Tag Archives: Conveyors

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.

Mader Group hits another quarterly record as it keeps expanding

Mobile and fixed plant equipment maintenance provider Mader Group has declared a stellar set of quarterly financials that included a second consecutive quarterly revenue figure.

Revenue for the three months to the end of June came in at A$86.4 million ($63.5 million), up 24% on the prior corresponding period (PCP), and up 14% on the previous quarter.

Revenue generated in Australia increased to A$77 million, up 21% on the PCP, driven by high levels of customer demand, while, in North America, quarterly revenue increased to A$6.8 million, up 45% on the PCP excluding foreign exchange movements (30% on an A$ basis).

The company said its preparations for operational delivery into Canada were now complete with customer negotiations well advanced.

Reflecting on Mader Group’s quarterly performance, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nuich, said: “On the back of two consecutive quarters of record revenue growth, we close our books for the financial year with A$304 million in revenue and with a strong earnings result to follow. This is very pleasing and reflects the strength of our labour-focused business model.

“Our operations are more flexible and adaptable than ever, housing a dynamic in-house workforce of more than 1,600 skilled tradespersons deployed across nearly 400 sites globally. In all locations, we have prioritised the needs of our customers and our people, safely delivering over 3.4 million hours of specialised equipment maintenance for financial year 2021.”

During the period, the company continued to develop its internal safety systems to ensure the health and wellbeing of a largely remote workforce. Mader prioritised the continued roll out of a bespoke in-vehicle monitoring system for its service fleet, seeing considerable improvement in driver behaviour over the quarter, it said.

Mader also commenced trialling its safety-focused mobile app to its North American workforce.

The platform, which is already widely accessible to Mader employees within Australia, is designed to connect Mader employees to its digitally integrated safety processes, resources and company alerts.

Within Mader’s Australian operations, the group’s infrastructure and ancillary maintenance service lines remained a key focus in the business’ growth strategy. Continued diversification saw the company expand its ancillary service offerings.

“Moving into climate control support for mobile equipment, Mader supported a renewable energy project in a bid to convert diesel-electric haul trucks, exploration drills and locomotives into zero emissions technology,” the company said.

“Mader also worked with a local OEM to conduct off-site rebuilds for plant conveyors and mills. Revenue generated from the business’s ancillary maintenance services increased 21% vs PCP and by 12% vs PCP for its infrastructure maintenance services.”

Mader said its core service areas also gained traction during the quarter leading to the expansion of its in-field maintenance operations for heavy mobile equipment, driven by high customer demand across Australia. In Western Australia, this included growth in its Rapid Response team and “specialised equipment maintenance offerings”.

The company added: “Our disruptive business model continues to roll out into a large addressable market that has an appetite for significant additional capacity. All of our core business divisions continue to grow and our strategy of building new divisions that address new geographic locations or that provide additional trades and services is driving further growth.

“We are seeing structural advances in the Australian market as large owner-miners continue to develop multibillion-dollar resource projects, ultimately increasing the size of the maintainable mining fleet.”

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.

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.

Metso Outotec to help Karara Mining expand tailings filtration at iron ore mine

Metso Outotec has signed a contract with Karara Mining Limited for the design of its tailings filtration plant expansion project at its iron ore mine in Western Australia.

This agreement includes the delivery of key filtration and material handling equipment and associated services, with the typical value for an order like this is in the range of €15-20 million ($11-15 million) depending on the scope of delivery. The order has been booked in Minerals’ June quarter 2021 orders received.

Karara produces a premium, high-grade (65-68% Fe) magnetite concentrate at a design production rate of 8 Mt/y, Metso Outotec said. With this expansion, the operation will increase the current tailings filtration capacity from 30,000 t/d to over 45,000 t/d enabling safe and sustainable storage of the process mine waste, with improved utilisation and recovery of water.

Kai Rönnberg, Vice President, Minerals Sales − Asia Pacific, said: “The Karara mine represents one of the largest filtered tailings facilities in the world. We are very proud that Karara Mining Limited has chosen Metso Outotec to deliver the plant design and key equipment in this expansion project. This is a continuation of earlier delivered proprietary key process equipment and long-term on-site maintenance service agreements.”

Metso Outotec’s scope in this expansion will include the Larox® FFP3512 filter press as primary filtration equipment, material handling conveyor systems and peripheral items. Additionally, spare parts and supervisory services will be supplied to support commissioning and plant ramp-up. Delivery will take place during 2022, and the plant is expected to start production late in the December quarter of 2022.

Metso Outotec drops conveyor belt splicing services in Australia

Metso Outotec, after reviewing its local services business portfolio in Australia, has decided to discontinue the conveyor labour services related to belt splicing and associated services in the local market.

The company says it will continue to provide parts, components and technical support for conveyors.

Martin Karlsson, Senior Vice President, Professional Services, Metso Outotec, said the decision was part of the company’s Field Service strategy to focus its service efforts on areas where Metso Outotec has strong capabilities, proprietary technologies and a large installed base.

“We will continue to provide our customers with conveyor services and original wear and spare parts where we have a strong, competitive offering,” he said. “The Australian market is well served by local companies in the conveyor maintenance services business, and we feel confident that customers’ needs will be covered by these companies after our withdrawal.”

Metso Outotec says it has an extensive global footprint of over 3,000 Field Service professionals and additional support resources close to customer operations. In Australia, the company has about 200 Field Service employees and service centres serving the main mining areas.

The company concluded: “Metso Outotec’s wide range of mobile and stationary conveyors, parts, accessories, services, and other optional features for the mining and aggregate industries will continue to be supplied to the markets in Australia and worldwide.”

Metso Outotec to deliver overland conveyor system to South America mine

Metso Outotec has received an order for a heavy-duty overland mine conveyor system in South America set to run at speeds of up to 6 m/s and a delivery capacity of over 9,000 t/h, the mining OEM says.

The delivery consists of high reliability overland conveyors, including a 2 km single flight conveyor, it said.

The order value is around €10 million ($11.9 million) and it has been booked in the company’s Minerals division March quarter orders received.

Alexandre Martins, Business Manager, Crushing and Conveying Systems business line at Metso Outotec, said: “Metso Outotec’s full range of overland conveyor solutions provides economic and reliable material transportation for both open-pit and underground operations at the lowest total cost of ownership. Metso Outotec’s patented Energy Saving Idlers bring important power savings to long-distance conveyors, reduced belt tension, and extended rollers life, enabling a reduced maintenance cost over the equipment life and a more sustainable operation.”

The Metso Outotec conveyor offering covers complete end-to-end conveyor solutions, it says, including concept studies and definitions for all types of terrains and route types with horizontal and vertical curves.

In addition, the offering also includes post-installation services and maintenance, including a full range of accessories, belts and components for different types of applications.

RCF Jolimont II fund invests in on-line analysis company Realtime Group

The Realtime Group Ltd says it has completed the sale of a majority stake in the company to global METS sector investor RCF Jolimont Mining Innovation Fund II LP.

Realtime is focused on developing on-line analysers for the mining, power generation and manufacturing industries, with customers in 46 countries relying on its solutions to accurately measure the quality and elemental composition of their product in real time as they are transported on automated material handling systems such as conveyor belts.

It developed its flagship AllScan elemental analyser, which leverages prompt gamma neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) sensors, in 2013. Since its inception, it has grown rapidly to have over 1,000 systems deployed at mining and other operations.

Dr James Asbury, a Co-Founder and current Real Time CEO, explains: “Our purpose built solutions enable decisions to be made based on real-time analysis of materials as they are transported between the mine, mill, trains and ships. Real time, on-line data of material properties that are to be loaded or processed permits timely decisions for optimising the overall process. Proactively managing materials in this way helps our customers to potentially save millions of dollars every year.”

He added: “RCF Jolimont II’s investment in Realtime will inject a wealth of expertise and experience to continue our journey to become the leading solution provider in the global mining industry and beyond. The team behind RCF Jolimont II has a history of success with fast-growth companies including Blast Movement Technologies and Newtrax which should benefit the future development of Real Time.”

RCF Jolimont II’s Andrew Jessett and Lyle Bruce will be joining the Realtime board of directors. Jessett is Vice President, Australasia at RCF Jolimont II.

Jessett said: “As we went through the process of investing in Realtime two things really stood out: the glowing testimonials from their customers, and the importance and value of enabling real-time decisions in the movement of valuable commodities. Realtime’s IoT technology is the premier solution in this space. We are very excited about the critical role it will play in helping customers realise new levels of efficiency in material processing.”

RCF Jolimont II recently also took a significant stake in Rail-Veyor Technologies Global Inc.

Martin Engineering goes autonomous with N2 Twist Tensioner for conveyor belts

Martin Engineering has introduced an autonomous tensioning system that, it says, continuously monitors and delivers proper cleaner tension on conveyor belts.

By using Martin Engineering’s new smart technology platform to maintain proper blade-to-belt pressure, the N2® Twist™ Tensioner provides the best possible cleaning performance throughout the life of the blade, according to the company. The system also alerts operators on the Martin Smart Device Manager App when the blade needs changing or if there is an abnormal condition.

“The result is efficient cleaning, increased safety, reduced labour and a lower cost of operation,” the company said.

Andrew Timmerman, Product Development Engineer at Martin Engineering, said the company designed the unit for heavy-duty applications and tested it outdoors in punishing environments and applications.

“The N2 Twist Tensioner has proven itself to be a rugged and highly effective way to maximise both cleaning efficiency and blade life,” he added.

Located on the head pulley, primary belt cleaners commonly have a twist, ratchet or spring tensioner to ensure the cleaner blade stays in consistent contact with the conveyor belt for proper cleaning and material discharge, Martin Engineering says. Prior to the new design, belt tensioners had to be monitored and adjusted manually, in some applications on a daily basis, so they would maintain optimum pressure and carryback removal. Estimating when blades needed changing was often a guessing game that, if left too long, could lead to belt damage, according to the company.

The company continued: “Inadequate tensioning causes carryback to cling to the belt and spill along its path, piling up under the conveyor and emitting excessive dust. This requires extra labour for clean-up and can affect air quality. Over-tensioning leads to friction damage to the carrying side of the belt, premature blade wear and potential splice damage. Both scenarios create unsafe work conditions and raise the cost of operation significantly.”

The N2 Twist Tensioner automatically maintains precise cleaning pressure throughout the entire life of the blade, without maintenance, Martin Engineering says. The tensioner applies the proper amount of torque to deliver optimum cleaning pressure at the blade tip, supporting the Constant Angle Radial Pressure cleaner design that, it says, withstands the force of heavy bulk cargo but retains a consistently tight seal across the belt profile.

Martin Engineering’s smart technology platform monitors blade wear and informs operators when the blade needs changing from control systems that are housed in a durable weather-resistant NEMA 4 control box. Experts recommend changing blades before there is a chance of detachment or a “pull through” (inversion under the head pulley). In the event of a premature pull through, operators are alerted, and the tensioner’s internal self-relieving coupling rolls over. A blade detachment also triggers an alert allowing operators to quickly shut down the system and avoid expensive belt damage.

The electrical system runs both the tensioning system and the sensors, with the unit powered by a rechargeable 12 v battery life. It can also be specified to run on 110-220 VAC.

Martin Engineering concluded: “The N2 Twist Tensioner and Smart Device Manager App ease the burden on managers and workers so they can focus their attention on other critical details of the operation. Precise tensioning and improved belt cleaning reduce the volume of dust and spillage from carryback, improving workplace safety and decreasing the labour needed to maintain and clean around the discharge zone.”