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MATERIALS HANDLING


OPTIMISETOMAXIMISE G


Todd Swinderman advises operators to optimise belt cleaner tension to achieve cleaner, safer, more productive conveying


iven the number of conveyor- related accidents that occur during routine maintenance and clean-up, every bulk


material handler has a vested interest in technologies to help reduce hazards and prevent injuries. Seemingly mundane tasks such as adjusting belt cleaners and removing spillage often require employees to work in close proximity to the moving conveyor, where even incidental contact can result in serious injury in a split second. Further, spillage can contribute to the risk of fire by interfering with pulleys and idlers and by providing potential fuel. Even worse, in confined spaces, airborne particles


32 www.engineerlive.com


can create the right ingredients for an explosion.


Te build-up of fugitive material can occur with surprising speed. As the table illustrates, spillage in an amount equal to just one sugar packet (about 4g) per hour will result in an accumulation of about 700g at the end of a week. If the rate of escape is 4g per minute, the accumulation will be more than 45kg per week, or more than two tons per year. If the spillage amounts to just one shovelful per hour (not an uncommon occurrence in some operations), personnel can expect to have to deal with more than 225kg of fugitive material every day.


BELT CLEANING TO REDUCE CARRYBACK


Although there are a number of belt cleaning technologies available to conveyor operators, most designs in use today are blade-type units of some kind, using a urethane or metal-tipped scraper to remove material from the belt’s surface. Tese devices typically require an energy source - such as a spring, a compressed air reservoir or a twisted elastomeric element - to hold the cleaning edge against the belt. Because the blade directly contacts the belt, it is subject to abrasive wear and must be regularly adjusted and periodically replaced to maintain effective cleaning performance.


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