Tuesday 12th Nov, 2019

Roy Hill extends conveyor belt life

Conveyor belt developer ContiTech helped Roy Hill improve its main belt’s wear life without a costly shutdown.

Conveyor belt developer ContiTech helped Roy Hill improve its main belt’s wear life without a costly shutdown.

Roy Hill’s CVR030 Fixed Stacker Boom conveyor belt had shown what the company considered an unacceptably short wear life performance, sometimes as low as one month.

The company, a 55 million tonne per year iron ore mining operation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, aimed to maximise the return for each tonne produced from its mine and was looking for ways to optimise its operations.

A belt changeout would have been significantly expensive, as it would require a new belt, splice kits, labour and a 70-hour shutdown required for the replacement operation, leading to around 750 kilotonnes of lost production.

Unsurprisingly, Roy Hill decided to find a way of improving the belt’s wear life instead.

Following a comprehensive assessment, design changes were made to the chute to reduce the direct impact to the belt, which was also upgraded to a ContiTech Monsterhide GX ST1600 19/6 High Impact Resistance Belt, which features a breaker fabric two millimetres above the cords in the top cover.

ContiTech’s new breaker fabric design was selected for its ability to handle high impact energy without cutting or gouging while the new chute design was chosen for its ability to significantly reduce the impact energy transferred into the belt.

After installation, ContiTech’s engineering team estimates showed the new belt had the potential to last through the scheduled October 2018 major shutdown, six times longer wear life than the previous belt.

This proved to be the case, with the boom belt changeout occurring during the scheduled shutdown, with wear monitoring showing there was still a fair degree of wear left, even after six months of operation.

Additionally, the belt has exhibited the most linear wear recorded at Roy Hill across all processing plant belts, with no visual signs of belt gouging when it was changed out. Since the belt’s installation, the trigger point for replacement had been eight millimetres above the breaker fabric or 10 millimetres above the cords, selected conservatively in response to the rapid degradation of the previous belt and chute design and significantly more conservative than any other belt on site.

A major benefit from the redesign is that Roy Hill now has an accurate understanding of the belt’s performance and life expectancy, giving the maintenance team confidence in future changeout decisions.

Jane Macey, Roy Hill’s Head of Engineering, says the company is very satisfied with the outcome.

“ContiTech’s team, using their expertise and latest product technology, have really lifted this part of our operation to a point where we now have tangible, provable production output improvements as well as significantly lower costs,” she says.

Scott Little, Business Development Manager for ContiTech Australia was also pleased with the results.

“You don’t often see a graph showing such beautiful, even wear across the breadth of the belt like this,” he explains.

“Roy Hill are definitely very happy too, because they’ve now asked us to check and assess several other conveyors at Roy Hill to see if we can help improve things even further for them.”