Belt cleaners, Bulk Equipment

No Croc: New belt cleaner technology unveiled

ESS has released the ESS Croc-Lock Secondary Cleaner, improving upon its previous designs to deliver increased efficiency and serviceability.

ESS has released the ESS Croc-Lock Secondary Cleaner, improving upon its previous designs to deliver increased efficiency and serviceability.

When material adheres to the belt beyond the discharge point of the head pulley, it becomes dislodged along the return run and builds up underneath the conveyor belt. In some cases, the build-up could be severe and look like an ant hill, which buries the conveyor belt structure and impacts a company’s bottom line and deadlines. 

The time taken to rectify the issue can be expensive. Depending on the business, downtime can cost companies hundreds of thousands, if not close to millions, in overall expenses. 

Belt Cleaners are integral to any bulk goods company’s maintenance strategy centred on long-term success in dealing with carry-back. 

With an effective belt-cleaning strategy, companies can avoid increased downtime, maintenance, environmental contamination, and replacement purchases in the long term as machines break down from carryback. Given the high cost of downtime on a company’s bottom line, it’s essential to trust a knowledgeable operator when getting a belt-cleaning solution.

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ESS Engineering has more than 40 years of experience designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining belt cleaners nationwide, constantly aiming to improve both efficiency and serviceability of its products. 

ESS’s accounts development manager, Ken Minch, has witnessed belt cleaners evolve from a simple block of urethane bolted onto a carrier into cast polyurethane blades with cartridges. Now, ESS has released the ESS Croc-Lock Secondary Cleaner, improving the company’s previous designs to deliver increased efficiency and serviceability.

Minch says the new belt cleaner design delivers several upgrades to help solve several bulk handling headaches, including carry-back and downtime. 

The Croc-Lock has a curved blade design and a diamond-shaped mainframe and cartridge. This removes flat surfaces from the belt cleaner, minimising fine build-up and carry-back that hamper cartridge removal during service. 

“Previously, the cartridge was like a tray which we believed was increasing fines build-up,” Minch said, “The diamond design gives us nice, tapered edges everywhere, resulting in reduced material build-up.” 

“We’ve changed the shape of the blade, but we haven’t changed the pivot point or lost any of the flexibility of the blade.” 

The new cleaner also features a high-level self-locking blade system. The tapered locking mechanism makes it easier to disengage blades from locking teeth, allowing for easier maintenance. 

Minch said this was a vast improvement from the old ways of positioning workers underneath the conveyor belt to disengage blades or requiring a hammer and wedge to disengage hard-to-move blades. 

The innovative tooth-locking design eliminates any ingress of fines, and each successive blade locks in place the former blade and only one blade retaining lock is required, the end stop, which holds everything in place for a secure secondary blade cleaner. 

Minch states that the innovative locking mechanism reduces the time taken to perform maintenance of the blades. 

“In typical servicing applications, we found that fines and moisture would work their way between the blades, and we’d have to hit it with a hammer to remove it,” he said. 

“It’s not impossible, and we’re able to do a blade change in around 15 minutes with one person, but you’re still swinging a hammer around and potentially using a wedge to break the binding of the fines.

“The testing we’ve done indicates this will be easier (with the Croc-Lock.) 

“With the same installation as described above, only taking a time of around five minutes, and it is still possible to do while the belt is in operation”. 

The new product will offer a choice of spring and air tensioning units. This will allow companies to retrofit the product to existing ESS IPS mounts and tensioners and service the belt cleaner while the belt is still running. 

“It will also reduce the wear on the roller shell, which will increase the life of all the rolling stock. You’ll increase the life of the belt because it’s not being ground down around corners and bends,” Minch said. 

For Minch, who has decades of experience in belt cleaning design, the Croc-Lock represents a significant step forward. “I helped build our first belt cleaner, and I’ve seen the changes, and we’ve been driven by the same question, ‘How can we do this better?” he said. 

“We’re about making everything safer, faster without the need to climb underneath conveyors, and it’s been successful.”  

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