Monday 10th Aug, 2020

Brain Industries’ new pulley lagging brainwave

Brain Industries has developed a new type of pulley lagging that uses the best qualities of rubber, polyurethane and ceramics.

Brain Industries has developed a new type of pulley lagging that uses the best qualities of rubber, polyurethane and ceramics.

Pulley lagging, the sacrificial surface applied to the shells of conveyor pulleys, plays an important role in mining conveyors.

The lagging protects the pulley shell, and in some cases the belt itself, from abrasion. It also extends the life of the pulley, as the lagging can be replaced for less than the cost of a new pulley or conveyor belt. It can also provide additional friction between the belt and the pulley, leading to a stronger grip.

Tony Lobb, Co-Founder of materials handling product manufacturer Brain Industries, says the material used in pulley lagging can provide significantly different results.

“Rubber is easy to work with and can be installed onto pulleys on site, making it less likely to interrupt a mine’s processes,” he says.

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“However, materials such as polyurethane can last five times as long, and ceramic tiles can last even longer under heavy wear conditions.

“Mines can reduce downtime significantly if they’re only changing out conveyor pulley lagging every five years, instead of every year. This leads to significant savings in the long run from higher uptime.”

Lobb has more than 30 years’ experience working with pulley lagging products and has used his expertise at Brain Industries to find new ways to extend the lifespan of pulley lagging products.

One of the downsides to polyurethane lagging is that it is much harder to bond the material to the shell. Brain Industries’ process involved removing the shell from service and sandblasting it before it is placed into a large oven where polyurethane is poured and set. The shell is then cured, the mould is removed, and lathed and grooved to provide the grip.

The process created lagging that is effective and durable, but Lobb wanted to find a way to further improve the process and make it more efficient. While researching, he found a new adhesive technology.

“Polyurethane is great, its durable and effective, but it’s harder to work with than rubber. For many years, it wasn’t possible to get a good bond without hot casting it onto the pulley, but then we developed an entirely new type of lagging,” Lobb says.

The lagging uses a mixture of all three materials – rubber, polyurethane and ceramic tiles– to get the best qualities from each. Brain Industries provides polyurethane lagging by itself and polyurethane embedded with ceramic tiles. All lagging of its has a rubber backing, which helps it create a strong bond to the pulley shell. Layered on top of this is the polyurethane lagging with ceramic tiles to provide an increased amount of wear resistance and durability. The ceramic plates also include dimples, designed to improve the lagging’s grip on the belt.

Testing has found the adhesion of the lagging can reach up to 15 kilonewtons, exceeding Australian standards. The next stage of testing will see the lagging installed on a conveyor.

“We focus heavily on the wear resistant qualities of all of our components, and with four factories in Carrington, NSW, we can ensure our products live up to our high standards,” Lobb says.