Equipment & Technology

Svendborg designs smarter, safer brakes

ABHR speaks to Rex Sinclair, National Sales Manager at Altra Industrial Motion, to learn why the company’s brand Svendborg brakes has built a reputation of reliability.

ABHR speaks to Rex Sinclair, National Sales Manager at Altra Industrial Motion, to learn why the company’s brand Svendborg brakes has built a reputation of reliability.

The bulk handling industry is home to some of the largest machines in the world, allowing workers to handle thousands of tonnes of material.

Ensuring these machines operate safely is at the core of Svendborg Brake’s design philosophy.

Rex Sinclair, National Sales Manager at Altra Industrial Motion, Svendborg’ s parent company, says you only discover the true price of safety when it fails.

“Svendborg has been involved in the Australian mining industry for more than 40 years and has become recognised as a global market leader,” he says.

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“They were one of the first brake systems that became established in the industry and have stood the test of time. Some of its brakes are still in use after 40 years of operation.”

The reliability of the brakes comes down to the vast amount of research, testing and development Svendborg invests into its products. The company ensures its products can withstand some of the harshest environments on earth, using industrial grade freezers in its Denmark facility to ensure its brakes will work in areas like Mongolia or the Arctic.

Corrosion testing machines are also in use, with the brakes subjected to salt baths to test if they can endure a marine and port environment.

Sinclair says this testing is vital because bulk handling operations tend to be in areas with hostile environments.

“It’s not enough to just look at a brakes price tag because if the cost is too low, it can cost you dearly overtime,” he says.

“Investing into quality brakes that are long-lasting, safer and require less maintenance will save you money in the long term.”

To further enhance a brake’s safety, Altra Motion Australia also offer the Soft Braking Option (SOBO) IQ system. The SOBO IQ is a closed loop-controlled system that gives operators constant stopping times and distances.

Stopping too hard can cause the material to spill or damage to the belt itself, often one of the most expensive pieces of equipment. The SOBO avoids potential flow-on effects, such as blocked chute overflows and gives operators greater control over how the equipment will work.

The SOBO control system has a backup that will kick in even if there is a complete loss of power resulting in a safe controlled stop.

Sinclair says that Svendborg’s research and development has expanded beyond just braking systems and now includes Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) integration.

“The benefits of IIoT in the world of brakes, power transmission and motion control products are to reduce unscheduled maintenance and downtime and to remove the root courses for failure,” he says.

“Svendborg connects digital and analogue sensors onto the brakes, which feeds data to the cloud and gets calculated and analysed. This can then be used for predictive maintenance, stopping any potential problems before they even start.”

The IIoT system has been installed across several bulk handling applications, including a 5700-tonne bucket wheel excavator at a large coal mine. The excavator works close to its theoretical output of 5500 cubic metres per hour and relies on nine travel drives to move it.

Svendborg Brakes suggested its latest IIoT solution to minimise downtime and reduce the costs associated with scheduled and emergency maintenance. The mining company agreed to upgrade all nine braking systems in the excavator’s travel drives.

Sensors then collected data about system pressure, brake pad wear, the brake position of the piston, brake fluid level and temperature and sent them to the cloud. There, advanced, AI-driven data analytics is used to extract information on the status of the brakes and their components and provide crucial predictions on expected equipment failure.

The data can be accessed remotely, halving regular inspections, and reducing maintenance costs significantly. Pleased with the results, the mining company decided to install the system on every new installation.

Sinclair says Svendborg Brakes is just one brand under Altra Industrial Motion’s 28 brand umbrella.

“Our service team is factory-trained, which means we send them to various factories over the globe to see the manufacturing process in person. They are trained in both technical and practical programs by qualified professionals,” he says.

“When we sell a product, we will support it for its whole life. Our customers want to know that when they buy a product, they’ll be able to depend on us,” he says.

“This leads to greater uptime, as our staff assists during scheduled shutdown periods. Keeping everything in working order avoids potential unwanted delays and downtime.”

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