Clean it, Track it, Seal it – Making conveyors on concrete plants better.

We see Conveyors as the arteries of the concrete plant. They are the means by which aggregates and other materials are transported around the plant for use in the key parts of the production process.

However, efficient conveying can prove tricky, and serious problems with conveyors are often accepted as the norm. There are a handful of common issues that affect belt conveyors which can be solved simply, using a proactive approach. If unresolved, these can have a significant impact on your plant’s overall performance.

Here, we take a closer look at what you can do to optimise your belt conveyors, for better plant performance.

Clean it

We believe cleaning conveyor belts effectively is the most important thing to get right, as clean belts are fundamental to the overall performance of the conveyor. This is because unclean conveyor belts will mis-track, which will in turn cause sealing and loading problems. Keeping your belt clean has many other day-to-day benefits, from reducing waste material, minimising maintenance downtime and minimising clean-up. It will also extend the lifespan of many of the most expensive components on the conveyor. This includes the belt material itself, which is costly to replace and causes unwanted downtime.

Ineffective belt cleaning is easy to spot. Carryback is the material that sticks or adhere to the belt surface once the belt has passed around the head drum and this material soon piles up underneath conveyors. This is the case because it is shaken off the belt surface further down the conveyor at the high-tension points like snub drums, return idlers and gravity take-up units (GTUs). Piles of carryback then need to be cleaned up by site staff, which often means shovelling it into wheelbarrows and then wheeling it away to be scrapped as waste. Carryback also causes component wear as it gets inside bearings and wears away surfaces.

There are a host of belt cleaning solutions on the market designed to eliminate carryback, including belt cleaners (scrapers), brushes and air knives. Usually though, there is a compromise between performance and cost, with lower cost solutions often only working for a short period before needing spare parts and maintenance, whilst high performance cleaners often require both a large upfront investment and regular maintenance. We believe that with Starclean we have the best in class solution, providing exceptional cleaning performance with simple maintenance.

Starclean belt cleaners save our customers time and money by reducing conveyor downtime, wasted material, manual handling, clean-up time, dust emissions, and health and safety concerns associated with material carryback. Twist Swing™ technology ensures completely independent blade tensioning for optimum cleaning performance, and simple to use tensioners make maintenance quick and simple.

Track it

In our experience keeping your belt clean will contribute massively to overall conveyor effectiveness, but ensuring the belt is properly tracked will safeguard operational efficiency. A clean but mis-tracked conveyor could still lead to premature belt and component wear, as well as material being thrown off the belt. Performing maintenance on conveyors can also be highly dangerous, so minimising the requirement for operator intervention is key.

Warning signs from a misaligned belt are easy to spot – material falling off the belt, along with visible belt wear and structural conveyor damage are the tell-tale signs to look out for. Misalignment can happen for several reasons – environmental issues such as excessive wind can move or push the belt from centre. Off-centre loading can also cause the belt to mistrack. Roller set-up can also have a huge bearing on tracking, be it through damaged / seized rollers or incorrect alignment of the transom sets.

Centrax conveyor belt trackers quickly and automatically correct belt misalignment, steering the belt back into the correct position and preventing wear and damage to the conveyor.

What sets Centrax apart from other belt tracking solutions is the powerful grip it achieves.

Its heavy-duty conical rollers with diamond-cut rubber lagging create high friction, even when wet, to powerfully steer the belt back into alignment immediately.

Having a properly-aligned belt results in less downtime, with productivity improved through less disruption and a cleaner, safer working environment.

Seal it

Another hot-spot for maintenance and house-keeping issues can be spillage from the belts. Conveyor spillage and dust can cause a whole host of problems, from production downtime and cleaning, to safety and environmental issues caused by dust emission.

As we’ve described, ensuring your belt is clean and properly tracked will eliminate a wide range of problems on the conveyor. However, ensuring your belt is properly sealed, particularly at transfer / loading points which are more vulnerable to material spillage and dust, will ensure your belt is fully optimised for maximum production efficiency.

Many sealing systems use lateral rubber strips as seals. However, this type of solution produces only marginal improvements as the strips themselves cannot be adjusted to match the belt profile as they wear. Therefore, when the belt is subjected to the forces from loading, material and dust can escape through the gaps between seal and belt.

Using an appropriate belt support system, such as an Impact Bed, and the Spill-Ex skirt sealing system in tandem can really help minimise this problem. Spill-Ex utilises individual sealing blocks for easy adjustment and maintenance. Each block is independently adjustable, ensuring an effective seal which can be set to follow the belt profile.

Spill-Ex

Make it better

ConSpare’s unique Make it better approach enables us to assess the whole concrete production process and utilise specialist products to provide solutions which improve specific plant operations.

By looking at the plant through our customers’ eyes, we can deliver improvements which specifically address their individual priorities. While solving problems individually provides plant improvement, delivering improvement across the plant provides transformation. The very core of Make it better is about collaborating with our customers to transform the concrete production process.

When it comes to conveying, if you ‘clean it, track it and seal it’, you are going to eliminate the vast amount of potential problems and issues. With StarClean, Centrax and Spill-Ex, you’ll be investing in best-in-class equipment which will not only bring down your maintenance costs and keep your conveyors in service for longer, but also represent a better long-term return on investment and a lower lifetime cost of ownership.

Ready to find out how ConSpare can help you make it better? Get in touch today.

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