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Bullet proof: New conveyor belt material from Kevlar

World Coal,

DuPont Protection Technologies has announced that the company’s Kevlar® use in mining conveyor belts has demonstrated increased productivity and reduced annual maintenance costs. Data collected in a field trial with copper mining company, Codelco (National Copper Corporation of Chile) through Plants Management of the Andina Division, demonstrated a capacity increase of over 18% with a 60% reduction in annual maintenance cost.

“The lightweight strength, durability and performance of this advanced material in extreme conditions make it an ideal choice in this application,” said William Weber, vice-president, Kevlar, DuPont Protection Technologies. “The belts can run faster with less wear and tear, enabling mining companies to break boundaries – to ‘dare bigger’ in terms of their capacity.”

Dare Bigger™ is the new brand platform for DuPont Kevlar. It represents inspiration for those who rely on the safety and performance of Kevlar brand fiber. From athletes to astronauts, first responders to industrial workers, Kevlar enables anyone with an imagination and a job to dare bigger.

“In mining, conveyor belts must go down into the bowels of the earth. Copper ore is sharp and hard on equipment used to extract it,” said Patricio Porta, Analyst Specialist-Operations, Management of Plants, Codelco Andina Division. “The belts we have installed with DuPont Kevlar fiber are durable and strong; they make a great impact on our production.”

DuPont Kevlar fibre helps enable conveyor belt manufacturers to offer lighter, more flexible and longer life solutions to mining companies – from copper to coal. The conveyor belt material can increase throughput and reduce operational costs associated with installation, maintenance, replacement and energy consumption. The advantage of lightweight, thin and strong belts using Kevlar include:

  • Ease of installation – belts made with Kevlar fibre are easy to integrate into an existing setup because, unlike polyester/nylon or steel, belts made with Kevlar can go on almost any size pulley or system without reconfiguration. For example, Codelco Andina Division replaced a 48 m conveyor belt containing a 5-ply conventional nylon/polyester (EP) cord carcass made with a comparable belt containing a single-layer DuPont Kevlar Advanced Performance™ (AP) fibre.
  • Productivity improvements – Kevlar fibre belts are light and can run at high speeds, are strong and therefore help reduce maintenance downtime. They are also flexible, so they allow a greater trough angle preventing materials from sliding off, even at higher speeds. At Codelco Andina Division, throughput increased by 300 tpd.
  • Energy savings – Kevlar can offer cost savings in terms of decreased power consumption. DuPont has developed an energy calculator to help belt manufacturers and mining companies evaluate the benefits of adding Kevlar brand fibre for lower energy per ton of material conveyed.
  • Reduced maintenance – Despite their flexibility, belts made of Kevlar fibre exhibit very low creep. Since they only stretch a small amount, once installed, belts containing Kevlar rarely require re-splicing, a process which typically consumes a whole day. This stability, combined with the toughness of Kevlar fibre, helps reduce maintenance outages to a bare minimum. At Codelco Andina Division, maintenance was required only a third as often and the yearly maintenance cost dropped from 14 cents to 5½ cents/t.

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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