Equipment & Technology, Mining and Heavy Industries

Smart Series helps stop nuisance tripping

Industrial electrical specialists Pacific Automation has launched its Smart Series brand, a range of products for the control, safety, and monitoring of conveyor belt operations.

Pacific Automation is ready to launch its new series of conveyor accessories that aim to eliminate lengthy production breaks.

An automatic safety alarm halts a massive, 10km overland conveyor. One of the sensors has tripped the alarm, and a response team is deployed to find the cause of the issue.

The team gets into a vehicle and drives along the conveyor to find the fault. They begin to search the nearby area and check for any faults – but can’t find anything.

It turns out the brutal heat from the Australian sun and vibration from the conveyor loosened one of the terminal screws used in a safety pull wire switch. The nearby vibrations from the conveyor cause the screw to begin moving, loosening the control wire and activating the automatic stop.

Finding this loose wire is the tricky part. Now that the conveyor has stopped, it looks like every other wire in the nearby terminal. To make matters worse, the wire could be in one of several terminals all along the conveyor’s length.

Related stories:

Minutes pass as the team hunts for this mystery wire. All the while the belt lies dormant, potentially costing the site millions of dollars in lost productivity.

This is a situation Johan Blignaut, a field service engineer at Pacific Automation, has seen countless times.

“As part of my role, I’ve gone to a client’s site to help their crews with this issue,” he told ABHR. “Nuisance tripping can happen every hour, or it can be at random intervals. 

“If you add up all the time spent on dealing with it, it equates to a lot of lost money.”

Blignaut has more than 12 years’ experience in Australia working alongside these kinds of systems and has used his knowledge to help develop Pacific Automation’s new range of conveyor components.

The Smart Series brand includes a range of products for the control, safety, and monitoring of conveyor belt operations. It includes belt rip and belt tear detection systems, misalignment sensors, a full range of conveyor monitoring devices, and safety pull wire switches.

The pull wire switches, also known as pullkeys, serve as emergency-stop extension cables that can be tripped manually by operators by pulling an attached length of cable or rope.

Smart Series pull keys are highly customisable and available in a range of configurations. Options include durable polycarbonate and marine-grade LM6 aluminium housings.

Blignaut said the Smart Series range is suitable for all Australian mining conveyor belts.

“We have developed and tested the range to ensure they meet Australian and international standards,” he said.

“Smart Series components are ideal for conveyors longer than 10km in length but can alsobe used on shorter conveyor belts within minerals processing plants and bulk material handling facilities.

“We can now offer our customers everything required for successful conveyor beltoperation, from safety through to monitoring.”

In addition to the pullkeys, the Smart Series conveyor protection devices can help monitor for belt rips, spillage, misalignments, belt drift and blocked chutes. These devices gather feedback that is then made available to operators, who can instantly know where the faults or trips are.

Accessories have also been engineered for compatibility with all of the devices and components within the Smart Series range. These include pigtails, eye bolts, spring tensioning kits, wire rope grips and turnbuckles, pull wire and more.

Pacific Automation began developing the range several years ago. While the company had several products for conveyor safety applications, it didn’t yet have the complete package.

Stephen Armstrong, the company’s chief executive officer, said the team decided to develop the range so companies could source a complete solution for their belts and access expert technical support from a single partner.

“Previously, mine operators have had to source different pieces of a solution from multiple suppliers, purchasing electronic conveyor monitoring solutions from one supplier while sourcing physical safety devices from another,” he said.

“We wanted to be a single source for monitoring equipment, so that our customers can come to us for the essentials, the nuts and bolts, the smaller components and everything in between.”

The range is now ready for release on the market and can be incorporated into large- and small-scale projects. Pacific Automation can tailor its devices for specific sites and is able to retrofit the entire product line onto existing sites.

Armstrong said the company is confident in the quality of the Smart Series brand.

“We are excited to provide our industrial customers with the new range and hope to improve the performance of their plants or resolve any issues they may be facing,” he said. 

Send this to a friend