, the units can be cut on site to match the needs of the chute. The cartridges can also be installed vertically on top of one another to accommodate taller chute walls or raised enclosures. Like the lower sections, the upper units can be adjusted as well, Martin Engineering added.

As material gradually erodes the Manufactured Canoe Liner, the bottom trough angle continues to protect the skirting. If there are significant gaps between the belt and liner, each individual cartridge can be adjusted by a single technician using a socket wrench, the company claims. Replacement is carried out by removing the worn units, mounting each new cartridge and cutting the end piece to fit. This reduces what used to be a one or two day job to one to two hours, according to the company.

“Martin is constantly seeking to innovate every aspect of the bulk handling process with the goal of making it safer, more effective and easier to maintain,” Mueller said. “The introduction of the Manufactured Canoe Liner achieves our objectives by improving efficiency and lowering the cost of operation.”

PROK idlers set for overland conveyor system at Roy Hill iron ore operation

PROK has been selected by Roy Hill to manufacture and supply the idlers for a new circa-8km overland conveyor system as part of the iron ore mine’s Rom4 expansion in Western Australia.

PROK says it was awarded the contract for the conveyor idlers off the back of a long history of success with various overland conveyor systems across the globe.

Roy Hill requires the new overland conveyor to connect a new crusher to the existing mine infrastructure. The system comprises two overland conveyor systems that are approximately 8 km in length.

The entire project scope for the conveyor components included the manufacture and supply of 23,500 rollers and 6,500 idler frames.

The majority of the rollers will be PROK HDPE, a lightweight composite roller. PROK HDPE was chosen due to its lightweight construction and exceptional reliability, PROK said. The rollers include dual-layer wear indicator technology which facilitates smarter roller maintenance.

PROK General Manager WA, Wade Guelfi, said PROK HDPE will bring a range of benefits to Roy Hill’s operations.

“PROK HDPE is proven in heavy-duty iron ore applications and will assist to reduce maintenance costs, increase production and importantly improve safety outcomes,” he said. “We were thrilled to be able to partner with Roy Hill on this project and look forward to working closely with them to continue to optimise conveyor performance.”