INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THE EFFICIENT CONTROL OF DUST AND MATERIAL SPILLS IN UNDERGROUND CONVEYOR HANDLING SYSTEMS

“Dust is a major problem associated with conveyor systems, particularly those in confined underground mining conditions, where miners have prolonged exposure to the hazards of dust particles. Apart from the negative effects of dust on a miner’s health – like irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory tracts, as well as serious lung diseases – some types of dust can also form an explosive mixture with air, which is extremely dangerous,” says Ken Mouritzen, managing director, BLT WORLD, specialists in bulk handling systems. “ScrapeTec has developed advanced solutions for conveyor systems – AirScrape®, TailScrape and SpeedScrape products – which encompass the latest technology, to prevent dust formation, reduce material spill, enable thorough belt-cleaning and minimise the risk of explosion at critical sections along the conveyor route and at transfer points.

“BLT WORLD specialists works closely with mine engineers and the ScrapeTec team to alleviate problems associated with dust generation, material spills and contamination at the transfer points of underground conveyor systems. The team also offers solutions to misalignment, abrasion and subsequent belt damage.”

ScrapeTec’s contact-free AirScrape® conveyor belt skirting system hovers freely above the conveyor belt, preventing skirt friction and belt damage, thus extending service life of the conveyor system. The AirScrape system – which encompasses inward facing, hardened-steel diagonal blades – operates according to a new principle where it hovers 1-2 mm, on the left and right side above the conveyor belt. These blades deflect larger particles inwards, while using the air-flow of the conveyor belt and conveyed material to create an inward suction, forcing any dust and fine particles back into the product flow. Through these diagonally fitted plates and the speed of the running belt, air is drawn from the outside inwards. As a result, neither the dust nor material can escape.

Conventional skirting is pressed against a conveyor belt to keep dust and material in the middle of the belt, but after a period, wear of the skirting and belt can be so severe, that material and dust escapes. Material spillage at transfer points needs to be removed and regular maintenance and housekeeping of belt skirting and transfer points is necessary.

With the AirScrape dust-free and contact-free, side sealing system for belt conveyors, there is no skirt contact and therefore no belt wear or damage. Motor power requirements are reduced as there is no belt-skirt friction and because there is continuous skirting with no gaps, product loss is minimal.

Experience shows that even seven years after installation and with continuous use in harsh underground mining conditions, the AirScrape system shows little sign of wear. Operational costs are also reduced because there is no need for spillage collection, regular maintenance, or replacement parts.

In a recent project in Peru, the mine management’s initial 10 m test installation of AirScrape was followed two weeks later with the installation of another 400 m in six conveyor belts. Currently 30% of the conveyors in this mining operation are fitted with Airscrape, with the objective for this to eventually be 100%.

According to the mine manager, he initially instructed the service team to inspect the Airscrape installations regularly, but halted all inspections after a few weeks because there was no dust or spillage.

New to BLT WORLD’s range of conveyor components is the Scrapetec PrimeTracker belt tracker, which enhances performance of the Airscrape system by eliminating problems associated with conveyor belt systems, including misalignment, abrasion and belt damage.

These systems – designed and manufactured in Germany by ScrapeTec Trading, to the highest quality standards – are available from BLT WORLD throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.

The BLT WORLD team provides an assessment and solutions service for planning and implementing each project. Correct installation of suitable equipment for underground mining applications ensures cost efficiency, optimum performance and safety, as well as reduced risk of breakdown and extended service life of the conveyor system.

 

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