Sunday 9th May, 2021

Ploughing through plant commissioning delays

A diverter plough has been installed on one of the Pilbara’s newest mine sites, helping the operators commission a processing plant further upstream in the operation quicker than expected.


Dyna Engineering has installed a new way of diverting material off a conveyor belt before it reaches the head pulley at one of the newest and largest iron ore sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Designed, engineered and manufactured in WA in just 12 weeks, the Diversion Plough can be fitted onto a typical conveyor system to redirects or discharges material off the belt at a selected point.

Thomas Greaves, General Manager for DYNA Engineering says that while the discharging of material may seem like a common occurrence, doing so at a point which is not the end of the conveyor can be problematic due to its size and scale and the forces involved. One of the key issues is how to divert material from a troughed belt.

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“This is one of the largest Diverter Ploughs installed in the Pilbara region,” he says. “At maximum operating capacity, the double-sided V blade can push 4500 tonnes per hour of iron ore fines from the 1800-milimetre width belt into purpose designed chutes.

“This has given the operators the ability to commission the processing plant further upstream in the operation more quickly than expected and create a stockpile while the train loader is still under construction.”

The Diverter Plough assembly

The assembly consists of several major parts including the blade, belt support mechanism, discharge chutes, structural frame and guarding to protect against hazards created by the diversion process.

For this project, the V blade and chutes were designed using Discrete Element Method (DEM) software. This optimises material flow, wear plate life and energy consumption. The V blade has a custom-designed nose. It utilises the best available wear materials to ensure long life between maintenance intervals. The chutes are over four metres in height with an assembled weight of six tonnes each.

How it works

A custom-designed belt support system lifts the belt from the normal troughed position into a flat diversion position underneath the V blade. The belt lift process takes less than one minute to actuate and complete the transition. When material diversion is no longer needed, the belt can be lowered at the push of a button, permitting the conveyor to carry material underneath the V blade and allowing normal operation.

HDPE used in safety guards

As part of the overall Diverter Plough assembly, DYNA Engineering also incorporated latest technology high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conveyor guards. These are made from recyclable material that is a robust and corrosion free alternative to conventional steel guards.

Greaves says the ‘X’ design in the mesh delivers more strength and better deflection properties than other HDPE guards on the market.

“Dyna’s patented X shape design increases the guard’s strength substantially (up to 60 per cent) in comparison to standard HDPE square mesh panels,” Greaves says.

“As well as delivering reduced deflection, it is well above the minimum Australian Standard, which will help keep site personnel safer. Each panel, 2.2 metres in height and 1.1 metres in width, weighs less than 15 kilograms and was designed to comply with AS4024.3610 and AS4024.3611.

“Our engineers worked very closely with the client’s engineering team, designing and producing a detailed and customised solution that met all the customer’s needs, specifications and requirements.”