Fenner Dunlop has introduced mobile capability to its suite of iBelt conveyor technology with the BeltGauge solution offering a new way for customers from all commodities and conveyor industry applications to accurately monitor health of the conveyor, the company says.
The fixed BeltGauge solution has been installed at multiple sites since its launch in September 2020, with the industry appreciating how lightweight the mobile unit is when compared with competitor products, according to Conveyor Technology Manager at Fenner Dunlop, Sam Wiffen.
“We have been experiencing high interest and up-take with the fixed BeltGauge unit, however we recognised that some customers required a more mobile solution,” Wiffen says.
“In order to be functional for the mobile context, we needed the unit to be lightweight, flexible and adjustable – properties which have been incorporated into the design and are a strong point of difference from competitors.”
The mobile BeltGauge unit is made from 3D printing a wide range of engineering composites and plastics-based compounds. This contributes to the safety of conveyor technicians by reducing manual handling risks on site.
“The segmented mobile BeltGauge design allows us to install the scanning units in tighter spaces, without having to overhang the unit above handrails,” Wiffen says.
Both the mobile and fixed BeltGauge have been designed to meet all customer requirements, regardless of geographic or commodity group, and are applicable for surface and underground mining applications, the company says.
“The mobile BeltGauge is designed for customers with critical conveyors, who are comfortable with periodic data and are more focused on the ability to record belt thickness across a range of operational conveyors,” Wiffen explains.
Unlike traditional manual thickness testing, the mobile BeltGauge provides customers with a full-length profile of the belt. Because of the mobile nature of the unit, multiple conveyors can be scanned in a single shift, according to the company.
Reporting directing into iBelt’s DigitalHub portal means customers have access to same-day results, the company says.
The iBelt mobile BeltGauge is currently in operation with Fenner technicians in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales and Mackay in Queensland, with field trials currently underway in Western Australia.
Sales and Engineering Manager, Shailendra Borade, explains that developments to the mobile BeltGauge also include the ability to collect belt thickness readings while the conveyor is running, allowing customers to conduct maintenance inspections without stopping production.
“For our customers in Western Australia and other similar sites, who operate 24/7 and have very few shutdowns in the year, this means they can scan the belt before shutdown, review the data, and plan and forecast belt changeouts with latest information and improve belt life and asset health,” Borade says.
“This is huge asset for our customers, reducing overall downtime and improving production efficiency.
“Operating in a niche industry, it’s crucial that we are able to differentiate our products and services, while providing added-value to the customer.”
As Fenner Dunlop expands the range of iBelt products, both mobile and fixed applications will be considered, it says.