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Selecting & installing sensors


Belt conveyor drive considerations DESIGNING SILOS TO PREVENT SILO QUAKING


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CONTENTS JAN/FEB 2018 Published by: 10

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Publisher Michael Mohi Tel: +61 (2) 9994 8086 Email: Editor Charles Macdonald Tel: +61 (2) 9994 8086 Email: Online Reporter Oliver Probert Tel: +61 (0) 406 111 902 Email: Art Director Meng Koach Tel: +61 (2) 9994 8086 Email: National Advertising Manager Peter Delbridge Tel: +61 (0) 400 700 765 Email: Production Manager Ronda McCallum Tel: +61 (0) 411 045 046 Email: Subscription Enquiries Email:


6 China steel mills open window for South Australian magnetite sector 8 Profile of Michael Hopkins, experienced engineer studying for PhD 10 Biomass handling expansions at Port of Tyne in UK 14 UK power plants shifting from coal to woodchips but does it make sense? 16 Joseph Flack of Aspec: Managing the risk of uncontrolled movements of bulk handling equipment 20 Ammonium nitrate volumes surging, says Orica boss, as mines play catch-up

34 Ask an engineer: Jenike & Johanson’s Corin Holmes on selecting and installing sensors

40 Ready-mix plants prevent wear and downtime with HammerTek deflection elbows 43 AMECO completes commissioning of portal reclaimers in the USA 44 Peanut butter plant doubles output with Flexicon dischargers, conveyors 47 Diacon’s plastic guarding finds favour at bulk handling sites 47 Perth pulley plant for Conveyor Products & Solutions (CPS)

26 Ahmad Fleyfel of Conveyor Products & Solutions on Distributed Drive Technology

48 CSL spends $230m on pharmaceutical plant in Victoria

30 Floveyor partners with NORD for two food jobs

50 Thyssenkrupp builds two large polymer plants in Turkey

32 Martin Engineering manufacturing in Australia, sets up local subsidiary

51 Air Springs Supply says that simple is best when specifying the ideal actuator


24 Lilian Fowler Place Marrickville NSW 2204, AUSTRALIA Tel: (02) 9549 1111



Selecting & installing sensors

53 RCR to develop $33m, 5km relocatable conveyor for FMG 54 Concetti supplies Portugese petfood packaging line 56 Fonterra pours $165m into Australian expansions 57 Bonfiglioli adds four HDO gearbox sizes 58 Rabobank: Australian agriculture in investment upswing

22 BULKtalk: Steve Davis of Rio Tinto on belt conveyor drive considerations


52 Vortex solution for Aussie cement producer’s new plant

36 Automation and cable company, Lapp sets up Aussie subsidiary

COVER STORY Printed by:


60 Treotham offering Igus Chainflex medium voltage cable for crane installations 60 US miller switches from traditional hose-clamps to BFM fittings 62 Technical paper: Phung Tu on structural analysis and design of silo structure to prevent silo quaking

technology with modern control

Kockums supplies pneumatics system to gold project


Kockums Bulk Systems has supplied

system included Clyde Dome valves

a pneumatic conveying system, used

on the vessel, and in the diverter

to move concrete, to Newmont Gold’s

valve to the silos.

Tanami Expansion project in the

The high specification conveying

The pneumatic conveying


Belt conveyor drive considerations DESIGNING SILOS TO PREVENT SILO QUAKING


Bulk Systems



Northern Territory. The development

vessel is a Kockums KT75 of 0.75 m3

will add 80,000 ounces per annum to

capacity. A Kockums KH22 heavy

Newmont’s output.

duty power pack is used to supply

Kockums, as a supplier to Cortex

conveying air. This power pack uses a

Engineering, provided the dense

long-life Hori Wing type compressor

phase cement powder handling

with a 30 kW electric motor drive.

system. It employs tried-and-tested

For the full story, see page 38.

ISSN 1444-6308 Circulaton: 5,263 (audit period ending September 2015) Member Circulation Audit Bureau (Australia) Copyright © 2017 Mohi Media Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the editorial or pictorial content by any manner without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. While contributed articles to ABHR are welcome, return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings and photographs if they are to be returned and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All rights in letters submitted will be treated as unconditionally assigned for the publication. All products listed in this magazine are subject to manufacturer’s change without notice and the publisher assumes no responsibility for such changes. The publisher’s advertising terms and conditions are set out in the current Advertising Rate Card, which is available to read before placing any advertisements.

Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018 3

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13/02/2018 8:31:51 AM


Bulk handling challenges of coal to biomass switch


he UK’s Drax power

station is a mighty beast with its six 645MW generating units delivering around 8% of the UK’s electricity. Incentivised by the UK government, Drax, like its peers across the UK and EU, is switching its diet from coal to compressed wood pellets. Governments, eager to do their bit on the carbon front, have identified wood pellets, or ‘biomass’, as their preferred mitigation measure until wind turbines and solar can legitimately compete on cost with coal and do the heavy lifting. Incredibly, most of Drax’s wood pellets are grown in the US, travelling 7,200 kilometres across the ocean before arriving at the Port of Tyne. The wisdom or otherwise of this trade, in carbon

terms, is a very live question with a plethora of duelling peerreviewed papers. In financial terms, for Drax and other power stations, it’s a no-brainer. They get a generous fixed income, regardless of electricity spot prices. For Port of Tyne, the new era of carbon-consciousness is reshaping its business. For much of the 20th century, the port exported coal as the UK’s mines thrived. When the domestic coal producers became uncompetitive, coal was imported. In the last few years, that trade has stopped, replaced by wood pellet imports. The shift at the port has seen investment in new sheds, silos, conveyors and equipment, as our story on page 10 makes clear. But the transition from coal to wood pellets has presented challenges,

too. Wood pellets are much easier to ignite than coal. A percentage will crumble to sawdust in transit. Moisture is an issue. Being organic, they will emit carbon monoxide and are prone to off-gassing. Ports and power stations need to be at the top of their game, in terms of fire and explosion management. Systems need to be in place to stop propagation of an event through a plant. Despite best efforts, mishaps still occur. A serious fire on a conveyor carrying wood pellets at Drax in December 2017 will cost the plant $18m and some disruption.

Charles Macdonald Editor - ABHR

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13/02/2018 11:39:15 AM




Wear and failure when conveying abrasives

such as sand, glass, alumina or mineral filled plastic pellets incur never-ending costs of replacement elbows, labour and downtime.


Abrasives hit the outside radius of conventional impact elbows at high speed, continually wearing through the elbow wall.




when conveying pelletised resins and compounds causes downstream quality problems.

such as pet food, coffee beans or grains, decrease product quality, consistency and salability while increasing waste.

when conveying sugar, rubber pellets, hot melt adhesives, clay and other pressureand heat-sensitive materials prone to build-up.

Pellets skidding and/or bouncing against the outside radius of sweep elbows create friction and heat, melting pellet surfaces, forming streamers.

Friable materials hit the outside radius of conventional impact elbows at high speed, degrading the material and generating fines.

Materials skidding against the outside radius of conventional elbows create friction and heat, causing product build-up.

Formation of streamers, angel hair and snake skins

Breakage and dusting of fragile materials

Plugging and build-up

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China steel mills open window for SA magnetite As China’s steel mills plump for higher quality feedstock, in a bid to reduce smog while maximising output, South Australia is looking to fire up its magnetite sector.


ver the last year, the discount between

lower and higher grade iron ore has widened, with the differential hurting producers like Fortescue and Cliffs and benefiting Brazil’s Vale and giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Higher quality ore produces more steel for each tonne that is processed, and can reduce emissions as less coke is used in production. Gordon Toll, executive chairman of Magnetite Mines, an aspiring Australian producer, said in December 2017 “the flight to quality is only just beginning ….. demand for pre-processed inputs like high grade magnetite concentrates and high-grade pellets will increase.” Citic Pacific Mining chief executive Chen Zeng, manager of Australia’s major existing magnetite project, Sino Iron, said: “This product (magnetite), over time, because of the nature of the concentrate and also the demand for less pollution, will generate a premium over direct shipping ores.” ANZ senior commodity strategist Daniel Hynes agreed, telling The Australian Financial Review “There will definitely be a general trend towards that really higher quality product as the focus on improving efficiencies in the Chinese market in particular


starts to develop.” South Australia’s bureaucrats hope that the state can capitalise on the switch to quality in the Chinese market. A 15-year strategic plan for the sector, released in December 2017, spoke of $10 billion investment in the sector by 2022 and output of 50mtpa by 2030. “By capitalising on the emerging global demand for higher-grade iron products, South Australia has an opportunity to position itself as a leading global magnetite-producing region,” strategy committee chairman Ted Tyne wrote in the 36-page document. South Australia has 44% of Australia’s magnetite, the State Government estimates, but currently produces just three million tonnes of the steel precursor each year. Just two operators – GFG Alliance and CU-River Mining Australia – currently produce magnetite in the state. The strategy sets out to encourage further investment not only by attracting new producers, but by promoting South Australian magnetite to international steelmakers. The first goal of the strategy is to establish a magnetite research and development alliance in the state by December 2019.

ABOVE: Artists’s impression of Iron Road’s Central Eyre project, possibly South Australia’s flagship project. It will have a mine life of over 25 years, and output of 21.5mt iron concentrate. It will produce a product grading 67%, with low impurities. The mine will use in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) to reduce the size of its mining fleet. The project will be modularised to speed development. A 148-kilometre heavy-haul railway will run to a deepwater port at Cape Hardy. The railway will have an initial 25 tonne axle load capacity, carrying 11,000 tonnes per train of iron concentrate. Ore cars will be covered and equipped with a secure bottom chute for unloading. The deep-water port requires no dredging and no breakwater. Initial shiploader capacity will be 70 million tonnes per annum. There are third party opportunities for exports and imports. The port will support both Panamax and Capesize vessels with a 1.3 km jetty and wharf, two berths and single shiploader to support efficient turnaround times.

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MaxxFlow HTC

Flow Measurement for Dry Bulk Solids Future goals include the opening of magnetite mines on the Eyre Peninsula, the Braemar Province and Far North South Australia by 2027, with a new deepwater port on the Spencer Gulf providing export capacity. The plan also recognises new Whyalla Steelworks owner GFG Alliance’s own ongoing assessment of South Australia’s magnetite sector. GFG Alliance – comprising the Liberty House Group and SIMEC Group – bought the steelworks earlier this year, and is assessing options to grow magnetite ore production from the current capacity of 2mtpa to as much as 20mtpa. Improved local procurement strategies from governments at the state and federal levels would support this, the strategy explains, while exports would remain the major driver of growth. “Increasing global demand for more energy efficient, high-grade magnetite has created an opportunity for South Australia to unlock the potential of its substantial magnetite assets,” South Australian resources and energy minister Tom Koutsantonis said. “South Australia already has two magnetite exporters and this strategy will enable us to more than double that number by encouraging investment in several world-class projects.” Koutsantonis, also the state’s treasurer, said the strategy would help strengthen and diversify the South Australian economy by creating jobs, boosting exports and generating new business opportunities for regions. “Not only do we want to attract investment, we want to ensure we maximise the benefits to the South Australian community and build the state’s international reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality magnetite products,” he added. South Australia has had high magnetite hopes before with a rash of projects appearing when iron ore prices soared over US$180/t in 2011. Tumbling prices saw aspiring projects cancelled or entering suspended animation in following years.

P00-00_Magnetite_321.indd 7

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Back to school: experienced engineer studying for PhD

Michael Hopkins is studying for his PhD at the University of Wollongong. Unusually, Michael is an experienced engineer and has spent 25 years in industry. ABHR editor Charles Macdonald posed the questions.


What is your PhD in and how did you arrive at that topic and field of study?

My PhD is about developing simulation technologies (coupled DEM/CFD) for transient bulk materials handling events such as those found at truck dump stations, train rotary tipplers and grab buckets. The goal is to predict air flows with the aim of minimising dust emissions either by passive or active means. To date I have full scale simulations running for each of the equipment types and the results seem promising. I am awaiting some specialised measurement equipment which is due to be delivered this month (December 2017) so I can go to site and start calibration and verification of the simulation models.

Please tell us about your career, where you have worked and the type of assignments. After finishing university in 1990, I worked for BHP in the Illawarra coal mines, mainly as a maintenance and shift engineer, for eight years before moving to Continental Ace Conveyors as a project engineer.

“ I enjoy learning which makes the studying fine, but I also still do some consulting work on the side which I think is important in bulk materials handling.� A change of direction saw me developing databases and undertaking data analysis for a number of financial organisations including a large investment bank. Early in the new century I took up a position at Hatch as a consulting engineer with the task of developing a materials handling team in the Wollongong office. I stayed there until early 2014. After Hatch, I moved to a mining company, developing some very interesting technologies until

id o g o v

I T w t

a p t the end of the year. Since that time, I have worked for a number of organisations as a consultant materials handling engineer. Over those years I have been involved in lots of interesting projects, specialising in concept development of large system upgrades mainly of mines, bulk terminals and bulk materials processing plants. My career has really covered the whole gamut of bulk materials handling operations and equipment related to the mining industry – from very large projects down to small problem-solving tasks which only take a short period to resolve. One of the most satisfying projects was an upgrade of a significantly sized bulk materials handling processing system, from the primary crusher through to an export terminal. I started this job at the concept phase, information gathering at the plant, discussing issues with operators and maintenance personnel, determining constraints and opportunities and saw it through to implementation.

How are you enjoying a return to study? I believe you have worked with Peter Wypych at Wollongong? While I was at Hatch I had a lot of communication with Peter including doing some guest lectures. After I finished up at Hatch we spoke a number of times and eventually I ended up working on a PhD here in Wollongong. I enjoy learning which makes the studying fine, but I also still do some consulting work on the side which I think is important in bulk materials handling.

Any thoughts on engineering more generally, eg digitisation, the rise of DEM, dust control issues? I think the biggest challenge in engineering in general is the training of new engineers. Whilst computer programs are handy in developing solutions to problems, simply plugging numbers

8 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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c T u d

13/02/2018 8:37:04 AM

o in m y

a t t o 4


IV. Coal Handling Facility In this facility, ship loading capacity is 48,000 tonnes per day adding up to a total capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum. In-load coal trains are accepted 24/7 with the exception of a three hour maintenance window in the morning and a two hour window in the afternoon. If there is a ship in, the conveyors on the out-load side have to run continuously until the ship is loaded. Operators carry a temperature gun with them to measure the bearing heat of noisy rollers. Faulty rollers are usually exchanged in between trains and during the daily mainteunderstood by the designer for it to be a benefit. nance windows. Carry rollers might be replaced immediately III. Underground Gold Mine The coupling of DEM/CFD is now enabling depending on the severity of the damage. The most common This mine is located in New South Wales. The conveyor belt netengineers to develop solutions to problems, such failures are attributed to faulty idler rolls, but they are not work consists of six connector and six main conveyors with a as those related to dust, with more accuracy than causing a major part of unplanned downtime because the total length of 8 km. was previously But the DEM/CFDbelt field scheduled maintenance time is sufficient to exchange all Three operatorspossible. are involved in conveyor maintenance ABOVE: requires a significant Post PhDflagged – any aspirations or goals? rollers. andstill walk along the conveyor learning belt everyinvestment day. Alongside human A screenshot from by the user to make it a technology which will I will find something interesting and challenging to The decision to implement an automated idler perception, thickness/thermal testing and ultrasonic transducer one ofmonitoring Michael Hopkins’costs. DEM/CFD truckto be able to assist in the development ofidler useful withwould the university – maybeonwith system heavily depend the the investment Due trainer (USTT) devices are used to monitor condition. do – maybe dumpsuperintensimulations. thetechnologies large maintenance windows,Ithe Easy to replace rollers can be exchanged within an hour. Based engineering designs. simulation I am developing. ammaintenance not does not worried see the justification to change on the monitoring results, bulk roller replacement is conducted sure dur- and dent am not really about it at this point the maintenance ingAny the thoughts next scheduled shutdown. Roller failureas is athe most comon re-entering education in time. strategy. However, there is potential to install such a system in the area of the conveyor system that requires high utilisation, mon failure age mode; approximately 1,800 idler rolls are replaced per mature person? for the conveyors feeding the coal vessels, which year, out of which 1,000 are preventative and 800 corrective. There are definitely some challenges. I still have What doparticularly you like to do outside study/work? need to maintain a transport rate of 3000 tonnes per hour. It is estimated that per week, two hours of downtime three children at home, two of them at University, I am a pretty active person so I often get out running are caused by unscheduled roller replacements adding up my wife doesn’t work a paid job so decisions or on my bike and like going to the beach and bush. V. Assessment and feasibility to and a total of 130 hours per year. The loss of capacity related become a balance of financial/lifestyle. In saying father grandfather takes up a Taking the caseand studies into account, it becomes clear that the to one hour of downtime is 4,400 tonnes per hour. The Being loss a husband, that, we manage to live within our means and I bit of my time. I also enjoy travelling and seeing new potential gain of an automated monitoring system is different of production per year due to idler failures is approximately have atonnes. pretty stress-free life so I am enjoying it. and interesting places, and meeting new people. for every mine. Sites with large maintenance windows or with 457,000 cable belt conveyors, which are using pulleys instead of idlers. into a program does not mean a good solution will Two operators regularly drive along the belts and note roller failresult. I have been involved in projects fixing the ures on paper sheets. The exchange of rollers is then conducted problems of designers who did not understand the during scheduled maintenance. issues related to their specific bulk material. They is due to In total, more than 50% of conveyor belt downtime thought that a design that worked before with idler/pulley related failures. In particular, the cablea belt conveymaterial would again – and failed.they can trigorssimilar are very susceptible towork pulley failure, because ger belt dislodgments the past caused DEM is now at awhich stage in where it is a usefulmajor incidents of technology over 100 hours downtime. Fornumerical these reasons, the mine is but itofhas underlying very interested and in automating itsthat idlershould monitoring. foundations limitations be

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Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2017

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13/02/2018 8:37:05 AM


Biomass handling expansions at the Port of Tyne

“ Unloading rates up to 12,000t per day are achieved.”

Reflecting a broader switch in the UK, Port of Tyne, in the north east of England, is now handling biomass – in the form of wood pellets – rather than coal for two local power stations. This article looks at the trade with comments from the port as well as the engineering firm – Spencer Group – that designed and built the bulk handling facilities.


ort of Tyne’s experience with coal is

instructive of the commodity’s broader fortunes in the UK. For much of the 20th century old king coal thrived in the UK. Port of Tyne, east of Newcastle upon Tyne, exported coal until 1994, a decade after the calamitous miners’ strike of 1984-85 prompted the closure of many UK pits. For more than two decades more, Port of Tyne handled imports of international coal which continued to be the mainstay of the UK’s electricity generation sector. But after 2011, once the UK began to step up its greenhouse gas mitigation measures, UK power stations like the giant Drax, in north Yorkshire, began to switch from coal to wood pellets. Coal imports peaked at Port of Tyne in 2013 at five million tonnes. But by 2016, Port of Tyne’s coal imports had fallen to zero. From 2011, wood pellet imports from North America, for Drax and later the

Lynemouth power station, accelerated with the port investing in infrastructure dedicated to the storage and handling of biomass in the form of wood pellets. Port of Tyne has a contract with Drax Power to handle and store up to 1.5m tonnes of wood pellets per year. The port spent over $60m on storage for Drax’s products, including two new hoppers. The Drax facility can hold up to 70,000 tonnes of biomass material in an enclosed storage shed that is connected to a conveyor system. The rail loading silo is designed to hold approximately 1,200 tonnes of biomass, sufficient for one full train load and it takes around three hours to fill the silo. Drax is a 3960 MW power station in north Yorkshire which has supplied up to 7% of the UK’s electricity needs in a year. It is 111 miles from the Port of Tyne. In May 2016, the Port of Tyne started building facilities to handle, store and transport wood pellets

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ABOVE: The 229 metre long St Dimitrios set a record in October 2017 for the biggest cargo of wood-pellets ever handled at the Port of Tyne. The pellets were bound for the massive Drax power station which is converting from coal to wood pellets.

for Lynemouth Power Limited, a consortium behind the conversion of the 420MW Lynemouth power station to biomass. The Lynemouth storage facility represents an investment of around $80m by the Port of Tyne in new infrastructure and extending the port’s main Riverside Quay by 125 metres or 20%. In turn, the broader conversion of the Lynemouth power station to biomass is an $800m project. It was begun by the plant’s then owner, German utility RWE, in 2013 and has been continued by Czech utility and power trader EPH which acquired the plant in 2016.

“ Conversion of the Lynemouth power station to biomass is an $800m project.” The UK government is backing the project financially as part of its policy to incentivise low carbon power generation. Under the scheme, the Lynemouth plant gets a fixed income of around $200 MWh over ten years regardless of the electricity spot price. The Lynemouth power plant is situated on the Northumberland coast. At the Port of Tyne, the storage and handling facility on site for Lynemouth consists of three storage silos each able to store 25,000t of wood pellets and a dedicated rail loading silo. There are 1,400 metres of enclosed conveyers and two new eco-hoppers worth a combined $8m, all part of the headline $80m investment. When the coal to wood chips conversion is complete at Lynemouth, Port of Tyne will be handling 1.8 million tonnes of wood pellets every year for the project. Since 2010, the Port of Tyne has handled almost seven million tonnes of wood pellets for Drax and Lynemouth.

1 2

FIG 1: Expansion at the Port of Tyne to handle wood pellets for the Lynemouth power station involved a $50m, 125 metre extension to Riverside Quay and addition of two new ‘eco-hoppers.’

FIG 2: Construction of three new storage silos at Port of Tyne in February and April 2017. The silos can each store 25,000t of wood pellets which are bound for the Lynemouth power station.

Super shipment for Port of Tyne Docking at the Port of Tyne in late October 2017, the cargo vessel St Dimitrios sailed straight into the record books for discharging the biggest cargo of wood pellets ever handled at the port.



n total 62,000 tonnes of wood-

pellets were unloaded over a five day operation - destined for Drax Power station in North Yorkshire. The 229m long vessel sailed almost 8,846 nautical miles over 44 days from Vancouver, Canada with its cargo of wood-pellets which is now replacing coal as a fuel in power

stations to provide electricity for the National Grid. Steven Harrison, Port of Tyne chief operating officer, said: “The Port of Tyne has been pioneering handling of this type of cargo since 2010 - our skilled operation enables a cargo of this size to be discharged in only five days and stored in a purposely

designed on-site storage facility. “Our rail terminal then takes the pellets directly to the power station eliminating road miles and increasing efficiency.” Since 2010 the Port of Tyne has handled almost 7 million tonnes of environmentally sustainable wood-pellets

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on handling wood pellets at Port of Tyne

Engineering firm Spencer Group designed and supplied the bulk handling equipment and infrastructure used to handle wood pellets at Port of Tyne. Ian Atkinson (pictured right), engineering director - materials handling at Spencer Group answers ABHR’s questions.

Where are the wood Q pellets produced, what is their journey to Port of Tyne, and what are they used for in the UK?

“Planning restrictions often limit the maximum height of structures. The main storage silos are 40m diameter and 40m high.”

The USA is by far the largest exporter of wood pellets, exporting over 4.5m tonnes in 2015, more than the next two largest exporters, Canada and Latvia, combined. In fact, of the 6.5m tonnes the UK imported in 2015, over 90% came from these three countries, with the majority crossing the Atlantic from North America. Most of this is then used to fuel the UK’s biomass revolution, which has seen the Drax and Lynemouth power stations in the north of England convert part or all of their operation to biomass to increase sustainability, and reduce emissions.

What are the bulk handling characteristics of wood pellets? Weight/gravity, dustiness, flammability, etc? The wood pellets used in the UK have to be manufactured to survive the multiple handling operations necessary to transport the pellets from their source to the point of consumption. Legislation prevents the use of artificial binders so a pelletising process has been developed that induces a pressure and temperature sufficient to melt the lignin in the cell walls of wood to form a natural binder. The natural binder is not 100% effective, and having 10% of a cargo revert to sawdust during transportation is fairly usual. The

lower explosive limit for wood dust (less than 500 micron) is generally agreed to be 30g of dust in a cubic metre of air, so precautions have to be taken to keep levels below this figure. The material, being organic, is technically rotting all the time and steadily gives off carbon monoxide, which in ships’ holds and in silo or shed storage systems leads to oxygen depletion in the atmosphere. Over longer periods of time the risk of methane off-gassing increases. Water is an obvious hazard for a wood pellet cargo; wet pellets degrade to sawdust and can swell to three times their original volume in the process. Moisture increases the risk of ‘self-heating’; this increases the fire risk when transporting and storing pellets. The bulk density of the pellets varies in the range 600 to 750 kg/m3 but being dry and cylindrical means they are free flowing and relatively easy to handle (mechanically) provided the correct dust, fire and explosion management technologies are in place.

Getting down to specifics what sort of ships do you handle, with what unloading gear, and how long does it take? In terms of handling bulks, Panamax as well as smaller Handy-size and Handy-max ships regularly visit the Port of Tyne. Wood pellet deliveries service two separate power generating companies – Drax and

Lynemouth. The pellets are unloaded using the port’s grab cranes and discharged into Eco-Hoppers specially designed to minimise dust emissions. Unloading rates up to 12,000t per day are achieved and the new facility is designed to handle this material at rates up to 850tphr. The new on-site storage comprises three 25,000t capacity, 36m high silos serviced by over 1.6 km of enclosed conveyors that move the product around the site from ship to silo and from silo to the state-of-the-art rail loading facility which loads the wood pellets in to rail wagons at a maximum rate of one train every 40 minutes.

How do you manage risks around fires, explosions and dust, and what sort of systems are employed around these things? Our main focus in managing risks is to ‘design it out’ where possible. In addition to the design considerations, condition monitoring of the plant and the pellets themselves plays a big part in identifying potential issues before they become a problem. Detecting and eliminating potential sources of ignition is important. The cargos are screened to remove any oversize material and pass under magnets and metal detectors to remove ferrous and non-ferrous contaminants. In addition, temperature and vibration of key plant items are monitored

12 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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and trended to provide early identification of mechanical problems. Off-gassing, moisture and temperature of the pellets themselves are monitored and trended in order to develop a picture of what is happening to the bulk material while it is on site. Should the worst happen, the plant has extensive fire detection and suppression systems in the forms of dry riser sprinkler systems on conveyors, nitrogen cooling/inertion of the silos and high expansion foam systems. Preventing the propagation of an “event” throughout the facility is an important design consideration and technologies have been employed to isolate high risk areas of the plant using high speed gate valves and chemical suppression systems. Good housekeeping is also part of an ongoing strategy to minimise risk and maximise safety. The plant is designed for ease of cleaning and to prevent dust build-up, structures are designed to minimise the surfaces that dust can settle on. For example rolled hollow

deliver up to 850 tph onto the receiving conveyor. The conveyors are a mixture of technologies, conventional troughed belt and air supported. There are six infeed conveyors delivering pellets to any one of the three 25,000T silos. The silo reclaim to rail loading is twin stream comprising six conveyors per stream. The total length of the conveying system is a little over 1.6km long. Air supported conveyors use a cushion of air to support the weight of a belt and material above a plenum, instead of using rollers to support this load. Being totally enclosed, by design, provides protection from the weather and contains fugitive dust emissions. Oversize protection is performed by a disc screen; this machine comprises a series of shafts fitted with castellated discs. The castellations convey any oversize material to a reject chute whilst the correctly sized material passes through the machine onto the collecting conveyor below. This technology provides the largest possible

“ Water is an obvious hazard for a wood pellet cargo; wet pellets degrade to sawdust and can swell to three times their original volume in the process.” sections are used whereever possible and structures are internally lined with no exposed sheeting rails or purlins.

Please tell me about your wharf hoppers, conveyors, screens, air conveyors, rail loading silos and vibrafloor? The two wharf hoppers were manufactured by Silva in Spain and delivered to site by ship and off-loaded directly onto the rails on the dock. Each hopper can

open area for the material to pass through for the smallest footprint. Planning restrictions often limit the maximum height of structures. The main storage silos are 40m diameter and 40m high. To provide the maximum storage within the profile the silos have a very shallow cone of 14 degrees. To aid discharge, French technology Vibrafloor provides a solution.

Vibrafloor effectively tiles the silo floor with individual vibrating plates that operate automatically as they become exposed and convey the residual material in the silo to the outlet. The rail loading facility comprises a 3000m3 slip-formed reinforced concrete silo (13m diameter) fitted with a 50-degree steel cone and telescopic loading chute. The silo is designed to hold a train load of material and is always full before loading commences. The trains drive under the silo at 0.5 mph and are loaded with material by gravity. This ensures the fastest possible loading rate, indeed the loading chute is designed to “choke”. On achieving the choke the loading rate is simply controlled by the speed of the train. Train sets of 25 wagons are loaded in 40 minutes.

ABOVE: LPL storge facility under construcion at Port of Tyne April 2017

What lessons have been learned from the project and do you have any pointers for others contemplating similar projects? The handling and storing of wood pellets is a relatively straight forward materials handling challenge. What makes the total design solution challenging is managing the associated risks the material presents. It cannot be emphasised too much that this element of a pellet handling facility has to be taken seriously and in many instances, drives the design solution forward.

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Do wood pellets stack up? British power stations are burning wood from US forests – to meet renewables targets. By David Styles, Lecturer in Carbon Footprinting, Bangor University


ast year, 6m tonnes of “wood pellets”

harvested from forests in Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Virginia were shipped across the Atlantic, to be burnt in renewable “biomass” power plants in the UK. This was almost double the 2013 figure. The US “wood pellet” industry is booming. Demand is largely driven by European countries wanting to meet targets set out in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. Half of the pellets exported from the US were used to generate electricity in Britain’s massive Drax power station, which is slowly converting from coal to biomass in order to reduce carbon emissions and claim valuable “Renewable Obligation certificates” for green electricity. So can it really be sustainable to transport wood halfway round the world to burn in a power station? Many environmentalists don’t think so. A consortium of NGOs recently argued that the EU should exclude wood from its renewable energy targets. They claim the industry is felling large areas of hardwood wetland forests across the south-eastern US, causing a loss of biodiversity and a net increase in carbon emissions. Even when the forest regrows it does not store as much carbon in biomass and soils as the original – and it’s certainly not as good for wildlife. A UK government study found that electricity generated from regenerated forests could have a carbon intensity five times higher than coal.

Burning wood also releases nitrogen oxides and carcinogenic compounds. So why burn wood to meet renewable electricity targets when cleaner options such as wind, solar, hydro or tidal power have a much lower environmental impact?

WOOD POWER IS A STOPGAP Wind and solar power are already expanding rapidly and will be key in future, especially as we get better at storing energy. But in the meantime, these clean but intermittent power sources can’t yet replace coal. Coal produces 39% of the world’s electricity, alongside a third of all carbon dioxide emissions and a wide range of other toxic emissions. Yet for all its faults coal has two big advantages: it’s cheap, and it can operate continuously to provide a minimum “baseload” level of electricity. It’s relatively easy to modify a coal plant to burn wood instead – fuel handling and injection systems need to be adapted to handle the wood pellets instead of pulverised coal, but the combustion process is otherwise similar. It’s a quick and comparatively cheap way to shift towards renewables. For this to be worthwhile however, the amount of carbon emitted by extracting, processing, transporting and burning wood pellets must be significantly less per unit of power (MWh) generated than the equivalent for coal. This can be ascertained through carbon accounting, or “life cycle assessment”.

“ It’s relatively easy to modify a coal plant to burn wood instead – fuel handling and injection systems need to be adapted”

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Perhaps surprisingly, trucking wood pellets 200km to a port and transporting them 7200km by ship isn’t a deal-breaker in terms of carbon emissions. Since large ships carry massive cargoes efficiently at low speed, transport contributes around 40kg CO2 per MWh electricity generated. Significantly more carbon (more than 100kg per MWh) is emitted by the drying, grinding down and shaping required to transform harvested wood into small, easy-tohandle pellets. Even this still has a far lower carbon intensity than UK coal though, so transport and processing clearly doesn’t stop wood power being a sustainable option. But here’s where it gets complicated. Whereas burning coal releases carbon that had been stored in the ground for millions of years, CO2 emissions from burning wood are part of a continuous biological cycle. Carbon in wood was only recently taken out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and replacement tree growth will suck it back out again. However, the time taken to replace that carbon varies hugely depending on whether you’re harvesting large trees from ancient forests, or small branches from new plantations. We also have to consider how these American forests would have been managed without any wood pellet demand. The government study notes that wood from intensively-managed plantations could mean more carbon taken up by growing trees than emitted by the transport and processing of the pellets, leading to a net reduction in emissions even before avoided coal emissions are accounted for. Conversely, as referred to earlier, the study found that if wood pellets are sourced from regenerated natural forests, carbon emissions could be five times higher than from burning coal. So the type of wood that is burned is crucial. What’s the most likely effect?

Fortunately, America has lots of spare wood lying around that would otherwise be burned or wasted. Drax and other big players claim their pellets are sourced from such “forest residue” – saw-mill scraps, trees that died naturally, or were too misshapen to be used as lumber, small twigs, and so on – though environmental groups dispute this. Whatever the truth right now, there’s certainly lots of potential in wasted wood. Between 14% and 63% of the currently spare forest residue in the US would be sufficient to meet the UK’s entire biomass demand in 2020. A recent academic paper suggested that even after accounting for possible forest carbon loss, electricity generated from US wood pellets is still far cleaner than coal. There are some regulatory safeguards in place, too. Power station operators need to prove that electricity generated from wood is clean enough to count as “renewable” in terms of UK and EU policy. The worry here is that increasing demand from the well-regulated European energy sector could displace existing wood demand from unregulated sectors towards unsustainable sources such as pristine forests. Ultimately, the environment would benefit more if American wood was used at home to reduce the huge quantities of coal burned there, and European rural economies would benefit more if renewable energy targets were met using local wood. But in the meantime, US forests provide a cheap source of wood pellets for European power generators to meet renewable energy and carbon reduction targets. It’s not the long-term goal of 100% clean, renewable energy that humankind is capable of achieving but, from where we are right now, it’s a step in the right direction.

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Managing the risk

of uncontrolled movements of

mobile equipment for continuous bulk handling This paper, by Joseph Flack* of Aspec Engineering, relates to the risk management of uncontrolled movements of mobile equipment for continuous bulk handling, such as shiploaders, stackers and reclaimers (herein referred to as Machines), as a result of high wind speed events. The paper is aimed at providing owners, operators, maintainers and designers of Machines with some information to help understand and manage the risk of uncontrolled movements. It provides a technical overview of the fundamental design requirements of long travel and slew drive and brake systems and what drift forces act on the Machines.


he International and Australian mining

industry has experienced a number of uncontrolled movement incidents of mobile equipment for continuous bulk handling, as defined in AS4342.1, such as shiploaders, stackers and stacker reclaimers (herein referred to as Machines). These incidents often resulted in collisions with other infrastructure and in some cases, caused substantial damage, put operator safety at risk and in some extremes cases, catastrophic loss of the Machine. In most incidents, a key contributing factor was un-managed high wind speed events. Other contributing factors include poor maintenance and design modifications completed without proper engineering. Machine design is governed by Australian and International design standards. In Australia, the applicable design standard is AS4324.1. Despite the design standards, incidents continue to occur regularly both in Australia and overseas.


In order to ensure Machine motion is controlled, the relevant drive system or brake system capacity must have adequate resistance against the sum of the external forces. This is shown in the following: For a drive system: Drive System Capacity > Sum of resitance forces For a brake system: Brake System Capacity > Safety Factor Ă—Sum of drift forces AS4324.1 recommends a brake safety factor of 1.33 for normal operations and 1.2 for non-operating storm wind conditions.

DRIVE SYSTEM CAPACITY Drive system capacity requires: • Adequate power to drive against resistance forces at the required motion (e.g. long travel or slew) speed for the required duration and;

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• Adequate dynamic torque to accelerate or decelerate against the resistance forces and;

• Adequate traction between the wheel & rail or crawler & ground.

BRAKE SYSTEM CAPACITY Brake system capacity requires: • Adequate dynamic torque, heat dissipation and where applicable power regeneration to decelerate the required motion (e.g. long travel or slew) to a stop and; • Adequate static brake torque to hold against the drift forces and; • Adequate traction between the wheel & rail or crawler & ground

TRACTION Both drive systems and brake systems require sufficient traction to transfer friction force between the long travel wheel & rail, or between the long travel crawler & ground. Friction is calculated from the wheel load and coefficient of friction. AS4324.1 provides guidance coefficient of friction values for wheel load traction calculations as follows: Rail mounted Machines Traction forces between drive wheels and rails 0.25 Crawler mounted Machines Traction forces between crawler pads and operating surfaces during travelling, steering and slewing of the Machine During normal and abnormal operation 0.6 While crawlers are bogged 0.9 In some cases, a Machine may have a traction force limit lower than the rated drive motor or brake force. This may not necessarily be a problem, provided the traction limit still exceeds the sum of the drift forces. If the traction limit is less than the sum of the drift forces, then control may be lost and the wheel or crawler will slip. Once slip occurs, the coefficient of friction significantly decreases.

RESISTANCE AND DRIFT FORCES AS4324.1 provides structural design drift load cases. Some of these load cases should be used as a basis for mechanical drive and brake design load cases. Key load cases to be considered as drift or resistance forces include the following (AS4324.1 Load Case letter in brackets):

• Wind • Inclination • Conveyor tensions • Friction • Bulk Material flow

(W / WW) (N / NN) (G) (R)

loads such as transfer chutes or digging loads (F)


Additional load cases may be present depending on the arrangement of the Machine and its interfaces with other infrastructure and the environment. Each Machine and each site has unique considerations and load cases should be analyzed on a case by case basis. The load cases should be considered to act simultaneously, though at varying magnitudes depending upon the specific Machine configuration and environmental factors. The operating wind load case force depends on the maximum allowable operating wind speed and the required Machine configuration. Wind forces are proportional to wind speed squared. Figure 1 shows an example of the wind force vs wind speed for a shiploader. As shown, doubling the wind speed from 15m/s to 30m/s quadruples the force (example shows 168 kN at 15m/s to 675 kN at 30m/s). Inclination forces are gravity forces that tend to push a Machine down the slope of the ground or rail. The gross inclination of the long travel rails must be considered, as well as local undulations due to rail installation tolerances should also be considered. Conveyor tensions can be from an attached tripper, or a reclaimer conveyor belt underneath a reclaimer. More complex conveyor tensions may be present in systems like In Pit Crushing and Conveying systems. Friction is typically rolling friction in slew bearings or rolling friction of wheels or crawlers. When checking the drive capacity, friction will be a resistance force, attempting to oppose the drive motion. In braking calculations however, friction may be considered to be part of the brake system capacity, depending upon the arrangement of the Machine. Bulk material flow loads are typically impact forces in transfer chutes and bulk material reclaiming forces. Impact forces are typically from material transfer from a tripper, or material being discharged from the end of a loading spout on the end of a boom.

“ In most incidents, a key contributing factor was unmanaged high wind speed events. ”

OPPOSITE PAGE: Shiploader with boom vertical NOTE: In this paper, “drive system” or “brake system” refers to the power, torque, heat dissipation, traction, speed and other relevant characteristics and how the system relates to resist the external drift forces applied to the Machine.

DRIVE AND BRAKE ARRANGEMENTS Drive systems typically consist of an electric motor system (E.g. VVVF system) or hydraulic motor system. Some drive systems permit operation above or below the rated speed or rated torque, for short

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durations. This is generally acceptable provided the drive system components can handle the duty. Manufacturers should be consulted for approval to operate components outside their published specifications.


Manual locking pin

Passive uplift restraint

FIGURE 2: Shiploader approaching storm tie down restraint FIGURE 3: Shiploader engaged in passive uplift restraint and manual pin engaged for long travel restraint

“ Owners should be aware of how much drive and brake capacity is lost when components fail. ”

Machine brake systems typically consist of: • A regenerative electric drive system (E.g. VVVF retardation system) and a mechanically applied brake system (e.g. disc brake) and where required; • A structural tie down system (e.g. storm tie down clamp or rail clamp).

Similar to drive motors, electrical retardation braking systems require careful checks of the allowable torque limits and power limits at required motor speeds. Rail clamps are generally designed to provide static brake holding and are engaged once the Machine is confirmed to be stationary.

maintainers must be aware of how much drive / brake capacity is lost and the risk of the continued operation of the Machine. Some sites have redundancy designed into their drive and brake systems so they can continue operations, unaffected, up to a maximum limit of drive or brakes unserviceable. Other sites have more complex procedures where operations can continue when a drive of brake becomes unserviceable, but with restrictions. Often the restriction means a lower operating wind speed limit. Owners should be aware of how much drive and brake capacity is lost when components fail, the risks of continued use, and what restrictions may need to be implemented to continue operations.

OPERATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS Owners should have documented procedures that include all relevant information for site personnel to understand and manage risks. Relevant site personnel should have readily available access to the procedures and should be trained in the procedures. The following dot points are some examples to help prompt Owner’s to select what should be in procedures and training:

• What should be done if a drive or brake system component becomes unserviceable.

There are three types of structural tie down system • Manual. This requires personnel to go to the Machine and manually handle a locking mechanism such as a pin and clevis. • Electronic / Automatic. This generally utilizes the Machine position detection control system, and offboard sensors to detect the Machine position and remotely engage locking mechanisms such as hydraulically driven pin and clevis. • Passive. This method allows the Machine to drive into a specific configuration, and permanent structures mounted on the yard infrastructure, then restrain the Machine from specific movements, without the need for actuation of a locking device. An example of both a passive and manual storm tie down system is shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3. The passive restraint prevents uplift, and the manual pin locking mechanism prevents long travel movement.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Machine drive and brake design must consider the required motions and different Machine configurations. The design of the Machine requires the input of the Owner as to what unique site risks exist.

DRIVE OR BRAKE REDUNDANCY When a drive motor or brake becomes unserviceable (i.e. breaks down), the Machine loses part of its drive or brake capacity. Designers, operators and

• What Machine restrictions are to be imposed, if any, if a drive or brake becomes unserviceable.

• How are approaching storms or cyclones identified and communicated to site personnel?

• What should the Machine operator or control room • • •

operator do when the operating wind speed limit is reached or if there is an approaching storm? What should the Machine operator or control room operator should do when higher storm wind speed limits are reached. Where is the storm park position located and what Machine motions are required to get there? Are these motions manual or automatic? How is the Machine engaged into the storm park position? Are there manual actuators or are they passive or automatic?





This is not an exhaustive list. The procedures should be developed from the outcomes of a formal risk assessment involving Owners, Operators, maintainers, the Machine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and personnel familiar with AS4324.1.





MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS All drive and brake systems require ongoing preventative maintenance. Components condition can degrade over time and settings can go out of specification. Maintenance, inspections and tests should be conducted in accordance with manufacturers

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recommendations as a minimum, to verify the condition and settings of components, and identify any degradation prior to failure. Some examples to prompt development of a preventative maintenance regime include: • Are the mechanical brakes being inspected and tested regularly in accordance with manufacturers guidelines? • Is the anemometer in working condition and reading the wind speed accurately? • Are the site control systems to measure wind speed, and inform operators or control rooms of wind speed limits working? • Are any mechanical locking devices being checked regularly to ensure easy unrestricted operation and are not seized or corroded? • Are any automatic limiting or control systems functionally tested on a regular basis to ensure the limits are set correctly and the Machine control system is operating properly? • Are rail clamps checked to ensure their setup is correct and actuation is reliable? • Are maintenance personnel aware of the maximum number of allowable unserviceable drives or brake on a Machine before it is allowed Half Page 201801.pdf



SUMMARY This paper has provided a fundamental overview of some of the key design requirements and aspects of managing the risk of uncontrolled movements of Bulk Materials Handling Machines. This paper is not exhaustive and further engineering advice should be obtained where owners and operators want to ensure their site is up to the latest in industry standards and Australian Standards. There is not a single unique procedure that can be replicated. Every site and every Machine is unique and should be considered on a case by case basis. Where the consequence of uncontrolled movement can result in significant damage and potentially safety implications, any doubt, consult independent experts and/or the equipment manufacturer.

Standards Australia (2017). AS4324.1: Mobile equipment for continuous handling of bulk materials Part 1: General requirements for steel structures. DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this article is correct. However, Aspec Engineering Pty Ltd or its employees take no responsibility for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies.

*Joseph Flack is a mechanical engineer with over 10 years mining machinery experience within Australia and North America. Joseph has been with Aspec Engineering for the last two years where he has undertaken detailed design audits of new stacker reclaimers, and failure investigations of stacker reclaimers and shiploaders including extreme wind event failures. Joseph is based in Brisbane.

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Pulley Lagging

REFERENCES: Standards Australia (2012). AS1170.2: Structural Design Actions Part 2: Wind Actions.

to return to service? Are there adequate drive or brake spares onsite?

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Orica boss: upturn in mining to boost explosives’ volumes Alberto Calderon, CEO of Orica, says the mining sector reached its “inflection point” in 2017, and has forecast good times ahead for the ammonium nitrate supplier.


n a lengthy interview with the AFR’s Matthew

Stevens in early January 2018, the Colombian executive – who has led Orica for four years – has reportedly said the mining sector’s obsession with cost cutting in recent years often led them to target easier-to-access ores. To survive low commodity prices, miners ‘high-graded’ their ore bodies, in the process upending carefully crafted mine plans. But now the commodities sector has settled, somewhat, Calderon believes miners will have to get back on track, mining their tenements in a more logical way. This means there will a surfeit of overburden to be blasted away – an excellent prospect for the explosives supply sector. “The good thing for the sector and for Orica is that after five years of being down and seeing only

an obsession on costs, during the last 12 months we have seen miners and their impact on our demand hit an inflection point,” Calderon was quoted as saying in the Fairfax paper. He reportedly believes miners moved “out of survival mode” in 2017. “The story [prior to 2017] was survival – and survival means, even, destroying value. With all due respect to my main clients – I am not going to insult anybody, it is everybody – but the level of high grading and mine-life sterilisation was enormous,” Calderon reportedly said. “Nobody really knows [the extent of this], but it is enormous … it was everywhere, in all the commodities; in Australia too, not just the rest of the world. They had to do it. It is what you do. “But the impact is that mine plans were completely trashed.

ABOVE: Nitropril is Orica’s premium grade porous prilled ammonium nitrate. The product is designed to be used in open cut coal and metalliferous mines. It is manufactured at Yarwun in Queensland and Kooragang Island in Newcastle. Nitropril is available in 1.2 tonne single point lift bulkabags, 1.1 tonne containerisable bulk bags, bulk tippers and containers. OPPOSITE: Orica employees delivering ammonium nitrate on site.

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BHP switches from Incitec Pivot to Orica From late 2019 onwards, BHP is looking to Orica, rather than Incitec Pivot, for ammonium nitrate for its Pilbara iron ore mines.


ncitec Pivot told the ASX that the

“And, hence, obviously for us, the volumes of demand that we never thought possible, that the impact on explosives was so much higher than the impact of the volumes of the commodities exported. “So we are looking, three, four years ago, at the volumes of commodities exported and they were OK … but the volumes of [ammonium nitrate] – which means the volumes of waste moved – were dramatically reduced,” he reportedly continued. “That helped [the miners] in the short run, but now they have to rebuild. “And this will take years and years and we will be moving [overburden] almost permanently at a different level, because you don’t have optimal mine plans and change them and not have an impact.” While Orica has had some tough years, Calderon and chairman Malcolm Broomhead are looking to simplify the company while adding more sophisticated digital products that can add value to miners’ operations. Earlier in 2017, Orica started benchmarking itself against the world’s top manufacturers, rather than against its peers. The results were confronting. “And, low and behold, we see that we are awful. Third quartile,” said Calderon. In response, Orica is aiming to increase utilisation at its production sites, while reducing complexity by trimming product numbers and adding more sophisticated digital products.

loss of business would cost it around $35m across 2020 and 2021. The new business is a fillip for Orica which owns 45% of the Burrup ammonium nitrate plant. Yara International of Norway holds the balance. The BHP business will increase plant utilisation. However, Alberto Calderon explained to the AFR that its deal with BHP was centred on technology and moves towards smarter, automated blasting. In this regard, BHP will likely utilise Orica’s WebGen 100 and Blast IQ technologies According to the AFR: “BlastIQ is a cloud-based system that receives and analyses blast data in real time. Its next iteration will see it building geological models of mines in real time from the blast data and from fragmentation readings taken by drones.” “It is a world of machine learning where everything is digitised,” explained Calderon. The $800m Burrup plant is designed to produce 350,000 tonnes per annum of technical ammonium nitrate (TAN), using ammonia from the neighbouring Yara Fertilisers plant as a feedstock. TAN, which is not an explosive by itself, will then be sold to an Orica-operated company for mixing with fuel oil to create explosives for use in mining.

“Ideally situated in the Pilbara, the plant will deliver a local source of ammonium nitrate, improve Orica’s overall responsiveness to customers’ needs, and deliver increased security of supply for our customers across the region,” explained Calderon. “Ammonium nitrate from the plant will underpin predicted growth across the Pilbara mining sector. As such, this is a strategic, long-term investment for Orica.” Yara International president and CEO Svein Tore Holsether said the plant was an exciting development for the company. “Yara’s decision to go further downstream into ammonium nitrate production in the Pilbara reflects the long-term value we see for our business in Australia and also the proximity of both Yara Pilbara operations to important Asia Pacific markets,” he said. “We are using Western Australian gas to first create a highly valued product, ammonia, and then undertake further processing to deliver a crucial material for the mining and civil works sector.” The Burrup plant employs around 60 permanent staff who live at Karratha. BELOW: The Yarra International team at the Burrup ammonium nitrate plant during its construction. Pictured, left to right, are: Finn Almas, Yara TAN project director; Jorgen Haslestad, Yara International CEO; and Mark Loquan, Yara Pilbara chief executive. The three stand in front of one of the TAN plant modules at the construction site.

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Whether troughing belt, or more exotic, such as a pipe conveyor, rope support or other, most belt conveyors are driven electrically through friction contact between drive pulley(s) and the driven side of the belt. This article looks at some of the considerations when selecting the drive for a conveyor. STEVE DAVIS In his regular BULKtalk column, Steve Davis* of Rio Tinto considers the basics of bulk handling that sites often struggle with. In November/December 2017 he looked at dust management. In coming issues, he will consider stockpiles, guards and standards, belt tracking, design processes, maintenance, and wet ore challenges. *Steve Davis is the principal advisor – bulk materials process at Rio Tinto, based in Perth. Steve has worked in bulk handling for 30 years, for both resource companies and professional engineering firms, in Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and Canada. His experience encompasses such commodities as iron ore, coal, potash, phosphates, petcoke, sulphur, sands and grain.


riction coefficient between pulley and belt is key to transmitting drive torque, and braking torque. Tension in the belt is maintained at a level preventing slip between pulley and belt under defined conditions. Conventionally, friction coefficients between 0.25 for bare and 0.35 for lagged pulleys are used. Are these correct for the design circumstances?

• A lower friction coefficient requires a higher belt •

• •

tension to transmit the same drive to the belt than a higher friction coefficient. Lagged pullies give higher friction coefficients resulting in lower cost for belt and structure. Some lagging patterns may damage belt covers over time. Increased pulley belt wrap angles reduce belt tension requirements; however, a snub pulley is usually required and can be a complex maintenance item. Wet and dirty pulley surfaces and damaged lagging reduce friction coefficient. Dynamic conveyor operating conditions constantly change the tension in the belt; starting tensions can be significant from high torque required under high loads from a full belt and a bogged chute. Other dynamic conditions can result in high and low belt tensions, and need to be addressed to ensure that drives and brakes are effective in all design conditions. The highest demand for torque from a drive is usually at zero speed (starting) when the conveyor is fully loaded or overloaded, compounded by a bogged chute or buried idlers or similar upsets that increase the starting torque demand.

Variable operating tensions have led to dynamic tension control. This uses a high percentage of the available belt tension to transmit a higher torque for the relatively short start-up period, and lower tensions for running, for lower cost overall. Some dynamic tension controls just increase tension for start-up, others offer continuously varying tension to

manage the drive. Belt tension capacity is defined by belt strength and splice efficiency. Excellent splices in steel cords have been tested at over 50% efficiency, and this allows judgemental reduction of splice design safety factors. Convention assumes splice efficiency of 15% (6.7 factor). Conveyors are now being designed assuming splice efficiency of 25% or more (4 factor or lower) for lower cost conveyors. Splice efficiency for fabric belts is generally assumed at 10% (10 factor).


A c s w

v c a

m m a f s c

MOTOR TORQUE Conveyor drive torque is usually provided from an electric motor. Except for the very large gearless drives, gearboxes are used to provide speed reduction and torque increase to match the motor output to the required conveyor drive parameters. Electric motors have a torque curve as shown in Figure 1. At zero speed each motor has a start torque (blocked, locked rotor or breakaway torque) that is a result of the motor construction and the voltage and frequency fed to the motor. This torque is the maximum that can be provided under zero speed conditions and must be sufficient to move the conveyor under worst case load. Available torque usually drops as the motor accelerates. Conveyor torque demand may not fall away to match. Design using motor Pull-Up Torque rating for starting will be more reliable. Torque available at the pulley is affected by aspects of the drive design, all of which should be considered in sizing motors and drive components: • Gearboxes’ actual ratios, and pulley diameters, may vary from those specified. Combined, this can reduce (or increase) available torque at the pulley / belt interface. Re-check the drive design using ordered information. • If motor supply voltage is lower than design, a higher inrush current draw is required to obtain the rated torque. This raised inrush current can trip the drive before starting the conveyor, if not set up correctly. Running current will also be higher than

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design and may exceed current limits, causing a trip. • Table 1 shows data from different suppliers’ motors of the same size. There is a large variation in Locked Rotor Torque as percentage of Full Load Torque. Make certain to buy motors that have at least as much torque output as the design requires. Motor speed varies also. • Ambient conditions impact FIGURE 1, Torque curve. 1, Alternative Suppliers’ motors Vortex says its loading spoutsTABLE are specifically designed to adAddressing dust control while loading operation of electric motors. dress fugitive dust. Within the external, flexible sleeve is where Another issue the sand company wished to address was dust functions to suit the required operation. coupling drives can provide equivalent If site altitude is above 1,000 the process begins. At the centre of the unit are stacking cones control. One of its core values is environmental stewardship. As • W  ound rotor motors start torque, and variable speeds. pathway for m, or the temperature above suspended by a wireflexibility rope thatto provide a coherent such, it did not want to just meet regulations for fugitive dust, it torque curve can be modified with variable • A  vailable torque from motors 40°C, the motor supplier product flow. They are spaced so that, evenelectric when fully extendwanted to exceed them. resistance starters. These also move the can be increased at lower speeds should be consulted. ed, they overlap so as not to allow product to contact by the outer Vortex is well aware that exposure to dust by employees and torque curve left. variableatspeed drives with voltage boost. • Cagecan motor start torque, and sleeve. A vacuum is created the top of the spout to move the visitors create health and safety issues. Common medical dust upward in the space between stacking conesdrive and the conditions to be certain exposures include irritant contact, • Fluid couplings are used for controlling Resistance startthe or fluid coupling torque relative curve can modified flexible allergic contact, desensitization, starting torque curves. They allow sleeve. do not increase available torque. The using variable speed drives. and silicosis. As thewith dust makesconveyor its way up the spout’s interior, the flow Safety concernsmodify arise from surface dust accumulation electric motors tothat run to full speed speed at which the torque is of These starters the motor material pulls it between the cones back into the matemayinput causefrequency slips, trips, falls. Work-related injuries and gradually ailno load, and then increase the some of available is changed. andand voltage, rial flow stream. The dust that eventually reaches the top of the ments can lead to workers’ compensation, disabilities, litigation, torque transmitted while remaining on • “Soft starters” are also available, and these moving the torque curve left spout may be handled in two ways. In one, an attachment is made and fines. Additionally, air pollutants create environmental issues the high side of the motor torque curve. may reduce the available motor torque. for higher torque at low or zero through the spout’s dust collection port that allows the dust to for local neighbourhoods, waterways, and ecosystems. These isInrush current is shorter duration, and • Hydraulic drives are another method speed. The use of variable speed be transported to a nearby dust collector. In the second, a Vorsues can result in fines or plant closure, and reflect poorly on higher torque is generally available, up of highabove start torque at low and drives then allows tailoring tex Spout Filtration Unitgaining is installed the spout. Individual companies not willing to address them. to the Break Down (BDT) level. Fluid zero speed. of the starting and stopping

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• Gearboxes do not have an infinite number of

• “ Low tension, wet pulleys, worn lagging all result in drive slip on start-up under load. Drive pulley and belt will not last long in this situation.”

BELOW: VFD curve.

ratios available, and the nearest possible selection that meets capacity will be supplied. Different suppliers have different ranges of ratio, so procurement may find a similar ratio for a lower price that pushes the design over the limit. Gearboxes are rated on torque capacity and thermal capacity. Both should be suitable for the worst case operation of the conveyor. Ancillary oil cooling can increase thermal capacity, but requires additional electrical drives, starters, cabling and controls. This can often cost more than a larger gearbox, and adds to lifetime maintenance costs. Gearbox shaft seals and breathers should be specified for the duty.

COMMON ISSUES WITH DRIVES ON CONVEYORS Direct-On-Line (DOL) starting of conveyors, mostly below 30 kW, can work well. Expect abrupt starts and high inrush currents. If a full loaded, overloaded or combined bogged chute requires more than the motor can deliver, the conveyor will not start. Shovels are the quick solution, but a larger motor is more permanent provided the gearbox is rated for the higher torque. Low tension, wet pulleys, worn lagging all result in drive slip on start-up under load. Drive pulley and belt will not last long in this situation. Zero speed time out will stop the worst of the damage to belt and pulley. The common solution is to add mass to the take up to increase the tension. This can result in reduced splice life and even excessive idler roll wear, and other damage. Gravity take ups on conveyors are not weighed (total suspended weight) on installation. Weights have been recorded after problems have occurred, from about 50% under to 100% over. Neither situation is good for the conveyor or drive. Spillage on take ups can add significant weight. Increasing plant throughput by using some of

a conveyor’s “spare” capacity is a common cause of starting problems, and usually only becomes an issue after an upgrade. If a bogged chute and full load occur, the full starting torque for the new condition is not available even though there is enough torque and power to start empty and run at the new full capacity. Variable speed drives can give rise to starting problems if not set up correctly: • Poor communication between the conveyor design engineer and the electrical / control engineer leads to incorrect drive set up. Most conveyors will be started empty most of the time and will not run at full motor load even when at design capacity. It is therefore a surprise when the fully loaded and bogged, or overloaded conveyor will not start. There is usually an easy program fix. A larger motor and drive is not needed in most situations. • Arbitrary current trip setting of 85% or 90% full motor current, and the conveyor trips on full load. Electric motors are safe to run continuously at 100% current, and above for some time. “Intelligent” relays effectively measure the thermal capacity of the motor, not just the current, but still need to be selected and set correctly for the worst case duty. • Variable speed ramp is set incorrectly and for too short a time, tripping out when the conveyor is in mid start. Large conveyors may be designed with a start ramp time of several minutes to pull away under full load. Variable speed selection and set up should take account of this. • There are many factors that should be considered when multiple drives are installed on one conveyor to obtain load sharing. Imbalance or change to one drive may be a problem. Fluid coupling drives (pictured opposite page) also need to be set up correctly to achieve correct drive operation, and again this requires good communication between the engineers. It is recommended that the supplier is also involved: • On smaller fluid couplings it is common to see that the oil fill quantity is over (or under) the amount determined for the duty. Completely filled is common. A simple fluid coupling will start a conveyor faster with no load than with full load, often a ratio of 1:2 or more. Different oil levels can result in anything between a stalled start to almost DOL. • Fluid couplings have been found filled with fluid that is different from specification. Water through to gear oils have been seen. The fluid coupling is viscosity sensitive, and variation can result in no drive or fast overheating or abnormal operation. • A change to the operation of a fluid coupling, such as speed or load, may require a different oil fill. Check with the supplier to get a recommended fill for a suitable start curve.


24 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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• Replacing the thermal plug with a plumbing

fitting is not recommended. Solid coupling guards are recommended to contain oil spray if a thermal plug lets go. Brakes, if part of the drive, must be installed on the pulley side of a fluid coupling.

MECHANICAL ISSUES Apart from having a drive that is sized and controlled correctly there are some additional considerations with any drive installation: • Consider whether the conveyor interlocking, both electrical and mechanical, can operate with two levels of stopping. Coasting to stop causes less wear and tear than always braking to a stop. • Good chute design reduces the impact of bogged chutes on conveyor start up. • When a drive won’t start, look at the history of the conveyor and the entire machine before changing settings. Skirts cause a large drag force if they are adjusted tightly down onto the belt, for example. Seized brakes also cause starting problems, as might a steel bar that has penetrated the belt. Relagging a pulley may change friction coefficient and diameter. • Where belt weighers are used to control feed to a conveyor, these can be far out of calibration.

• Designing for 80% CEMA loading leaves a lot of space on a belt for additional material and this can overload the conveyor to a stall point, and where the conveyor cannot be restarted without offloading some material.

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Conveyors will wear out. This is a given. Electric motors fail, gearboxes need oil changes: • Cable motors from below so that they are easier to remove. • Align the motor to the gearbox, as the motor is more likely to be changed out. • Provide a drip tray, drain valve and filling method for gearboxes. Changing 1,000 litres of oil 20 litres at a time is hard work. • Don’t install cable trays, pipework or other difficult to remove equipment in the way of removal of the drive.

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Distributed Drive


In this article, Ahmad Fleyfel* details Conveyor Products & Solutions’ Distributed Drive Technology (DDT) which has shown promising results in field trials. CPS sees DDT as part of a new conveyor drive philosophy embodying design freedom and reduced costs.


odern bulk material handling conveyors

are, with relatively few exceptions, designed according to a well understood mould which leaves reasonably predictable, comfortable results. The conveyor design engineer must then work under this mould to optimise the conveyor to meet ever growing cost and performance requirements, despite the limited design freedoms that are allowed to them. In the simplest terms, a conveyor design is commissioned to move a certain amount of a certain type of material, between two points. More often than not, the path between those two points is not particularly flexible. The result of the above requirements is that the pre-set path and quantity of material define, to a large extent, the belt size and shape, and power requirements of the conveyor. That power is almost invariably added into the conveyor through a drive arrangement consisting of one or two pulleys, which in turn requires a certain amount of tension for traction, and steel structure to support the pulley arrangements and tension forces. The amount of structure elsewhere is then driven largely by the mass of material being moved and the terrain it is being moved over. It is within the confines of these requirements then, that conveyor designers are asked to squeeze out the last few percent of cost reductions, power efficiency, reliability, and performance.

costing, for a larger system, in the order of millions of dollars, with their cost dictated largely by their capacity to react to the massive tensions that the belt sees near the drives. The majority of the belt at any one time doesn’t see that peak tension, but the nature of the system is that the entire belt sees it at one point, so the entire belt is designed, supplied, and replaced to react to that load. For larger conveyors, a huge amount of power must be transferred into the belt, and at some point the limitations of pulley grip are approached. The designer must eventually switch to complex, multiple drive pulley arrangements. Once snub pulleys and ground-based drive stations start being looked at to handle the belt in these situations, a simple two pulley conveyor can change to 10 or more pulleys. Worse still, the entire head end structure and the foundations it is built on, elevated and containing half of these pulleys, is now supporting belt tensions of thousands of kilonewtons. There are many more conveyor-wide implications of the rigid design philosophy – belt tracking, curve radii, and more – all are limited and defined by the overarching initial design that cascades from the basic conveyor requirements, removing options that the conveyor designer wishes to use to enhance plant layout, prevent material spillage, or choose more efficient or cheaper components and structures.



The problem that subsequently arises for a conveyor engineer trying to optimise their design is that some of the biggest inefficiencies to fix are locked down from the start. For example, the belt. Belts are an expensive consumable for a conveyor,

In late 2015, BHP approached CPS, having realised the above limitations to conveyor design, and proposed that if the conveyor could be driven continuously along its length, then a series of cascading benefits could be realised, and many

*Ahmad Fleyfel is the Technology Manager at Conveyor Products & Solutions, responsible for the design and commercialisation of new products and systems. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Curtin University and his work on distributed drive technology was recognised by Engineers Australia in its 2017 Most Innovative Engineers ranking.

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previously ‘non-negotiable constraints’ would fall away, allowing a step change in conveyor design and performance. In terms of conveyor designs, changes would largely be brought about by two effects from continuous drive – the ability to lower belt tensions, which dramatically reduces requirements on much of the capital equipment of the conveyor, and the ability to control exactly where those tensions are, actively if need be, to modify the tracking and dynamic behaviour of the conveyor. Additionally, the concept of driving the belt continuously along its length meant that one could endlessly extend or retract the conveyor, without needing to modify the head end, drive system, belt, etc, as each subsection of the conveyor would only deal with itself, and would not be affected by changes to the rest of the conveyor design. See Figure 1. The requisite research and development of this concept was then brought about through the cooperation of various industry players interested in pushing the envelope of conveyor and drive design.


OPPOSITE TOP: CPS’ Distributed Drive Technology (DDT). FIGURE 1: Concept visualisation of tension distribution in conventional (top) vs distributed drive (bottom) conveyors

The resulting drive system, which CPS calls Distributed Drive Technology (DDT), takes the form of roller-sized drive pulleys, installed in place of regular rollers and driving the underside of the belt. The driven units are able to be powered by standard electric motors, with an integrated gearbox to reduce speed to appropriate levels. Typical power levels are in the area of 10-30kW depending on the conveyor used. The units are driven by variable speed drives and controlled by central controller such that they form a congruous system capable of dynamically responding to changes in operating conditions. Each drive can then be controlled to allow step changes in tension to the amount needed for the next section of conveyor, allowing for example, tension reductions around horizontal curves or tension increases where straight line tracking is needed. Aside from being designed around the same life cycle principles as standard conveyor rollers and drives, maintainability is aided by the combination

of redundant, fail-safe drive units, and light weight modular construction which allows swapping of drive units by small teams, when opportune maintenance time allows. Until the change out occurs, the conveyor can continue to run at full capacity by leveraging the redundancy of the rest of the drive units. See Figures 1 and 2 showing design of field trial units.

DDT SYSTEM ISSUES, CONSIDERATIONS AND SOLUTIONS Key to the development of DDT has been the identification and resolution of various key issues that made themselves apparent during development and field trials. Some of the most obvious of these issues include traction, reliability, and failsafe operation. Traction has remained one of the key focus points of system cost and capability, particularly because of the material burden-load being used for traction, rather than conventional tension based mechanisms. The University of Hannover was tasked with an investigation into friction at the belt-roller interface, the results of which can be illuminated by parallels drawn to established knowledge of viscoelastic friction zones from the automotive industry. As expected, the pressure and shear force distribution throughout the pulley causes a necessity for belt bottom cover slippage (see Figures 4 and 5). The greater the drive force compared to the available traction, the greater the amount of slippage. This is true of both the distributed drive system and conventional pulleys, however, one implication of the minimised tension change through the contact zone of the distributed drive roller is that the point of maximum shear force at the output side of the contact zone still has a relatively large amount of interface pressure – i.e. the distributed drive system makes more efficient usage of the available traction. With this in mind, similar friction coefficients to those used on conventional head drives are currently used for conservative design with DDT, with longterm belt wear testing still being undertaken.


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FIGURE 2: The initial 37kW R&D unit ready for field trial by BHP. FIGURE 3: The installed BHP field trial unit in a standby position. FIGURE 4: Pressure distribution across roller surface Credit: University of Hannover ITA, 2016.Figure 5: Pressure and shear distribution effect on slip in driven rollers. FIGURE 5: Pressure and shear distribution effect on slip in driven rollers.

Despite the conservative threshold set for friction coefficients, the problem of dynamic changes in material weight on the roller FIG 2 is still apparent. A prominent global motor and drive manufacturer was brought on board to develop a control system that would be robust enough to avoid sudden slippage in case of a sudden loss of traction. Again, FIG 3 taking inspiration from solutions in automotive engineering, a robust, self-calibrating traction control system was developed to respond in real time to traction FIG 4 conditions. As with all ‘fleet’ systems, reliability is paramount due to the logistical cost of maintaining multiple points of failure. CPS has addressed this through simplification and integration of components in the mechanical system in several ways. While each installation can differ in specifics, designs tend towards the roller having integrated support from the gearbox, thus eliminating the need to maintain both an additional bearing and a shaft coupling. The gearbox itself, being integrated with the motor, is a sealed unit with no specific maintenance requirements outside of the norm. This reduction and integration of components has also led to significant packaging and weight reductions, allowing for rapid modular changeout when combined with fail-safe operation



345_CPS.indd 28

and redundant units. Failsafe operation has been achieved through allowing the drive to freewheel as if it was just another roller in the event of drive failure.

NEW DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES With the ability to locally control tension, arrest conveyor dynamic effects as they occur, and modify the requirements of the surrounding components of the conveyor, the DDT system allows conveyor designers to finally break the mould of conveyor design that has held back the true potential and viability of many projects over the years. Savings to the overall costs of the conveyors themselves are readily apparent through reductions in capital, structural, maintenance, and operational costs. However, the enhanced profitability of entire plants through new usage and opportunities for conveyors are even more critical. Vertical and horizontal curves in plants, for example, are often limited by the loads placed on structures and the tendency for the belt to lift or track-off. Reductions to 1/3rd of tension or less, enabled by DDT, can allow tightening of these curves such that entire ore processing facilities, for example, can become more compact and cost effective (see Figure 6). The same concept can be used in reverse to increase tension, for example, in brownfields upgrades where a horizontal curve has too much idler bank for the new burden levels. In the same case, the technology can simultaneously lower existing drive requirements such that the drive and structure need not be modified to suit the new throughput rates. In the case of long overland conveyors with start and stop times driven by dynamic belt response, if drive power is added in a distributed fashion along the conveyor, the time scale and magnitude of the dynamic effects are dramatically reduced. On the same conveyor, the distributed drive stations can be placed around hills and similar in order to minimise the effects of rolling terrain. In a real world example of the aforementioned opportunities, several hundred kilowatts of retrofit power was designed into a large yard belt in need of a throughput increase despite existing tracking issues from horizontal and vertical curves. Drive placement was used to enhance conveyor operation: a number of drives installed at the bottom of a critical concave curve keep the belt from lifting at partial load, and additional units installed near the top reduce belt sag and increase power efficiency at full load. Capital costs of the upgrade drop to a fraction of previous estimates as the new distributed drive

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units handle all new power requirements without any need to increase tension, head drive rating, structure, or tensioning systems. The layout of drives and resultant tension distribution on the belt is shown in Figure 7.

FURTHER WORK Since the project initiated with BHP, CPS has installed a successful R&D field trial, and has since enhanced the designs and features of the DDT system into a streamlined and robust system, with work now being undertaken to create the first major operational installation. CPS views the technology being far more than an alternative drive system for a conventional conveyor. Rather, CPS envisions DDT as being the backbone of a new conveyor design paradigm, with conveyor designers using it to create a new generation of conveyors enabling more compact, lower cost, operationally efficient plants, and leveraging the ability to create rapid, low cost capacity upgrades to suit changing market requirements and future strategic planning.

FIGURE 6: Potential reduction in ore processing facility footprint through DDT Tension reduction. FIGURE 7: Tension distribution under differing operating regimes on a yard belt partially powered by distributed drives.


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Floveyor partners with NORD for two food jobs Aero-mechanical conveying specialist Floveyor has teamed up with drives company NORD Drivesystems to deliver two installations in 2017 – one at a brewery in the Philippines, another at a food plant in Victoria.


he NORD/Floveyor alliance was hatched

via the drives company’s distributor, CBC. “Floveyor is a long time valued customer of ours. We represent and distribute many products, but in this case NORD was the best chosen fit,” commented Brad Bickford, application and engineering manager – power transmission at Inenco/CBC. Teddy Craies, sales manager for Floveyor in Australia explained that the teams at NORD and Inenco/CBC were involved from the start of both projects in assisting Floveyor in making the right motor selection. “In addition, we consulted with our customer in the election process and this led to further discussion regarding specific project requirements and motor selection for the budget. NORD delivered on all aspects of the project in terms of specifications, delivery time, budget and technical support.”


W M o in


SELECTING MOTORS FOR PHILIPPINE BREWERY’S HOPPER A customer based in China approached Floveyor to assist with its requirements for a brewery plant in the Philippines. Machinery had to be carefully designed to transport material efficiently into buffet tanks without any contamination. Teddy elaborated on the application saying: “The material was to be fed manually and the unit needed to handle up to 40kg manual bags while taking safe handling practice and ergonomic loading processes into consideration.” Factoring in issues around dust during transportation, a special hopper needed to be designed to suit the customer’s specific dust extraction unit and operating requirements while being power efficient. In addition, the unit needed to be hygienic in nature without the cost of a full-blown hygienic model and had to operate in an earthquake prone

W ev • • region. Due to export factors, the unit also needed to be easy-to-use and modular for quick installation and ease of transport. In terms of the motor selection, NORD considered both the customer and Floveyor’s requirements and selected the appropriate geared motor for the F3 special hopper. “We strive to keep the total costs in view when selecting each solution for an application and this particular motor is best-known for its power, energy efficiency and ability to meet the stringent requirements of the food industry,” explained Martin Broglia, managing director of NORD Drivesystems.

• FIG 1: Floveyor aero-mechanical conveyor (AMC) for Philippines beverage manufacturing customer with custom hopper and dust containment system showing full system with Nord motor installed. FIG 2: Floveyor hygienic reusable bulk bag unloader with full controls and manual loading system attached at Victorian food plant.

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Th 22

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HYGIENIC FLOVEYOR BULK BAG UNLOADING UNIT FOR AUSSIE PLANT Back on local shores, a Victoria-based customer recently set up a new plant to handle various food ingredients, and Floveyor was tasked with developing a custom-designed bulk bag unloading unit. This unit needed to conform to international hygienic standards with a clean out of place design, hygienic GMP accessible screw and an easy-to-clean, removable grid. “The application itself required that various food items such as rice, porridge with fruit pieces, vanilla custards and other similar food items were fed from bulk bags at a capacity of 3,000 kg per hour,” explained Teddy. “The machine for transportation needed to be

a contained unit to eliminate any contamination while minimising dust, remaining environmentally friendly, power efficient, hygienic, easy to operate and complete with a modular format for quick installation”. The unit was supplied with an integrated electric hoist lifting frame, a manual Iris valve for flow control/ shut off on the bag outlet, pneumatic bag massagers for product discharge, and a mini screw feeder and dump station in stainless steel 304 which needed to be dust tight to suit the FIBC unloading spout. The unit was also supplied with a fully electrical PLC and pneumatic controls. NORD specified appropriate motors.

FIG 3: Floveyor hygienic screw feeder with Nord motor installed at Victorian plant. FIG 4: Floveyor hygienic aero-mechanical conveyor with installed PLC and bulk bag structure in place in Victoria. FIG 5: Floveyor hygienic AMC with Nord motor installed in Victoria.


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Martin Engineering manufacturing in Australia To support the advent of polyurethane production in Australia, global bulk materials handling supplier, Martin Engineering, has established its own wholly-owned local subsidiary.


ccording to Terry Thew, managing

director of Martin Engineering Australia, the company’s US head office had identified the need for a polyurethane supply for its SouthEast Asian and Chinese operations. Polyurethane underpins the company’s belt cleaning and skirting products. For reasons of quality and control, Australia was selected as the base for the new manufacturing. “The polyurethane machine is very high tech,” explained Terry. “The machine was designed inhouse by Martin Engineering. It has exceptional processing capability and versatility to change its materials very quickly. We will be pouring to order rather than pouring to stock.” The move to set up a local subsidiary synchronises Martin’s local arrangements with many other parts of the world. The company, headquartered in Neponset, Illinois, mainly operates directly and via subsidiaries in 19 countries on six continents. Martin’s local production facility is based at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. While Martin globally has a huge range of products, the Australian business will initially concentrate on conveyor products, such as belt cleaners and skirting, air cannons and vibrators. In Australia, the business will target the mining

and heavy engineering sectors. Its products and technologies are used in ongoing maintenance work, as well as in new projects. “There’s not much project work around at the moment,” said Terry, “but we will certainly be vying for that when it comes up and we can leverage our global groups to get those projects. It’s a strong point that we can support customers globally.” As Martin Engineering Australia expands, Terry believes its strong pedigree will appeal to customers. “We have products that have been around for a long time. We are introducing very good service and are offering the market an alternative choice.” In coming years, the business will likely add statebased distributors to fill out its national footprint. According to Martin Engineering’s publicity: “Our products are the best in the world at keeping belts clean and minimising carryback, making transfer points more efficient, managing fugitive dust and preventing obstructions in material flow.” The business was founded in 1944 by Edwin F. Peterson. The first product he developed was the Vibrolator Vibrator, which the company still sells. Martin established its first business outside the USA in 1979 and now employs around 900 staff globally. Before going direct in Australia, Martin’s products were previously manufactured under licence by ESS.

ABOVE: Martin produces a wide range of belt cleaners. Pictured is the company’s STS Belt Cleaners, which reduce the need for confined space entry and reach-in maintenance. These were released in the US in 2017.

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Ask an Engineer In this regular column, experts from specialist bulk materials engineering firm Jenike & Johanson answer readers’ queries around problems at their sites. In this edition, Corin Holmes* considers:

QUESTION: How important is it to consider geometry and flow behaviour when selecting and installing sensors in materials handling systems? ANSWER:

Recently I was asked to inspect a silo, hopper, and

*Corin Holmes is the operations manager for Jenike & Johanson in Perth. He says he is passionate about applying the science of bulk solids handling to help people and organisations succeed.

BELOW Flow patterns that may occur in a bin: funnel flow (left) and mass flow (right.


All material is in motion during discharge



feed system causing my client downstream issues due to irregular supply of feed. Through analysis of the system it was determined that although the sensor system affiliated with the bin was operational it was providing incorrect data regarding the material levels in the bin thus causing erroneous feed decisions to be made. The key to successful use of level detectors (or sensors) is through understanding your sensing needs in conjunction with knowing how the bulk material being handled flows through your vessel. There are a large variety of detectors available for measuring the level of bulk solids in a silo, bin or tank. In general, the two main classifications are point level detection and continuous level detection. Point level detectors are normally attached to the side-wall or roof of a bin, and can measure direct solids contact through use of capacitance sensing, pressure diaphragms, or other means of proximity check. When the bulk solid comes in contact with the detector, a signal is sent from the device to an alarm (e.g., light or acoustic horn) or central control system indicating the level set-point has been met. This could be an indicator of a high-level or a low-level being reached, thus triggering another action, such as starting or stopping a conveyor or feeder. Continuous level detection is usually made with a roof-mounted device emitting signals that project down to the surface of the bulk material, and then rebounds the signal to a receiver for processing. Ultrasonic, guided wave radar, or plumb-bob (a.k.a. yo-yo) detectors are commonly used to provide “continuous” level detection of the top surface of the bulk material. The technology has significantly improved in recent years to account for angle of repose effects, off-centred filling of vessels, and highly dusty

environments that normally reduce the effectiveness of ultrasonic or radar detector systems. In the case of my client the incorrect location of radar level sensors led to improper feeder speed adjustments and starving, followed by flooding, of the downstream process. Continuing in this vein, in previous projects we have seen sensor placement that interferes with the intended/required flow pattern (e.g putting contact based movement sensors in the region of flow thus creating an obstruction on an otherwise mass flow surface which changed the bin operation to a funnel flow pattern when mass flow was required). Other instances of improper placement that come to mind are locating the sensor in the discharge area because the process engineer needed to know that flow was occurring and placement of the sensor based on convenience of the site electrician (in this case the length of the sensor line was too short). In the examples described above, the location/ placement of the sensor was chosen without understanding the flow pattern of the bulk material in the system. There are two main flow patterns: funnel flow and mass flow. In funnel flow, an active flow channel forms above the outlet, with non-flowing material at the periphery. As the level of material in the bin decreases, layers of the non-flowing material may slide into the flowing channel. When the bulk solid has sufficient cohesive strength, the stagnant material does not slide into the flow FUNNEL FLOW channel and a stable “rathole” forms resulting in a no-flow condition. In this stagnant region, material can gain strength over time limiting the live storage capacity of the bin [1].


304_Ask an Engineer.indd 34


34 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

13/02/2018 9:09:12 AM

In mass flow, all of the material is in motion whenever any is withdrawn from the hopper. Material from the centre as well as the periphery moves toward the outlet. A mass flow discharge pattern provides a first-in, first-out flow sequence that uses the full bin capacity and eliminates ratholing. If your bin discharges in a funnel flow pattern and a stable rathole develops, then a point level detector can easily provide an incorrect reading of the bin’s live capacity if incorrectly located. Specifically, if a rathole develops, material will be stagnant along the walls of the vessel, and the point level detector will be providing a signal indicating the vessel is full or near full, when in fact, 20% or more of the vessel contents may have been discharged through the bin’s centre. Additionally, a continuous level detector may have its signal directed inaccurately towards bin’s centre, which may be experiencing an active flow channel or stable rathole with cohesive material. In this case, the level will be estimated to be far lower than actually exists in the bin. If your vessel discharges in a mass flow pattern, whereby flow of material occurs along the walls of the hopper, and no stagnant material exists, a point level detector can be a highly effective and relatively inexpensive option. A rotary paddle, capacitance, or vibrating rod point level detector can be located on the side wall of the bin to indicate low level, high level, or emergency stop (high-high level) thus stopping the in-feed of material. In order to design for the appropriate flow pattern, material characterisation tests need to be performed on a representative sample of material [3]. Measuring the flow properties of the material being handled is critical in providing the design data required to develop a comprehensive scientific solution or modification in order to understand the root cause of the flow issues being experienced. In the case of a new installation, the design data is required to ensure that baked-in design errors are eliminated, preventing flow problems from occurring so that the new equipment works first time-all the time. Consideration, in the design stage, once flow

pattern has been selected and material characterisation tests have been performed, to ensure proper sensor location should include:

• Implications from false positives and false negatives for digital (1/0) sensors;

• Implications of incorrect readings for analogue sensors;

• How to validate and verify sensor calibration while in duty;

• How to mitigate ingress of dust particles and/or bulk material into sensor recesses and/or covers;

• Implications of explosive dust; • How to mitigate coating/build-up of material • •

on sensors (wet and sticky materials or fine powders); Accessibility to the sensor itself for maintenance purposes; How to verify sensor functionality through regulartesting protocol.

Sensor placement should always be determined in conjunction with understanding of the flow pattern and material characteristics (flow properties) and by underpinning the science of bulk solids handling in the application. Thinking about and working through the implications of erroneous sensor readings will lead to good, verified, and reliable data from the sensors installed and can be used to help select the next process steps. If you are involved in the design of a bulk solids handling system featuring sensors of any kind, you need to play the tape forward and consider the implications of incorrect sensor readings. If the consequences are significant you should seek advice from a bulk solids professional to help ensure you avoid these problems. On the other hand, if a false sensor reading is inconsequential, you should probably question whether the sensor is required.

“ Measuring the flow properties of the material being handled is critical in providing the design data required to develop a comprehensive scientific solution or modification.”

REFERENCES: 1] Maynard, Eric, Retrofitting bins, hoppers, and feeders to solve flow problems , Powder & Bulk Solids Magazine, Volume 30, No. 12, December 2016. [2] Hartford, Carrie, Bulk Solids Handling System Design Measuring flow properties leads to proper equipment selection and process reliability, Processing Solutions for the Process Industries , Volume 29, No. 11, November 2016, pp. 56-59. [3] Jenike, A.W., Storage and Flow of Solids, Bulletin 123, University of Utah Engineering Station, 1964 (revised, 1976).


If so, send it to Corin directly on tel - 1300 BULKSOLIDS, email - or to ABHR editor Charles Macdonald at email -


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Offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth & Auckland 1300 65 75 64

13/02/2018 9:09:13 AM


Lapp goes direct in Australia Automation and cable system company Lapp is setting up a direct subsidiary in Australia as it chases opportunities in the global industrial automation market, estimated to be worth $460bn by 2024.


ne of the world’s leading providers

of branded cable and connector systems and integrated electrical and automation engineering solutions, Lapp, is establishing a fully-fledged subsidiary in Australia. Lapp Australia – headquartered in new 3100sq m premises at Eastern Creek, Sydney – will meet demand nationally for technologies used in future-focussed areas of industry, such as automation, robotics, energy management, data distribution and intelligent manufacturing, buildings, infrastructure and process engineering. Lapp Australia general manager Simon Pullinger says the new facility – which opened at the start of February – will offer an inventory of over 1,000 product lines onshore as well as direct access to more than 40,000 standard items from Lapp’s global ranges. “We are offering a one-stop shop for systems which comply with the leading Australian,

European and American compliance and quality standards, which are among the most demanding in the world. “With Lapp’s 18 manufacturing locations on four continents and our industry partnerships, Lapp Australia will deliver outstanding access to internationally respected technology and innovation.” Lapp Australia says it will “work in close co-operation” with its established distribution partner in Australia, Treotham Automation. Lapp Australia will also extend its strong association with ECS New Zealand, which has been a distributor for more than 30 years. ECS Investments is a 50 per cent shareholder in the new Lapp Australia business, with the other 50 per cent owned by Lapp Holding Asia.

ABOVE: Lapp Australia team members (from left) Rod Calderon – marketing & office manager; Indy Saggu – customer service executive; Simon Pullinger, general manager; and Michael De Leon – warehouse supervisor.


36 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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13/02/2018 9:11:22 AM

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23/12/2016 9:37:34 AM


Kockums supplies pneumatic system

for gold expansion Pneumatics specialist Kockums Bulk Systems has supplied a cement conveying system for Newmont Mining’s Tanami Expansion Project.


ewmont Mining

Corporation has completed the Expansion Project in the Northern Territory, to reach commercial production. The expansion will increase profitable gold production and support ongoing exploration and development of Tanami’s prospective underground resource. The expansion included building a second decline in the underground mine and incremental capacity in the processing plant. The expansion is expected to increase Tanami’s annual gold production by 80,000 ounces per year. Kockums Bulk Systems, as a supplier to Cortex Engineering, provided the dense phase cement powder handling system. Cortex’s project was to install a 350-tonne cement silo, and transfer the cement to two existing silos on the facility. Cement is supplied to the silo from 70 or 92 tonne tanker road trains.

The project called for availability of cement 365 days a year, and 24 hours per day. The high specification conveying system included Clyde Dome valves on the vessel, and in the diverter valve to the silos. The pneumatic conveying vessel is a Kockums KT75 of 0.75 m3 capacity. A Kockums KH22 heavy duty power pack is used to supply conveying air. This power pack uses a long-life Hori Wing type compressor with a 30 kW electric motor drive. “With sophisticated control software, and with the intrinsic stability of Kockums’ vessels, little monitoring is required from operational staff,” explained Francois Steyn, chief executive of Kockums Bulk Systems. Newmont is a leading gold and copper producer. The company’s operations are primarily in the United States, Australia, Ghana, Peru and Suriname. Contact:

38 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

P00-00_Kockums cover story_346.indd 38

13/02/2018 9:16:42 AM


3 FIG 1: The Kockums KT75 gravity filled pneumatic conveying vessel is the heart of the system. FIG 2: A Kockums KH22 heavy duty compressor power pack with 30kW Hori Wing compressor supplies the conveying air FIG 3: The diverter valve mounted atop the silo features heavy duty Clyde Dome valves



FIG 4:The fully automated control system responds to system demands for cement and requires little attention from operational staff.

Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018 39

P00-00_Kockums cover story_346.indd 39

13/02/2018 9:16:47 AM


Ready-mix plants prevent wear and downtime with deflection elbows A number of US ready-mix plants have reported good results in switching from conventional sweep elbows and plugged-tee elbows to HammerTek’s Smart Elbows.


S firm Concrete Plants, Inc (CPI) has

provided turnkey batch plant equipment, service and parts to ready-mix and precast concrete plants from Maine to South Carolina since 1974. According to CPI, for many years its customers were resigned to abrasive materials wearing through the elbows of their pneumatic conveying system elbows until 2001, when it began specifying HammerTek deflection elbows, in which abrasive materials are prevented from impacting the elbow wall. According to Emil Garlewicz, vice president and sales representative for CPI’s New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware territories, “The improvements virtually eliminate worn elbows, related downtime and recurring elbow maintenance costs for CPI’s customers.”

VORTEX PREVENTS MATERIAL IMPACT, WEAR Unlike conventional sweep elbows and pluggedtee elbows, HammerTek's Smart Elbow design features a chamber that protrudes partially beyond the intended 90- or 45-degree flow path of material, causing a sphere of material-in-air to rotate in the same direction as the air stream that powers it, gently deflecting incoming material around the bend. “The difference is in the elbow’s anatomy,” Garlewicz explains. “Incoming material bounces off the rotating material rather than impacting the elbow wall and creating a wear point.” Garlewicz says ready-mix producers appreciate long elbow life because they are conveying Portland cement, fly ash, slag and other abrasive cementitious materials that wear conventional elbows rapidly.

ABOVE: HammerTek short radius deflection elbows eliminated the need to weld or replace failed sweep elbows 30 m in the air.

40 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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13/02/2018 9:27:49 AM

ACTION SUPPLY’S EXPERIENCE He notes that customers sometimes purchase their first single HammerTek elbow if making an emergency repair to a standard sweep elbow, “but later will add a half-dozen or more to retrofit an entire pneumatic conveying circuit once they see how well it works.” Such was the case for Tom Tower, owner of Action Supply in Seaville, New Jersey, whose readymix plants provide concrete for general construction, bridge work and specialty concrete work. Tower says he originally welded patches on worn-through sweep elbows and on new replacement elbows before swapping out worn, leaking ones. “The best we would get from an original ell would be two, maybe three years if the elbow was reinforced with patches before we installed it,” he says. “Either way, we were going to be shut down for at least a half-day to a day to make the replacement or repair. “The first Smart Elbow deflection elbow we installed in 2001 is still in operation today,” he says, “and has increased plant longevity and decreased maintenance downtime.” He has subsequently replaced five additional sweep elbows with deflection elbows at three plant

336_Hammertek.indd 41

FIGURE 1: Abrasive cementitious material will wear out conventional sweep elbows, necessitating replacements, downtime and costs. FIG 1 FIG 2

FIGURE 2: The Smart Elbow deflection elbow installed in readymix plants prevents abrasive materials from impacting the elbow wall, eliminating worn elbows, related downtime and recurring maintenance costs.

13/02/2018 9:27:50 AM





locations to handle about 165 tonnes of cement powder per plant per day, as well as fine slag. Collectively, he says eliminating elbow repair and replacements at those plants has saved two weeks of downtime since the conversion. Another CPI customer, Ernie Forlini, owner of Action Supply ready-mix plants in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, has eliminated surprise blowouts and resulting repair labour after switching to deflection elbows. “We installed our initial HammerTek elbow in 2010 at the suggestion of CPI’s Emil Garlewicz,” he recalls. “Until then, elbow blowouts that spouted dust into the atmosphere were an ongoing problem that could pop up at any time. We’d weld a plate on the elbow, and the patch would blow out several months later.” Downtime and the inconvenience of having to weld or replace a failed elbow from a crane 30 m up compounded the problem, according to Forlini. “We are working with a perishable item,” he says, “and time is money for our customers. By eliminating the surprise blowouts, we have been more consistent and timely in our deliveries.” Based on his initial elbow installation, Forlini has retrofitted all of the conventional elbows at his three ready-mix plants. The deflection elbows are incorporated into pneumatic lines that transfer cement powder as well as fly ash or brown slag used as a pozzolan to reinforce the concrete. “We have had no change-outs with the short-radius elbows,” he says, “and no more worries about holes in the pipes. I don’t even have to look at the tops of the silos any more.”

BENEFITS OF SHORT RADIUS DESIGN Garlewicz says, “The HammerTek elbows are easier to retrofit, and standard schedule 80 elbows have a larger radius and are harder to handle, especially when 30 m in the air on a crane.” Despite the short radius design, material exits the deflection elbow uniformly across the


FIGURE 3: Conventional sweep elbows can blow out as a wear point develops from abrasive materials impacting the elbow wall. FIGURE 4: The teardrop-shaped vortex chamber of the short radius elbow protrudes partially beyond the 90-degree flow path, causing a sphere of material-in-air to rotate in the same direction as the air stream, gently deflecting incoming material around the bend.

diameter of the outflow, instead of skidding along the outermost wall of the elbow and downstream tubing/pipe. “Even though the vortex area in the elbow where the material rotates has a small radius, the design enhances efficient flow because it creates less head pressure in the pipe,” he explains.

FIGURE 5: Action Supply, Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, eliminated surprise blowouts and associated repair costs after switching to short radius deflection elbows that minimise elbow wear. FIGURE 6: The ready-mix plants of Action Supply, Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, convey abrasive cement powder as well as fly ash or brown slag, yet report ‘no change-outs with short-radius elbows.’


42 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

336_Hammertek.indd 42

13/02/2018 9:27:52 AM


AMECO completes commissioning of portal reclaimers in the USA

not be used to store dust. The hopper is only intended to funnel process dust to a storage bin. Dust that has accumulated in a hopper creates a potential fire or deflagration risk. Dust in the hopper may also diminish the collector’s performance by clogging the system and preventing the pulse-cleaning from doing its job. Self-dumping hoppers provide easy dust disposal while protecting against unwanted dust leakage between the collector and hopper. A slide gate and flexible quick-disconnect hose connect the two components together, and the hopper lid is fastened with rubber clamps that create a gasketed seal to prevent 5. Pulse-cleaning controls dust from escaping. When the hopper is full, the user detaches The dust collector’s cleaning system design works in conjuncit from the bottom of the collector, lifts the hopper onto a fork tion with filter design. Selective cleaning controls provide an truck, and simply pulls a lever to swing the lid open and dump easy, maintenance-friendly way to keep filters clean. Operators French company AMECO, a specialist in supplying stackers, reclaimers and shiploaders, has the contents into a larger disposal container. Self-dumping hopcan select from continuous cleaning, on-demand cleaning and completed the commissioning of a portal reclaimer – with apers rail span of 54 are used formetres a range–ofhandling dry dusts,480 including those that must downtime cleaning. tons per hour urea at a nitrogen operations facility in Texas for major global producer. be a reclaimed or recycled after the collection process. Continuous cleaning is suited for porous dusts, such as silica and other minerals, high dust loading applications like thermal spray or plasma cutting, or lightweight dust such as fumed silica 7. Long-life filters FIG 1 MECO’s team designed and supplied what 1: Portal and paper fines. A simple but important safety requirement is toFIGURE change filters it describes as an “innovative” urea storage reclaimer handling On-demand cleaning is recommended for most dust types. when airflow through the system reaches a differential pres480 tons per hour solution, having a portal reclaimer to the cleanThis setting monitors the differential pressureable across sure limit as prescribed by the manufacturer or when the presurea at a nitrogen drag urea upthe to 20 degrees below ground. operations in air section and dirty-air filter section of the collector. Onsure drop across the collector is negatively affecting the facility ability Texas. portal reclaimer enabled the facility demand“This cleaning allows you to set a very narrowto range of difof the dust collection system to capture the dust, thus allowincrease its storage capacity by stop 50% the in comparison ferential pressures to activate and cartridge cleaning. ing it to escape into the facility. Some long-life cartridge filters FIGURE 2: Portal reclaimer handling Thistosetting uses the least amount of from compressed can operate for two years or even longer between change-outs. the standard solution available other air and prodesulphurised vides optimum cleaning efficiency and filter life. Note that However, for heavy dust-loading applications, gypsum filter atreplacesuppliers onfilter the market,” said Stephane J.F. Killian, power station in Kentucky. the CEO, on-demand ment might be much more frequent. Amecosettings Group. will need to be adjusted to compensate for the Going slow but continual in filter pressure drop over the Moreover, extended-life cartridge filters can reduce replaceback in time, rise in September 2017, AMECO life commissioned of the filter set.another portal reclaimer for a ment frequency and minimize worker exposure to dust. ReducDowntime cleaning allows for time-based pulsing at the end ing filter change-out frequency also saves on maintenance and major US utility. After successfully delivering and of a plant shift, after completing a batch process or after an disposal costs and reduces landfill impact. Ask your filter supcommissioning a portal reclaimer for Louisville upset condition that may affect the filter’s performance. Downplier for a written guarantee on filter life. FIG 2 and Electric timeGas cleaning allowsCompany operators(LG&E) to shut at offTrimble the fan and clean the County Power in 2014, AMECOperiod is filters during a set Station durationinofKentucky time. After the cleaning 8. Filter change-out commissioned a second portal reclaimer for at finished, the unit will shut off completely. This isLG&E an important Ideally, your workers should never have to enter the dust colBedford Generating Station the in Kentucky. feature because over-cleaning cartridges during operation lector to change the filters. Dust collectors that require entry causes The higher emissions, shorter cartridge lifethe and higher enduring service, put workers at risk and require companies to contract saw cooperation between ergyutility, costs due to overuse of compressed air. for a file confined space entry permits and monitor for gas. Many AMEC Foster Wheeler, and AMECO cartridge-style dust collectors offer ease of filter change-out. For system handling desulphurised gypsum. optimal safety, filters should be positioned for ease of access and 6. Hoppers slide in and out of the housing readily. Simple, quick-open heavy Many factories that process powder and bulk solids routinely store Contact: gauge doors can provide access to a fast cartridge change-out products in hoppers. However, the dust collector’s hopper should

Dust collectors that use vertically-mounted cartridges also reduce fire and deflagration risks. With horizontally-mounted systems on heavy dust loading applications, dust becomes trapped at the top of the filters, and there is no pre-separation of heavy or abrasive particles from the air stream. This situation can shorten filter life and provide a dusty surface for sparks to ignite. Vertical mounting reduces heavy loading dust on the filters and helps eliminate these problems.



and we’ll donate $1,000 to a registered charity of your choice*

Burnley® Baffles is our internationally patented dust suppression device especially designed to reduce the escape of dust from dump hoppers and chutes handling dry granular bulk raw materials such as grains and ores. A Burnley® Baffle installation consists of a set of modules that fill the open inlet face of a hopper. Each module contains a set of blades that pivot to allow the material to flow into the hopper. The dust generated from the material falling into the hopper cannot escape because the hopper is only open where the material is entering. An 80% to 85% reduction in the size of dust collector and fan is achievable with the use of Burnley® Baffles.

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* Mideco terms and conditions of sale apply for this offer to be valid. 39 Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2017

13/02/2018 9:31:54 AM


Peanut butter plant doubles output with dischargers, conveyors Two bulk bag dischargers and five flexible screw conveyors from Flexicon have doubled peanut butter production capacity at Once Again Nut Butter’s new 3440 sq m dedicated peanut butter facility at Nunda in New York.


he discharger/conveyor system delivers

up to 1590 kg/h of raw peanuts to each of two roasters, for a total of 3175 kg/h. The new line offers dust-free operation and improves operator safety. Since the new plant handles all of the company’s peanut products, the older facility, established in 2004 for all nut and seed products, will be able to operate peanut-free. Almond butter and other products made in a peanut-free facility appeal to customers concerned about peanut allergens, providing Once Again with a competitive advantage. Feeding the new line are two Flexicon Bulk-Out bulk bag dischargers positioned side-by-side. Both

are "BFC" models equipped with a cantilevered I-beam, hoist, and trolley that lift and position the bag in the discharger frame without the need for a forklift. Five flexible screw conveyors, also from Flexicon, move the peanuts through successive steps of the process. In the older plant, bulk bags containing peanuts were hoisted above the roaster and emptied directly into it. Compared to direct-emptying, “the bulk bag dischargers in the new plant are safer, automated, and improve ergonomics for the operators,” says Peter Millen, process engineer at Once Again. The dischargers and conveyors enclose the peanuts, protecting them from contamination while

ABOVE: Side-by-side beam-and-hoist style bulk bag dischargers allow for one frame to discharge material while the other is reloaded.

44 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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13/02/2018 9:35:17 AM

preventing dust from escaping into the facility. Moreover, the new roaster is too tall to suspend a bulk bag above its infeed hopper. Once Again installed the two bulk bag dischargers side by side, allowing one frame to discharge material while the other is reloaded, and to provide redundancy in the event one of the systems is offline. The flexible screw conveyors transport the raw peanuts from the dischargers to a gravity separator and a de-stoner that remove foreign matter before the peanuts are discharged into a roaster, improving product quality over the direct-emptying method.

HOW RAW PEANUTS ARE PROCESSED INTO PEANUT BUTTER Raw peanuts arrive in bulk bags weighing 1,000 kg. The operator attaches the bag straps to the lifting frame, and actuates the electric hoist and trolley using a pendant to position the bag in the discharger frame. The bag’s outlet spout is pulled through an iris valve which closes around the spout, preventing material flow. The operator then unties the drawstring, closes the access door, and releases the valve slowly to prevent bursts of peanuts from displacing air and dust from the 156 litre capacity hopper into the plant environment. A hinged lid on the hopper also permits manual dumping from hand-held sacks. The dischargers are fitted with pneumatically actuated Flow-Flexer bulk bag activators, which increasingly raise and lower opposite bottom edges of the bag into a V shape as it empties and

Weighing Bagging Palletising Fully automatic format change in 60”


lightens, promoting complete evacuation. Flexible screw conveyors 6.1 m long transport peanuts from each of the discharger's hoppers at a 45 degree incline before discharging into a gravity separator, which removes any foreign material that is lighter and less dense than peanuts, such as twigs or peanut shell pieces. From the gravity separator, a third flexible screw conveyor, this one 4.6 m long and inclined at 45 degrees, takes the peanuts to the de-stoner, which removes any material that is heavier and denser than the peanuts, such as pebbles or metal fragments. Peanuts are then loaded into a silo by a 15 m long pneumatic conveying line, and unloaded from it by another 15 m long pneumatic conveyor line that terminates at the roaster. Roasted peanuts then proceed via a 21 m long pneumatic conveyor line to a blancher, which removes the peanut skins. Another 21 m long pneumatic conveyor delivers the blanched peanuts to two holding silos. From each silo, a 4.6 m long flexible screw conveyor feeds peanuts to a roasted peanut transfer bin. From each transfer bin, a flexible screw conveyor transports peanuts to a 27 m long pneumatic conveyor line terminating at the final grinding phase of the process. All of the flexible screw conveyor tubes

ABOVE: Once Again makes its peanut butters in a new, dedicated peanut butter facility.

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13/02/2018 9:35:20 AM




FIGURE 1: The hinged lid on the hopper permits manual inspection. FIGURE 2: From the hopper of each discharger, a flexible screw conveyor transports raw peanuts to the gravity separator. FIGURE 3&4: The motor sits forward of the flexible screw conveyor discharge, preventing material contact with seals or bearings. FIGURE 5: An iris valve controls the closing and opening of the bulk bag spout to prevent bursts of material from displacing air and dust into the plant environment. FIGURE 6: From each transfer bin, a flexible screw conveyor transports peanuts to a pneumatic conveyor line terminating at the final grinding phase of the process.





measure 114 mm O.D. and house a flat-wire spiral of the same pitch tested to yield optimum efficiency. Each conveyor’s drive motor rotating the screw is controlled by a variable frequency drive. The peanuts discharge from the conveyor below the point where the screw connects to the motor drive, preventing material contact with seals or bearings. “For cleaning, the flexible screw is removed through a clean-out cap at the lower end of the conveyor tube, after which all components are blown down and/or vacuumed, and wiped clean with a surface sanitiser,” says Millen.

product feed rates,” says Millen. Founded in 1976, Once Again Nut Butter is an employee-owned company that processes natural and organic products such as honey, sesame tahini, and butters made from peanuts, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds. Once Again provides these products to retail, private label, food service, industrial, and export customers.


WHY THE BULK HANDLING SYSTEM WAS SPECIFIED Millen says, “A bulk bag discharger and flexible screw conveyors from Flexicon have reliably handled sesame and sunflower seeds in the original plant for several years. The equipment was familiar to plant staff, so it made sense to bring that technology over to peanuts.” As part of specifying the unloading and conveying systems, the company's peanuts were run on full size equipment in the supplier's test laboratory. “This provided data on attributes such as density and flow characteristics in order to establish design parameters, including different angles for running the flexible screw conveyors and

46 Australian BULK Handling Review: January/February 2018

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13/02/2018 9:35:22 AM



Perth pulley plant for CPS Diacon sees sites embracing plastic guarding With bulk handling sites increasingly focusing on safety, Diacon Australia is reporting brisk demand for its plastic hungry boards, conveyor guarding and safety panels.


n conversation with ABHR, Daryl

Oliver, sales and marketing manager for Consolidated Plastics & Epoxy Queensland,

parent company to Diacon Australia, explained what he was seeing in the market.

ABOVE: Custom-made Diacon guarding can fit around diverse structures and shapes.

“Safety is becoming more of an issue in all industries,” Daryl said. “The more protection companies and sites can give to their people, the better.” This is particularly true around high energy conveyor systems, which, with many dangerous nip points, offer scope for catastrophic injuries and accidents. According to Daryl, Diacon’s polyethylene plastic products are finding favour over more traditional steel and aluminium competitors. “In a lot of safety guarding applications, yes, customers are changing out steel safety guards for plastic guards,” he said. “Our material is lighter, it’s corrosion resistant and it never needs painting. “The ease of installation is another factor that makes it really viable. We can

install large quantities of these guards in a relatively short period of time because of the way it’s designed and engineered.” Diacon’s systems are designed and fabricated in Mackay. The company has recently completed major installations at a Western Australian alumina refinery, Gladstone port and Bowen Basin coal mine. According to Daryl “we have received extremely positive feedback on these jobs. We are excited about the future and are receiving good interest from Australia and overseas.”

Roller, idler and engineering specialist Conveyor Products and Solutions (CPS) has opened a new pulley manufacturing facility in Perth.


he 1,700 m2 facility boasts

numerous large CNC lathes and a separated clean zone for final assembly of pulleys. The first stage of the new manufacturing facility started production in January 2018 and has the capacity to produce 350 pulleys a year. “I’m very excited about the new facility,” explained Justin Samut, general manager of the pulley division of CPS. “Custom designed in-house by the CPS engineering team, utilising recognised industry and proprietary software packages, all pulleys will be designed, engineered and manufactured to the highest standards. “We offer an extensive range of customisation options delivering the client a truly fit-for-purpose solution. Our pulleys are manufactured using Australian grade steels and the highest quality components, delivering a strong product designed for long life.”

ABOVE: CPS’ new pulley manufacturing facility in Perth.

Contact: Daryl Oliver, email:

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CSL spends $230m on pharmaceutical plant

Biotherapeutics company CSL Limited opened a new $230 million albumin manufacturing facility at its Broadmeadows site in Victoria in December 2017.


SL says the facility is an important addition to the Australian pharmaceutical manufacturing landscape, and is expected to produce therapies with an estimated annual market value of $850 million as well as generate up to 200 new jobs by 2026. The development will help meet growing global demand for albumin – a protein derived from human plasma that is used in critical care to treat burns and shock. The plant will be constructed over two modules, with December’s opening marking the completion of module one. The module will expand albumin production on the site to 100 tonnes per annum. When it comes online, module two will add a further 100 tonnes in capacity. Albumin (5%, 20%, and 25%) is manufactured from Precipitate C (PPT C), the final output of the main plasma fractionation process at CSL Behring’s Kankakee plant in Illinois in the US. The PPT C is solubilised in water for injection (very clean water), the pH is adjusted, and undergoes a clarifying depth filtration. The resulting filtrate is then ultra- and dia-filtrated to the required albumin concentration prior to formulation with the pasteurization stabiliser N-Acetyl-DLTryptophan (the number of UF/DF procedures is dependent on the final albumin bulk concentration required). After formulation, the product is sterile filtered and aseptically filled via an automated filling line. The filled product is pasteurized at 60°C for 10.5 hours prior to being stored for a minimum 14 day incubation period at 30-32°C. Finally, a visual control is performed prior to an automated product labelling and packaging operation.

The process from suspension of the PPT to the end of incubation takes 18 days and the facility is designed initially to produce two batches per day. When fully operational, the facility will export product to the US and Europe while also producing commercial product for the local Australian and Asia Pacific markets. The Broadmeadows site has played a key role in CSL’s expansion strategy with over $610 million invested into the site in the past five years. The site opened a biotechnology manufacturing facility in May 2014, for the large-scale manufacture of novel recombinant therapies for international clinical trials, and in December 2015 opened the Turner facility for the manufacture of a therapy to treat immune disorders. The Broadmeadows site is home to Australia’s only plasma manufacturing facility and the only commercial scale facility of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

ABOVE: CSL’s new Broadmeadows albumin manufacturing plant. BELOW: Some of the laboratory-style, pharmaceuticalgrade equipment.

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Thyssenkrupp to build two large polymer plants The German engineering firm is to build two major polymer plants for SASA in Turkey.


hyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ subsidiary Uhde Inventa-Fischer has signed a contract to build two new world-scale polymer plants for SASA Polyester Sanayi A.Ş in Adana, Turkey. One plant will produce 380,000 tons per year of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for lowviscosity applications. The second plant will use Uhde Inventa-Fischer’s proprietary patented MTR technology to produce 216,000 tons per year of resin for the production of PET bottles. Both new plants are among the largest single-line production plants for their respective products. Werner Steinauer, CEO of Uhde Inventa-Fischer said: “We are very proud that SASA chose us to build another two state-of-the art PET plants after we were already contracted to build one of the largest polyester lines last year. Our commercially tried-and-tested MTR process provides our customers with optimised energy consumption, maximum utilization of feedstocks and effective plant operation, thus significantly reducing the total conversion cost compared with conventional


technologies.” The scope of delivery for both projects will include basic and detail engineering, the delivery of all necessary components, and technical services for erection, pre-commissioning and commissioning supervision. According to Steinauer: “The MTR process eliminates SSP (solid-state polycondensation) and leads to substantial energy savings. It reduces investment, operating and maintenance costs, has a higher raw material yield and results in products of superior quality. The MTR process is based on our proprietary 2-reactor technology, which uses the patented Espree and Discage reactors to obtain the desired high melt viscosities.” The design of the polycondensation plant will be based on the same proprietary technology, which in this case enables the production of quality polyester polymer. A characteristic feature of the plant is that the polymer melt will be conveyed directly from the polycondensation plant to several downstream lines.

BELOW: An example of a typical polymer plant built by Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions.

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Sometimes, simple is best when specifying the ideal actuator In this article, James Maslin* suggests that, for actuation challenges, fewer moving parts and reduced complexity usually equate to more reliability with less wear and downtime.


ne alternative to established thinking

in Australasia – though in widespread use globally – is presented by Airstroke actuators and the structurally identical Airmount Isolators. These flexible-wall, bellows-type air cylinders, produced by Firestone, are, in essence, tough fabric reinforced rubber balloons of different shapes engineered to perform different tasks. They can be small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, or more than a metre across and capable of producing 40,000 kg of force. They are typically used for high-force, low-stroke applications and for rapid cycle equipment. For many applications, including machinery actuation, a major advantage of the Airstroke air spring actuators is that they don't need the guides and seals found in traditional pneumatic cylinders. This difference is the key to many of their benefits in rigorous production environments, ranging from food and beverage and agribusiness processing through to mineral processing and conveying applications. Their forgiving performance – they’re easy to wash down and aren’t affected by water or grime – means they are also suited to food, beverage and primary production machinery and high-speed labelling, sealing and packaging tasks. Air springs are available in a variety of styles, sporting differing components that control the shape and path of axial extension, but their basic design is the same. In order to select the appropriate air spring, users need to know the force required to lift the mass, stroke needed and any special environmental concerns. A broad range of air springs is available to Australian industry. Airstroke actuators from Air Springs Supply, for example, give 40-40,000kg of pushing or lifting

power. Offering power strokes of up to 350mm, Airstrokes are powered by simple, basic compressor equipment found in nearly every factory.

APPLICATIONS Australian industrial plants use them as ram cylinders, die cushions, counterbalances, clamps, lifters, valve operators, flexible connectors, shock absorbers and isolators. They have even been used to lift an enormous coal dragline for maintenance. Australian and international uses have included:

ABOVE: A double convoluted air spring showing simple construction and top and bottom bead plates, through which air is introduced to produce axial extension.

•A  ctuation of mineral processing and primary product processing machinery, particularly where resistance to grimy environments is important • I solation of vibrating screens, generators, motors and compressor equipment •W  eb and cable tensioning and roll changing on presses and production machinery •C  onveyor stops and gravity gates; conveyor line actuation for direction changes and pallet handling •B  elt takeup and roller friction brake on conveyor equipment employed in process and packaging applications; skate wheel right angle gravity transfer section on a conveyor • Scissor lifts, gate valves and die strippers

James Maslin is national sales and marketing manager for Air Springs Supply, distributor of Firestone Industrial actuation and isolation products.

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Vortex solution for Aussie cement producer’s new plant Dry bulk solids specialist Vortex has supplied an Australian cement company with a Vortex Loading Spout for its new sand and slag drying plant.


or the project in Western Australia, the

cement company sought an effective solution for discharging dried blast furnace slag from a silo into open trailer trucks. The new plant was installed and began operations in 2016. Blast furnace slag is an important ingredient in the cement blending process. As such, it is a challenging dry material with unique and complex characteristics. Among the many challenges this cement company faces when loading dried blast furnace slag are: a moisture content under 0.5%; the materials are being discharged from a 500 tonne bulk silo; and the plant is designed to process approximately 60 tonnes of slag per hour. In the cement company’s process, the bulk silo can either load out materials onto a belt conveyor to be transported to storage or to additional processing equipment, or it can load out materials into open trailer trucks. With considerations around employee safety and dust emissions, the cement company opted to source a Vortex Loading Spout for use in its open loading application. In terms of detail, the spout has vertical travel of 3.35 metres and loadout capacity of 250 CFM (424.5 CMH). There is a four-cable lifting system and three-piece, CNC-machined pulley system. The spout has a centre mount motor, detachable dustless loading skirt and 10-year warranty on lifting cables. The Vortex Loading Spout was customisable to meet the cement company’s specified travel distance and loadout capacity. “Although this spout will primarily be loading product into open vessels, this cement company enjoyed the adaptability of Vortex Loading Spouts to be compatible in both open and enclosed loading applications,” said Laurence Millington, Vortex Global’s managing director. “By simply attaching or detaching a dustless loading skirt, the Vortex Loading Spout ensures material dusts will be contained when loading into either open or enclosed vessels.” Whether it be in open or enclosed loading

applications, Vortex says its four-cable lifting system can be the difference between continued operations and loadout shut-down. As each lifting cable has 180 kgs capacity, a four-cable system allows total resistance of 725 kgs, which provides a greater service factor and improved cable breakage resistance. With two- and three-cable lifting systems, if a cable is broken, the spout is imbalanced and thus cannot be extended or retracted until the cable is repaired or replaced. However, if a cable is broken in a four-cable lifting system, three cables remain, allowing the spout to continue operations until maintenance can be conveniently performed. The Vortex Loading Spout also features a pulley system designed to reduce the risk of spout misalignment, retracting imbalance, and cable wear. The Vortex pulley system utilises three-piece, CNC-machined pulleys with chamfered radius

ABOVE: Vortex Loading Spout installed below a silo.

“The spout has vertical travel of 3.35 metres and loadout capacity of 250 CFM (424.5 CMH).”

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FIG 1: Dust skirt animation. FIG 2: 4 cable hoist drive system. FIG 3: Spout Pulley


FIG 4: ECenter mount motor.


edges and precision cable grooves. “Because the pulleys are designed so that the grooves match the exact diameter of the lifting cables, the Vortex pulley system significantly reduces cable wear and backlashing as the spout extends and retracts,” said Millington. “We are confident in the lifespan of our lifting cables. Vortex offers a 10-year cable warranty for wear, tear and workmanship, in comparison to the industry’s standard one-year cable warranty.” The Vortex Loading Spout also features a centre mount motor. The drive unit is centre mounted beneath the main support pan assembly for better protection from the elements, and is easily accessible for service. As a standard, it features a premium motor/ reducer drive unit with an integral braking system, as well as forged idler rollers with double sealed roller bearings. These are used in place of simple stamped rollers with bushings. The premium unit further prevents spout cables from error when spooling during the extension and retraction processes.

Vortex is represented in Australia by Brolton Group.


RCR to develop $33m, 5km relocatable conveyor for Fortescue Diversified engineering and infrastructure company, RCR Tomlinson has been awarded a contract, valued at approximately $33 million, to design, manufacture and construct a five-kilometre relocatable conveyor system for Fortescue Metals Group.


his project is the first to emerge under

an innovation and development Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between RCR and Fortescue, targeted at identifying improved productivity and efficiency initiatives across Fortescue’s iron ore operations. According to RCR, the relocatable conveyor system has been identified as a key productivity initiative for future ore deposits and will be trialled at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak Mine. RCR will lead the design, manufacture and construction of the relocatable conveyor system for Fortescue, to be delivered as

part of a joint venture with an Indigenous business partner. RCR managing director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish said “RCR has a long history in materials handling and has focused on the concepts of In-Pit Crushing and Conveying, IPCC, which has culminated in this relationship with Fortescue. “RCR and Fortescue have each developed unique positions in the industry as innovators and first movers on smart technology. RCR, working with Fortescue, is excited about the opportunity to use engineering intelligence to provide a solution which will ultimately lead to ongoing reductions in the cost of production for iron ore.

“We look forward to working with Fortescue and supporting our partner to develop this innovative solution at Fortescue’s operations in the Pilbara,” concluded Dr Dalgleish.

ABOVE: Mining at Cloudbreak. Fortescue foresees productivity benefits from a five kilometre relocatable conveyer at the site.

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T c e

m b n g p

t s b w s t


Concetti supplies Portugese petfood packaging line

T p t m T t g

Concetti has recently supplied a complete bag filling and palletising line to Maxipet Lda, a Portugese animal nutrition company with a new factory at Águas Belas in the centre of the country.


he international dry petfood market is

a sophisticated and highly competitive one, with a wide and constantly expanding range of packaging formats, especially at plants supplying own-label products to other brand owners. Unless a manufacturer invests in several different and expensive packaging systems, a single line must be capable not only of managing the widest possible range but also of adapting to new bag weights, types and sizes according to changing market demands. In addition, it must have an easy changeover regime otherwise short job runs become costly and uneconomic. This is one of the reasons why Maxipet selected Concetti, a specialist in providing flexible and adaptable packaging systems. At Maxipet, the Concetti line handles any pack weight between 1.5 and 20Kg using open mouth bags made from paper, plasticised raffia (woven polypropylene), PE and aluminium foil, with and

without handles or resealable zip, with easy opening features, stabilos and so on. All bag sizes, within the limits of the machine, can be handled giving Maxipet the maximum opportunity to exploit almost every sector of the dry petfood market. Bags can be heat sealed or sewn closed as required. In addition to pre-made bags, the line has a form-fill-seal capability and can produce bags from low cost continuous reels of tubular PE film giving the user the possibility of long production runs without the need to constantly replenish the bag magazine. The compact arrangement begins with a belt and vibratory fed high-speed net weigher, which doses product in precise quantities to a Concetti IGF1200+FFS bagging machine via a drop through metal detector on the discharge outlet. The IGF1200 incorporates both a heat sealer and a sewing head with the closure type being set as part of the programme. When the sealing bars

ABOVE: Complete pet food packaging line at the new animal feed plant in Portugal.

“ For the operator, changing from one product or bag to another is done simply by loading a new programme via the IGF keyboard.”


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The patented design features a roll mounted eccentrically between the are in use the sewing head is automatically raised. crushing and the screening chamber

Thomas Jabs, head of mining systems in the industrial solutions business area commented: “With its efficient continuous operation the Barracuda will help significantly reduce both operating costs and CO2 emissions at the Yiminhe mine. This is a good example of our innovative mining solutions that create value for our customers and at the same time protect resources.” Thanks to its compact design and special bucket wheel configuration the Barracuda is also able to remove hard material layers. “Combined mining and loading within a single machine also eliminates the need for dangerous and environmentally harmful blasting and separate loading operations,” explained Jabs. “The new system will therefore ensure continuing safe and efficient open pit operation in Yiminhe.” The new bucket wheel excavator overburden system combines a Barracuda-C bucket wheel excavator with a capacity of 6,700 loose cubic metres per hour with a belt wagon, a conveyor system and a spreader. The scope of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions includes engineering, delivery, erection supervision and commissioning of the complete system. The Barracuda will be used in Yiminhe to strip overburden and mine coal. After being extracted by the Barracuda the material will be taken by the belt wagon to the conveyor system, which will transfer the overburden to the dumping site. Dumping of the material will be carried out by the spreader system with a throughput rate of up to 10,000 tons per hour. thyssenkrupp has a long and successful partnership with China Huaneng Group: Among other things, in 2006 it supplied a fully mobile crushing plant and conveyor line to the Chinese mine which is still in operation today.

Gussets are closely retained throughout the filling and sealing operation. The second stream with coarse material is transported to the Conveyors transfer larger packs directly crushing chamber and reduced between the eccentrically mountto a 4-column PS-3A/18S-4S robot ed roll Concetti and the chamberwalls. palletiser, specially designed to permit overlapping In addition to higher production, this design also requires less of bags when necessary to minimise or maintenance. Keeping the fine material out avoid of the crushing chamoverhang and consumption possible damage during berpallet reduces the power of the electric motor and significantly reduces the load on the machine. An integrated automatic transportation. gap adjustment system safety device also offers good The PS-3A with with side overload and top compression protection into thegive event non-crushable material. combines allof the benefits of aforeign layer palletiser “Theneat, symmetric arrangement of the permits the eccenwith square pallet stacks and theroll flexibility tric roll crusher to be balanced with great precision,” said Thysof a single column robot. Smaller packs of 1.5 and FIG 1 senkrupp’s publicity. “With additional balancing weights it can 2Kg are diverted through a collation shrink system, be balanced almost completely. This lowers machine vibrations included as part of the line, to wrap multiple packs when idling and significantly reduces the loads on surrounding into bales with PE film easier palletising and That makes structures compared withfor other primary crushers. more efficient handling at the retailer. the new crusher ideal for use in mobile crushing systems.” An empty pallet dispenser supplies the pallets and a bottom sheet dispenser applies a clean card or Compact bucket wheel excavator Thyssenkrupp has won its first orderbegins. for its new Barracuda compaperboard sheet before stacking Finished pact bucket excavator. China Huaneng Group pallets arewheel conveyed to an automatic rotating armhas ordered thestretch bucketwrapper, wheel excavator-based overburden system from the which applies stretch film to mining unit the company’s industrial solutionsinbusiness area. unitise andofsecure the load for safer handling the The order is worth more than 40 million. The Barracuda is due warehouse and during road transport. to go into operation at the Yiminhe open-pit mine in Inner MonOf course, multi-format lines are not new. golia in 2018. Concetti says: “What makes our approach different is the extreme versatility and the rapid changeovers from a single operator position without any time consuming mechanical or spanner adjustments. The separate machines are controlled by individual PLCs but these are linked together by a network. Servomotors make the physical adjustments needed for changes in bag length or width, seal FIG 2 type and so on. Each programme is then simply an array of adjustable parameters such as timer changes. All that remains for the operator is to or counter values set up during works testing and supply the correct product, bags and pallets and commissioning to suit each product and bag size.” the line is ready to go. FIGURE 1: Bagging For the operator, changing from one product A modem is fitted on the network allowing machine for preor bag to another is done simply by loading a Concetti’s engineers in Italy to provide after-market made open mouth bags. new programme via the IGF keyboard. This is teleservice support over an internet connection and Operation of the eccentric roll crusher. Model of the Barracuda compact bucket wheel excavator. The first model will go into operation at a a standard Concetti feature when supplying also permiting software modifications to be made FIGURE 2: Concetti’s Chinese mine in 2018. line at Maxipet. a complete line and makes for quick product quickly without the need to visit site.


... If so, you can now expand your capabilities by joining the Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling. The Society has a mission to enhance the discipline of bulk solids handling through research, education and sound engineering practice. Further information on the Society’s activities, its Constitution and registration procedures are available from the: Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling The University of Newcastle University Dr, Callaghan, NSW 2308 Phone: (02) 4033 9039 | Fax: (02) 4033 9044 Email:

Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling


Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2017

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Fonterra pours $165m into Australian expansions In a bid to capitalise on booming dairy market conditions, Fonterra Australia is investing $165m in a range of sites in Victoria and Tasmania.


he investment was first signalled by the

dairy co-operative’s CEO Theo Spierings in November last year. It is made up of new investment of around $130 million to put in 500 million litres of additional capacity, and a further $35 million for a range of annual site improvements as part of its regular capital investment plan in Australia. The new expansions include: a $125m spend on the Stanhope cheese facility in northern Victoria which will double the size of the cheese plant; a $12m investment in Tasmania, which includes expansion to the Wynyard cheese plant and an increase in lactose processing capacity at Spreyton; a further $7m expansion at the Darnum

nutritionals plant in Gippsland as well as the installation of two robotic palletisers in Bayswater in eastern Victoria to improve efficiency; $13.5m for projects at Cobden and another $8.6m at Dennington in western Victoria. Mr René Dedoncker, managing director of Fonterra Australia, says customers want trusted supply options out of Australia, especially for products like cheese, whey and nutritional powders which are in high demand. “We have a clear strategy that is delivering sustainable returns. To create value, we need to invest to stay ahead of the demand curve. These investments support our aim to secure positive returns back to our farmers on both sides of the

BELOW: René Dedoncker, managing director of Fonterra Australia stands where one of the company’s new cheese plants will be built. Fonterra’s spending on new capacity comes against a background of booming demand for dairy products.

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Bonfiglioli adds four HDO gearbox sizes Bonfiglioli is introducing to Australasia new sizes for its HDO drives aimed at heavy duty applications in mining and bulk handling.


he new HDO sizes

ABOVE: Infographic showing the location of Fonterra’s new investments.

Tasman,” he said. Dedoncker added that Fonterra Australia will play to its strengths in cheese, whey, nutritionals, and butter, increasing production capacity to meet rising domestic and global demand, but filling its expanded capacity would mean securing more supply. Dedoncker says the Stanhope investment largely focuses on expanding the site’s cheese making capacity, and doubling the daily milk volumes it can process. The investment will double the size of the cheese plant, increasing cheese production by a further 35,000 metric tonnes for a range of cheeses including cheddar and mozzarella. Stanhope can currently produce 45,000 metric tonnes of product including cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, parmesan, pecorino, romano and ricotta. At Fonterra Australia’s largest site of Cobden, $13.5m is earmarked for robotic palletisers and improvements to the butter plant that produces butter brand Western Star, while another $8.6m is being invested at Dennington in a new 25kg packing line for nutritional powders and efficiency improvements. The $9.7m Wynyard investment will support an annual increase in cheddar cheese production by around 3,900 metric tonnes and increase the daily milk volumes processed from 1.3 million litres to 1.5 million. At Darnum, the $7m investment will support higher production of nutritional powders, whole and skim milk powders for the domestic and international export markets. Dedoncker said more capacity needs more milk and Fonterra Australia is working hard to secure this. “Our Australian milk pool has grown by 400 million litres this season, and with this new investment we plan to grow our milk further which we expect will come through growth from our existing farmers who wish to grow, coupled with milk from new suppliers joining Fonterra.” Fonterra Australia’s total milk intake is now 2 billion litres in Victoria and Tasmania.

– 71, 81, 91 and 95 – complement the existing Bonfiglioli range from HDO 100-180, which cater to torque requirements from 31,790 to 209,900 Nm. The new smaller sizes have torque outputs from 6,800 to 23,200 Nm and are made from a monobloc housing design for added rigidity. “The new HDO sizes have significant advantages in arduous applications and harsh conditions common in Australian industry,” explained Bonfiglioli Australia managing director, Malcolm Lewis. “For example, the HDO drives use case hardened gears, which are stronger and more durable.” The HDO is a rectangular bevel helical gearbox, as opposed to square helical bevel gearboxes used in less demanding applications. The backstop (or anti-run-back) is positioned on the outside of the HDO drives, which makes it accessible for maintenance. The whole drive does not need to be dismantled to access it. Another feature of the new HDO gearboxes is their symmetrical design. They are designed with both horizontal

and vertical symmetry for ease of installation in a wide variety of customer applications. “The new HDO sizes are ideally suited to Australian industrial applications. They have a number of installation, performance and maintenance benefits and are built for optimum reliability and performance,” said Lewis. “Applications that will benefit from the new HDO sizes include floating cells, apron feeders, conveyors, cranes, bucket elevators, asphalt and other mixers, aerators and band screeners.” The new HDO drives will be engineered and assembled locally in Bonfiglioli’s Glendenning facility in NSW and delivered nation-wide through its distribution network. Local stock is expected to arrive in Australia soon. The new HDO sizes will also come with an ATEX-certified option for use in explosive atmospheres, the HDO-EX. This option comes with compliance certificates for painting, surface protection, mounting and sensors, along with ATEX application verification. Contact:

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Australian agriculture in investment upswing Strong investment flows are expected into Australian agriculture in 2018 with a positive performance forecast for the sector in the year ahead, according to Rabobank’s just-released Agribusiness Outlook 2018.


n its flagship annual research

report, the agribusiness banking specialist forecasts healthy appetite for investment in Australian agri in 2018, from both farmers and agribusinesses as well as outside investors. The bank anticipates a positive year for Australian agriculture overall, with many commodities experiencing improved market conditions, and the sector as a whole “reaping the benefits of a positive global environment”. The report’s lead author, RaboResearch general manager Tim Hunt says the “positive story” of Australian agriculture has generated considerable investment activity both from within and outside the sector in 2017 and this is set to continue in the year ahead.

late 2017, underpinned by improving prices in a number of agricultural commodities and growing appetite for expansion in others,” he said.


The report says the strengthening global economy – along with a number of other supportive economic and market factors – is helping to underpin the positive outlook for Australian agriculture. “The world economy is travelling well with a synchronised global upswing set to deliver another year of economic growth of around 3.7 per cent, which should flow through to rising consumer demand,” Mr Hunt said. “In addition, while the Australian dollar has risen in the early part of this year, it is not too strong to compete in world markets and we expect it to soften as the year goes “ Agricultural land values have on. Interest rates are low, been rising in many areas, particularly ensuring competitive financing since late 2017.” costs. “The agricultural input market is also generally “Farmers and agribusinesses’ own supportive for farmers, with low fertiliser plans to invest in the sector are at robust prices, good irrigation water availability levels across commodities,” he said. at low prices in the Southern Murray“While outside investment interest Darling Basin and feed available for the will also remain high as the structural livestock sector.” story of Australian agriculture – which Mr Hunt said while freight rates were includes population growth and rising on the rise globally – increasing the cost incomes offshore and consumers ‘trading of shipping produce to market – this was up’ in their diets, as well as improved helping to restore some of Australia’s market access for Australian product – is competitiveness in grains markets closer overlaid by positive cycles in the livestock to home, in particular South East Asia. and wine sectors in particular.” And while climatic conditions Significant investment growth remained a risk, the local weather in AgTech will also continue at both outlook was currently benign, with no corporate and start-up levels, he said. over-arching major climate force to Mr Hunt said the increased “fear or celebrate”. investment appetite across the agri sector was manifesting in a significant rise in COMMODITY OUTLOOKS the value of agricultural land. In terms of individual commodities, “Agricultural land values have been recent stellar performers wool and wine rising in many areas, particularly since are tipped to remain strong into 2018,

ABOVE: RaboResearch general manager Tim Hunt.

with prices also expected to remain supported in a number of other key sectors, the report says. Wheat – prices will continue to be weighed down in 2018, following another record year of global wheat production in 2017, and with forecast global 2017/18 ending stocks set to reach a new record of 273 million tonnes. Prospects for market strengthening have however emerged, with Rabobank forecasting a limited price appreciation in the global benchmark over the coming year. Barley - forecasts for the lowest global ending stocks in more than 30 years and ongoing strength in Australian livestock markets are set to keep barley prices elevated. Dairy – the road to recovery resumes, the Rabobank report says, with trading conditions for dairy farmers to be broadly attractive, and processor ownership issues resolving. Growth in the global exportable dairy surpluses will however continue to expand in the first quarter of the year, putting ongoing pressure on global prices. However, the bank isn’t expecting these surpluses to overwhelm the global market. China’s import appetite for dairy is also forecast to remain buoyant during the year. Sugar – Rabobank expects the global sugar market to return to surplus in the 2017/18 season, with plentiful supply underpinning a subdued market outlook. Cotton – the commodity is off to a strong start in 2018, supported by long positions taken by speculators and a large number of on-call sales (cotton already purchased but where price has not yet been fixed by mills). Market fundamentals are, however, likely to become more influential in the second half of the year, presenting downside risks to the current high prices.

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US miller turns to BFM fittings Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods Inc is switching its plant in Milwaukie, Oregon from traditional hose-clamp connectors to patented BFM snap-fit connectors. Bo Thomas, Bob’s Red Mill superintendent of engineering and maintenance, filled ABHR in on developments.


ob’s Red Mill Natural Foods Inc produces

a range of flours, meals and cereals in its US factory. The company operate 13 stone grinding mills, each producing about 400 kilos of flours or meals per hour. Quartz millstones, operating at slow speed and cool temperatures, preserve nutrients and flavour better than modern high-speed steel rollers. Products move from a mill to a horizontal vibratory screener and are discharged at a controlled rate to a packaging machine’s auger feeder. This was originally connected via a clamp-and-sleeve assembly (see ‘Before’ illustration). Since each packaging machine is designed to package more than one product, operators must thoroughly clean the screener and feeder between product runs to prevent cross-contamination. To access the equipment interiors, operators used a screw driver and wrench to loosen the clamps and remove the sleeve. After cleaning the equipment, operators reinstalled the connectors, repeating this process several times each shift to ensure product quality. According to Bo Thomas, the clamp-and-sleeve connectors required a lot of maintenance and leaked product into the facility. “The clamps were a pain as some of them were difficult to access and the time it took to remove and reinstall the connectors reduced our packaging efficiency” said Thomas. “Dust also occasionally escaped onto the equipment through the connection points, causing safety, housekeeping, labour, and product-loss problems.” Operators could also unknowingly install a sleeve so tight between the equipment that the vibration from the screener would transfer to the auger feeder. “This was a problem because the vibration caused the material to dribble out of the feeder and throw off the bag weights,” said Thomas. Thomas first saw the flexible, snap-fit BFM fittings at a food expo. The device was invented

in New Zealand by Blair McPheat and is now sold internationally and used by companies such as Nestle, Danone, Bayer and Pfizer. “When we saw the fittings, we knew they’d improve the equipment cleanout time,” said Thomas, who immediately ordered two BFM connector fittings from a local supplier. Since installing the two connector fittings in the packaging lines (see ‘after’ illustration), the time it takes the operators to remove them to clean the equipment has been reduced, which has helped

ABOVE: Patented BFM fitting. FIGURE 1: Before: a clamp-andsleeve assembly in operation at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods plant in Oregon. FIGURE 2: After: one of the patented snap-in BFM fittings in situ at the Bob’s Red Mill facility.

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decrease maintenance requirements and improve packaging efficiency. “The fittings are easy to maintain and completely tool-free,” said Thomas. “Operators just pop them out, clean out the equipment, and then pop them back in. And because the fittings are a set length, they install the same way every time, so there’s no longer a potential for them to be installed too tightly. “Since installing the first two fittings, we’ve been replacing all of the remaining clampand-sleeve connectors in the facility with BFM fittings. We have more than 50 installed throughout the plant at this time. I’ve been putting them everywhere there’s a transfer point because they make things so much easier for our operators.” BFM Global won the award for Innovative Technology at the 2009 Australian Bulk Handling Awards. Contact:

BFM seeks Aussie distributors

According to Conan Christmas, business development manager - Asia Pacific, at BFM Global, the organisation is growing rapidly and looking for more regional distributors in Australia. “Our ideal distributor would be an independent local importer and wholesaler of branded complementary componentry for use specifically in the bulk materials and powder handling sectors,” he said. Contact:

349_Treotham.indd 61

Medium voltage cable for energy supply systems on crane installations

Motion plastic specialist, Igus has developed a new Chainflex medium voltage cable – Cfcrane.Pur – for very long travels, for example in crane facilities.


ccording to Igus, motor cables of this

series are flexible and oil resistant. As a retrofit solution or for special projects, Treotham offers the new series of cables from stock. In the crane and bulk handling sectors, installations are getting bigger, busier and more energy hungry. This puts extra pressure on components which need to handle increased loads. Igus says its Cfcrane.Pur series is designed for such applications. The company’s publicity says: “These are particularly suitable for very long travels up to 1,000 metres. They can be used in indoor and outdoor applications due to the special conductor structure as well as the combination of the materials used. The new Cfcrane.Pur has a diameter that is up to 20 percent smaller than conventional motor cables. The cables have been developed for bend radii of 10xd moving in e-chains.” Treotham says its project engineering team can assist customers utilise the new cable for special projects, offering advice from the planning stage.

ABOVE: Igus Chainflex 6/10kV motor cable with PUR outer jacket for energy supply systems up to 1,000 metres in length.


13/02/2018 10:53:34 AM


Silo quaking or honking is a perennial problem around discharging silos. The phenomenon can be problematic for workers, with loud foghorn-type blasts, as well as damaging to silos. In this article, two academics – Tu and Vimonsatit – detail their work in developing a numerical model that provides a solid theoretical framework for understanding exactly what is going on in silo quaking situations. While much work still needs to be done, this research shows real promise for silo designers and repairers.

Structural analysis and design of silo structure to prevent silo quaking


ilo quaking is a common industrial

problem that has occurred since the construction of the first silo. The quake causes several problems, which could lead to structural connections failure, reduced fatigue life of structural connections, computer data corruption, on-site personnel discomfort, loss of production, and increase in maintenance costs. However, it has been demonstrated that the silo quaking phenomenon can be prevented by providing sufficient stiffness, damping and mass to counterbalance the pulsating loads and mass losses produced by the flowing granules. In this paper, a numerical model incorporating time-varying mass will be presented to explain the dynamics of silo during discharge and how it can be applied to prevent the silo quaking phenomenon. The presented numerical model supports the theory that pulsation loads occur in almost all bins and whether the induced dynamic loads cause any quaking problems are dependent on the severity of the loads, natural frequencies of the bin and its supporting structure. The flow of granular material from a silo is often associated with self-excited [1] vibrations commonly known as Silo Quaking or Silo Honking. The vibrations have frequencies ranging from 1Hz to within audible range. The vibration starts as soon as the ore is discharged, the motion quickly intensifies and dissipates as the hopper-discharge gate closes. As such, the motion repeats itself as the hopper-discharge gate opens to discharge the ore into another truck or train wagon. The quaking causes several problems, which could lead to structural connections failure, reduced fatigue life of structural connections, computer data corruption, on-site personnel discomfort and health related issues, loss of production, increase in maintenance costs and catastrophic failure as noted

by Chou, Chuang, Smid, Hsiau and Kuo [2]. It is believed that pulsation loads occur in most bins, whether the induced pulsating loads cause silo quake depends on the severity of the load, natural frequencies of the bin and its supporting structure [3]. Furthermore, Kmita [1] identified the silo quaking phenomena as a system of self-induced vibration. The silo quaking phenomenon has been identified by Tu and Vimonsatit [4] as a timevarying mass structural dynamic problem. Tu and Vimonsatit [4] formulated a mathematical equation, named Equation of Silo Quaking, to describe the silo quaking phenomenon by incorporating expertise from aeronautical engineering, earthquake engineering and material handling. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the Equation of Silo Quaking can be implemented in practice to prevent silo quaking. The reader must appreciate that time-varying mass structural dynamics is a specialised area of engineering, and current structural analysis software are not designed to solve Equation of Silo Quaking. Therefore, it is recommended that the reader seeks appropriate expertise to solve actual silo quaking problems. Furthermore, the first author had applied for patent protection (AU 2017903256) on the technology developed to detect, analyse and suppress silo quake and parts of the patent application are described herein.

Phung Tu Phung Tu is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Civil Engineering, Curtin University. His research is on silo quaking. He is also a specialist structural consultant at Flow Without Quake..

EQUATION OF SILO QUAKING As demonstrated by Tu and Vimonsatit [4], the current methods of dynamic structural analyses are not suitable for analysing the dynamic response of the silo structure subjected to pulsating loads and mass losses generated by the flowing granules. The formulations to date only consider time-varying forces and assume that the mass, stiffness and damping remain constant throughout the solution

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Equation 1 where: is the acceleration at time . is the velocity at time . is the displacement at time . is the time. is the mass of the system at time .

process. However, the principles of structural dynamics state that the response of the structure subjected to the dynamic load is influenced by its mass, damping and stiffness. During silo discharge, the total mass of the structure changes with time, therefore the response of the silo structure also changes. Additionally, the mass loss will also cause the structure to vibrate to maintain its equilibrium. As such, during discharge, the silo is considered as a time-varying mass dynamic system [4]. Following the work of Tu and Vimonsatit [4], the silo quaking phenomena can be accurately predicted by combining expertise from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), earthquake engineering and material handling industries. Tu and Vimonsatit [4] demonstrated that the silo quaking phenomena could be prevented by providing sufficient stiffness, damping and mass to counterbalance the pulsating forces and mass losses generated by the flowing granules. The formulation presented by Tu and Vimonsatit [4] is generic and can be applied to all silos irrespective of granular material, flow functions, silo shape and silo construction. Most importantly, such approached had been validated by an industrial application [4]. Equation 1 represents the instantaneous dynamic equilibrium of a variable mass problem such as the silo vibration during discharge. At any instance during discharge, the summation of the time-varying forces at each time step must equal the restoring forces at the time step for the structure maintain its equilibrium. The restoring forces are generated by the displacement of the supporting structure or the response of the supporting structure. Therefore, if sufficient mass, damping and stiffness were provided in the supporting structure, the displacement of the supporting structure would be less for the same pulsating force. As such, the silo quaking phenomena can be accurately predicted and effectively prevented. The forces generated by the flow of the granules can be computed with Discrete Element Analysis, Particle Hydrodynamics and many other numerical methods currently presented in the literature. However, the forces computed by such methods must be sufficient for time-varying mass transient dynamic analysis as suggested by Equation 1.

is the critical damping. is the stiffness of the system at time . is the mass loss at time . is the resultant dynamic force generated by the flowing granules and mass loss at time .

Furthermore, the effect of mass losses must be incorporated into Equation 1 for accuracy. Figure 1 presents a simplified dynamic model for a typical silo structure. As illustrated in Figure 1, the typical silo structure experiences motion in the vertical, horizontal and torsional directions during material discharge. As such, the support structure needs to be structurally designed in accordance to the methodology presented in Equation 1 to resist the forces and mass losses generated the flowing granules.

FIGURE 1: A simplified dynamic model of the silo [4]. FIGURE 2: Dimensions of test silo [4]. FIGURE 3: Resultant instantaneous dynamic forces for Experiment 6 [4].


TIME-VARYING MASS TRANSIENT DYNAMIC ANALYSIS The experimental results presented herein were supplied by Tu and Vimonsatit [4] for the purposes of this paper. Details regarding the experiments can be found in Tu and Vimonsatit [4]. In total, fifty experiments were conducted for the silo shown in Figure 2 for lower hopper opening size of 400mm, 350mm, 300mm, 250mm and 200mm. However, for this paper, only one experiment was selected. The selected experiment, Experiment 6, was conducted using a 400mm hopper.



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The instantaneous dynamic forces and accelerograms generated by the flowing iron ore granules are shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4 respectively. Figure 3 demonstrates that the resultant dynamic force fluctuates throughout the discharge cycle. Furthermore, Figure 4 and Figure 5 illustrate that the accelerogram contains multiple amplitudes and frequencies respectively, similar to an earthquake accelerogram. The frequencies shown in Figure 5 was analysed and decomposed using Complete Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition with Adaptive Noise [5] (CEEMDAN) signal processing technique. CEEMDAN is a variation of the original Empirical Mode Decomposition [6] (EMD) algorithm that provides an exact reconstruction of the original signal and a better spectral separation of the Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMFs). EMD, originated from NASA, is an adaptive

time-space analysis method suitable for processing time–frequency data that are non-stationary and non-linear. As illustrated by Figure 5, the flowing granules appear to excite multiple frequencies at each instance of time throughout the discharge cycle. Excitation frequencies between 20Hz and 20000Hz are within the audible spectrum and may be heard by humans if the amplitudes of vibration are large enough. As such, the silo structure cannot be designed for a single load at a single frequency. The silo structure must be analysed and designed using time varying mass transient dynamic analysis as suggested by Equation 1. The time varying mass transient dynamic analysis technique illustrated in Equation 1 is a combination of the traditional transient dynamic analysis and time varying mass dynamic analysis. Transient dynamic analysis

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is a structural analysis approach adopted by the earthquake engineering profession to provide the structure with sufficient mass, damping and stiffness to resist the ground motion during an earthquake. However, the traditional transient dynamic analysis does not take into account the time varying mass characteristics associated with silo flow. Whereas, the time varying mass structural dynamic technique typically belongs to the aerospace engineering profession. It is demonstrated in Figure 6 and Figure 7 that using transient dynamic analysis, with the forces shown in Figure 3 without considering the time varying mass characteristics can lead to over estimation or under estimation of the dynamic response of the structure. The accuracy of the calculated values depends heavily on the mass values used in the analyses. However, as illustrated in Figure 8, when the forces shown in Figure 3 are applied with Equation 1, the computed results are quite comparable with experimental values. A further analysis by adding additional 550 kilograms of mass illustrates that the amplitudes of vibration can be effectively dampened. As such, it can be concluded that the silo quaking phenomenon can be prevented by applying the principles shown in the equation of silo quaking (Equation 1).

INFLUENCE OF SOIL STIFFNESS A design of a structure would be incomplete without considerations given to the type of foundation and soil to which the silo structure is rested on. Soil mechanics is a branch of civil engineering that deals with the engineering properties of soil under stress [7]. It has been established in soil mechanics that the properties and behaviour of the soil change significantly when subjected to frequent dynamic loadings. The frequent dynamic loadings are often imposed by machinery, wind and earthquake [8]. Such dynamic loadings can cause permanent settlement, damage to the structure itself and surrounding structures. In the context of this paper, the source of dynamic loading is from the flowing granules. Generally, in structural design, the soil is considered to be an elastic medium with a certain stiffness, and the stiffness is dependent on soil properties. As such, the soil stiffness can influence the overall stiffness of the silo structure as


demonstrated in Equation 2 [9]. As demonstrated in Equation 2, the stiffness of the soil can reduce the resultant stiffness of the structure significantly. Such reduction in the overall stiffness of the structure may affect the overall response of the structure. As such, the soil properties must also be considered in the design of the silo structure to avoid the silo quaking phenomenon.

CONCLUSION Silo quaking phenomenon is a very complex industrial problem that has been occurring since the first silo. However, it can be concluded with confidence that the phenomenon is a time-varying mass structural dynamic problem and that the vibration is self-induced. The time-varying forces are self-generated due to the fluctuating flow rates, interactions between the granular particles and interactions between the granular particle and the silo wall material. In summary, Equation 1 represents the dynamic equilibrium of the silo supporting structure during discharge. It must be noted that the mass losses alone without pulsating loads can cause the silo to vibrate to restore its equilibrium as demonstrated by Equation 1. Most importantly the silo quaking phenomenon can be prevented by providing sufficient stiffness, damping and mass in the supporting structure to counterbalance the pulsating forces and mass losses for the entire duration of the discharge cycle. Such methodology has been successfully implemented in practice by the author in the structural design of a 2500 tonnes silo. The dynamic properties of the silo structure change with respect to the varying mass of the overall structure. For the silo structure to maintain its dynamic equilibrium, it has to deflect or sway thus such phenomenon is called silo quaking. The equation of silo quaking gives a solid theoretical framework for design engineers to repair existing silos that are experiencing the silo quaking phenomenon and a solid foundation to investigate the silo quaking phenomenon. It is important to note that much more research is needed to accurately predict the flow rates, associated dynamic forces and granular structure interactions.

Equation 2 where: is the resultant stiffness of the structure. is the stiffness of the structure. is the stiffness of the soil..

REFERENCES: [1] J. Kmita, Silo as a System of SelfInduced Vibration, Journal of Structural Engineering, 111 (1985). [2] C.S. Chou, Y.C. Chuang, J. Smid, S.S. Hsiau, J.T. Kuo, Flow patterns and stresses on the wall in a moving granular bed with eccentric discharge, Advanced Powder Technology, 13 (2002) 1-23. [3] Roberts, Pulsating Loads in Silos During Discharge - A Review, in: 1996 National Conference on Bulk Materials Handling, Melbourne Australia, 1996, pp. 13. [4] P. Tu, V. Vimonsatit, Silo Quaking of Iron Ore Train Load Out Bin – A Time-Varying Mass Structural Dynamic Problem, Advanced Powder Technology, 28 (2017) 3014-3025. [5] M.A. Colominas, G. Schlotthauer, M.E. Torres, Improved complete ensemble EMD: A suitable tool for biomedical signal processing, Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, 14 (2014) 19-29. [6] N.E. Huang, Z. Shen, S.R. Long, M.C. Wu, H.H. Shih, Q. Zheng, N.-C. Yen, C.C. Tung, H.H. Liu, The Empirical Mode Decomposition and the Hilbert Spectrum for Nonlinear and Non-Stationary Time Series Analysis, Proceedings: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 454 (1998) 903-995. [7] B.M. Das, G.V. Ramana, Principles of Soil Dynamics, 2 ed., Cengage Learning, India, 2011. [8] K.G. Bhatia, Foundations for Industrial Machines: Handbook for Practising Engineers, 1 ed., D-Cad, New Delhi, 2008. [9] D.R. Blevins, Formulas for Natural Frequency and Mode Shape, 1 ed., Malabar, Florida, Krieger Publishing Company, 2001.

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Australia Bulk Handling Review  

Issue Jan/Feb 2018

Australia Bulk Handling Review  

Issue Jan/Feb 2018