Tuesday 30th Nov, 2021

MCS tackles dust control for its grab hoppers

Mobile Conveying Services has developed a variant of its mobile grab hopper that has significant potential to capture volume sales.

Mobile Conveying Services has developed a variant of its mobile grab hoppers that has significant potential to capture volume sales.

Dust control is a significant issue that affects many industries, including bulk handling. While conveyors generate less dust than equipment alternatives, there are still issues at transfer and discharge points that require addressing.

Mobile Conveying Services (MCS) began work on its dust control solution soon after its mobile grab hoppers were released to the market.

Graeme Cooney, MCS Director, says a client using the company’s standard grab hoppers for ship unloading suggested that a dust control system would be a great addition for cargoes prone to creating dust at transfer points.

“We were happy to pursue this as we had already been researching dust control for other equipment. While conveyors generally create less dust than mobile equipment because the bulk material does not move relative to the belt, we are conscious that transfer points can create dust and have been looking at technologies to suit this application,” he says.

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“Our dust control system uses a portable dust shed to load trucks from the grab hopper transfer conveyor. A telescopic chute controls dust at the discharge point while a dust extraction system collects dust from the grab hopper and dust shed, filters out the material and returns it to the belt so that no material is wasted and there is no dust disposal problem.”

Doors below the grizzly bars that only open downwards prevent dust from moving upwards out of the hopper and rubber curtains at the top of the grab hopper control dust movement around the discharging grab. There is also an air curtain at the exit of the dust shed.

The standard mobile grab hopper can be towed on the highway as a single load. However, the dust control system involves substantial additional equipment that increases the highway transport requirements, including a step deck for the dust shed and a semi-trailer for the removable dust extraction equipment.

When moving on site, the dust extraction equipment remains attached to the grab hopper while the dust shed is on wheels and can be towed around the site. Once in position, the grab unloader and dust shed are quickly connected via flexible ducts.

Usability is another key feature. The truck cab is outside the shed during loading and the driver can reach a control pad through the window to enter the payload that they can carry.

A large screen connected to a camera in the loading area allows the driver to see the loading and drive forward as required to distribute the load evenly.

In the past, MCS has modified equipment that it has bought ‘off the shelf’ to better meet its requirements. It is the knowledge built up over years of modifying standard equipment from traditional suppliers that has gone into the development of “ground up” MCS equipment such as the mobile grab hopper.

While MCS has modified equipment to better suit its purposes and built one-off equipment for specific projects, the mobile grab hopper and its companion dust control system are the first pieces of equipment that MCS has developed from the ground up with a view to commercial sales both in Australia and overseas.

Cooney says this is the start of the MCS journey to produce a broad range of niche bulk handling equipment and systems with core values of productivity, ease of movement, set-up, operation and maintenance, safety, and environmental responsibility.

“MCS will continue to operate equipment selectively as it provides valuable on-the-ground input to guide and refine product development,” he says.

Rigorous proving before going to arket

While the skeleton of the mobile grab hopper with dust control has been built for some time, it has been undergoing rigorous testing in the yard of the MCS factory at Burpengary East in Queensland, with subtle modifications being made to refine it and improve its dust capture.

Cooney believes that the extraction system has application beyond the MCS grab hoppers. “Dust is recognised as a significant occupational health and safety (OHS) risk, and we want to provide a safe working environment not only for our people but also for others who work with or around our equipment,” he says.

“As we move forward in developing other equipment, OHS will be a cornerstone of design. Already, our mobile conveyors with remote control provide a safe working environment because people don’t need to work close to the equipment, but we want to reinforce those benefits.”