Martin Engineering has announced a belt cleaner position indicator that monitors the blade, tracking and reporting remaining service life in conveyor and bulk material handling applications.
The Martin N2® Position Indicator (PI) monitors primary belt cleaner blades, notifying Martin Engineering service technicians and plant operations personnel when re-tensioning or replacement is required and/or when abnormal conditions occur.
The PI can be part of a new installation or directly retrofitted to existing mainframes that use the company’s replacement blades, the company said, with managers and service technicians able to quickly access information on any networked cleaner via cell phone.
“With approximately 1,000 operating systems currently in service and installations continuing daily, the technology has been embraced by bulk material handlers in a wide range of industries and applications,” Martin Engineering said.
The N2 Position Indicator was designed in-house by the engineering team at Martin’s Center for Innovation, and the firm also engineered and built the proprietary equipment used to manufacture the new devices.
Martin offers the equipment, monitoring service and batteries free of charge to qualifying customers, it said. “The company will also support the PI components and provide customer alerts without cost as needed, with mainframes and tensioners replaced free for users of Martin belt cleaner blades,” the company added.
Martin Engineering Global Marketing Director, Brad Pronschinske, said: “There are no annual maintenance fees, and no add-on charges for cell phone access. Most customers using our cleaner blades can take advantage of this technology.”
Position indicators can be mounted anywhere from 3-800 m from the cellular gateway and the robust, sealed construction means it is virtually immune from damage, according to Martin Engineering. Up to 50 units can be monitored by a single gateway connecting to the Internet, usually located at the highest point in the plant, where the cell signal is strongest. The system does not require a cellular line for each PI, instead communicating via radio frequency from each sensor to the gateway.
Operating independently of any plant communications infrastructure, the small physical size and low power requirements deliver a projected battery life of two years, according to Martin Engineering, with the self-contained model developed by Martin Engineering in order to minimise the dependency on in-plant resources. Only the gateway requires a constant 110 V power point, it said.
The company explained: “The device eliminates the need for manual inspections by giving technicians precise information, delivering critical real-time intelligence and reducing exposure to moving conveyors, improving both efficiency and safety. Maintenance planning is simplified by having detailed information available on demand, allowing service personnel to deliver and install replacement wear parts during scheduled outages.”
Alerts are also provided automatically when a blade change is required; re-tensioning is needed; a cleaner has been backed off the belt; there is an abnormal condition; a substantial change in temperature occurs; and batteries need replacement.
The PI is just one component of the company’s push to develop new and evolving technologies to improve bulk material handling and reduce the associated hazards, Martin Engineering said. It is within the same product family as Martin’s automatic tensioning system to continuously maintain optimum blade pressure without any operator intervention.
“This capability is a true enabler, bringing a number of benefits,” Pronschinske said. “Belt cleaner inspection time is basically eliminated as maintenance personnel no longer need to physically view the cleaner to determine the tension or wear status. It also reduces the time workers need to spend near the moving conveyor, helping to minimise the potential for accidents.”
Pronschinske described the innovation as a game-changer in the industry, with a positive impact on productivity, operating costs and safety. “Relying on actual operating conditions instead of human judgement to monitor blade wear and tension for optimal cleaning performance, the indicator maximises the blade’s usable surface area and reports with certainty when a blade is nearing the end of its useful life,” the company said. “Delivering instant, continuous feedback while eliminating guesswork – tracking the individual performance and status of each cleaner – the detailed history also provides a maintenance log with service dates and work performed.”
The result is an improved return on belt cleaner investments, according to Martin Engineering.
Replacement parts can be scheduled for just-in-time delivery, and installation can occur during planned downtime instead of emergency stoppages.
Pronschinske said: “By monitoring the rotation of the belt cleaner mainframe, the N2 PI helps managers plan tensioner adjustments and blade replacements during scheduled outages.”
Manufactured from a proprietary grade of polyurethane resistant to bumps, shocks and knocks, the PI device is extremely robust, according to Martin Engineering. It can handle a typical mining environment, the company says, and the device can be installed inside or outside the transfer chute. It has also been designed to operate in challenging ambient environments found at operator sites, such as handling wet and sticky materials.
“The system recognises how much rotation is acceptable before tensioner adjustment is required,” Pronschinske explained. “It allows our service technicians to know exactly when a belt cleaner needs replacement, even before the customer does. And, if excessive movement is detected on any cleaner, an alarm notice will automatically be sent to alert operators to check it immediately.”
The software tracks and displays blade status, remaining life, next scheduled tensioning, run time, wear rate, cleaner model, blade type and several other details, the company says.