Coal operators rely on conveyors to transport coal underground and on the surface. While these systems do an effective job, they sometimes need support when transporting sloppy, dusty and rocky raw coal. Carryback could lead to accumulations below the return idlers, which are a nuisance and could lead to violations.
Fortunately, the companies that specialize in conveyor accessories have designed systems to tackle these issues. They are mine duty, durable and easy to maintain. Some of them are getting smarter, alerting belt technicians when it’s time to change the wiper.
Many of the problems occur at the transfer point where one conveyor dumps on to another. When the load exceeds the design capacity or the material is less than ideal, problems start to occur. Conveyor availability translates directly to revenue and the following items could help improve uptime.
Impact Saddles and Wipers
Richwood’s Impact Saddle supports conveyors at loading points and transfers reducing its vulnerability to rips, tears and other types of impact damage. These systems consist of a heavy-duty frame with removable ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) wear segments that support the full width of the belt. This design, which is unique to Richwood, is compatible with any CEMA idler, and is available in any trough angle or profile. Rubber shock-absorbing pads on the frame help dissipate the loading impact through a transfer of energy. The slick surface of the UHMW segments allow the belt to glide smoothly and efficiently over the saddles, which can be spaced as needed to suit any loading conditions.
As far as maintenance, the segments are the only wear parts and they can be replaced quickly and easily.
The company’s 1C-ITC (Infinity Tungsten Carbide) Belt Cleaner is a single-bade system that combines an extra-long life, blade media with a shock-absorbing tension system and heavy-duty support frames, creating an efficient belt cleaner.
The system uses an ITC cleaning blade, which is a one-piece molded cartridge with three media layers. The cleaning edge is backed by a shock-absorbing rubber cushion layer molded directly to a rear support layer. Using rubber directly behind the tungsten cleaning edge allows the ITC to work with and conform to irregularities in the conveyor belt.
The 1C-ITC’s shock absorbing design allows mechanical belt splices to pass across the blade with-out harm, while at the same preventing carryback.
Heavy-duty frame designs are available for all types of operating conditions, including highly corrosive and extreme service environments.
Each Model 1C-ITC is engineered to fit the application for best performance.
The ITC blade can be composed of four types of media and it comes in four shapes. Field tests show that it can last up to 12 to 18 months with zero maintenance, while delivering clean and dry return belts. Richwood claims that “no other
belt cleaning system eliminates carryback and protects your conveyor belt like Richwood Belt Cleaning Systems.”
Cleaner Tensioner Reduces Maintenance and Guesswork
Martin Engineering recently introduced an autonomous tensioning system that continuously monitors and delivers proper cleaner tension. By using an intuitive smart-technology platform to maintain proper blade-to-belt pressure, the N2 Twist Tensioner provides optimal cleaning performance throughout the life of the blade. The system also alerts operators on the Martin Smart Device Manager App when the blade needs to be replaced or if there is an abnormal condition. The result is efficient cleaning, increased safety, reduced labor and a lower cost of operation.
“We designed the unit for heavy-duty applications and tested it outdoors in punishing environments and applications,” said Andrew Timmerman, product development engineer at Martin Engineering. “The N2 Twist Tensioner has proven itself to be a
rugged and highly effective way to maximize both cleaning efficiency and blade life.”
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.
Prior to the new design, belt tensioners had to be monitored and adjusted manually — daily for some applications — so they would maintain the desired pressure and carryback removal. Estimating when the blades needed to be replaced was often a guessing game that, if left too long, could lead to belt damage.
Inadequate tensioning causes carryback to cling to the belt and spill along its path, piling up under the conveyor and generating excessive dust accumulations. This requires extra labor for cleanup 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. The tensioner applies the proper amount of torque to deliver optimum cleaning pressure at the blade tip, supporting the constant angle radial pressure (CARP) cleaner design that 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 to be replaced from control systems that are housed in a durable weather-resistant NEMA 4 control box. Experts recommend replacing 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 shut down the system and avoid belt damage.
The electrical system runs both the tensioning system and the sensors. The unit is powered by a rechargeable 12-volt battery life and can also be specified to run on 110-220 VAC. The system includes all necessary components for installation based on the power supply option.
The Smart Device Manager App eases 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 labor needed to maintain and clean around the discharge zone.
“This is a game-changer for most bulk handling operations that struggle with tensioning and carryback,” Timmerman said.