Tag Archives: mining conveyors

Strike Resources adds Dynamic Drill and Blast, Lucas TCS to Paulsens East team

Strike Resources, after an extensive evaluation, has entered into Early Contractor Involvement Services Agreements with the preferred contractors to provide drill and blast, mining, crushing and screening services and civil works (including the haulage road and mine site) for its Paulsens East iron ore mine in Western Australia.

Dynamic Drill and Blast has been selected for the provision of drill and blast services, and Lucas Total Contract Solutions has been selected for the provision of mining, crushing and screening services, plus the civil works required for Paulsens East, including construction of the 18 km haulage road (from the mine site to Nanutarra Road), establishment of the Mining Operations Centre (MOC) and siteworks for the mining village.

Strike, which is developing a 1.5 Mt/y direct shipping iron ore operation, says it is working with both parties to finalise the detailed scope of services, schedules and formal contractual terms of engagement.

Dynamic, who worked with Strike to plan, licence and develop magazine and explosives storage facilities for the project in consultation with the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), said the contract is estimated to have a four-year initial term.

On top of this, Strike said the final objection on its proposed haulage road, Miscellaneous Licence (ML) L47/934, has now been withdrawn after the execution of an Access Deed with the underlying tenement holder. With the execution of this deed, the last outstanding ML related to Paulsens East is expected to be granted by DMIRS during the next two-to-four weeks.

“Once L47/934 is granted, and subject to DMIRS having no further issues with any technical or environmental aspects of the Mining Proposal, DMIRS is expected to approve the Mining Proposal for Paulsens East shortly thereafter,” the company said.

Strike also recently made an investment in acquiring a second-hand ore sorter, ancillary materials handling and control room equipment, together with conveyors that were recently sold at auction, resulting in a significant saving in project capital costs at Paulsens East.

“Strike is planning to use specialised ore sorters as part of its processing flowsheet, to assist with the optimisation of the production of high-grade lump ore from the mine,” it said. “To deliver the required throughput for the mine, a total of up to three ore sorters will be required.”

Further long-lead items secured include an order for 13 Ultra Quad Road Trains (comprising 13 prime movers and 52 trailers) for exclusive use on Paulsens East.

On the communications side, Strike has now entered into a contract with Telstra to commence works on establishing suitable communications infrastructure for the mine site and village. Due to the remote location, a dedicated microwave tower on site is required together with associated voice and data equipment. The construction of the tower and provisioning of the service will be critical for safe and effective communications during the construction and operational phase of the mine.

William Johnson, Managing Director for Strike, said: “With Campbells Transport already selected as its preferred haulage contractor, the company has now selected all of its key contractors for Paulsens East. The securing of further long lead time items together with the ore sorter and associated equipment are important steps as the company advances towards making a final investment decision on Paulsens East.”

Conveyor belt cleaner tension: the keys to optimal performance

While it is clear there is no single or ideal solution for conveyor belt cleaning and tensioner selection, Todd Swinderman* of Martin Engineering thinks companies need to put the due diligence hours in to make the optimal choice.

Conveyor belt cleaners have evolved over the last 50 years from mostly home-made designs to a wide variety of engineered solutions to suit virtually every application. The expectations have changed over time as the relationship between health, safety and productivity and clean belts have become more widely accepted. As development continues, a single solution to the problem of belt cleaning and tensioner design is unlikely to be found due to the numerous variables and conditions that affect belt cleaner effectiveness.

General requirements

A discussion about belt cleaner tensioners must include the basic approaches to belt cleaning, as the most effective approach is achieved through a combination of cleaner and tensioner designs. Industry has gravitated toward mechanical cleaners and tensioners because they are simple and economical. The most common mechanical belt cleaner designs present a blade or brush at various angles to the belt. Depending on the cleaner type and materials of construction, they can approach the belt at either a positive, negative or zero rake (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Blade style cleaning angles

Regardless of the basic cleaning approach, maintaining the optimum range of contact pressure will result in the best balance between cleaning performance, cleaning element wear, belt wear and power requirements. CEMA Standard 576, ‘Classification of Applications for Bulk Material Conveyors Belt Cleaning’, provides a performance-based classification system for use in specifying belt cleaners.

Basic approaches to tensioning

There are two basic approaches to applying tension to the belt cleaner: linear and rotary (Figure 2). The blade’s angle of approach to the belt often dictates whether a linear or rotary tensioner is applied. The stored energy that creates the tensioning force most often comes from gravity, springs or actuators. CEMA defines the cleaning positions as Primary, Secondary and Tertiary (Figure 3). Most belt cleaners mounted in the primary position utilise a rotary style tensioner, while most belt cleaners mounted in the secondary or tertiary positions use linear style tensioners.

Figure 2 – Basic tensioning approaches
Figure 3 – CEMA-defined cleaning positions

Linear tensioners

Linear tensioners are most often applied where the compensation for wear is required in small increments, such as with hard metal-tipped cleaners located in the secondary cleaning position or with brush cleaners. The basic tensioner design approach is typically a carriage that constrains the support frame but allows linear movement along a guide or guides roughly perpendicular to the belt surface, with the support frame and blade design providing the cleaning angle. Some designs incorporate a relief ability for impact by splices or belt defects.

The advantages of linear tensioners include: 1) simple in design; 2) can be engineered to one setting for full blade wear; 3) access windows are easily incorporated within the mounting footprint; 4) can accommodate actuator deflection scales for accurate adjustment of cleaning pressure and; 5) delivers the ability to adjust for uneven mounting positions or asymmetrical blade wear.

The disadvantages of linear tensioners include: 1) the tensioner footprint can be large, restricting options for ideal belt cleaner installation; 2) there must be access to the far side for adjustment; 3) the guide mechanisms are subject to fouling from dust and corrosion; and 4) changing from bottom adjustment to top adjustment or providing for adjustment from one side complicates the tensioner design.

Rotary tensioners

Rotary tensioners utilising an actuator are principally designed using a lever arm or an elastomeric element that is concentric with the belt cleaner support shaft. They apply a blade-to-belt contact surface determined by the actuating force and linkage geometry. The energy source delivers a force to the lever arm which rotates the shaft and forces the belt cleaner blade(s) against the belt surface. Rotary designs tend to be compact and, in most cases, the actuator(s) can be mounted at any orientation, which provides options for installing the belt cleaner in the optimum position.

Counterweight tensioner

At one time the most common rotary tensioner was a counterweighted lever arm, with its position adjusted to apply the design cleaning force to a blade or blades that contact the belt. A counterweight can be mounted on one end of the shaft or both. Usually, the initial installation would have the arm angle set so that at the midpoint of the blade wear the arm would be horizontal, thus roughly averaging the design cleaning force over the life of the blade (Figure 4).

Figure 4 – Typical counterweight tensioner

The primary advantage of the counterweight design is that it is self-adjusting by gravity. The disadvantages of the counterweight design are: 1) the lack of damping which allows the blade and therefore the weight to bounce when struck by a splice, strongly adhered material, like ice or a defect in the belt. The unexpected movement of the counterweight can represent a safety hazard and uncontrolled bouncing can result in belt top cover damage; 2) the counterweight tensioner takes a significant amount of space; and 3) if the counterweight arm cannot be mounted horizontally there is a reduction in the force applied to the blade, because the effective lever arm is shortened.

Rotary lever arm and actuator tensioners

Rotary adjustment of the belt cleaning blade can be accomplished in several ways. The support frame is almost always in a fixed location but free to rotate. The required tensioning forces can be applied by many types of actuators, such as: springs, fluid cylinders, electric actuators or from torque stored in an elastomeric element. Rotary tensioners are often used with elastomeric blades, where the change in blade height and thickness as it wears is significant (Figure 5).

Figure 5 – Rotary tensioner types

The advantages of rotary tensioners are: 1) a compact design; 2) a single tensioner mounted on one side of the conveyor can often be used for a range of blade styles and belt widths; 3) they can be designed to minimise the number of times the tensioner has to be adjusted during the life of the blade; and 4) many types of actuators can be used.

The disadvantages of rotary tensioners are: 1) there can be a safety hazard if the support frame is mounted too far from the pulley and the cleaner pulls through; 2) the mounting location of the axis of rotation is critical for proper blade cleaning angle; 3) the constant force output by some actuators can result in a wide variance in cleaning pressure and blade life over time; and 4) when a tensioner is required on both ends of the support frame, it is often difficult to access the drive side of the conveyor for mounting and adjustment.

Other factors

The importance of proper installation should not be overlooked for the proper performance of the belt cleaner. Slight variations in the location of the support frame relative to the belt can cause significant issues with the effectiveness of the blades and can result in support frame bending. Most manufacturers provide detailed instructions for the location of the support frames and tensioners, which must be followed for optimal function.

To be effective, belt cleaners should be frequently inspected and maintained. In practice, the design of the conveyor structure and location of the drive and other equipment makes service difficult. Consideration in the design stage for easy access and ergonomic location of the cleaners for inspection and service will pay dividends in reducing carryback, maintenance time and potential exposure to injuries.

To maximise blade effectiveness and minimise rapid wear, the recommended adjustment protocols should be followed. Studies have shown that there is a critical cleaning pressure range for various types of cleaners and blade types. These studies demonstrate that over-tensioning the belt cleaner does not necessarily improve the cleaning effect, but often results in increased belt and blade wear as well as higher power consumption.

The future of cleaner tensioning

As technology continues to advance, suppliers are beginning to integrate an increasing level of functionality in belt cleaner designs. One such innovation is a belt cleaner position indicator that can monitor the blade and estimate remaining service life based on the current hourly wear rate. Able to retrofit directly to existing mainframes, the device is capable of sending a notification to maintenance personnel or service contractors when a cleaner requires re-tensioning or replacement.

This capability brings a number of benefits. Inspection and service time is reduced, 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. By relying on data – not human judgement – to maintain the appropriate tension for optimal cleaning performance and monitor blade wear, the indicator maximises service life and reports with certainty when a blade is nearing the end of its useful life, delivering a greater return on cleaner investment. Replacement orders can be scheduled for just-in-time delivery, reducing the need to stock parts inventory, and installation can be scheduled for planned downtime instead of on an emergency basis.

Taking the technology a step further is another patent-pending device that combines the position indicator with an automated tensioner. This novel powered assembly incorporates sensors that constantly monitor blade pressure and adjust its position to maintain optimal cleaning tension. Maintenance personnel no longer need to visit each cleaner and manually re-tension. Instead, the tasks are performed automatically, reducing maintenance time while maximising the usable area of every cleaner. Analytics provide an unprecedented view and understanding of belt cleaner performance, with real-time data available remotely via a specially designed app.

Automated tensioner

Conclusion

While manufacturers continue to improve belt cleaner effectiveness, it has become clear that there is no single or ideal solution for belt cleaning and tensioner selection. Safety of personnel and the belt itself is an important consideration when selecting a tensioner. Ease of inspection and maintenance is critical for belt cleaner effectiveness, so the tensioner must allow for quick and safe service.

The selection of a belt cleaner should be based on the duty rating of the cleaner as provided in CEMA Standard 576 and then the appropriate cleaning system selected. The system should be selected based on life cycle cost and not just the initial price. The investment for effective belt cleaning is justifiable on direct cost reduction (clean-up costs), extended component life (often 25-40%) and reduced exposure to injuries, which is directly related to reduced clean-up frequency.

*R Todd Swinderman is CEO Emeritus of Martin Engineering

Addressing unsafe work practices around mining conveyors

Due to their size, speed and high-horsepower drive motors, conveyors pose a number of risks to personnel working on or near them. In addition to all the physical danger zones, when an injury occurs, ‘fault’ is often attributed to injured workers’ actions or inactions. However, safety experts point out that injuries generally occur due to a series of factors.

“Accidents are typically a result of a complex combination of probabilities, rather than a single unsafe act,” Martin Engineering Process Engineer, Daniel Marshall, observed. “Except for the unsafe act, it can be said that the accident would not have occurred if there was a safer design, better maintenance or less pressure for production.”

Assessing the risk of a conveyor

A thorough risk assessment by trained professionals is the ideal way to bridge the gap between workers and managers when the rules need review, to identify hazards and implement controls to reduce risks.

“A belt conveyor is a powerful machine with thousands of moving parts,” Marshall continued. “These moving components might severely injure a worker and can produce that injury in a fraction of a second.”

A typical conveyor belt moves at a relatively constant speed, commonly running between 0.5-10 m/s. At the very minimum, a worker who inadvertently touches a running conveyor belt – even with world-class reaction time and total focus on the danger of a conveyor – will come in contact with at least one carrying idler, and the potential is there to hit return idlers, chute uprights, stringer supports, pulleys and drives. The results are often disastrous.

Working around a moving conveyor

It has been estimated that two thirds of the fatalities involving conveyor belts take place while the belt is moving, usually because of a worker becoming entangled or crushed by moving equipment. Most of these take place when maintenance or housekeeping is being done on or around an energised conveyor.

Conveyor service should be performed only when the belt is properly locked, tagged, blocked and tested

These fatalities are generally caused by two compounding practices. The first is performing maintenance without thoroughly locking, tagging, blocking and testing the conveyor. Another unsafe practice is touching a moving conveyor belt with a tool or implement of any kind. When these two choices are combined, the results are usually severe and often fatal. Even working on a conveyor that is turned off, but not locked out, can lead to tragedy.

Workaround and shortcuts

“An intelligent and creative worker will often invent or discover ways to expedite certain functions or make work easier,” Marshall said. “Unfortunately, some of these shortcuts bypass safety hardware and/or best practices, putting the worker in harm’s way.”

The most common of these workarounds involves the “improper locking out” of a conveyor system, Martin Engineering says. The purpose of a lockout is to de-energise all sources of energy, whether latent or active. Failure to properly lockout can exist in many forms – varying from disregarding lockout requirements, to working on a moving conveyor, to improperly stopping the conveyor. An example would be pulling the emergency stop cord and assuming that the conveyor is de-energised.

Another common workaround involves entering a “confined space” without following established procedures. A confined space is any enclosure that is large enough and configured so that an employee can enter and perform assigned work, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Very specific rules apply to workers when dealing with confined spaces. Failure to follow those rules can result in increased danger or death, Martin Engineering says.

Other potential unsafe behaviors include crossing a conveyor in a risky manner. Conveyor belts are often lengthy systems bisecting a production facility. Workers may be required to cross a conveyor line to get to an area in need of service or maintenance. To save time, a worker is likely to step over or cross under a conveyor.

“Crossing under” offers multiple hazards, according to the company. If any of the worker’s body parts come in contact with the moving conveyor, it will either act like a grinder and abrade the skin or pull the worker toward rolling components. Crossing under also places the worker at risk from falling objects.

Taking a shortcut by crossing over or under a conveyor can lead to injury

“Crossing over” a conveyor without using a designed and designated crossover structure comes with dangers, as well. There is a high potential for a slip and fall. If lucky, the worker may fall on the ground; if not, the worker will fall onto the conveyor belt. If the conveyor is in operation, the worker may be carried downstream. This can result in contact with the conveyor structure and rolling components or being thrown off the conveyor at the discharge. The safe approach to crossing a conveyor is to use a designated crossover or cross-under point engineered for that purpose, Martin Engineering says.

Anything in a worker’s line of travel is a potential “obstruction”. These can range from piles of spillage, items lying on the walkway or work areas, as well as low overheads. An obstruction can cause several hazards, the most obvious being the opportunity for a trip or fall. If the obstruction is in the middle of the walkway, a worker will have to go around it. If that revised path brings the worker closer to a conveyor, this decision places the worker closer to the hazards of the conveyor.

Neglected safety and control mechanisms

“Emergency stop pull cords are the last line of defence if the belt needs to be stopped quickly in response to an entrapment or impending equipment failure,” Marshall said. “The reaction time when such an event occurs is usually extremely brief, so workers need a way to stop the conveyor as fast as possible. In addition, the belt will not halt immediately and must coast to a stop. If the cord is broken, the switch is not working or the system is disabled, workers have lost the one final tool they have to protect themselves.”

The multiplying effect of unsafe practices

Often an accident occurs due to a combination of several poor work practices. A Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Fatalgram from 1999 in the USA recounts an event that caused a fatality at a mine when a worker entered an unguarded area alone, near an operating conveyor that was not locked out. The worker’s clothing then became trapped in the conveyor’s operating tail pulley. Four unsafe practices and two unsafe areas combined to produce a catastrophic event. Any individual factor may have led to injury or even death, but the combination essentially sealed the worker’s fate.

In a 2003 study, ConocoPhillips Marine found a correlation between fatalities and unsafe practices. The study showed that for every fatality there are an estimated 300,000 unsafe behaviors.

The research also quantified lost-time accidents, recordable injuries, and near misses. These are independent variables, so the numbers do not mean that lost day incident number 31 will be a fatality. But they do indicate that there is a statistical probability of a fatality for every 30 lost workday incidents. As a result, statistically speaking, an effective way to reduce fatalities is to reduce unsafe behaviors.

The most effective way to reduce fatalities is to minimise unsafe behaviors

“While even one unsafe practice has the statistical potential to lead to serious repercussions, conveyor accidents are rarely the result of a single action,” Marshall concluded. “More often, they result from a combination of company culture and unwise decisions. If workers can eliminate these unsafe practices and minimise their presence in danger zones, their chances of avoiding an accident will improve considerably.”

BEUMER Group provides further customer support with Smart Glasses

BEUMER Group, a designer and manufacturer of overland and pipe conveyors, has tackled the need to address machine malfunctions and standstills as soon as possible by developing the BEUMER Smart Glasses.

BEUMER Customer Support technicians use these specialised glasses to take a “virtual look over the shoulder” of a customer’s service technician to solve the problem together, with the digital solution reducing travel times and costs.

“With the BEUMER Smart Glasses, our customers can get in live contact with our service experts anywhere and at any time,” Christopher Kirsch, Team Leader of BG.evolution, said.

The Smart Glasses originated from the university location of Dortmund, with BEUMER Group bringing this digital innovation into the group to address customer needs.

Together with their colleagues from BEUMER Customer Support and the Department for Research and Development in Beckum, the employees in Dortmund made this digital solution ready for the market.

“From October 2018 to January 2019, long-term tests were carried out with various customers, including one with live testing with a long-term customer from the building materials industry,” Kirsch said. “We were successful in concluding this phase.”

Kirsch explains the rationale for commercialising such a product: “If a machine suddenly breaks down, the problem must be solved as fast as possible.”

The company expanded on this: “If the users are not in a position to handle this by themselves, the BEUMER Group sends their globally located technicians to prevent longer downtimes. In addition to service technicians, Customer Support also provides qualified telephone support for troubleshooting, which is available 24/7.

“However, it can be challenging to successfully communicate complex problems quickly and clearly over the phone. Imagine if the customer had the opportunity to have a BEUMER technician take a quick and easy look at the problem at any time – on-site support, without actually being there. The BEUMER Smart Glasses make it possible.”

The employee at the machine puts on the glasses and starts the BEUMER Support app via voice command. The employee transmits a service number and a pin code to the hotline, and the connection with image and sound is established, with the BEUMER technician receiving the same image as the customer.

The technician can directly give instructions and display all relevant information in the field of vision. The employee has both hands free to follow the instructions of the expert and carry out the necessary actions. Faults can be solved quickly and precisely – at any time, BEUMER Group says.

Scrapetec keeps conveyor belts on track with newest component

Scrapetec has added to its range of conveyor components with the new PrimeTracker belt tracker, which, it says, eliminates problems associated with conveyor belt systems, including misalignment, abrasion and belt damage.

Thorsten Koth, Sales and Distribution for Scrapetec, explained: “For optimum performance of a conveyor system, it is critical that the belt always runs straight on the conveyor, without sideways movement. Our new PrimeTracker belt tracker has been designed to automatically guide a conveyor belt back into the correct straight-line position, to prevent costly downtime and component replacement.”

One advantage of the Scrapetec PrimeTracker is that it is always operates in the idling position, unless there is sideways movement of the belt, Koth said. This system corrects misalignment immediately by guiding the belt back into the correct position, with no damage or abrasion to the belt or tracker, he added.

“This is unlike conventional belt trackers that slide over the belt surface causing possible abrasion and belt damage – rather than adopting free rotation,” he said. “Conventional belt trackers, with tapered edges, never idle and are always in a braking mode.

“What’s also notable, is the cylindrical shape and pivot bush that allow this belt tracker to swing and tilt during operation and to always be in full contact with the belt. Added to this, the Scrapetec PrimeTracker has the same peripheral speed over the entire surface of the belt, where traditional crowned rollers have different speeds at the centre and edges of the system.”

Other advantages include easy installation, low maintenance requirements and protection of belt edges and structure of the conveyor belt, according to Scrapetec. A strong corrugated EPDM rubber hose protects this system from dust and sand, while the rubber pivot offers soft suspension of the tracker shaft, ensuring extended service life of the system, the company added. This system can be installed in front of every return pulley, above and below the belt.

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.

PROK sets its sights on Pilbara iron ore sector with Newman service centre

Global conveyor components OEM PROK has opened a new specialist conveyor service centre in Newman, Western Australia, to provide local conveyor solutions and products to the Pilbara region.

As one of the largest manufacturers of conveyor idlers and pulleys in the world, the opening of PROK Pilbara is a major milestone and provides the opportunity to be closer to key iron ore operations, the company said.

PROK recently held a grand opening event at the new workshop attended by around 60 people including customers and representatives from the local community.

Speaking at the event, PROK Business Unit Manager – Technical Services, Arun Bangalore, said the new facility means customers will have access to expert conveyor solutions right on their doorstep.

“The opening of PROK Pilbara means we will be even more agile to customer requests with quicker turnaround times, local support and access to the best engineers and technicians in the market,” he said.

“With so many mine sites located in and around Newman, it was the perfect location and it makes sense for us to be located here with our customers.”

The workshop is fully equipped for pulley refurbishment, general fabrication and fitting services and provides mining companies with access to local expert technical specialists and engineering support.

The 4,000 sq.m site also includes pulley testing equipment, including vibration analysis testing and dynamic balancing, providing customers with access to the latest in condition monitoring technology, PROK said.

“Mining companies no longer need to send their equipment to Perth, they now have a local engineering workshop that offers everything they need to optimise their conveyor system,” Bangalore added.

As well as providing expert conveyor solutions, PROK will have a big focus on directly contributing to the local Pilbara community.

“Supporting the local community and customers is a key pillar of PROK Pilbara’s strategy and we see major benefits including creating employment opportunities, engaging with local suppliers, providing support to community groups, local charities and sporting groups and executing the PROK Indigenous Engagement Program,” Bangalore said.

Siempelkamp to supply conveyor belt press line to Fenner Dunlop’s Kwinana facility

Siempelkamp is to help Fenner Dunlop expand its Kwinana facility in Western Australia with the delivery of a new steel cord conveyor belt press line including a multi-cylinder press.

Fenner Dunlop, only last month, announced it would again expand this facility, with a third steel cord press line set to boost capacity by 50%.

With this new project, both companies continue their long-standing cooperation in the production of high-quality steel cord conveyor belts, Siempelkamp said. The scope of supply includes the whole production line, especially the multi-cylinder press, which provides, as with both existing press lines from Siempelkamp at this facility, an “outstanding pressure distribution” during the full curing process, it said.

“This state-of-the-art press technology enables our customer to cure conveyor belts from 5-50 mm thickness, providing a unique process accuracy and stability which cannot be achieved with other, traditional press concepts,” the company said.

The entire machine and process control technology has been developed, tested and implemented by Siempelkamp when it comes to hardware and software. Installation and start-up of the new press line is scheduled for 2021.

“With the new Siempelkamp press line, Fenner Dunlop once again demonstrates its commitment to the growing market for conveyor belts in Australia, a country rich in raw materials,” Siempelkamp said. “The use of conveyor belts, compared to the conventional ‘truck and shovel operation’, results in considerable CO2 savings when transporting the billions of tonnes of kilometres of bulk materials within the mines, between mine loading stations, and within the loading ports.”

Since 2006, companies of the Fenner Dunlop Group in Australia and the USA have been relying on Siempelkamp expertise in the area of presses for textile or steel cord conveyor belts, Siempelkamp said.

In 2011, the Fenner Dunlop Australia subsidiary placed an order for a complete steel cord line for conveyor belt production as part of an initial expansion of the Kwinana plant. With this first line, Siempelkamp said it set three records at once: the world’s largest conveyor belt press, the strongest press in the plastics and rubber industry, and the first multi-cylinder press for the Australian market.

“The multi-cylinder press concept provides plant operators with a particularly even pressure distribution which leads to a more stable process control and thus to more uniform product qualities,” Siempelkamp said. “With this new production line, as in both the existing press lines at this manufacturing facility, the creel is equipped with twice the required maximum number of steel cord let offs to provide a higher flexibility and a quick changeover with respect to the production settings.”

This design effectively eliminates several hours of downtime for loading and unloading of the creel and dramatically increases the number of usable production hours of the whole production line, according to Siempelkamp.

The new project was initiated by the intensive cooperation between the Australia Siempelkamp subsidiary, headed by Geoff Robson, and the Siempelkamp sales team in Krefeld, Germany. Negotiations and design were conducted during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Steffen Aumüller, Sales Manager at Siempelkamp, said: “With this order, we are pleased to continue a successful co-operation in a special application and to support Fenner Dunlop Australia, member of the Michelin group, with our technology.”

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.

Fenner Dunlop presses ahead with Western Australia expansion plans

Fenner Dunlop is to once again expand its Kwinana manufacturing facility in Western Australia, with a third steel cord press line set to boost capacity by 50%.

Since opening the A$70 million ($50 million) manufacturing facility in Kwinana, in 2009, the company has looked to progressively expand its capabilities in line with market demand.

The original facility, built specifically to produce steel cord belting, represented, at the time, the largest investment in conveyor belting manufacturer ever made in Australia by any company, according to the company.

In 2013, an additional A$20 million was invested to install a second press line to double the plant’s production capacity and increase the Kwinana workforce by 30%.

“Australian manufacturing has survived many challenges over the past decade,” the company said. “The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 has demonstrated the value of Australian manufacturing to the economy and to the mining sector in particular.

“While other companies are contracting and moving their manufacturing operations offshore, Fenner Dunlop continues to support the local economy and is proud to be the largest conveyor belt supplier in Australia and the only company to manufacture the complete range of conveyor belts for all mining applications locally.”

Today the facility houses two of the world’s largest steel cord press lines and has the capability to produce steel cord and rubber ply belting up to 3,200 mm wide and up to 50 mm thick.

Steve Abbott, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Kwinana is close to its main customers, allowing us to provide a quality product with reduced lead times while keeping the investment in Western Australia.

“Our customers have the convenience of dealing with a global business, supported by a state-of-the-art conveyor belt manufacturing facility in their backyard and the assurance of technical support that understands the local operational environment.”

These customers include Rio Tinto, BHP and many more.

Fenner Dunlop says it is once again partnering with Siempelkamp to commission the third line, which is the finest multi-piston press and associated equipment in the world, continuing the longstanding partnership in the production of high-quality conveyor belts.

The third line will increase the plant‘s capacity by a further 50%, and additional investment will support the efficient manufacture of fabric conveyor belts for Western Australian customers, the company added.

Abbott said: “The plant expansion is part of our longer-term strategy, following the plant opening in 2009 and the initial expansion in 2013. While the expansion is a reflection of our success, it allows us to maintain our responsiveness in quoting, production and delivery to meet the constantly changing requirements of our customers.”

The A$23.5 million investment is part of Fenner Dunlop’s commitment to grow its conveyor belt production to meet the increasing demand in Western Australia, it said.

The manufacturing plant also incorporates a testing and R&D laboratory to ensure all work is done to the highest quality and safety standards and all systems are under constant review and continual improvement.

Site work is scheduled to start in March 2021 with the commissioning in December 2021. The new press line will start full production in January 2022, according to the company.