Material Handling Roundup

Updates, Innovations and Improvements to Keep Aggregates Producers Moving Material Effectively.

You can’t get from point A to Point B in an aggregates operation without material handling equipment. Conveyors and stackers, rollers and idlers, belts and cleaners, and other components ensure product keeps moving successfully.

Here are some of the latest advances, innovations and updates you need to know about.

Martin Engineering announced the publication of the world’s first aggregation of global best practices dedicated to reducing conveyor risk and injuries. Modeled after the company’s respected Foundations reference volume, now in its fourth edition, Foundations for Conveyor Safety from Martin Engineering provides an unprecedented collection of information, assembled specifically to help conveyor system operators achieve safe production.

To assess the true value of safety, the book includes ground-breaking methodology for calculating the payback from safety investments, sometimes referred to as ROS for “Return On Safety.”

“This work is based on the premise that the extraction and processing of bulk materials can be done safely and profitably by applying global best practices for conveyor safety and design,” said Martin Engineering Chairman Ed Peterson. “The first step to true productivity is safety. If a conveyor, a plant or an industry is not safe, it cannot maximize productivity.”

Safety Book cover.01“This book is really a global roundup of best practices to keep safe those who must work on or around belt conveyors,” observed lead author Todd Swinderman. “Part of that is recognizing the hazards, hardware systems and work practices that will improve safety. But it also includes methodologies on how to design conveyors to be safer, and how to justify the expenses for those improved systems.”

Swinderman has been an officer and chair of numerous Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) standards writing committees, and has served as chair, editor and driving force behind the sixth edition of the CEMA Belt Book: Belt Conveyors for Bulk Materials.

The new volume is a collaboration of experts with vast experience in bulk material handling, designed to educate readers by identifying hazards, danger zones and unsafe work practices around conveyors, helping raise awareness among management, operators and maintenance personnel. Content on hazards, hardware solutions, safe work practices, assessment, and safer conveyor construction leads to a summary discussion of the return on safety investment and how to measure the payback.

“The book’s first section discusses the dangers and potential hazards of conveyors, based on decades of experience in bulk handling,” said Product Engineer Daniel Marshall. “That includes descriptions of the areas and components that pose inherent risks, as well as the unsafe practices that could lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Understanding the risks is the first step toward accident prevention.”

The next section is on hardware solutions and covers safety-related equipment such as sensors, switches and alarms, as well as a range of fixed components that includes hoods and covers, crossovers and guarding. The chapters also discuss dust and noise hazards, lighting and safe access, as well as electrical safety and signage.

In the section on work practices, the authors cover working safely around conveyors. They highlight fugitive material and its relationship to cleaner, safer and more productive conveying, as well as the importance of safety training and standard operating procedures to reduce risk, such as blocking the belt against motion. “We summarize international standards and regulations from around the world and offer suggestions for best practices,” added co-author and primary editor Andy Marti.

The section on building safer conveyors highlights ways that safety can be “designed-in” when engineering new systems and retrofitting existing conveyors, including observations on how conveyors could/should be made safer. The following section on payback provides readers with information on the accounting methodology for assessed risk, including analysis of the true costs, the Return on Conveyor Safety (ROCS) investment and projected savings.

“Many of the recommendations and methods detailed in the first four editions of Foundations have become industry standard approaches to resolving fugitive material issues and improving efficiency,” Swinderman added. “This volume is a change in direction from the tradition, in that it focuses exclusively on conveyor belt safety.”

Foundations for Conveyor Safety will be available to Martin Engineering customers and by request – in print and digital formats – and will be used in conjunction with Foundations 4 in the company’s conveyor safety training classes. The book can be downloaded at

Belt-Monitoring Process

ContiTech has introduced ContiAlert, a unique conveyor belt monitoring process that allows users to see belt wear in real time.

“A red bonding layer below the top cover is exposed when it’s time to change the belt,” said Chris Marchant, product manager for conveyor belting. “In addition, the ContiAlert system is complete with a calculator that enables customers to determine how much time is remaining before the carcass is exposed and the belt is in need of replacement. It takes the guesswork out of belt replacement, and helps prevent downtime and increase uptime.”

“Prior to the introduction of ContiAlert, the end user was only aware that they had maximized their belt life when the carcass became fully exposed,” Marchant said. “The purpose of the covers is to protect the carcass. When the covers are removed and the carcass is exposed to the application/environment, this can negatively impact belt and splice performance. ContiAlert in real time provides a visual alert that cover wear is approaching exposure of the carcass.”

ContiAlert is available in the abrasion-resistant lineup of ContiTech Select Conveyor Belt specifications and compounds: Belt Specs – Plylon Plus 250/2, 275/3, 500/4 and 600/3 with a minimum 3/16- x 1/16-in. to a maximum of 3/8- x 1/8-in. covers; Abrasion-resistant compound Specs – Defender Plus, Stacker, Survivor and Survivor Plus.

ContiAlert LayerBelt CutawayREDIsolatedSQ 1

Conveyor Belt Products

Phoenix, a well-known name in conveyor belting, reintroduced its premier Conveyor Belt branded products to the North American market this year at the 2016 SME Annual Conference and Expo.

“Phoenix-branded conveyor belting has been very popular in Europe and the rest of the world with the exception of North America,” said Bret Hall, head of Phoenix and NBS Service-NAFTA. “With the recent addition of enhanced manufacturing capabilities and a highly knowledgeable sales and marketing team in North America, we now can offer our NAFTA customers a greater breadth of conveyor belt products and solutions.”

The Phoenix brand offers a complete line of steel cord, textile and special conveyor belts as well as protection systems and field services for all belt products. The “flagship” of the steel cord line is called Phoenocord; Textile belts are branded Coal Quest XP, Glide Plus, Glide Ultra and Glide Surface Some of the Phoenix special belts are branded Phoenopipe, Phoenohoist, S-Wall and Tough Coat PVC. The protective services are named Phoenoguard and Phoenocare.

“In addition to these top-quality products, we offer a variety of options of service, depending on the customers needs and requirements,” Hall said.

The belts also are supported with a solid line of compounds that give each belt unique service and operating characteristics. The compounds focus on issues that are common customer concerns such as abrasion, flame resistance, heat, oil and low rolling resistance. “A unique compound for flame resistance is called Shield,” said Hall. “This compound addresses a fire safety issue that is critical to a successful mining operation.”

Hall added that the Phoenix brand would be served by a NAFTA-centric group of distributors located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America.

The company also announced that Monk Mining Supply Inc., a Tazewell, Va.-based distributor of conveyor belt products, has become part of the Phoenix Conveyor Belt Solutions family. “The only thing about our business that changes is the name,” said Ron Gibson, general manager, of the former Monk Mining Supply Inc. For the last eight years, Monk has operated as a subsidiary of Veyance Technologies, Inc., a company that was added to Phoenix Conveyor Belt Solutions in 2015. “We will continue to operate as a unit of our supplier and remain just as autonomous in our business as prior to the name change.” There will be no change in personnel at the Tazewell distributor.

Mine Duty Idlers

Superior Industries Inc. debuted an expanded line of mine duty idlers at this year’s MINExpo International in Las Vegas.

Exclusive to Superior, a new double tube (DT) design features inner and outer tube construction giving the idler increased rigidity for higher load ratings. The design has a 20 percent higher load rating than CEMA, noted Superior. The inner tube insulates the bearing from vibration, reducing misalignment and increasing the life of the bearing. As the outer shelf wears, the inner tube maintains the structural integrity of the roller.

The double tube models are available in belt widths up to 120-in. and are equipped with bearing sizes up to 60 mm. According to Superior, this double tube product line has proven capabilities, having tested at some of the highest capacity iron ore mines in the world.

The 30-mm bearing DX Idler is designed with a ¼-in. thick wall for added durability.

Superior Industries is also expanding its line of Exterra Belt Cleaners with a new mine duty model. Designed for better performance on larger pulley assemblies, the Mine Duty Exterra Primary Belt Cleaner debuted at MINExpo International 2016.

According to the manufacturer, the Mine Duty Exterra Primary Belt Cleaner solves pain points related to constant tensioning maintenance as well as difficult installation in tight areas.

Superior’s belt tensioner features patent pending Set For Life (SFL) technology that maintains constant, accurate tension during the life of the blade. Operators set the tension during installation and never have to adjust it again. Versus an oversized, difficult to install, one-piece pole, the Mine Duty Exterra Primary Belt Cleaner’s three-piece pole is lighter and easier to manage during installation, especially in tight, hard-to-get-to chute systems.  

Additionally, the scraper blade is segmented into 6-in. chunks, allowing it to contour against the blade. This allows for a more even wear on wide belts typically used in heavier, mine duty applications.

The Mine Duty Exterra Primary Belt Cleaner is designed for pulleys larger than 20-in. diameter up to 84-in. diameter, servicing belts with widths 24-in. and up.

Couplings for Intelligent Driving of Belt Conveyors

Voith recently unveiled its new TurboBelt 500 TPXL fluid coupling at MINExpo in Las Vegas. The fill-controlled coupling is the first model in the new TPXL family, which combines the advantages of the proven hydrodynamic drive principle with intelligent control technology. The integrated controller makes it possible to adapt the output torque of the coupling exactly to the startup parameters of the belt conveyor system.

In addition, Voith’s engineers have been able to considerably reduce the dimensions of the new coupling, so that the TurboBelt 500 TPXL only requires half the volume of conventional coupling types for the same force transmission. In addition to the operational advantages, the new series of couplings also offers attractive procurement and operating costs.

Operation of the TurboBelt 500 TPXL is simple and user-friendly; after the required torque for the belt and the basic startup parameters have been transmitted, the coupling automatically calculates the optimum fill level in real time and fills or drains the working circuit accordingly. Equipped with a self learning function, it simultaneously stores all relevant operational data in order to align the control behavior optionally with the nominal value, depending on the respective load situation and on the basis of previous empirical values.

This is enabled by the plug-and-play design of the TurboBelt 500 TPXL. An integrated controller, an integrated pump and a new oil supply unit are part of the coupling concept. Thus the components are optimally matched to one another and pave the way for predictive, requirement-oriented and cost optimized maintenance of the coupling. The controller monitors the entire sensor system of the coupling and provides operationally relevant information, such as the condition of the oil filter – even by remote access if desired.

As a self-contained system, the coupling can be easily put into operation without long interruptions in production. In order to allow for the integration into new as well as existing drive trains, Voith offers a version with bearings on both sides for standalone use as well as a variant with bearings on the output side for direct motor connection.

Thanks to the hydrodynamic operating principle, power transmission via the TurboBelt 500 TPXL is wear-free and does not require a mechanical connection. New vanes with the XL profile double the power density of the coupling in comparison to conventional coupling types. This means that only half the volume is required to transmit the same force.

The hydrodynamic circuit of the coupling limits the torque in the driveline to a fixed, defined value which protects the belt and the drive components from damage due to overloading. This minimizes maintenance costs and increases the lifetime of the system. Motors can be run up to speed under no-load conditions and staggered in time using the fill control system. This minimizes the current peaks that always occur when motors are switched on. It also reduces the load placed on the power grid.

In parallel with the integrated controller unit, which controls the oil supply to the working circuit among other things, the TurboBelt 500 TPXL is also equipped with a fieldbus unit. With this, Voith lays the foundation for the mining of the future. Thanks to connected components over the entire extraction process, operators can profit from high conveyance performance and increased productivity as well as from increased work safety.

Within the Voith portfolio the TurboBelt TPXL fill-controlled coupling is complemented by components over the entire conveying process such as the intermediate drive TurboBelt TT Linear Booster Drive, storage loops, tension stations and slide and chute systems. Today, this already offers diverse possibilities for optimizing belt conveyor systems with respect to total cost of ownership and capital expenditures. Furthermore the wide product range opens a perspective for the future with regard to automation concepts and comprehensive condition monitoring.

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