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Conveyors 

 
Authors: Priyadarshi Hem (Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering - University of British Columbia), Greg Fenrick (InfoMine), and Jack Caldwell (Robertson GeoConsultants)

Revised: August 2012

Summary

This review describes the use of conveyors in the world-wide mining industry. Sources of information on new and used conveyor technology, installation, use, and maintenance are listed. Other topics discussed include design guides, health and safety, construction of conveyor systems, and belts used in conveyors.

INTRODUCTION

Everything you need to know about conveyors is on the web. By the rules we set ourselves, the first version of a review like this should be no longer than about five pages. This version is intended to be a quick checklist and guide to the plethora of information on conveyors. We intersperse it with observations and stories that we find interesting and that may entertain you. But more important: if you have news, views, or information that you can share with us to put in the next and subsequent versions of this ever-green, a-building document, please let us have them.

TYPES OF CONVEYORS

Belt conveyors, pipe conveyors, apron conveyors, chain conveyors and sandwich conveyors form the list of major types of conveyors. Sandwich conveyors and pipe conveyors are among the ones where the materials being conveyed are covered to avoid any contamination and dust generation. Mobile conveyors, overhand conveyors, inplant conveyors, gravity conveyors and roller conveyors are among the major conveyor systems used in mining industries. Dorner lists different types of mining and non-mining conveyors among which Vacuum Conveyors and Magnetic Conveyors are among those which I had never heard of before. Another place to look for different types of conveyors is on Wikipedia. Clinker downhill Pipe Conveyor at Tadipatri

Clinker downhill Pipe Conveyor at Tadipatri - Photo source: www.pipeconveyor.com

Metso provide a wide variety of conveyors for mining industries. The Sandvik Conveyor system provides a variety of products for both underground and surface mining industries, along with other industries.

NEW EQUIPMENT

InfoMine's Buyer's Guide lists 319 suppliers of conveyors and conveyor parts and supplies under these categories:
  • Apron Conveyor Parts
  • Belt Cleaners
  • Belt Splicing and Vulcanizer Equipment
  • Belts and Components
  • Chains
  • Drive Pulleys and Idlers
  • Installations
  • Radial Stackers
  • Stationary
  • Telescoping

Goodyear's Pathfinder conveyor belt (Photo: Goodyear Engineered Products) In the Belts & Components category are three suppliers. I never did figure what the "components" are, but certainly the best looking and technically most interesting belts are those from Goodyear Engineered Products. Further, they have one of the most sophisticated website I have come across recently. Treats you like an individual, focuses on your interests, and gives relevant information fast. They deserve to dominate the market. I hope they don't mind me copying some pictures of their belts, the technology of which is fascinating-see their website for more information.

The least number of suppliers in any category is two: Trentfab Inc and Ward Industrial equipment Ltd both of Ontario in the category Stationary Conveyors. What do they do in the rest of the mining world? Or is this just an artifact of an arbitrary system of categorization. It is interesting that EarthWORKS Machinery Company has only two stationary conveyers for sale. In Illinois, Grasan supplies new stationary conveyors ranging in length from 25 to 500 plus feet, and KSI will provide you with a custom design stationary conveyor.

Next door in Iowa (my prejudice is showing again) is ABCO Engineering Corp. Here is their plant; their story, tornados and all, follows the picture.

ABCO Engineering Corp.
ABCO Engineering Corp. was formed as a private corporation in the fall of 1967 and started production in early spring of 1968. ABCO has produced thousands of belt conveyors, hoppers, feeders, vibrating screens and many other products on a customized per order basis. These products are usually sold through dealers who re-sell to contractors, mines, quarries, barge terminals, state & county highway departments, industrial plants, etc. We have shipped conveyors to almost every state and many foreign countries. On May 15, 1968, we were leveled by a tornado and rebuilt that fall on our present property with the help of many friends and the Oelwein Industrial Development Corporation. On October 19, 1975 we were approximately 80% destroyed by a devastating fire. We have rebuilt, continue to build, and are constantly broadening our product line by giving our customers specifically designed-per-order customized equipment using a "non-assembly line" operation.

USED EQUIPMENT

The InfoMine equipment section lists over 150 conveyors for sale. The most fun one was brought to my attention by Brett Smith who sent information about a RAHCO Mobile Material Spreading Conveyor System that his company, A.M. King, has for sale. It can be yours for $1,750,000. Here is a picture of the 1,500-ft long machine that can spread up 30,000 tons a day of material. Just contact Brett via either of these routes: [email protected] or http://www.amking.com/

RAHCO Mobile Material Spreading Conveyor System (Photo: A.M. King Industries, Inc.)


Here is what I found out about both companies, information that interests me:

  • A.M. King: A man worth meeting? Albert M. King, the company's founder, has many years' experience evaluating, planning and executing the dismantling and removal of equipment, and marketing of salvageable materials for the mining, milling, and sand & gravel industries. He generally offers used equipment for sale in "as is" condition, with certain choice items sometimes refurbished, reconditioned or rebuilt under the supervision of the company.

  • FLSmidth RAHCO Inc.: Began operation in 1946. One or two of their products that caught my eye (at least I would like to see them): the computer-controlled hydraulic gantry at the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state. For DOE, the "revolutionary" waste containment system. A John Deere combine outfitted with a leveler.

MAINTENANCE

The maintenance schedule for any conveyors can be divided into three stages:
  1. Belt shut down and empty
  2. Belt running empty
  3. Belt running loaded

The works involve in these three stages are clearly described here.

Cisco-Eagle lists the following work items under the conveyor maintenance plan:

  • Check/lubricate all bearings, universal joints, and pulleys
  • Check chain tension, wear and lubricate
  • Check sprocket alignment, wear, and screw set
  • Check flat belt tension, wear and lacing
  • Check V-belt tension, wear and sheave alignment
  • Check electrical connections at conveyor
  • Check gearbox and fill to proper level
  • Check general condition of system
  • Operate entire system after serviceList any items requiring replacement or repair

Take a look at Flexco’s Flex-Lifter™ new Conveyor Belt Lifter, shown below.

Lifting a tensioned conveyor belt to replace worn idlers or to set up a splicing station can be a difficult and hazardous job. The Flex-Lifter™ makes the job safe, fast and easy.


This belt lifter has the highest safe lift rating available at 4,000 lbs (1,810kg). It can handle the toughest maintenance tasks, like lifting a loaded, tensioned belt. The Flex-Lifter™ is also versatile. Each model can lift both topside (troughed or flat) belts and return side belts.

This easy-to-use tool is portable and comes in two models: Medium for belt widths 36-60” (900-1500mm) and Large for belts 48-72” (1200-1800mm). This unit is only 6-3/4” (169mm) high in its closed position so it can easily be placed on the conveyor structure between the belts; and adjustable leg extensions adapt to varying structure widths. The fully opened heights of 14” (350mm) for the Medium model and 16” (400mm) for the Large model allow enough room above troughing rollers to set up a belt splicing station.

Related Information:


SOURCES OF INFORMATION

The Canadian Trade Index lists in-country manufacturers and suppliers of conveyors. In India take a look at IndiaMART and 176 trade leads related to conveyors. In the United States, MacRae's Blue Book does much the same. Along with information about cheap airfares (who can gainsay that?), meeting singles (well maybe), and sending flowers (I should have), you can find a list of conveyor suppliers on a site that is called simply Conveyors. My favorite in terms of utility and ease of use is from Ensalco and their page on Engineered Conveyor & Packaging Systems.

DESIGN GUIDES

The computer codes WINBELT provides for conveyor design and cost estimating. Gorman Business Services in Arizona sells these software programs for conveyors and material handling systems:


HEALTH AND SAFETY

MSHA has copious information related to conveyor health and safety issues. Some pages worth looking at:

Similarly with NIOSH:

And also from OSHA:


TECHNICAL LITERATURE

There are over 30 papers on conveyors in the InfoMine library. It is hard to say how many were written to justify a trip to a conference in an exotic location. Starting with Cicero's "De Natura Deorum," which is still worth reading, I have remained fascinated by papers and books the title of which starts with the word "On". Keep in mind "De" in Latin is mostly translated as "On" or "About", so I was disappointed to find that On Line Monitoring is really about On-Line Monitoring; echoes of Eats, Shoots and Leaves.


DESIGN AND CONSTRUCT

Australian Conveyor Engineering offer complete solutions for the design, manufacture and installation of high capacity conveyor systems.

Also in Australia is Nepean Conveyors who provide design concepts, through to manufacture and installation of innovative and proven technology in the field of belt conveying and materials handling to the minerals and mining industry.

Oakpoint in Western Australia was established in 2000 specifically to service conveyor belt cleaning equipment. Here is a photo from their collection.

In Idaho, Conveyor Engineering Inc will design and fabricate:

  • Complete processing plants
  • Ore crushing and screening facilities
  • Heavy belt feeders
  • In-plant conveyors
  • Overland conveyors
  • Heap Leach Stacking Systems

In California, Creative Engineering with Don Suverkrop can design a conveyor for you. He developed and markets the computer codes WINBELT for conveyor design and cost estimating.

In South Africa Conveyor Kit will design a conveyor for you. Also on their site is a rather nice paper Belt Conveyors - Design, Operations, and Optimization.


SOFTWARE

On the site for mConveyor I found a tool that is technically sound and can be handy in designing conveyor systems.

Mine Conveyor can be used to design belt conveyors quickly. A free trial version is available on their website.


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