Tuesday 26th May, 2020

Diacon safeguards bulk operations

Conveyor safety guard manufacturer Diacon Australia has created a system that uses high-strength plastics instead of steel to protect staff on bulk handling sites.

Conveyor safety guard manufacturer Diacon Australia has created a system that uses high-strength plastics instead of steel to protect staff on bulk handling sites.

Conveyors, like most other industrial machinery, can be dangerous if proper safety systems aren’t put into effect. With plenty of fast-moving components handling materials that can be hazardous to those nearby, choosing the right method of protecting workers is vital.

In 2010, Brendan Refalo, Managing Director at Diacon Australia, saw a need for significant improvements in conveyor productivity, machinery guarding, work area demarcation, and fall protection.

After around two years of research and development, the company had found a solution – the Diacon Conveyor Guard. The conveyor guard is a plastic mesh made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), designed for easy installation and removal.

By using HDPE, the conveyor guards never have to be painted and there is no chance of rust or corrosion. On top of this, the system is significantly lighter than steel.

“HDPE is a very versatile material,” Refalo says. “It allows us to make specific adjustments to the guarding that just wouldn’t be possible with steel.

“It’s also very lightweight, which is a huge deal for people on sites that need to manually handle the conveyor guards.”

Additionally, because the conveyor guards are made of plastic, they don’t interfere with equipment such as metal detecting units or magnets.

The team at Diacon Australia has more than 30 years design experience, and has leveraged this to ensure the system is easy to use for bulk handling operators. For example, the conveyor guards come with an inbuilt hook that allows operators to hang them on a nearby walkway guardrail so they don’t become a tripping hazard during maintenance periods.

The Diacon system is made up of three components – hungry boards, mounting brackets and guards. Installation only requires three steps: attaching the mounting bracket to the troughing frame, connecting the hungry board to the bracket with the locking wedge, and hanging and locking the safety guard panel to the bracket. During onsite installation no steps require hot work, removing a key potential hazard from the process.

All of Diacon’s guards are specifically engineered to meet the requirements of AS4024.3610-2015 for general conveyors and AS4024.3611-2015 for belt conveyors for bulk materials handling. In particular, the system focuses on the suitability of material for purpose, aperture size considerations relative to reach distance, deflection criteria when the guard is under load, correct signage, and the ability to unlock through the use of a tool.

Refalo says Diacon designs and tests its guarding systems and products rigorously, using best practice manufacturing techniques and software.

“We use laser scanning equipment at a site to measure the conveyor system before designing the guarding on top of a 3D model that includes all of the potential interferences and obstacles,” he says.

“Then we can manufacturer the guards and provide a full installation that meets and exceeds Australian Standards in a full, turnkey package.”

Diacon has made additional design optimisations over the 10 years since the product was first introduced in Australia. With decades of experience in the plastics industry and a significant amount of data from the field, the company is confident the Diacon Conveyor Guards are capable of lasting  beyond  20 years.

Refalo says that Diacon’s experience in the market makes it one of the best in the industry.

“We only use quality Australian materials to guarantee our conveyor guards can offer the longest life possible,” he says.

“On top of that, we are in it for the long-haul. Diacon doesn’t compromise on its quality and offers support through its network of distributors.”