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A damaged conveyor belt can cause huge production and time losses within a mining plant. Usually the condition of conveyor belts is determined by in-person inspections carried out at regular intervals together with scheduled preventive maintenance. Much more beneficial than preventive would be predictive maintenance: The ARC Advisory Group, a leading technology research and advisory firm stated corrective maintenance can cost ten times as much as a predictive maintenance strategy*.
However, it is common for failures to occur between inspections, sometimes causing significant loss of production. But now with the advanced digital service ABB AbilityTM Condition Monitoring for belts, mine operators can track speed, misalignment, damage, thickness and wear, slippage, and temperature of conveyor belts in real time, and therefore anticipate maintenance, avoid unplanned downtime and improve belt reliability and lifetime. In addition, the service relieves personnel from performing unnecessary maintenance, sometimes in dangerous areas. The personnel can also be removed from potentially hazardous environments based on sensor data.
The solution is based on as many as 24 different sensors, installed in strategic points of the conveyor belt equipment, which continuously measure and monitor the conveyor belt’s conditions. Sensor technologies employed are ultrasonic, inductive, or infrared, and the sensors are designed to withstand harsh environments.
With equipment condition continuously monitored and assessed, operators can plan necessary maintenance only when certain indicators give the signal that the equipment is deteriorating, and the probability of failure is increasing. The digital service will consistently catch and report misalignment or speed issues online, long before failure, and pre-empt issues such as falling material, energy waste, excessive belt wear, rupture or fire.
The digital service can handle single or multiple conveyors, with data being shared by remote connection to dashboards, or even mobile devices.
* Leading Industrial Organizations Improve Asset Management with Industrial IoT, Ralph Rio, ARC Strategy Report, Oct. 2016, pg 8
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