Conveyors, Transfers, Chutes, Engineering

Gary James seeks patents for belt conveyor

Gary James

One of Australia’s most experienced conveyor engineers has applied for patents for an innovative belt conveyor and formed a new company called Down Under Belt Conveyors.

According to Mr James, the new belt conveyor uses standard belting and has the return belt above the carry belt. The carry idlers are directly fixed to the foundation.

“So there is minimal support structure and sympathetic structural beam vibration has been eliminated,” explained Mr James. “As the return belt protects the carry belt, no roof is required.”

The carry idler rolls are greater than 300mm in diameter. According to Mr James, the large rollers lower the belt indentation loss, roll bearing and seal drag, bearing size, required belt strength, roll speed, capex, opex, and power and tensions.

“On a typical overland conveyor the power is reduced by 25% and the number of rolls by approximately 40%, said Mr James. “On a recent example the number of rolls reduced by 7,000, from 19,000.

“The design allows much longer conveyor lengths, higher speeds, higher capacities, and faster build times.

“A lifting system is provided for handling the heavier rolls. Currently, standard rolls exceed the manual handling lifting limits recommended by the US organisation National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) equation. Hence the move by industry to develop roll lifting systems.”

Gary James is currently a bulk materials handling specialist at EMtek, and a conjoint professor at the University of Newcastle.

Previously, he has been an engineer and bulk solids handling specialist at firms including Minenco, Bechtel, Minerva and Calibre Minerva. He served as chairman of the Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling for eight years from 1997 to 2005.

Mr James has particular expertise in designing long overland conveyors, as well as crushing and screening systems, bins, hoppers and stockpiles, stackers, reclaimers and ship loaders, for commodities such as bauxite, iron ore and coal.

Mr James’s major past projects include: bulk materials import and export systems for the Comalco Alumina Refinery project; Marradong bauxite project for Worsley Alumina that included a 10.5kM overland conveyor (OLC); crushing, stacking and a 22kM OLC system for iron ore at the Western Turner Syncline project for Rio Tinto Iron Ore; and the Pt Kaltim Prima Coal Indonesia project which included a 13kM OLC.

Contact: Gary James, email:


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