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Automated monitoring and reporting system for conveyor belt cleaners

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

Martin Engineering has announced a belt cleaner position indicator that monitors the blade, tracking and reporting remaining service life.

The intuitive Martin N2® Position Indicator (PI) monitors primary belt cleaner blades, notifying the company’s service technicians and plant operations personnel when re-tensioning or replacement is required and/or when abnormal conditions occur. The PI can be part of a new installation or directly retrofitted to exist-ing mainframes that use the company’s replacement blades. Managers and ser-vice technicians can quickly access info on any networked cleaner via cell phone.

The company offers the equipment, monitoring service and batteries free of charge to qualifying customers. The company will also support the PI components and provide customer alerts without cost as needed, with mainframes and tensioners replaced free for users of the company’s belt cleaner blades.

“There are no annual maintenance fees, and no add on charges for cell phone access,” confirmed Martin Engineering Global Marketing Director Brad Pronschinske. “Most customers using our cleaner blades can take advantage of this technology.”

Position indicators can be mounted anywhere from 3 - 800 m (10 - 2625 ft) from the cellular gateway, and the robust, sealed construction means it is virtually immune from damage. Up to 50 units can be monitored by a single gateway connecting to the Internet, usually located at the highest point in the plant, where the cell signal is strongest. The system does not require a cellular line for each PI, instead communicating via radio frequency from each sensor to the gateway.

Operating independently of any plant communications infrastructure, the small physical size and low power requirements deliver a projected battery life of two years. The self-contained model was developed by the company in order to minimise the dependency on in-plant resources. Only the gateway requires a constant 110 V power point.

The device eliminates the need for manual inspections by giving technicians precise information, delivering critical real-time intelligence and reducing exposure to moving conveyors. Maintenance planning is simplified by having detailed information available on demand, allowing service personnel to deliver and install replacement wear parts during scheduled outages.

Alerts are also provided automatically when:

  • A blade change is required.
  • Re-tensioning is needed.
  • A cleaner has been backed off the belt.
  • There is an abnormal condition.
  • A substantial change in temperature occurs.
  • Batteries need replacement.

Conveyor evolution

The position indicator is a component of the company’s push to develop new and evolving technologies to improve bulk material handling and reduce the associated hazards.

“This capability is a true enabler, bringing a number of benefits,” observed Pronschinske. “Belt cleaner inspection time is basically eliminated, as maintenance personnel no longer need to physically view the cleaner to determine the tension or wear status,” he said. “It also reduces the time workers need to spend near the moving conveyor, helping to minimise the potential for accidents.”

Relying on actual operating conditions instead of human judgement to monitor blade wear and tension for optimal cleaning performance, the indicator maximises the blade’s usable surface area and reports with certainty when a blade is nearing the end of its useful life. Delivering instant, continuous feedback while eliminating guesswork – tracking the individual performance and status of each cleaner – the detailed history also provides a maintenance log with service dates and work performed.

The PI itself is a self-contained system that does not require an external power source. Manufactured from a proprietary grade of polyurethane that is resistant to bumps, shocks and knocks. This material was chosen after the company investigated numerous options and determined that other materials were simply not able to handle the challenges of severe operating environments. Able to handle a typical mining environment, the device can be installed inside or outside the transfer chute. It has also been designed to be reliable in the challenging ambient environment found at operator sites, such as handling wet and sticky materials.

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