Saturday 23rd Oct, 2021

Fixing the flaws of poorly designed transfer points

Poorly designed conveyor transfer points can lead to spillage, tracking issues and expensive clean up. Kinder Australia aims to overhaul these dusty hazards with its Essential Seal suite.

Transfer points play a vital role in conveying systems, allowing material to pass from one conveyor to another. However, if they are poorly designed, it can lead to significant issues.

Spillage is a common side effect of poor transfer point design. Material flows onto the wrong part of the belt below, spilling onto the surrounding components or escaping the system entirely. This can lead to build-up on the rollers and belt, which can then lead to issues with carryback.

Carryback can cause all sorts of problems in a materials handling operation. As material sticks to componentry not designed for it, different forces can lead to tracking difficulties, which can even lead to structural or belt damage.

These problems can be expensive to fix, and if the root problem isn’t addressed, can continue to build up.

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Charles Pratt, Operations Manager at Kinder Australia, says spillage also creates some of the worst jobs in the bulk handling industry.

“Cleaning up spilt material is a terrible task. Nobody wants to do it and it means your employees are doing dull, tedious busywork,” he says.

“Spillage creates dust, meaning if it falls to the ground the environment can become hazardous.

“Clean-up costs are also expensive, with specialised contractors costing producers potentially thousands of dollars an hour.”

Supressing dust particles around high pressure transfer points is one of Kinder Australia’s specialties. The company provides several products as part of its Essential Seal package to help improve transfer points, making an operation significantly safer and cleaner.

For example, the K-Sure Belt Support System solves belt sag problems where there are too few idlers installed at the loading point. The K-Dynamic Impact Belt Support System also improves material containment at the conveyor’s transfer point using anti-vibration mounts.

The K-Containment Seal enhances the success of the outer seal by reducing the high internal pressure experienced inside the chute and protects the vulnerable chute edges from damage. In addition, the K-AllShelter Capotex Conveyor Belt Covers offer a protective barrier, aiding airborne dust reduction, and protection from extreme environmental elements.

Pratt says the company is always looking to expand and improve its offering, which is why it keeps an eye on global innovations.

“The Airscrape contactless conveyor belt skirting system is something I have personally been watching for the past three to four years,” he says.

“After seeing its success elsewhere, I got in touch with the designer to help grow the technology in Australia.”

The Airscrape is suspended over the conveyor belt and acts as a side seal. Its unique diagonal arrangement of hardened fins, called lamellae, lead air from the outside into the middle of the belt, creating a suction effect. The material moving together with the belt support increases the suction effect, which keeps dust particles in the conveyor section.

In addition, the lamellae lead coarse materials pushing outwards back to the middle of the belt, significantly minimise spillage.

Pratt says the AirScrape uses an innovative and patented design that reduces material spillage and dust formation particularly at critical transfer points. 

“Additionally, due to the skirting and sealing system’s ability to hover freely above the conveyor belt, skirt friction and belt damage can be eliminated, service life of other conveyor components can also be extended,” he says.

“We’ve had incredible feedback from customers. Some have said it looks too good to be true, which was my initial reaction when I saw it a few years ago. It’s like when the first maglev trains were revealed, how could a train without wheels work?”

Kinder has put together several videos and case studies to help people see proof of the Aiscrape in action. The company plans to include the Airscrape in its Essential Seal suite of products to expand its use across Australia as much as possible.

Pratt says a big part of how Kinder operates is bringing the best technology to market.

“Australia has innovated some amazing things, but to limit ourselves to be reliant on just our own innovations would be silly,” he says.

“There’s a mix of Kinder innovated products and globally sourced products in our offering now. We have an open mind and are always looking to find the very best solutions for our customers.”