We know that moving thousands of tons of heavy-duty materials can take a heavy toll on your belt conveyor system. Regular “wear and tear” can quickly escalate to rips, slits, or tears in your belt, requiring costly shutdowns, repairs or possibly even replacements if not detected in time. For one Flexco customer, an early warning proved to be the difference between an inconvenient belt repair and a catastrophic replacement.
Your Hidden Cost
There are several potential causes of belt damage at your heavy-duty operation. Broken idler rolls can slice through a belt. A mistracked belt can run against structural components, wearing to the point of damage. The material itself being carried by the belt can pose a threat as jagged chunks of stone, coal, salt, and other materials can cause punctures.
If you catch belt damage early enough, it can be repaired with minimal downtime and return to operation. Because your profitability is a direct result of your uptime, the goal is to avoid more significant belt repairs or replacements until scheduled downtime. However, this requires a significant commitment of manpower and resources to ensure the belt is monitored thoroughly and routinely.
Our Found Solution
Flexco Elevate™ is designed to monitor the performance of belt cleaners, but as one Flexco customer would learn, the data and insights it gathers can potentially reveal so much more. Flexco partnered with the above-ground mining operation on a small trial of Flexco Elevate. Six i3 Devices were connected to six new Flexco cleaners to monitor runtime hours against blade wear rates. This is one of the primary benefits of the platform as it can help operations maximize the life and value of cleaner blades. Luckily for this company, Flexco Elevate also monitors for abnormal events.
While monitoring the Flexco Elevate i3 Dashboard, the operation’s maintenance team was alerted to repeated abnormal activity on a precleaner and secondary cleaner mounted to the same conveyor. The alert prompted a manual inspection which confirmed the start of a rip in the belt. This forced part of the belt material to sit proud and jolt the cleaners being monitored with each revolution, resulting in the alert of an abnormal event.
Add It Up
Had the puncture not been caught by the Flexco Elevate platform, the maintenance team estimated that the belt was projected to tear parallel to the steel cable belt, dropping material and rendering the belt unpatchable. The operation was able to apply fasteners and repair the belt with a mere four-hour shutdown. The alternative would have been catastrophic.
Between time spent waiting for an available crew, belt availability and time needed for the replacement, the downtime could have exceeded several days. For an operation producing 8 million tons of hard rock ore per year at a value of $45 per ton, this could easily have resulted in $144,000 in lost production. And that cost is on top of the $100,000 belt replacement. By catching the tear early enough, Flexco Elevate directly contributed to more than $244,000 in savings for the operation.
Flexco Elevate offers an unprecedented real-time, remote view of the health and performance of your belt cleaners – and that’s just the beginning. To learn how Flexco Elevate can help prevent costly catastrophes, connect with a Flexco representative today.
Authored by: Ryan Grevenstuk, Director of Marketing – Heavy Duty
Ryan Grevenstuk is responsible for strategic global business and market plans, industry and market research, new product development, customer relationship management, and technical support for the heavy-duty product lines at Flexco.