The Latest Developments of Belt Conveyor Instrumentation


Alice H. Zhu, P.Eng.
Senior Automation Engineer, WorleyParsons Services Canada

Linda Y. Liang
Automation Specialist, WorleyParsons Services Canada

Alexander Kutsyh.
Senior Automation Specialist, WorleyParsons Services Canada
Jerry Z. Lu, P.Eng.

Senior Mechanical Engineer, WorleyParsons Services Canada

Abstract Belt conveyors are widely used in materials handling industries. The bulk materials can be transported include ores, coal, earth, grain, fertilizer like potash, limestone, wood chips and so on. Along with the development of technologies and further automation requirements, belt conveyor instrumentation has also been updated to improve conveyor availability and liability. Traditionally belt conveyors are equipped with pull cord switches as emergency switch to shut conveyor down, misalignment switches to signal the belt offline, speed sensors to detect the belt slippage, and discharge plugged chute detectors to prevent chute from material plugging. For long belt conveyors belt tear sensors, either cord type or sensor type, are also normally provided. As for equipment condition monitoring, it is performed manually by maintenance staff on an unscheduled basis. The new generation of instrumentation and current trend is to provide belt conveyors with condition monitoring system in addition to the traditional five-switch instrumentation, where temperature probe and vibration sensors will be provided to motors, gear reducers and all pulleys. The development of the condition monitoring is to have an automated system which provides continual monitoring of plant equipment to ensure the equipment capable of operating to its required capacity safely. Abnormal behavior of motors, the gear reducers and pulleys can be detected far earlier than traditional equipment condition check. Problems will be reported and may be resolved before any of conveyor components goes wrong. Another development is the 3-in-1 type belt rip detector which combines laser, tray and cord type together to ensure prompt belt tear indication. The purpose of this paper is to present the latest development of belt conveyor instrumentation and to introduce the application of newly developed instruments.
Keywords: Control, Instrumentation, Condition monitoring, belt conveyor
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