Technology

Conveyor Technology:Designing for the Future by Innovating the Present | Biomassmagazine.com – Biomass Magazine

Summary

Bulk handling is evolving when it comes to safety, efficiency and automation.

Higher production demands across all bulk handling segments require increased efficiency at the lowest cost of operation, in the safest and most effective manner possible. As conveyor systems become wider, faster and longer, more energy output and more controlled throughput will be needed. Add an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, and cost-conscious plant managers must closely review which n…….

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Bulk handling is evolving when it comes to safety, efficiency and automation.

Higher production demands across all bulk handling segments require increased efficiency at the lowest cost of operation, in the safest and most effective manner possible. As conveyor systems become wider, faster and longer, more energy output and more controlled throughput will be needed. Add an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, and cost-conscious plant managers must closely review which new equipment and design options align with their long-term goals for the best return on investment.

Safety at Higher Belt Speeds
Safety is likely to become a new source of cost reduction. The percentage of processing facilities with a robust safety culture are likely to increase over the next 30 years to the point where it is the norm, not the exception. In most cases, with only a marginal adjustment to the belt speed, operators quickly discover unanticipated problems in existing equipment and workplace safety. These problems are commonly indicated by the larger volume of spillage, increased dust emissions, belt misalignment and more frequent equipment wear and failures.

Higher volumes of cargo on the belt can produce more spillage and fugitive material around the system, which can pose a tripping hazard. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, slips, trips and falls account for 15% of all workplace deaths and 25% of all workplace injury claims.  Moreover, higher belt speeds make pinch and sheer points in the conveyor more deadly, as reaction times are drastically reduced when a worker gets clothing, a tool or a limb caught from incidental contact.

The faster the belt, the quicker the belt wanders and the harder it is for a belt tracker to compensate, leading to spillage along the entire belt path. Caused by uncentered cargo, seized idlers or other reasons, the belt can rapidly come in contact with the mainframe, shredding the edge and potentially causing a friction fire. Beyond workplace safety consequences, the belt can convey a fire throughout the facility at extremely high speed.

Another workplace hazard—one that is becoming progressively more regulated—is dust emissions. An increase in the volume of cargo means greater weight at higher belt speeds, causing more vibration on the system and leading to reduced air quality from dust. In addition, cleaning blade efficiency declines as volumes rise, causing more fugitive emissions during the belt’s return. Abrasive particulates can foul rolling components and cause them to seize, raising the possibility of a friction fire and increasing maintenance costs and downtime. Further, lower air quality can result in fines and forced stoppages by inspectors.

Modern Chute Design
Wider and faster conveyors are being deployed to drive down the per-ton cost of conveyed material. Traditional troughed designs will likely remain a standard, but the push toward wider and higher-speed belts will require substantial development in more reliable components, such as idlers, impact beds and chutes.

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Source: http://www.biomassmagazine.com/articles/18496/conveyor-technologydesigning-for-the-future-by-innovating-the-present