Tag Archives: Conveyors

Metso Outotec goes the distance with overland conveyor range

Metso Outotec says it has introduced a full range of overland conveyors for “economic and energy-efficient bulk material transportation”.

Designed for transporting bulk material in long distance mining applications, the overland conveyor solutions can be used at both open-pit and underground operations and, according to the company, offer the lowest total cost of ownership.

Lars Duemmel, Vice President, Bulk Material Handling Systems at Metso Outotec, said: “In mining and minerals processing applications, conveying is one of the most efficient and safest ways to transport bulk material. It is often referred as the backbone of the entire process.

“The robust design of our overland conveyors allows for capacities of up to 20,000 t/h, including over 5 km on a single flight for a seamless process. What is also important is that you can achieve power savings of up to 30% with the patented Energy Saving Idlers® (ESI).”

ESI, according to Metso Outotec, significantly reduces the overall rolling resistance on conveyor belts, leading to savings in the electrical power costs to operate the conveyor.

Duemmel added: “Thanks to our extensive process engineering capability and proven installations around the world, we are able to support our customers with complete end-to-end conveyor solutions.

“This includes concept studies and definitions for all types of terrains and route types with horizontal and vertical curves. Our expertise also covers post-installation services and maintenance, including a full range of accessories, belts and components featured in the recently launched Conveyor Solutions Handbook.”

DRA Global’s ‘total solutions offering’ put to the test at Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine

DRA Global says it has continued to sustain its long-term client relationship with Exxaro Resources through the progressive engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract at the Grootegeluk coal asset in South Africa.

Exxaro’s Grootegeluk is an open-pit coal mine, 20 km from Lephalale in Limpopo province. The mine produced 26 Mt/y final coal products, using a conventional truck and shovel operation, and has an estimated mineable coal reserve of 3,261 Mt, and a total measured coal resource of 4,719 Mt.

“A project of this magnitude speaks to the extensive experience in project development and delivery extended to the client by DRA,” DRA says.

DRA’s specialist engineering expertise and total solutions package at Exxaro’s Grootegeluk includes, but is not limited to:

  • Bankable feasibility study;
  • Installation of a new PC2 Discard Conveyor alongside the current PC1 Discard Conveyor;
  • Installation of new bifurcated transfer chutes to discharge onto either PC1 or PC2 Conveyor;
  • Seven transfers in total that requires conversion; and
  • Construction of associated infrastructure; such as stormwater control, road crossing, new spillage collection and a transfer system.

Furthermore, DRA recently completed the 3D scanning of existing conveyors and accompanying infrastructure. The compiling of the 3D model has commenced and will inform the engineering of the various transfer towers and the new PC2 Conveyor onto the next phase, it said.

Exxarro, in 2018, initially awarded DRA a contract to construct a 500 t/h coal handling and preparation plant at the Belfast Implementation project, in Mpumalanga.

“The client’s faith in DRA showcases the proficiency in implementing large-scale coal projects and further solidifies the organisations’ reputation for successful project delivery (even under these new circumstances),” it said.

Alistair Hodgkinson, Senior Vice President at DRA, said: “Grootegeluk is just one of many projects under DRA that provides an excellent opportunity to showcase our engineering capability. This is a complex brownfields project that will require attention to detail to achieve successful construction during a tight shutdown deadline; the client values our reputation for being able to deliver challenging brownfields projects successfully.”

The project commenced in the September quarter and is forecasted for completion by the June quarter of 2021.

RUC Cementation, GR Engineering plan to collaborate on Tanami Expansion work

RUC Cementation Mining Contractors and GR Engineering Services have agreed to team up as part of a plan to construct surface infrastructure, as well as complete the shaft lining and equipping for a proposed hoisting shaft at the Newmont-owned Tanami Expansion 2 project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Today, Barry Upton (right), Managing Director of RUC Cementation Mining Contractors, and Geoff Jones (left, next to Rod Schier, Engineering Manager for GR Engineering), Managing Director of GR Engineering Services, signed this “Teaming Agreement”.

The surface infrastructure component the two plan to work on includes winders, headframe and surface conveyors.

The companies said: “Both companies have worked together to submit a competitive and technically strong offer for the works and look forward hopefully to an award in the near future.”

RUC added: “Whilst a departure from the traditional GR Engineering work scope of treatment plant construction, RUC Mining is very pleased to have GR on board as a key construction partner and values the excellence in construction that GRES bring.”

The Tanami Expansion 2 project is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.

Kinder Australia keeps conveyors on track with K-Commander

Kinder Australia believes its K-Commander® series can alleviate many of the issues that come with conveyor belt misalignment, keeping operations on track while minimising downtime.

As the company explains, a poorly tracked conveyor belt can lead to a number of productivity and safety issues.

Damage to the conveyor belt itself as well as the conveyor structure is a major problem. As the belt misaligns, the edge of the conveyor belt is at risk of becoming torn. The conveyor structural damage is also highly likely, which is a significant safety risk. Replacement of both is extremely costly and will require interruption in production and added labour, Kinder says.

Another issue that can come as a result of belt misalignment is material spillage. As well as the cost of product wastage, excess material can increase the risk of personnel slipping, tripping, falling over and becoming entangled. Material spillage can also damage idlers and cause conveyor rollers to seize.

The ideal scenario whereby a conveyor belt tracks ‘true’ in the centre, involves idlers and pulleys being aligned, levelled and square to centre line prior to loading the belt, Kinder explains. “It should be pivoting and rotating freely when the belt experiences any mis-tracking behaviour.” Other options include fixed tracking solutions without a rotating structure.

In order to install any one of the K-Commander series, the belt needs to be monitored to identify problem areas that cannot be solved by making adjustments.

A poorly tracked conveyor belt can lead to a number of productivity and safety issues, according to Kinder Australia

The K-Commander Exceed Series is an all-direction belt tracking solution featuring flexible 360° rotational capability, with its separate axial and rotational function allowing for the double axis pivot bush, the company says.

The K-Commander Exceed Series P has been designed with two key stages:

  • The first focuses on the inner shell which contains the shaft and an engineered pivoting bush allowing the axial movement of the tracker. The inner shell is protected by a flexible EPDM rubber boot; and
  • The second stage focuses on the roller bearings, which allows the rotational movement of the tracker. The roller bearings connect the inner shell and the outer shell, and are protected by a labyrinth seal.

“The installation of the K-Commander Control Series is only for the return side, being the most critical surface of the belt in order to maintain belt alignment,” Kinder says. “The unique engineered action of the central ball and socket link is encased in a rubber covered steel tube. This protects the internal mechanics and ensures that the belt runs true.”

The K-Commander Direct Series is a pivoting base style, available in both trough and return applications that automatically provide belt centring. The outboard servo rollers cause the idler frame to pivot as they contact the belt edge and this swivel action causes the belt to realign automatically, the company explains.

To further aid belt tracking, Kinder Australia offer rubber lagged rollers (trough and return) as an option. The results are better tracking performance (especially in heavy-duty applications), increased roller durability against the constant scuffing nature that roller shells in trackers experience and increased belt training response, the company says.

“Made of highly wear-resistant polyurethane, the K-Commander Tracking Discs fit both flat and vee return rollers as well as selected troughing rollers,” Kinder says. “Ideally, they are located in pairs prior to the tail pulley to help align the conveyor belt, so eliminating spillage from mis-tracked belts. They can also be installed after the feed area on troughing sets to help keep the belt aligned. They are easy to install with a split on one side to slip over the roller – no need to remove the roller.”

Finally, the K-Commander Guide Series INV is an all-purpose conveyor belt alignment idler suited to short centred or reversing conveyor applications. The two inverted vee rollers put pressure onto the belt, promoting centralised belt training. The universal frame adjusts to all types of mounting structures and is installed just after the head pulley, or prior to the tail pulley, Kinder explains. They are suitable for reversing belts and are available for all belt widths, according to the company.

Atlantic Nickel ready to delve underground for Santa Rita mine life expansion

Atlantic Nickel has released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on its Santa Rita nickel mine, in Brazil, that shows the potential for the company to become one of the largest sustainable nickel sulphide producers in the world.

The announcement, made in concert with Appian Capital Advisory LLP (the owner of Atlantic Nickel), follows the recommencement of open-pit mining at Santa Rita in August 2019.

This new NI 43-101 technical report outlines a 34-year mine life for Santa Rita, in Bahia, with eight years of open-pit production, underpinned by proven and probable reserves of 50.6 Mt at 0.31% NiS, and 26 years of underground mining.

The open-pit mine plan was prepared to prefeasibility study level and encompasses a large open pit and a nearby, much smaller satellite open pit along strike. Both pits will be mined with conventional mining equipment, and the plan will be executed in 10 phases, the company says.

The open pit is scheduled over a period of eight years, ending in 2028, with operations using standard methods of drilling and blasting, loading, and hauling. It would produce 20,000-25,000 t/y of contained nickel equivalent at a C1 cost of $2.97/lb Ni and an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $4.12/lb Ni, the company says.

The Santa Rita process plant, having started production in 2009, was completely refurbished and recommissioned in the second half of 2019 in line with the mine restart. The plant consists of crushing, grinding, flotation, thickening and filtration unit operations to produce a saleable nickel concentrate. Flotation tailings are pumped to a tailings storage facility, while grinding is performed by a SAG mill, two ball mills and two pebble crushers. This is followed by a conditioning circuit and a flotation circuit, with the final concentrate thickened and pumped to storage tanks ready for filtration. Concentrate is filtered in a Larox (Metso Outotec) pressure filter. Following filtration, the final concentrate is trucked to the port of Ilhéus where it is loaded onto ships for transport to market.

The mineral resource estimate for the expansion case consists of 94.2 Mt of measured and indicated resources across open-pit and underground mining at average grades of 0.41% NiS, 0.14% Cu, 0.01% Co, 0.03 g/t Pd, 0.07 g/t Pt and 0.05 g/t Au, with 90.6 Mt of inferred resource at 0.54% NiS, 0.17% Cu, 0.02% Co, 0.04 g/t Pd, 0.09 g/t Pt and 0.06 g/t Au.

Sublevel Caving (SLC) was selected as the mining method for the underground portion of the deposit based on the amenable geometry of the deposit, and because productivity and cost advantages of SLC enable greater exploitation of the underground resource at greater margin than more selective mining methods, Atlantic Nickel said.

“The geometry of the deposit and the location below a mined open pit are similar to the Ernest Henry SLC, which is successfully operated by Ernest Henry Mining (a subsidiary of Glencore) in Queensland, Australia,” the company added.

The SLC mining method employs long-hole drilling and blasting techniques to extract mineralisation sequentially from the surface to the bottom of the deposit. The method does not require backfill and, therefore, relies on the overlying waste rock to cave and fill the mined void, the company explained. Caving of the overlying waste rock results in surface subsidence above and in the immediate vicinity of the underground deposit, but the subsidence will not interfere with open-pit mining since initial production from underground is planned to commence in 2028 when open-pit mining is completed.

Infrastructure capital and development of the underground project is planned to start at the beginning of 2026, with production from the underground ramping-up over a seven-year period until full production of 6.2 Mt/y is achieved.

The underground portion of the resource considered in the PEA plan consists of 43.5 Mt of indicated resources and 90.6 Mt of inferred resources. This resource was used to come up with a 40,000-45,000 t/y of contained nickel equivalent production profile for the underground operation over life of mine at a C1 cost of $2.17/lb Ni and an AISC of $3.92/lb Ni.

The SLC mining layout in the PEA comprises 37 mining levels spaced at vertical intervals of 25 m. Each level is made up of parallel and evenly spaced drill drives from which production drilling and blasting occur. Once blasted, the mineralisation is loaded from the drill drives using LHDs and loaded into trucks for haulage to the surface during the initial ramp-up phase, and later to ore passes feeding an underground crushing station and conveying to surface via an inclined tunnel.

“The SLC method employs a top-down mining sequence that enables production to ramp-up quickly once the top of the underground deposit has been accessed,” Atlantic Nickel says. “The method also enables high production rates as the mining cycle is simplified by the standardisation of development and production and with no backfilling required.”

While still early days in terms of the underground mine’s development plans, the company assumed the use of automated LHDs, longhole drilling and jumbo development drilling in the PEA, a spokesperson for Atlantic Nickel confirmed to IM. This saw Epiroc and Sandvik provide price inputs, with design layouts anticipating such equipment.

“Subsequent studies will optimise the equipment and layouts integration,” the spokesperson added.

And, while the current study assumes the use of a diesel-powered fleet, battery-electric vehicles will also provide upside in future studies and further reduce energy costs, equipment maintenance costs and ventilation power costs, the spokesperson said.

“Both tethered and battery will be look at for specific applications within the mine such as loading from drawpoints and feeding the underground crusher from the bottom of ore passes,” the spokesperson said.

The flotation test work gave similar results to those obtained with open-pit material; hence, plant performance is not expected to be significantly different for underground material, the company said. Underground feed will be treated in Atlantic Nickel’s existing process plant with only minor modifications required, likely to the grinding circuit.

New surface infrastructure associated with the underground mine would include the following:

  • A box cut and portal located to the west of the north end of the open pit;
  • A conveyor portal connecting to the bottom of the existing crusher installation;
  • A temporary construction portal in the west wall at the north end of the open pit on the 82 m RL bench;
  • Multiple ventilation raise surface collars on the western side of the open pit;
  • Ventilation adits on the west wall at the south end of the open pit on the 10 m RL bench;
  • Dewatering pond for storing, settling and recycling water from underground;
  • Electrical reticulation to the portals, adits and services; and
  • Shotcrete batch plant.

After completion of open pit mining, a new tailings storage facility would be required to store the additional 134 Mt of tailings to be produced from the underground mine over a period of 28 years. Like the existing tailings storage facility, raises will be constructed using a downstream method, the company said.

Total capital associated with the underground expansion amounts to $1.3 billion over the 34-year combined operation, with only $355 million of that being spent during the first five years of underground development commencing in 2026. The expansion is partially self-funding with cash flows generated from the open-pit mining operation, the company said.

MBV’s 3DPM system heads to Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation

MBV Systems has received another order from the Australia mining sector for its 3DPM system, with the Sweden-based company set to deliver the online particle size distribution platform to Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation in Western Australia.

The order follows a trial at the nickel operation, which produced 30,436 t of nickel concentrate in the 12 months ending June 30, 2020.

The 3DPM system is used to increase knowledge and understanding of the material flow and hence improve the production efficiency and product quality at mine sites, MBV Systems says. It provides online particle size distribution measurements of rocks and bulk material through 3D measurements on conveyor belts.

“In this case (at Nova), the size distribution is used as a ‘disturbance variable’ in a model predictive controller for a SAG mill,” the company said. “The model can predict up to 100 seconds in advance the effect (of the material) on the SAG mill weight. This has greatly improved the stability of the grinding circuit as well as increased the energy efficiency of the mill.”

The rock bolt detection feature of the system detects rock bolts in real time, alerting the operator and allowing them to stop the feed to remove the rock bolt. This feature will enable IGO to act quickly and avoid unplanned downtime and costly damages, according to MBV Systems.

IGO control systems engineers are currently looking at other ways in which the measurement system can be used. One possible application is to use these measurements to track the wear of the jaw crusher liners, according to MBV.

“As the jaw crusher liners wear down, the average size of the crushed particles increases,” MBV Systems says. “This will allow IGO to do jaw crusher maintenance in a smarter way.”

The commissioning of the 3DPM system was carried out remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, the company noted.

Lars Lindqvist, CEO at MBV Systems, said: “This is a very exciting order for us since IGO is a very interesting mining company which believes in a green energy future by delivering the metals needed for new-age batteries.”

The Nova contract follows a signed agreement with Rio Tinto from earlier this year that will see the mining company trial its 3DPM vision system at one of its mine sites in Western Australia.

Martin Engineering on preventing accumulation in mining hoppers and chutes

Accumulation or blockages in storage systems and build-up in process vessels at mine sites can impede material movement, causing bottlenecks that interfere with equipment performance, reduces process efficiency and put a choke hold on an operation’s profitability, according to Martin Engineering.

Efficient material flow is a critical element of wet mining processes such as stoping, hydraulic mining and wet dredging, the company says. Poor material flow also raises maintenance expenses, diverting manpower from core activities and, in some cases, introducing safety risks for personnel.

“Most systems suffer from some amount of accumulation on vessel walls, which can rob plant owners of the storage systems in which they’ve invested,” Brad Pronschinske, Global Director of Air Cannons Business Group for Martin Engineering, said. “These buildups reduce material flow, decreasing the ‘live’ capacity of the vessel and the efficiency of the bulk handling system overall.”

Pronschinske said the accumulations tend to take one of several forms: arches, plugs, build-ups or “rat holes”.

He added: “If they become severe enough, flow problems can bring production to a complete stop.”

Although many plants still use manual techniques to remove buildup, the cost of labour and periodic shutdowns has led some producers to investigate more effective methods for dealing with this common production issue, according to the company.

Buildup versus throughput

Even well-designed processes can experience accumulations, which have a significant impact on output and profitability. Changes in process conditions, raw materials or weather can all influence material flow, and even small amounts of accumulation can grow into a serious blockage.

Beyond moisture content, there are many causes of raw material buildup on vessel walls, according to Martin Engineering.
Some metals contain naturally occurring magnetic properties; nearly 90% of the earth’s crust contains silica, and the sharp crystalline structure can contribute to buildup. Other factors can include the surface friction of the silo walls, the shape of the vessel, the angle of the slope and the size of the material being loaded.

Lost production is probably the most conspicuous cost of these flow problems, according to the company, but the expense can become apparent in a variety of other ways.

Shutdowns to clear the restricted flow cost valuable process time and maintenance hours, while wasting energy during re-start. Refractory walls can be worn or damaged by tools or cleaning techniques. When access is difficult, removing material blockages may also introduce safety risks for personnel. Scaffolds or ladders might be needed to reach access points, and staff can risk exposure to hot debris, dust or gases when chunks of material are released.

Many of the most common problem areas for accumulation are classified as confined spaces, requiring a special permit for workers to enter and perform work.

“The consequences of untrained or inexperienced staff entering a silo or hopper can be disastrous, including physical injury, burial and asphyxiation,” Martin Engineering says. “Disrupted material adhered to the sides of the vessel can suddenly break loose and fall on a worker. If the discharge door is in the open position, cargo can suddenly evacuate, causing unsecured workers to get caught in the flow. Cleaning vessels containing combustible dust – without proper testing, ventilation and safety measures – could even result in a deadly explosion.”

Getting professional help

“While some large facilities choose to make the capital investment to purchase their own cleaning gear to clear process equipment and storage vessels – as well as train personnel – others are finding it more sensible to schedule regular cleanings by specially-trained contractors,” Pronschinske says. “Given the costs of labour, lost time and potential risk to employees, this can often be accomplished for less than the total investment of in-house cleanouts.”

Safe, effective cleaning requires tools that work inside the silo
from the top, controlled by personnel outside

At one location, for example, the blockage was so severe in one silo that it had been out of use for years. While it took the outside contractor almost two weeks to fully evacuate the vessel, the process restored 3,500 tons (3,175 t) of storage capacity, according to the company.

At another facility, the crew was able to remove enough ‘lost’ product that the value of the recovered material actually paid for the cost of the cleaning.

“In short, regular cleaning of storage vessels can quickly turn into an economic benefit – not an expense, but rather an investment with a measurable return on investment,” the company says.

The costs of cleaning

There are a few types of equipment used for this purpose.

“One operates like an industrial-strength ‘weed whip’ rotating a set of flails against the material in the vessel,” Martin Engineering says. “This approach eliminates the need for confined space entry and hazardous cleaning techniques, typically allowing the material to be recaptured and returned to the process stream.”

The whip can be set up quickly outside the vessel, and it is portable enough to move easily around various bin sizes and shapes, according to the company. Typically lowered into the vessel from the top and then working from the bottom up to safely dislodge accumulation, the pneumatic cutting head delivers powerful cleaning action to remove buildup from walls and chutes without damaging the refractory.

Technicians lower the device all the way down through the topside opening, then start at the bottom of the buildup and work their way up, undercutting the wall accumulation as it falls by its own weight, the company explains. “In extreme cases, a ‘bin drill’ can be used to clear a 12 in (305 mm) pathway as deep as 150 ft (45 m) to start the process.”

Flow aids

Regular cleaning is one approach to keeping materials flowing freely by removing buildups from silo walls, but there are other flow aids which may reduce the need for cleaning or even eliminate it, according to Martin Engineering.

Industrial vibrators for bin & chute applications can reduce or even eliminate the need for cleaning

One method is through industrial vibrators designed for bin and chute applications.

“Electric vibrators are generally the most efficient, delivering the longest life, low maintenance and low noise,” it said. “The initial cost for an electric vibrator is higher than for pneumatic designs, but the operating cost is lower. Turbine vibrators are the most efficient and quietest of the pneumatic designs, making them well suited to applications in which low noise, high efficiency and low initial cost are desired.”

Air cannons (pictured) are another approach to maintaining good material flow, according to the company, particularly in larger vessels. Also known as an air blaster, the air cannon is a flow aid device that can be found in mining, coal handling and many other industries. Applications vary widely, from emptying bulk material storage vessels to purging boiler ash to cleaning high-temperature gas ducts.

“In the mining industry, air cannons are frequently specified to eliminate build-ups in hoppers, storage vessels, transfer chutes, bins and other production bottlenecks,” the company said. “They can also be found in mineral processing plants where metals are extracted using processes creating slurries and other wet, tacky tailings.”

Air cannon technology has been used in mining and material processing for many years, helping to improve flow and reduce maintenance, according to the company. The timed discharge of a directed air blast can prevent accumulation or blockages that reduce process efficiency and raise maintenance expenses.

In underground mines with potentially explosive dust, manual firing of cannons without the use of electrical solenoids is an option, the company says. “By facilitating flow and minimising build-up, air cannons help bulk material handlers minimise the need for process interruptions and manual labour,” Martin Engineering claims.

The two basic components of an air cannon are a fast-acting, high-flow valve and a pressure vessel (tank). The device performs work when compressed air (or some other inert gas) in the tank is suddenly released by the valve and directed through a nozzle, which is strategically positioned in the tower, duct, chute 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 company says.

Pronschinske concluded: “The core message for mines and material processors is that they don’t have to put up with accumulation problems and the additional expenses they can cause. There are a number of approaches that can help resolve those issues before they turn into expensive downtime, lost material and safety hazards.”

Fenner Dunlop ACE wins overland conveyor contract from Anglo American

Fenner Dunlop ACE has been contracted to deliver an overland conveyor system for Anglo American’s Aquila coal project in Queensland, Australia.

Aquila is an underground hard coking coal mine near Middlemount, which will extend the life of Anglo American’s existing Capcoal underground operations by six years. It comes with an expected capital cost of $226 million (Anglo American share), with first longwall production of premium quality hard coking coal expected in early 2022, according to Anglo.

Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, has previously said Aquila will become one of the most “technologically advanced underground mines in the world”.

Under the new contract award, Fenner Dunlop ACE will undertake the complete design, supply and installation of the ACV002 Overland Conveyor. Works will include the overland structure, belting, electrics and an elevated stacker to load coal onto the site stockpile. Several conveyor components, including mechanical supply, electrical supply and belting, will be manufactured in Australia.

Brendon Harms, Regional Manager ACE QLD, said: “After delivery of the initial underground development works, we are very excited to be working on this project. We believe we have created a culture of delivering on our promises. Completing the design, supply and installation give us a great opportunity to ensure effective conveyor operation for our client.”

Fenner Dunlop ACE will also be responsible for the complete install and commissioning of the overland conveyor, providing even further responsibility and ownership for the project. The overland conveyor project is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2021.

ScrapeTec-Trading boosts conveyor belt product flow with AirScrape

A new side sealing system for belt conveyors patented and manufactured in Germany is reducing material spill, dust formation and explosion hazards at transfer points and other critical sections in the conveyor chain, according to ScrapeTec-Trading.

The contact-free AirScrape® conveyor belt skirting system hovers freely above the conveyor belt, meaning skirt friction and belt damage is eliminated and service life extended, the company says.

Thorsten Koth, Sales Director, Scrapetec-Trading, said the system, which encompasses inward facing, hardened-steel diagonal blades, operates according to a new principle where it hovers 1-2 mm on the left and right side above the conveyor belt.

“These blades deflect larger particles inwards, while using the air flow of the conveyor belt and conveyed material to create an inward suction, flowing any dust and fine particles back into the product flow,” Koth said. “Through these diagonally fitted blades and the speed of the running belt, air is drawn from the outside inwards. As a result, neither the dust nor material can escape.”

Conventional skirting is pressed against a conveyor belt to keep dust and material in the middle of the belt, according to Koth. After a period, wear of the skirting and belt can be so severe that material and dust escapes, he said, adding that material spillage at transfer points needs to be removed and regular maintenance of belt skirting and transfer points is necessary.

“With the AirScrape dust-free and contact-free side sealing system for belt conveyors, there is no skirt contact and therefore no belt wear or damage,” he said. “Motor power requirements are reduced as there is no belt-skirt friction and, because there is continuous skirting with no gaps, product loss is minimal.

“Studies show that even three years after installation and with continuous use in harsh conditions, the AirScrape system hardly shows any signs of wear. Operational costs are also reduced because there is no need for spillage collection, regular maintenance, or replacement parts.”

This system comes in pairs of left and right hand two metre, inter-connectable pieces to form any required length, and is available in three different base widths of 100 mm and 55 mm to suit various belt widths and chute sizes. For flexibility on site, this system is completely extendable, according to the company.

AirScrape is fitted using spacers, floating the blades just above the belt, and is attached to the outside of the chute by using existing skirt clamps or a bolt and nut system. It is longitudinally adjustable to follow the contours of conveyor belt rollers and the belt trough angle.

This durable system consists of non-flammable and anti-static polyurethane materials and blades made from Hardox/stainless steel, the company said. FDA-approved materials are also available for specific conveyor handling applications.

Designed and manufactured in Germany by ScrapeTec Trading, the AirScrape system is available from BLTWORLD throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands; from Grupo-ISC throughout South America and from Scrapetec-Trading for the rest of the world.

Flexco lays ground for growth in Europe with bigger Rosenfeld facility

Flexco’s Europe division has recently moved into a larger complex in Rosenfeld, Germany, as it addresses existing space constraints and allows for future growth of the operation.

Joerg Schairer, Managing Director of Flexco Europe GmbH, said: “The reasons behind our decision to build it were complex. We have always pursued the goal of becoming the most important contact in the sector for operations who want to maximise the productivity of their conveyor systems. The new building will help us to achieve this goal, because it has the space that allows us to manufacture new, innovative products that solve our customers’ biggest conveyor challenges – and we’ll also be able to offer our customers the best possible support in our modern training centre.”

The facility is 10,741 sq.m, with 3,200 sq.m dedicated to administrative functions, while the other 7,500 sq.m houses production, storage, and shipping. The location more than doubles the size of all departments and provides opportunities for workforce expansion, the conveyor-focused specialist said.

“The new facility gives us space for more than 100 attractive jobs,” Schairer said. “We have increased our workforce by 15% in the past 12 months and, in the future, will be doubling the number of apprenticeships we offer.”

With construction of the new building, Flexco was looking for a more modern, open design that would optimise the exchange of information between its employees and customers, it said.

“Since Flexco has a long history of manufacturing innovative, high-quality products, the design team wanted to make sure the use of modern technologies were high on the list of requirements,” the company said. The resulting facility encompasses all these features, with more to come, it added.

“We’ll be developing the site into one of the most modern competence centres in Europe for belt conveyor productivity in a variety of industries and applications,” Schairer said. “We understand the challenges of customers – from food, to parcel handling, to laundry, to mining, and more – and support them in finding safer, more efficient solutions. Flexco University, online training courses, webinars, on-site trainings, and industrial networks are just a few of the offerings through which our customers can benefit from our experience and know-how.”