VOLUME 24, ISSUE 6 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
In this issue: Food processing feature Weighing in on belt conveyors International attention for BULK2020
FROM HEAD TO TAIL
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CONTENTS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
11-15 Buckhurst St South Melbourne VIC 3205 T: 03 9690 8766 www.primecreativemedia.com.au Publisher Christine Clancy E: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor William Arnott E: email@example.com Business Development Manager Luke Ronca E: firstname.lastname@example.org Client Success Manager Janine Clements E: email@example.com Design Production Manager Michelle Weston E: firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Blake Storey
8 Two new Inland Rail contracts open
15 CBH upgrades storage infrastructure
30 X marks the spot
9 Open day for Fenner Dunlop Brisbane
16 New laws require registration of Victorian engineers
10 New CEO for thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Australia
17 Domestic grain demand to overtake supply
11 Builder chosen for massive waste-to-energy plant
20 Boral gears up to deliver on Queensland’s growing infrastructure needs
12 Metso completes acquisition of Chinese company 13 GFG Alliance awards major bulk-handling contract 14 Drought hits sugar-cane harvest
24 Fertile ground for bulk infrastructure growth 26 International exhibitors see value in BULK2020 28 LINAK protects local farm equipment builder’s brand
FOOD PROCESSING 38 Making food movement a breeze 40 Aussie brewers build world’s best bulk malting plant
32 Vale’s Vargem Grande conveyor lagging challenge 34 Judging bulk by the cover: buying the right bagging system 36 Lincom Warrior helps build port 52 Lighter, faster, safer: Engineering HDPE conveyor guards 54 Common welding and fabrication defects and how to solve them 58 Weighing in on belt conveyors 62 Member Profile: Leon Fabrikanov
42 Unchained productivity possibilities 44 Controlling coffee to brew bulk beans
Design Jo De Bono, Kerry Pert, Madeline McCarty Subscriptions T: 03 9690 8766 E: email@example.com
www.bulkhandlingreview.com The Publisher reserves the right to alter or omit any article or advertisement submitted and requires indemnity from the advertisers and contributors against damages or liabilities that may arise from material published. © Copyright – No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the permission of the publisher.
POWDER HANDLING 46 Ask an Engineer: Not everyone wants to have their cake and eat it
50 Grow with the Flow
VOLUME 24, ISSUE 6 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
In this issue: Food processing feature Weighing in on belt conveyors International attention for BULK2020
FROM HEAD TO TAIL
4 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
HEAD TO TAIL SYNERGY SUPPORTS SAFETY SOLUTIONS Fenner Dunlop’s diverse engineering expertise has helped them develop innovative inventions and practices to dramatically improve safety across the industry. Fenner Dunlop’s Engineered Conveyor Solutions team has helped one of Australia’s biggest mining companies boost the safety of its transport operators with a new type of belt reel and have also developed a new method of splicing belts without the use of a knife. For the full story, see page 18.
Optimized design results in up to 40% less wear parts related downtime This is how we make the big difference, the Metso Way.
Every grinding mill is unique. They do however have one thing in common. They need to be operational. Liner changes need to happen quickly and safely. Every day we work to find new and better ways to keep mills around the world up and running. Experience from over 8,000 mills world-wide combined with the marketâ€™s widest range of grinding wear parts and services mean we can select exactly the right parts for your mill. We can offer and combine Metallic, Poly-Met, Rubber, Orebed and Megaliner mill liners as well as Grinding media. What makes your grinding mill unique? Make sure you have the right parts for the job with Metso. Find out how Metso grinding wears and services can make the big difference for your mill at metso.com/GrindingWears #TheMetsoWay
Changing climates Australia is one of the only countries in the world to produce more food than it consumes. However, our food security is under threat. Rising temperatures, harsh droughts and extreme weather events pose serious risks for the distribution, quality and affordability of the country’s food supply, according to the Climate Council of Australia’s Climate change, food and farming in Australia report. The report finds that water scarcity, heat stress and increased climatic variability in agricultural regions, such as the Murray Darling Basin, are a danger for the industries in those areas. Australia is particularly vulnerable to food supply chain disruption from extreme weather events, as there are typically less than 30 days’ worth of non-perishable food and five days’ worth of perishable food in the supply chain at any one time. The impact of these low reserves could be seen in the 2011 Queensland floods, where a number of towns were cut off for up to two weeks, preventing food supply, with Brisbane coming within a day of running out of bread. Adapting to a changing climate will require transformational changes and considerable amounts of new infrastructure, according to the Climate Council’s report. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The report cites recent studies that show with significant investment into research and development, and better efficiency of resource use, it is possible to double production per unit area for crop and livestock systems over the next few decades. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy and shifting focus from short-term profitability to production efficiency is critical to meeting the challenge of maintaining the safety, accessibility and affordability of Australia’s food security. Bulk handling technologies will play a key role in this transition. An example of this can be seen in Coopers’ awardwinning maltings plant, which uses energy efficient methods to save around a third of the plant’s total energy usage. Ag Growth International’s Jeff Ivan also speaks to ABHR about the company’s plans to support the growing demand for food and agricultural infrastructure with its advanced fertiliser plants on page 24. In the next edition of the magazine, the first issue for 2020, we’ll be featuring stories on pneumatic conveying and automation. Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved.
William Arnott Editor - ABHR
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Two new Inland Rail contracts open Expressions of interest processes have been opened on two major Inland Rail contracts. CONTRACTORS ARE BEING SOUGHT TO BUILD
to connect to cities and businesses to markets.
the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail and to supply 1.44 million sleepers for the entire project. 171 kilometres of new rail track is set to be built in northern NSW as part of the contract. Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) Chief Executive Richard Wankmuller says as work continues on the critical Inland Rail project more and more regional communities will benefit economically through job creation and the expansion of local businesses. “Inland Rail is already securing jobs for regional Australians. The benefits of Inland Rail will be felt far beyond the route as businesses come on board to build this essential link in our national supply chain,” Wankmuller says. “This once-in-a generation project will complete the backbone of the national freight network by providing a transit time of 24 hours or less for freight trains between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland,” he says. “Inland Rail is creating opportunities for regions
With a project of this size comes numerous prospects
8 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
for people, businesses and communities to profit and prosper.” At the peak of construction, the ARTC expects there will be 16,000 direct and indirect jobs from Inland Rail. The ARTC is focused on ensuring that local companies, business and job seekers are also able to take part in the Inland Rail project. It expects the Narrabri to North Star works to support concrete supply, transportation, fencing, earthmoving, drainage, electrical works, security and water bore drilling providers. “The Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail is now 10 months into full construction and the economic benefits can already been clearly seen in Parkes and surrounding regions,” Wankmuller says. “Inland Rail construction is injecting significant dollars into local businesses and the regional economy, with $41.2 million spent so far.”
BELOW: 1.44 million rail sleepers are needed for the Inland Rail project.
Open day for Fenner Dunlop Brisbane More than 45 local and interstate customers attended Fenner Dunlop’s Open Day to celebrate the launch of its new Brisbane manufacturing centre. THE NEW BRANCH SERVES AS A HUB FOR Fenner Dunlop to provide conveyor solutions, field service and after sales support in Queensland. It is located less than eight kilometres east from Brisbane’s CBD and within 500 metres of the Gateway Bridge. Attendees had the opportunity to visit the 3300 square metre facility and tour the new idler plant. During the open day, an interactive 3D virtual reality presentation allowed attendees to see how technological innovations can help optimise conveyor design. Also on display was a conveyor drive pulley to showcase the company’s engineered conveyor solutions capabilities.
LEFT: The facility will serve as a hub for engineered conveyor solutions, field service and aftersales support.
“It was fantastic to see all our valued customers touring our operations and understanding up close the complexities of producing an idler locally,” says Fenner Dunlop’s General Manager Marketing and Sales, Trevor Svenson. “Thank you to all employees who ensured the event was an outstanding success.”
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New CEO for thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Australia Dr Johann Rinnhofer has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer for thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Australia. A NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER HAS BEEN appointed as part of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ restructuring to strengthen its regions. Dr Johann Rinnhofer has succeeded Andrew Howie as CEO, effective as of 12 August 2019. He is an honorary Professor at the University for Mining & Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria, and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He brings years of international management experience in plant engineering, including serving as CEO of Otto Junker GmbH, the Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH and an Australian Voest-Alpine Mining & Tunnelling subsidiary. Dr Rinnhofer’s most recent position was CEO of SMS Elotherm GmbH. thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Australia says in a release it wished Dr Rinnhofer every success in his new role. “We look forward to the ideas, expertise and leadership that Johann will bring to thyssenkrupp and we are confident that his experience will be a great asset to thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia),” the company says.
LEFT: Dr Johann Rinnhofer
10 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
Builder chosen for massive waste-to-energy plant The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract has been awarded to build one of Australia’s biggest waste to energy facilities. ACCIONA WILL DELIVER THE PROJECT IN partnership with Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), which will provide the technology and equipment for the facility. Located in East Rockingham, around 40 kilometres south of Perth, the facility will recover resources from around 3000,000 tonnes of residual waste from municipal, commercial and industrial sources each year. In addition, the facility will recover up to 30,000 tonnes of biosolids. Around 29 megawatts of renewable energy will be produced, enough to power 36,000 homes. Delivering the project will include design, construction, financing and operation of the facility, with construction to commence in late 2019. Acciona was selected for its domestic and international expertise delivering complex projects. Acciona Geotech’s Managing Director, Bede Noonan, says the project is another landmark project for WA and Australia as a whole. “Energy-from-waste is gaining traction quickly, and it’s great to see New Energy, Tribe and our EPC partners, HZI, developing the second large-scale
plant here,” Noonan says. “Not only will we be able to build on the capabilities harnessed for our first project in Perth, but we also get the opportunity to work with industry leader HZI to bring the best available technology to Australia for the first time.” New Energy Chairman Enzo Gullotti says that with ACCIONA leading construction, the consortium has secured the final piece of the puzzle and looks forward to starting construction on site in the coming months. “This project is well aligned with WA’s recently released Waste Strategy, supporting kerbside organics separation and helping make possible the aggressive landfill diversion targets for the Perth region,” Gullotti says. “We also look forward to rewarding the bold leadership of Perth’s Local Government Authorities, namely the EMRC and the City of Cockburn. “They’ve taken action for sustainable, reliable and affordable waste management practices, and in so doing are making WA the nation’s circular economy leader.”
ABOVE The waste-to-energy plant will be able to power 36,000 homes.
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 11
Metso completes acquisition of Chinese company Metso has purchased the remaining 25 per cent of shares in the Chinese manufacturer of crushing and screening equipment, Shaorui Heavy Industries. SHAORUI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, BASED IN Shaoguan, China, is completely owned by Finnish industrial machinery company Metso. The acquisition completes a previous purchase made in September 2013, where Metso attained 75 per cent of Shaouri Heavy Industries. “Shaorui’s business is growing and our expectations are positive,” says Metso’s President of the Aggregates Equipment business area, Markku Simula. “Today, they are one of the leading mid-market crushing and screening equipment producers in China, and full ownership provides us an opportunity to broaden our scope in terms of new markets and offering.” The news follows the launch of Shaorui Heavy
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LEFT: Shaorui Heavy Industries’ business targets the price and quality-conscious mid-section market.
Industries’ new line of mobile crushing and screening equipment in China. The equipment has been designed for quarry contracting and demolition applications. “The Chinese market for mobile crushing and screening equipment is one of the fastest growing markets in aggregates today,” Simula says.
GFG Alliance awards major bulk handling contract A mining services company has been named as the sole materials handling contractor for GFG Alliance’s Whyalla operations in South Australia. BIS WILL PERFORM A RANGE OF SITE SERVICES for GFG Alliance, including bulk materials handling, steel services and scrap-and-slag processing. Consolidating multiple materials-handling work packages into one contract is part of GFG Alliance’s strategy that aims to maximise the efficiency of its Whyalla operations, including its Liberty Primary Steel and SIMEC Mining businesses. Liberty Primary Steel Acting Executive Managing Director, Jason Schell, says GFG Alliance is looking forward to the partnership and achieving a sustainable, long-term future with the company. “This consolidated contract will result in significant cost savings for our business, while
providing greater opportunities to optimise Bis’ assets and workforce across multiple workfronts,” Schell says. As a result of the contract, Bis will hire 80 new employees for the extended scope of works. Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, says the announcement demonstrated the strength of Bis’ relationship with the GFG Alliance and its proven record of delivering its customers with efficient solutions. “I am delighted that we have secured this strategically important contract and I look forward to working with GFG Alliance over the coming weeks to ensure a successful contract start up,” Rogers says.
Drought hits sugar-cane harvest The drought in Queensland has hindered the 2019 sugar-cane harvest, with a new report finding the state economy will be affected. QUEENSLAND SUGAR CANE FARMER ADVOCACY group Canegrowers expects the sugarcane harvest for 2019 to be 29.49 million tonnes, down one million tonnes from 2018 and two million tonnes less than 2017. Canegrowers CEO, Dan Galligan, says figures for January to September 2019 revealed the southern sugarcane regions have had less than half of their average annual rainfall for the nine-month period on the back of a very dry 2018. “The regions around Bundaberg, Childers and Maryborough are particularly parched and the harvest is heading towards a very early October finish because of the smaller crop,” he says. “In the far north, places like Tully and Babinda are around 30 per cent down on average and while the figures in other northern regions look close to average, a lot of their rain fell in the flooding monsoon trough in February and there has been little since.” As a result, Galligan says the drop in production will mean that industry growers will earn $36 million less than they did last year. “That loss of income will be felt by growers and impact right through cane-growing
14 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
communities,” he says. The organisation commissioned a report to find out just how important the sugar sector is to the Queensland economy. It finds that the sugar-cane industry supports nearly $1.1 billion in economic activity each year and provides more the 9800 direct jobs. Sugarcane farming was also reported to underpin a value chain worth around $4 billion in economic activity each year, which enables a further 23,650 jobs. “For the first time, this report gives us a clear picture of the scale and extent of the sugarcane industry supply chain and how it really does underpin the wellbeing of many regions up and down the coast,” Galligan says. “For every dollar of economic activity in sugarcane growing, an additional $6.40 in economic activity is generated elsewhere in the economy. “In the Ingham and Ayr, regions the sugar industry value chain supports nearly one-in-three jobs, including employment in sugar mills, transport operators, agricultural contractors, business services and suppliers of fuel, fertiliser, machinery and other products and services.”
ABOVE: Sugar-cane growers will earn $36 million less than in 2018.
CBH upgrades storage infrastructure Four grain storage expansion projects have been completed as part of CBH Group’s network upgrade, adding additional capacity for 446,000 tonnes. THE PROJECTS ARE PART OF THE CO-
bulkheads with a storage capacity of 84,000 tonnes operative’s investment into upgrading its network installed along with one 500 tonnes per hour to provide growers with improved services and conveyor-loading system with two stackers. segregations during the harvest, keep network fees Narngulu also received significant upgrades with competitive and improve throughput efficiency. four open bulkheads installed, with a total storage Three open bulkheads have been built at CBH’s capacity of 180,000 tonnes, three drive grids, one exit Dowerin site, with a combined storage capacity and one entry weigh bridge and a sample hut. of 122,400 tonnes. A new conveyor system was General Manager Operations Ben Macnamara says also installed and is able to receive grain at the four projects form part of a significant program of 500 tonnes per hour. capital works that CBH has undertaken this past year. Two open bulkheads, with a storage capacity of “We’ve made progress with our ongoing network 60,000 tonnes and a conveyor system with a 500 investment this year, adding a substantial amount of tonne-per-hour capacity, have been installed at permanent storage to the network and improving our CBH’s Dulyalbin site during the upgrade. ability to receive grain from growers during harvest,” ai157197452440_Capability - Half has Pageseen - ABHR - November 2019.pdfMacnamara 1 25/10/19 CBH’s Lake Grace facility two open says.2:35 pm
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New laws require registration of Victorian engineers Legislation has passed through Victoria’s Parliament requiring engineers in the state to be registered to improve community safety. THE NEW LAWS MEAN IT IS COMPULSORY FOR
10 Peekarra Street, Regency Park, SA 5010 Phone: 08 8118 6466 Email: sales@ flowforce.com.au www.flowforce.com.au
civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire safety engineers to register. It will also be an offence for those who are not registered to represent that they can provide professional engineering services in these areas. Engineers Australia’s General Manager – Victoria, Alesha Printz, says the bill is a significant step forward for the profession. “Currently, consumers have no real way of knowing whether they are dealing with an engineer who is currently qualified and competent, or if they maintain standards through ongoing professional development and are bound by a code of conduct,” Printz says. “The introduction of these new laws will allow faux engineers to be weeded out and prevented from calling themselves an engineer, and those who do not uphold the highest standards will be subject to greater accountability – and penalties.” Engineers Australia Chief Executive Officer, Peter McIntyre, says the bill paved the way for the introduction of similar legislation in other states. “Queensland has had a successful register of engineers in operation since 1930 and it shouldn’t take a crisis for governments to act in the interests of community safety and consumer protection,” he says. “Engineers Australia would like to publicly acknowledge the efforts of the Victorian Government for pushing ahead with this important community safety reform and recognise all members of Parliament who supported these important changes. “We urge other states and territories to follow Victoria’s lead.”
Domestic grain demand to overtake supply Demand will outstrip supply for Australian grain to feed livestock, along with growing human consumption, according to a new industry report. AGRIBUSINESS BANKING SPECIALIST RABOBANK found in its Australian Feed Grain Squeeze report that the proportion of Australia’s grain harvest exported annually will decline from the current 60 per cent to 53 per cent by 2030 and may also increase the likelihood of further grain imports into the country. It also reports that the domestic market for cereal grains, such as wheat, barley, oats and sorghum will soak up an additional six per cent of the country’s annual production, leaving available supply for exports down by two million tonnes (10 per cent under the current five-year average). Livestock feed will take an increasing proportion of Australia’s domestic grain supply, driven by a rise in the number of stock being fed grain to satisfy demand for animal protein, according to the report. The author of the report, Cheryl Kalisch Gordon, says increasing human consumption of food products containing grain will also fuel part of the rising demand. “Despite changing diets, which have seen people’s consumption of wheat and other coarse grains fall on a per-capita basis, Australians will still consume more grain due to population growth,” Dr Kalisch Gordon says. “Overall, this will see an increase in demand for cereal grains in Australia, due to both direct consumption of grain in products – such as breakfast cereals, bread, cake, biscuits, pasta and beer – and also derived demand for grains to feed livestock that supply animal protein products, including beef, lamb, chicken, pork, eggs, milk and fish.” Dr Kalisch Gordon says the domestic appetite will also be augmented by strongly-growing demand for Australian beef and lamb for at least the next five years as the global protein market resets as a consequence of the African swine fever epidemic in China. She adds a higher level of growth in feed-grain demand, compared with human consumption, forecast over the next decade meant the share of cereal grains going to feed in Australia would approach 70 per cent by 2029/30, up from 64 per cent (the five-year average to 2018/19). “As such, we will not only see increased demand for grains in Australia, but an increase in the relative
LEFT: Dr Cheryl Kalisch Gordon. Photo: Rabobank
importance of feed grain as an end use compared with milling, malting and processing for human consumption,” she says. The report also found that production growth will not be able to keep up with the forecast increase in demand over the coming decade. “In the absence of any new technologies that offer step change improvements in yield growth – and in the face of a drying climate and challenges to crop management, such as herbicide resistance and potential limits on the use of glyphosate – we do not expect future yield growth to exceed historical growth trends,” she says. Dr Kalisch Gordon says with a southerly contraction occurring across Australia’s cropping belt due to climate challenges, as well as relative commodity pricing, the bank was not expecting cropping area growth in the forecast period. “And while genetic modification and new plant-breeding techniques offer the potential for step change increases in yield that would offset the feed grain squeeze, we consider the likelihood of development, adoption and end-market acceptance low within the coming decade,” she says. The report expects average Australian cereal grain production to be at around 37.5 million tonnes by 2030, up from the current five-year average of 35.8 million tonnes. “However, Australian production will continue to be prone, and possibly more vulnerable, to year-toyear variation, so a range of 20 million to 52 million tonnes must be considered part of the outlook.”
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 17
Head-to-tail synergy supports safety solutions Fenner Dunlop’s diverse engineering expertise has led to innovative inventions and practices, such as a racetrack belt reel and knifeless splice, that dramatically improve safety. ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST MINING companies approached Fenner Dunlop’s Engineered Conveyor Solutions (ECS) team with a dilemma. The company was transporting Fenner Dunlop belt reels on its site with a forklift and wanted to make the process safer for its transport operators. Measuring around four metres in diameter, the round belt reels had forklift pockets on the bottom that added further height. Because of this, forklift operators were moving up to 35 tonnes of belt reel with an awkward centre of gravity. Safety is critical for the team at Fenner Dunlop, according to Alex Mason, one of Fenner Dunlop’s ECS Engineers. “It’s something at the forefront of all of our minds,” he says. “Major considerations are made to determine if something is safe or if we can make it even safer.” Following a review of its transport procedures, Fenner Dunlop’s ECS team soon began drawing a concept design to improve how belts are delivered. Two issues were identified in the original round style belt reel design: the height of the belt reel and the lashing point positions. Both of these factors affected the belt-lashing procedure significantly, which a new design could make safer. The team found that if the reel design was changed from a round to a racetrack style, it would reduce the reel height by 400 millimetres, to 3.2
18 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
metres in diameter. In addition, with the new design, the forklift pockets could be shifted to the centre of the reel instead of below it. “Picking up a belt reel from the centre is more stable, as it shifts the centre of gravity significantly,” he says. After drawing up the design, the team submitted it to Australian Conveyor Engineering (ACE), a sister company of the Fenner Dunlop Group, which performed the calculations. These were sent to another company in the group, JAF Engineering, to find any issues that could arise within the manufacturing process. After this, ACE created a model and finalised the design. The new design shifted the lashing points on the reel to the centre point, using lifting style holes. This allows transport operators to use significantly
ABOVE: The reels have been designed to be as user-friendly as possible. BELOW: Fenner Dunlop has developed a method of completing a splice without a knife.
shorter chains and can set up on the ground, without needing to climb into the trailer. “We also focused on designing the reels to be as user friendly as possible,” Mr Mason says. “The new design reduces the chain length by removing the requirement for a chain to run through the centre of the reel. Additionally, we ensured each lashing point could be easily accessed from a ground position. “Now the operators can run shorter chains from the centrally located chain down points to the trailer in the desired direction of restraint, meaning it’s a lot more ergonomically efficient and requires a lot less labour.” Transport operators have felt the difference between the two designs and are much more at ease as a result of the change. Craig Arnott, Operations Manager for Zenith Low Loaders, says drivers greatly appreciate the lower centre of gravity, as it is more comfortable to transport over long distances. “There is a lot less risk of these top-heavy belts going over in transit,” Mr Arnott says. “The drivers are a lot more comfortable about moving to the shoulder of the road, thus putting the belt on a slight angle when approached by oversize loads in the opposite direction, which is a common occurrence. “The lashing points on the side of these new reels have been a huge improvement, as we no longer require very heavy and dangerous chains going through the middle of the belts. There is now sufficient tie down points on the side of these new cages to over secure these belts to the trailer.” As part of his role as an ECS engineer, Mr Mason regularly liaises with other members of the Fenner Dunlop Group to provide solutions across the entire process, from design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance. The company is constantly looking for new ways to improve productivity and safety through innovative engineering. An example of this can be seen through Fenner Dunlop’s knifeless splice solution. Following a number of knife-related injuries, a work group at AGL’s Loy Yang Power Station found a way to remove the use of blades when working on conveyors. Belle Banne Conveyor Services (BBCS), a member of the Fenner Dunlop Group, undertook a comprehensive review of work practices following a knife injury on site. Glenn Nijenhuis, BBCS Site Manager, says improvements to PPE, specific risk assessments and changes to body positioning when using knives, just didn’t seem to go far enough. “People were getting hurt with knives and the
best way to stop people getting hurt with knives is to stop using them altogether,” he says. “Initially our people thought we can’t do that, this is the way it has been done for 30 years. For a belt splicer the knife was the go-to tool, like a calculator is to an accountant. “We got our people on the shopfloor involved in the process, shared the problem and challenged them to come up with a solution.” The team identified 10 different steps to perform a splice that involved a knife and worked through them systematically to find a way of completing a splice without a knife. A multifunction tool known as “The Renovator” was designed, combing a grooving gun traditionally used to groove pulleys and tyres to replace a hook knife along with piano wire and industrial snips in place of various other knives. Mr Nijenhuis says the team does around 50 to 80 splices a year at the Loy Yang site, with around 25,000 man hours spent on belt repairs. “By eliminating the use of knives we’ve eliminated the risk of knife-related injuries on these tasks,” he says. The Fenner Dunlop Group uses engineering expertise from all stages of a conveyor’s lifespan as part of its ECS offering. Mr Mason says this is what helps Fenner Dunlop stand out. “Continuous improvements of our systems is something we all strive for at Fener Dunlop,” he says. “My role is to liaise across different departments and use the collective knowledge to help find new ways to make our processes and products better. “Our clients appreciate the additional accountability and communication that comes from this broad support network, which ends up saving them time and money.”
ABOVE: The racetrack-style belt reel reduced the total height of the reel and shifted the centre of gravity.
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 19
Boral gears up to deliver on Queensland’s growing infrastructure needs A new Metso processing plant at Boral’s Ormeau quarry will see productivity at the site ramp up by 400 per cent. WITH AUSTRALIAN CITIES SPENDING BILLIONS building infrastructure megaprojects, the demand for construction materials is rising. According to the Queensland Government’s Population growth highlights and trends 2019 report, the state had the third largest population increase in 2017-18, with almost 90 per cent of this occurring in the south-east corner of the state. The region’s population growth and associated need for infrastructure, is driving the demand for huge volumes of aggregate. Some of the materials to supply this demand are extracted at Boral’s Ormeau quarry, located in the state’s south-east between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Situated on top of a major rock formation called the Neranleigh-Fernvale beds, the Ormeau quarry’s resource is made up of massive to slightly foliated metagreywacke with minor bands of shale and argillite.
20 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
Boral is one of Australia’s largest building materials suppliers and owns around one billion tonnes of quarry reserves. The Ormeau site has been in operation since 1981 and is strategically located close to key markets. To help meet growing demand, in 2017 Boral embarked on a project to replace Ormeau’s ageing processing plant, quadrupling the quarry’s production capabilities. Neil Bellamy, Boral’s Drill & Blast Manager Queensland and Northern Territory, has been closely involved in the expansion, managing the operational readiness of the project and site interaction. He says the site has traditionally produced around 500,000 tonnes of quarry materials per year. “This included the supply of asphalt aggregate to Boral Asphalt in south-east Queensland, a limited amount of concrete aggregates and manufactured
TOP: Boral’s Ormeau quarry is increasing its output from 500,000 tonnes per annum to two million tonnes per annum.
sand to internal concrete customers, as well as other construction materials to the infrastructure and private sectors,” he says. “Over the next few years we will ramp up production at Ormeau to two million tonnes per annum.” However, one of the challenges in hitting this new target is a limit on operating hours. The plant is only permitted to operate from 7am to 6pm – Monday to Saturday. Work, including maintenance, is limited to this window of time, meaning the plant required a much higher per hour capacity to reach the two million tonne target. “We also had to allow for ramp up and down times, as well as unplanned outages,” Mr Bellamy says. “In the end, we had to design the new plant to handle 1000 tonnes per hour. This was a challenge, because the engineering of the plant and the equipment within the plant were exponentially more expensive.”
Metso engaged from the beginning In 2017, Boral awarded Metso the contract to design, manufacture and supply an aggregate crushing and screening plant to support the increased throughput. Metso was heavily involved throughout the entire design process, workshopping the plant’s process flow design with Boral before selecting equipment. One innovation incorporated into the design was a surge bin positioned after the tertiary crushing station. This allows the crusher output material to be metered to the tertiary parallel screening circuit, resulting in optimal screening performance and a consistent final product. “From a particle size distribution perspective, we are achieving some of the lowest standard deviation results within Boral’s quarry network,” Mr Bellamy says. “That’s something that I wouldn’t have thought of, but it has been great for our product quality. The standard deviation of product size per sieve is one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
“For the final product we went with Metso screens with Trellex rubber media. We’ve done some finetuning of the screen apertures and we’ve achieved very good efficiency.” The MX4 Multi-Action cone crushers are the latest design from Metso, automatically optimising the crusher setting and wear compensation in real time, bringing lower operating costs, higher uptime and consistent output. Liam Elsworth, Quarry Manager at Ormeau, says this is the first installation worldwide where MX4s have been used in parallel as final tertiary crushers. “So far, they have met all of our expectations,” he adds.
ABOVE: Neil Bellamy. BELOW: Neil Bellamy (left) and Shaun Fanning review product quality at Ormeau.
Safety and efficiency benefits The upgrade completely replaced the old processing plant, which was originally designed in the 1960s and had been moved to the site from its original location
Plant overview The crushing circuit is a three-stage system consisting of a Metso C160 jaw, a GP500S gyratory and three MX4 cone crushers. Metso also supplied the vibrating screens and feeders, conveyors, bins, hoppers and chutes. The plant itself is highly automated and can keep running at capacity each shift without human intervention. “A lot of time and effort went into getting the process control right – it’s more complicated than it looks,” Mr Bellamy says.
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 21
“We didn’t want to upgrade the existing four megawatt electrical in-feed,” Kane says. “All of the latest technology in the plant has allowed us to achieve that goal while still aiming to increase our plant output to 1000 tonnes per hour.”
in South Australia. Because the new plant has been built to modern standards, its design incorporates improved safety features such as guarding. The automation system also has safety functionality built into it, eliminating risks of overflowing media because the machine can perform controlled ramp-ups and shutdowns. Maintenance has also been made easier, with better access to the installed crushers, screens and overhead cranes. A minimum number of screen types have been used, all with rubber media, to reduce the site’s spare parts inventory. One of the criteria for the plant’s design was that the incoming power feed should not need to increase in capacity. Kai Kane, Boral’s Project Manager, says as a result, the energy efficiency has been greatly improved.
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In order to gain approval to expand the quarry, Boral was required to meet a range of rigorous environmental requirements. An environmental plan was put in place to minimise the impact on the local koala population, which includes maintaining an offset area of forest on the company’s land to the south of the site. Boral has won awards for Ormeau’s storm water management plan, which was required to ensure the site could withstand a one-in-ten-year storm event. “On the southern and eastern side of the site we have the Pimpama River,” says Liam Elsworth, Ormeau Quarry Manager. “Previously the lay of the land meant that a large storm event could cause significant flooding, so we had to raise the elevation of the lower part of the site by about three metres, to make sure it was out of the flood plain. A 60-metre buffer was also established between the river and the working boundary, which we planted out with more than 40,000 trees. “We have built a stormwater catchment system with pumping facilities that allow us to pump water back to the pit for our use.” Waste, noise and dust were also key environmental concerns. The design of the plant means nothing is
ABOVE: Metso’s MX4 crushers in parallel operation at Boral’s Ormeau quarry. LEFT: Boral’s Kai Kane.
wasted with all raw rock converted to product. The entire crushing and screening process is enclosed within buildings to limit noise, with automated water sprays installed to control dust. Mr Bellamy says in addition to this, all of the conveyors are covered, and the screens have dust encapsulation. “The secondary and tertiary crushers also have a foam dosing system, which works well and is automated and adjustable,” he says. “Conveyor belt speeds are slow, so even though the capacity is high, the low velocity doesn’t create a lot of pressure, further minimising dust and noise.”
LEFT: Ormeau Quarry Manager Liam Elsworth.
Meeting expectations The new plant has been pivotal to help the quarry achieve its throughput target, helping the quarry ramp up to 90 per cent of its capacity. Mr Bellamy says the assets are performing as expected, with minimum performance requirements met earlier than expected. “We have a very good relationship with the local Metso team,” he says. “The Metso installation supervisor was very good to work with. He put in long
hours, making sure everything was right.” According to Shaun Fanning, Metso Australia’s Vice President, Aggregates, the key to delivering the plant was early collaboration between Metso and Boral to develop the design. “While we have extensive experience in delivering aggregates plants around the world, Boral was able to bring valuable features into the design based on their operational experience,” Mr Fanning says.
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Fertile ground for bulk infrastructure growth
Ag Growth International (AGI) has developed next generation fertiliser plants to provide the infrastructure needed for a booming population. THE UNITED NATIONS (UN) EXPECTS THE world’s population to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. In order to feed all these new people, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation projects that world food demand may increase by 70 per cent over the same period. Much of this demand is expected to come from rising consumer incomes in regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Fertiliser applications to increase yields and quality will be a major factor in achieving the higher efficiency required to increase food production, according to Jeff Ivan, Ag Growth International (AGI)’s Director of International Sales. “In addition to the higher population, the developing middle class is increasing requirements for protein-based diets,” he says. “Many regions, such as Africa, are developing quickly with the focus on fertiliser and the balanced application of fertilisers based on soil testing results.” As a result, AGI has identified fertiliser as a key component of its 5/6/7 strategy. AGI created the strategy to lead in the planning, engineering and manufacturing of systems across five platforms: grain, food, feed, seed and fertiliser. These systems are then taken internationally across six continents and brought together and delivered through seven components: storage, handling, structural, processing and controls, engineering and project management. This focus has seen AGI invest heavily into its
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fertiliser supply chain infrastructure, whether that be a port facility or blending plant. Mr Ivan says AGI partners with its customers to provide the solutions and infrastructure necessary to meet the growing demand for fertiliser. “In addition, AGI Fertiliser Systems provides advanced automation technology that not only encompasses ease of operation but provides advanced data collection and reporting.”
Automating agriculture This has culminated in what AGI calls a next generation plant. These are plants that operate with high levels of automation and data reporting, usually with incorporated hazard monitoring systems and predictive maintenance. Automated machinery helps standardise the blending process and removes human error while
ABOVE: AGI’s next-generation plants use high levels of automation and data reporting. BELOW: The AGI Data Cloud Centre enables businesses to handle inventory reporting, access daily production reports and provide truck traffic control.
improving the receiving and loadout processes. Mr Ivan says AGI works closely with manufacturers to ensure automated systems can apply the coating materials accurately onto the fertilisers. “We have several systems for applying coatings for both powders and liquids to fertilisers,” he says. “To ensure coating accuracy is maintained, batch or continuous flow systems are incorporated. AGI Automation systems play a critical role dispensing liquids or powders as required for the coating process and can control the flow of the dry fertiliser and liquids or powders to ensure the rate of applications are maintained.” AGI Automation systems continuously adjust the rates required to meet the target volumes. This is important, as specialty fertiliser coatings are typically expensive and, if overapplied, can cost an operation significant amounts of money. Accuracy is key when applying coatings to provide maximum efficacy, according to Mr Ivan. “For example, a uniform coating of a liquid urease inhibitor is required to ensure the product works effectively,” he says “Improving coverage leads to a better performing product, which is why we focus on developing enhancements to our current systems. The Laycote Powder Gen 4 system is one example of its research being used to improve the dispensing of powders.”
The power of data Data can be collected in these next generation plants and then used to generate reports for management and operational groups. This can be displayed in a daily, weekly or monthly blending history, or used to show historical operational data to reveal long term trends or assist forecasting. Fertiliser businesses can connect to all of their plants and access real-time reporting across each facility through AGI’s Cloud Data Centre service. This enables businesses to handle inventory reporting, access daily production reports or even provide truck traffic control, which records the time of arrival and
departure, informs the driver where to load and records the time taken to load the truck. Through the AGI data centre, operators can also keep track of fertiliser deliveries and monitor the location and arrival times to the plant. Inventory monitoring systems record all incoming shipments of fertilisers through the AGI Software Suite. Loads of fertiliser are automatically documented and deducted from the inventory, creating a report that reaches up to 99.5 per cent accuracy. It also provides real-time reporting to help determine optimal fertiliser delivery.
ABOVE: A Laycote Powder Gen 4. BELOW: AGI Fertiliser has a dedicated fulltime automation department.
ARMS lends a hand Making life simpler for operators is a key part of AGI’s next generation plants, which is why it launched the AGI Automated & Recorded Maintenance System (ARMS). ARMS has been designed to keep the maintenance of a plant easy for operators to handle, especially during the busy blending season. Mr Ivan says operators have a lot on the go, and system maintenance is another area for them to focus on. “We developed AGI ARMS to provide maintenance operators with real-time notifications,” he says. “Just like your car tells you when to change your oil and to do certain services, our notification system will inform the operators when maintenance is required to improve the operation and overall life of the system.” One of the reasons why AGI has been able to provide these technological solutions is its network of global companies. Operating around the world, the company can draw on expertise from a variety of markets to solve problems. AGI Fertiliser itself has a dedicated full-time automation department that provides custom automation and integration of AGI systems to customer agronomy and enterprise resource planning software. “The network of AGI companies can provide solutions from engineering to project management for fertiliser projects,” Mr Ivan says. “AGI provides complete solutions for our customers and provides the infrastructure required to meet growing demand of the agricultural industry.”
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 25
International exhibitors see value in BULK2020 BULK2020 will bring a number of local and international exhibitors to Melbourne on 1 to 3 April 2020. ABHR speaks to three international companies about why they see value in the expo. THE AUSTRALIAN BULK HANDLING EXPO (BULK2020) is set to be one of the biggest events of the year for the industry, bringing together the diverse sector to showcase the latest in technology and innovations. Taking place on 1 to 3 April 2020, the event will see local firms and international companies assemble at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. One such company is Concetti, an Italian manufacturer of weighing, bagging and palletising machinery for bulk products. Trevor Mitford, Sales Manager at Concetti, says BULK2020 will be important to develop the Australian bulk handling industry. “There has always been a void in the Australian exhibitions and marketing approach toward bulk materials handling, which is surprising considering the importance of construction materials and mining to Australia,” he says. “BULK2020 will be an important step to close the void.” Concetti has been active in Australia providing machinery for the cementitious materials, fertiliser, salt and pet food sectors, providing new packaging technology for evolving industries. Mr Mitford says the company will be presenting its products in these markets in addition to its expertise in sectors not yet realised locally. “BULK2020 will attract clients with a differing objective of product handling inevitably linked to the projects we are interested in,” he says. “We are looking forward to being a part of it and
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meeting clients we would not normally meet during other events we participate in.” Exhibitors at the trade expo will include companies that design, manufacture and distribute technologies used in bulk solids handling, including conveyors, storage and silos, performance tools, motors and drives, belt scrapers, container tipplers, dust control systems, weighing and level measurement software, and engineering services. Bulk material producers and businesses that require the use of the equipment or services to move bulk goods will the main attendees at the event. BULK2020 will also provide the industry with an opportunity to connect network and learn. This opportunity for networking is a major reason for Indian company SWAM International to attend the event. Business Development Manager, Sri Srinivasan, says events like BULK2020 are very important to develop brand awareness. “SWAM International is a manufacturer of airblowers and vacuum pump systems,” he explains. “The company established an Australian subsidiary to serve the Asia Pacific market and we are now trying to further grow and gain exposure. “All of our efforts have so far been to build oneon-one relationships with our customers, and we are now looking to spread the message more.” SWAM International have signed on to exhibit at the event and will be showcasing how its technology can be used across the bulk handling sector. It will also be presenting its energy-efficient
ABOVE: Aurora Process will display its bulk bag filling equipment at BULK2020.
developments and packaged telematics. BULK2020 is sponsored by Vega Australia and Kockums Bulk Systems and is supported by the Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling (ASBSH), which will host a two-day industry conference. Mark Jones, Chair of the ASBSH and Director of TUNRA Bulk Solids, says the ASBSH is pleased to be supporting BULK2020. “It has been many years since we had an exhibition dedicated to bulk handling in Australia, and this will be an excellent opportunity to connect bulk handling engineers with suppliers across multiple industries,” he says. “We will be advising organisers Prime Creative Media on the conference program and look forward to seeing you all there.” As an event specifically targeting the bulk handling industry, exhibitors will be able to reach a highly relevant delegate pool. This is why New Zealand-based Aurora Process has decided to exhibit. The company is a manufacturer of bulk bag packaging solutions that targets a range of industrial product manufacturers in Australia. Braden Goddin, Sales and Marketing manager at Aurora Process, says BULK2020 offers the company an opportunity to talk to personnel from a wide range of job roles across its target audiences. “Our bulk packaging solutions are designed with the user in front of mind, so understanding pain points and new functionality requirements is essential for us,” he says. “There’s value in exposing our brand to the wider market at events such as this. It’s important in today’s competitive environment that the market is made aware of the changes and advancements in process technology that can break down barriers to their growth and allow them to get ahead. “We have some great solutions to offer the industry and we are keen to get in front of the market to show them how they can take their packing process to the next level.” Aurora Process will have its bulk bag filling equipment on display at the event and will showcase how advancements in robotics and manufacturing capabilities are opening up solutions to the whole market, not just large corporates. To further celebrate innovation in the bulk handling industry, BULK2020 will also include the 2020 Australian Bulk Handling Awards gala dinner. The Australian Bulk Handling Awards are the only awards program specifically for the bulk solids handling industry and acknowledges the innovative practices and superior performances over the past year. BULK2020 will be held in conjunction with one of Australia’s biggest transport, logistics and supply chain events, MEGATRANS2020. The two events will be hosted over 30,000 square metres at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, with one ticket entry for access to both exhibitions.
BULK2020 The event will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 1 to 3 April, 2020. For more information and to exhibit, contact Luke Ronca at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0402 718 081.
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LINAK protects local farm equipment builder’s brand To live up to its customers high standards for safety and efficiency, Brookfield has implemented LINAK linear actuators on its remote-controlled OmniBin technology. AUSTRALIAN FARMS ARE CONSOLIDATING and reallocating resources from smaller, less efficient farms as they transition to larger scale operations, according to ANZ’s The track ahead report. The research, released in November 2018, found that while increasing the scale of farming operations had led to increased productivity, 62 per cent of the agricultural output since 1995-96 could be attributed to these enterprises having greater access to technology. Steven Wallace is the Research and Development Manager at Brookfield, which designs high-end agricultural equipment for such farms. He explains that this target market is one that is prepared to pay for quality, so it is important anything they sell can live up to their high standards. “When it comes to components, we need to make sure we’re buying the best to protect our brand,” Mr Wallace says. “We have a money-back guarantee, meaning we will provide a complete refund for our customers if any of our machines don’t perform to the standard they expect. “This industry has a lot of respect for brands they have come to trust, which is why we want to offer that level of certainty.” As such, Brookfield decided to use actuators from Danish equipment manufacturer LINAK (short for Lineær Aktuator) for its OmniBin. The OmniBin is a commodity bin used for handling seed and fertiliser at sowing time, stock
28 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
feed and general grain handling, including to silos, during the harvest. Actuators are used to open and close the doors on the underside of the OmniBin, allowing the grain to flow freely onto a variablespeed conveyor belt. Mr Wallace says the alternative for a bin is to use a tipper trailer, which can present potential safety risks. “Tip trucks are great, but on uneven ground like a paddock, it can be easy for them to roll over,” he says. “Not only does that risk damage to equipment but has a higher chance of people getting hurt. Farm accidents can be dangerous, and safety is a major consideration for the bigger farmers.” Safety is one of the key benefits of the LINAK actuators. Previously, operating a mobile grain
ABOVE: The OmniBin is used for handling seed and fertiliser at sowing time, stock feed and general grain handling during the harvest. BELOW: LINAK actuators allow the OmniBin to be remotely controlled.
bin would have been a multiple-person operation as most of the control systems were manual. Not only did this lead to increased labour, but also meant there were more risks involved in operating the machinery. Operators would potentially need to be closer to moving parts, which can result in pinching or falls. “Some people were using hydraulic rams to do the job,” Mr Wallace says. “But these are expensive and can be difficult to run. “Not only that, but you have to include pumps and oil tanks which just adds more costs, just to get the doors to open automatically.” LINAK’s actuators have allowed the OmniBin to be controlled remotely, removing much of the moving parts on the machine and making it easier to operate. In addition, they have also been designed specifically for grain handling. Each actuator is a compact system that is certified to work in very dusty environments for years, has durable components with no leakage or weak spots, and are energy efficient. There are no hoses, pumps or compressors, which means no chance of spilt oil or need for maintenance. Included within the actuator is
intelligent technology that can help monitor and adjust doors and valves remotely. Mr Wallace says the simplicity of the actuators are their greatest asset. “They’re easy to use – there’s nothing complex about them. It makes them great to maintain and easy to explain to our customers,” he says. Overall the feedback has been very positive, Mr Wallace adds. Customers usually report being very happy with their purchase, often citing the OmniBin’s remote control operation making processes easier and more efficient. “We haven’t had anyone sell one because they didn’t like it. From an actuator perspective, we’ve used hundreds and hundreds, and I can count on one hand how many have come back for repair.” When Brookfield was looking to implement more features on the OmniBin, LINAK’s technicians visited the company to discuss potential additions. Mr Wallace says LINAK operates more like a business partner than just a supplier and is quick to offer professional support. “When assembling the OmniBins, if something doesn’t seem right with an actuator, all I have to do is get on the phone to LINAK and they’ll send me a new one straight away,” he says.
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X marks the spot Schaeffler’s X-Life range of spherical roller bearings are helping bulk handling machinery run for longer, reducing costs.
ABOVE: Spherical roller bearings are key components in bulk materials handling equipment. BELOW: X-life spherical roller bearing with solid brass cage.
SPHERICAL ROLLER BEARINGS ARE USED across a number of industrial applications where heavy loads and moderate speeds are involved. They offer a high radial load capacity, support axial loads in both directions, handle misalignment, and can take shock loads, making them highly effective in various bulk materials handling environments. As a result, spherical roller bearings are often found in any large bulk handling machinery,
30 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
such as conveyor belt pulleys, bucket and screw conveyors, bucket wheel excavators, stacker reclaimers or shiploaders. To ensure these critical components can run for as long as possible, Schaeffler has developed the X-Life range of bearings, which boasts high performance and reliability. Schaeffler has designed the bearings to have dynamic load ratings up to 15 per cent higher than previous generations, with an increase in rating life of up to 60 per cent under the same operating conditions. Owen Clifford, Graduate Applications Engineer at Schaeffler, says it’s important to improve the lifespan of bearings, as it allows machinery to run for longer and reduce the total cost of ownership. “A high-quality bearing ensures reliable machinery operation, which reduces machinery downtime and extends operating life, reducing a company’s maintenance expenditure,” he says. “Our range of X-Life roller bearings have an optimised internal construction. Changes to bearing internal geometry and other features have improved performance significantly. “Improvements have been made to the surface quality – new steel and brass cage designs compared to old generations that reduce friction and heat generation within the bearing.” Schaeffler’s research and development was mostly performed on the internal features of the bearing, optimising the internal construction to improve the roller geometries and guidance. This, along with an improved surface quality with reduced roughness, provides more uniform contact zones within the bearings. With these improvements, the entire system can perform better internally, with improved rolling kinematics. This decreases heat generation minimising stress on the lubricant, and lowers frictional torque meaning the bearing requires less input torque, which reduces energy costs. With the internal components seeing significant improvements, Schaeffler has been able to optimise the bearings’ design envelope. It means an X-Life bearing can provide higher capacities that, in an older design, would require a larger size. Mr Clifford says that minimising the size of
a bearing means the housing or surrounding geometry can also be scaled down, lowering initial costs and reducing the amount of lubrication required to properly maintain the bearing. “By using a bearing of smaller size, we can reduce preliminary costs and reduce machinery weight,” he says. “By downsizing, considerable savings in energy requirements for operating bulk handling machinery can be made.” Schaeffler Australia also operates a dedicated engineering department based in Sydney to offer after sales support. Due to some of the larger sized bearings requiring high-level expertise, Schaeffler offers mounting and dismounting services as well as handling any technical enquiries. Online condition monitoring is also offered to help its customers reliably detect and resolve any potential bearing issues before they arise. Sensors and monitoring solutions can detect temperature and vibration in machinery, allowing the customer to monitor the condition of the system and gain insight of machine health and performance. By monitoring this data, faults can be detected before they have a chance to accelerate and cause
a potentially costly breakdown. Bulk handlers can then plan any maintenance in advance, so that any downtime is scheduled and doesn’t impact productivity. Feedback from customers on the X-Life range has been positive, with Schaeffler X-Life bearings delivering results and reducing running costs where they have been installed.
ABOVE: X-life spherical roller bearing with two sheets steel cages.
Vale’s Vargem Grande conveyor lagging challenge When the fourth-largest iron mining operation in the world wanted to increase the service life of its pulley lagging, it turned to Elastotec for specialised support. VALE’S VARGEM GRANDE MINE SITE, LOCATED in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, contains 2.53 billion tonnes of proven and probable iron ore reserves, making it the world’s fourth-biggest iron-ore mining operation. The Vargem Grande site maintenance personnel wanted to increase the service life of the lagging on a number of non-drive pulleys installed on a belt turnover conveyor. Severe localised belt wear was evident in as little as three months and the cost of conveyor downtime to replace the worn lagging was a serious concern. Initial attempts to address this by installing ceramic lagging in high-wear areas fixed the lagging wear, but transferred the high wear to the bottom belt cover. As the steel cord ST3500 belt is a far more expensive component than the pulley lagging, the use of ceramic lagging was not a viable option. Vale began looking for a lagging solution that would extend the service life past that of the rubber lagging but would not wear the conveyor belt covers. One such solution was Elastotec’s Polyurethane
32 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
(PU) lagging. Two factors made the PU lagging a competitive option to increase the lagging service life. The PU lagging has a much higher abrasion resistance than rubber lagging (DIN 53516 Abrasion Resistance Natural Rubber has around 100 cubic millimetres of volume loss compared with PU’s 35 cubic millimetres of volume loss) and has a much lower co-efficient of friction than rubber, making the surface slippery.
ABOVE: Other rubber lagging had been wearing out in as little as four months. BELOW: Elastotec’s PU Lagging after 60 days.
This slippery surface allows the belt to slide over the PU lagging, minimising any shear force that would cause wear and helping resist the build-up of material from the dirty side of the belt. A decision was made to trial the PU lagging on two non-drive pulleys, each with a diameter of 1250 millimetres and a face width of 1600 millimetres. Elastotec supplied 12-millimetre diamond PU lagging in strips to suit the pulley face width. The PU lagging can also be supplied in rolls up to 85 metres long but, in this case, strips were preferred. Elastotec supplied the PU lagging for both pulleys in December 2014. The lagging was manufactured with the Elastotec buffed CN bonding layer for cold vulcanised application. The PU lagging was applied to the pulleys and put into service in April 2015. Compared to the lagging being used previously, the PU lagging dramatically improved service life, increasing from three months to 18 months. Vale maintenance personnel said that in this environment, a normal bend pulley that typically lasts one year would last at least three years with the PU lagging. Based on this result, Vale is adding the
Elastotec PU lagging to their general specification for all pulley applications with this type of operating conditions. An additional benefit to the longer service has been the effect on the bottom cover of the steel cord belt, where no additional wear has been observed. Given the high cost of steel cord belts, this is possibly a greater cost saving than the extended life of the lagging. Elastotec has been able to provide a solution to Valeâ€™s lagging service-life problems and sees this as an integral part of their role in helping their customers reduce conveyor operating costs and improve production performance.
ABOVE: Elastotecâ€™s Polyurethane has a much higher abrasion resistance than rubber lagging.
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Judging bulk by the cover: buying the right bagging system When it comes to pet supplies, the right bag can often be the deciding factor for consumers. Concetti’s Trevor Mitford explains how its technology is helping bulk baggers keep up with changing consumer behaviour. AUSTRALIA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES of pet ownership in the world, with almost two thirds of households owning a pet, according to a survey conducted by Animals Medicines Australia in 2016. In fact, the survey found that pets actually outnumber humans. The survey also found Australians spend around $12.2 billion on their pets every year, around $1475 per year for a dog, and around $1029 for cats. Trevor Mitford, Sales Manager at Concetti, says Australians value their pets and are quality conscious when it comes to purchasing supplies. “Pets have historically played an important part in Australian households and emerging timeconstrained lifestyles are playing a crucial role in developing the shift towards retail and commercial products,” Mr Mitford says. “Australia is one of the top mature markets for bulk pet products outside of Western Europe and North America, while in the Asia Pacific region, the majority of sales are currently concentrated in Japan, which is also relatively mature. “The growth in the Australian market can be attributed to the increasing commodity prices than the overall increase in population of pets, as well as the rise of dual-income families with no children and high disposable incomes.” Retail pet food bags can range from 100 grams or below to 25 kilograms, made out of polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, multi-layer aluminium polyethylene, or paper. The bags can also vary, from a stand-up, shelf-ready pouch to an industrial style sack, with a number of different closure systems. Mr Mitford says pet food producers know bags can influence purchasing decisions and that superior barrier quality, stain resistance and highquality graphics are no longer optional. “Consumer and retail demands are continuing to drive the move towards plastic film and away from traditional multi-wall paper bags. At the same time, other features like handles, re-closable bags and easy opening are expanding into the pet food industry, with zippers becoming increasingly desirable,” he says.
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Cat litter is in a similar situation, with the product itself made from many different materials such as clays (bentonite, zeolite), wood chips, silica gel, recycled paper, corn, ground wheat, ground walnuts and even grass. “Each of these materials may have different handling requirements, making it difficult to have a standard packaging system for all,” Mr Mitford says. While there are some similarities between the two pet products, litter is sold by volume while food is sold based on weight, so a single packaging line must be able to manage both. Pet supply manufacturers can range in size from multi-national to local family-owned brands. Mr Mitford says the ability to meet the widest possible demands, current and future, is vital in this complex market. “Packaging machinery needs to be able to provide flawless bag presentation, perfect sealing, and closure and flexibility in the range of pack sizes. In addition, it needs to handle different closure methods, flexible palletising for cartons, shelf ready packs and standard bags, and innovative bag-in-box facilities,” he says. Concetti pet food solutions generally comprise of two systems, one for bags that range from 100 grams to five kilograms and a larger format for two
ABOVE: A complete filling, closing and palletising system for animal feed and a bagging machine for pet food. RIGHT: Concetti focuses on providing flexibility in its bagging systems.
kilograms to 25 kilograms of pet food. Flexibility is a major focus for Concetti. The company’s packaging lines always include features such as automatic format changing within 60 to 90 seconds, multiple closure systems, and on request a combination of form fill seal (FFS) bags and premade bags on the one machine. Its business model in Australia aims to provide its customers peace of mind. Mr Mitford says this involves building partnerships with clients. “We don’t know everything about our client’s company or their markets, but by combining our knowledge with theirs, we can find the best way forward together for mutual benefit,” he says. The partnership involves a careful study of the packaging requirements, where assumptions are avoided. Products are tested with extreme attention to detail and developed with layout drawings and specifications. An example of this can be seen in the relationship between BEC Feed Solutions and Concetti. BEC Feed Solutions is redeveloping its Carole Park location, in Queensland, to turn it into a stateof-the-art premix manufacturing facility, equipped with unique integrated technology. The company
had collaborated with Concetti for the past three years to develop a custom packaging line instead of two independent lines, saving significantly on infrastructure costs. During this process, BEC Feed Solutions visited the Concetti headquarters in Italy and worked closely with its engineers as part of the development. “Concetti are constantly listening to our customers and investing heavily into the research and development of our technology to keep pace with expectations.”
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Lincom Warrior helps build port The Lincom Group has supplied machinery capable of processing more than 2.6 million tonnes of material to expand one of New Zealand’s biggest ports. LYTTELTON PORT COMPANY (LPC), THE largest port on New Zealand’s South Island, began a long-term project to develop a new modern container terminal at Te Awaparahi Bay. The port had forecast an increase in the region’s future container trade and decided to expand to meet changing customer requirements. In order to do this, it needed to reclaim land below the line of high tide. It began a twoyear land reclamation project, contracting C&R Developments to begin dredging a section of seabed and replace it with engineering bund containing around 850,000 tonnes of selected material, extracted from a nearby quarry. The overall project had a number of stages, BELOW: The Warrior 2400 reclaiming land for a Coastal Port Development to future proof the South Island’s largest city.
with the soft sediments needing to be removed before the bund could be constructed and tipping of material could begin. A combination of blasting, excavation, screening, stockpiling, carting and placing of material was required, with more than 2.6 million tonnes of material needed
36 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
to extend the port by six hectares. LPC also deployed an environmental management plan for the reclamation, to help minimise and mitigate any environment impacts and support the ecological health of the harbour. More than 2.4 million tonnes of earthquake demolition material and rubble went into the reclamation, much of it is from buildings in Christchurch demolished after the earthquakes. This saved Christchurch and the region more than NZ$100 million in dumping costs and provided fill for the reclamation. C&R Developments owns and operates a selection of heavy plant which is able to manage some of the toughest and most demanding jobs. The company takes pride in its capability to handle big jobs and says that no challenge is too great when it comes to completing major projects on time and within budget. To help C&R undertake this massive project, it worked closely with the Lincom Group, a material processing equipment provider with experience in the mining, quarry and recycling industry sectors. After discussing the specific requirements, Lincom delivered a heavy-duty screen machine called the Powerscreen Warrior 2400. The Warrior 2400 has been specially designed for large-scale operators in the quarrying and mining sectors and is capable of handling larger feed sizes and throughputs. It features a heavyduty screen with a high amplitude triple-shaft drive mechanism, lending it to the most demanding screening, scalping, two- or three-way splitting and stockpiling applications. “C&R needed big tonnage for the Lyttelton Port project and the Warrior is the biggest scalper on the market,” says Catrina Quinn, Lincom Group Marketing Manager. “It is 20’ x 6’ (6m x 1.8m) on both decks, top and bottom.” “The Warrior 2400 is different to everything else on the market. It’s the only scalper with triple-shaft technology, meaning both the amplitude and the direction of throw can be altered
– and independently of each other. “This gives the ability to accurately tune the machine to the specification application, maximising quality and throughput of the finished product.” Other features include a slide out tail conveyor facility to aid media access and a load sensing collection conveyor circuit to avoid blockages. Additionally, the Warrior 2400 has an output potential up to 800 tonnes per hour, an aggressive heavy-duty triple shaft screen, with adjustable frequency, amplitude and stroke angle and a jack-up screen facility to aid screen media changes. Lincom has also taken steps to ensure the safety of persons and the proper functioning of the plant, with codes of practice assisting with the risk assessment of the machine during commissioning. Ms Quinn says Lincom focuses on safety and efficiency of production to maximise the return on investment for its customers. “Anywhere, anytime, no matter the location, time or situation, we pride ourselves on delivering the right solution and after-sales support,” she says.
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Making food movement a breeze Aerobelt’s air-based conveyors are helping food producers improve hygiene, reduce maintenance and cut down on energy costs. EVERY FOOD BUSINESS IN THE COUNTRY, whether it’s a school canteen or a multinational manufacturer needs to ensure their product is safe to eat, according to the Australian Institute of Food Safety. If a business is the cause of a foodborne illness outbreak, the consequences can be serious. Businesses can be fined for hundreds of thousands of dollars, operators may be personally liable for prosecution and brands can be damaged or even shut down entirely. Simon Kutassy, a Mechanical Engineer at Aerobelt Australia, says food producers should enclose their conveyor belts to protect their bulk materials from outside contaminants. “By doing so, it is easier to maximise hygiene and keep unwanted objects out of the product stream,” he says. “However, on a conventional conveyor with rollers, it can be harder or more expensive to enclose. This is where Aerobelt shines.” Aerobelt makes use of an air cushion belt conveyor, which is where the belt is carried on a film of air instead of rollers. Air is blown under the conveyor by a small fan, with a number of holes in the trough to help set a certain air pressure and volume. The belt only requires the use of return rollers at the very ends of the system, significantly cutting down on the weight and maintenance required. Mr Kutassy says this technology has a number of benefits for food producers when compared with standard conveyor belts. “Aerobelts gently handle product with less
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agitation from the belt itself. On a standard conveyor, the belt rises and falls as it moves over the different rollers, which can ruin delicate foods such as peas or beans,” he says. “Belt conveyors tend to be better for moving these materials compared with drag or screw conveyors. “Stainless steel components are also available for food grade environments where hygiene and cleaning are a critical factor. This material is much easier to keep clean and won’t corrode.” As Aerobelts lack carry rollers, there is a significant reduction in start-up inertia allowing the belt to run with lower tension and smaller drives than an equivalent roller conveyor. With a reduced level of friction, power consumption falls as well. A number of belt types are compatible with the Aerobelt technology, including foodgrade belts, fire-resistant and anti-static belts and high temperature belts capable of
ABOVE: Aerobelt belts are carried on a film of air instead of rollers. BELOW: Modular construction simplifies assembly and leads to lower installation costs.
withstanding up to 200°C. Due to its lighter construction, the system can be installed in areas where other conveyors would be impossible. Aerobelts are able to reach inclines of up to 27 degrees and are fully reversible, enabling for enhanced flexibility in system design. Additionally, the belts can be retrofitted to existing conveyor galleries, thanks to a number of design features allowing it to follow the curves of existing supports. Concave and convex curves can be accommodated in the same conveyor if required. To make it easier to assemble the conveyors, Aerobelts are constructed from prefabricated trough sections. This modular construction simplifies assembly and leads to lower installation costs. Mr Kutassy says another key benefit is keeping dust emissions contained while also protecting the product. “Dust can be an issue, especially when working with grains like wheat,” he says. “We are also able to supply conveyors that can run in an explosive environment.” As a result of a lack of moving parts, Aerobelts make much less noise, which can be critical in a factory setting where noise limits apply. “It’s entirely possible to have these conveyors
LEFT: Aerobelts are easy to enclose, helping maximise hygiene.
used in relatively built up areas and stand right next to the mid-section and not be able to hear it running,” Mr Kutassy says. With less parts, the potential to break is reduced. This means the conveyors are more reliable and prevent unscheduled downtime. “Our customers have found them to be very reliable and extremely low maintenance,” Mr Kutassy says. “Most of our customers come back for more, happy with the performance of Aerobelt conveyors.”
Aussie brewers build world’s best bulk-malting plant Coopers has been named the 2019 Maltsters of the Year, thanks to a new maltings plant. ABHR speaks to Doug Stewart, Maltings Manager, to find out what went into the company’s winning facility. COOPERS IS ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S OLDEST family-owned breweries in Australia and has been producing beer for more than 150 years. Its brewery can be found in the South Australian suburb of Regency Park. It officially opened in 2001, with a $40 million price tag to include all of the new equipment, building and relocation, and aims to combine traditional recipes with high tech equipment. “In 2017, the company opened a $65 million malting plant at the Regency Park site to ensure Coopers could continue brewing beer that its founder would be proud of,” says Doug Stewart, Coopers’ Maltings Manager. The plant has a working capacity of 54,000 tonnes of malt per year, 16,000 tonnes of which is used by Coopers, with the rest sold to mainstream and craft brewers. It is currently operating at around 100 per cent capacity, but the design has been future proofed to allow this capacity to double if needed. Custom features have allowed Coopers to reduce steeping times, water usage and kiln gas during the process, while still being flexible enough to produce single origin malts for the craft beer and distilling sectors. As a result of the technological offering, Coopers
40 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
was named the 2019 Maltster of the Year at the World Barley, Malt and Beer conference in Warsaw, Poland, by an international jury of brewing supply chain members. Dr Stewart says it was a remarkable result to win such an award, given that Coopers’ maltings had only been in operation for just over a year. “Being named joint Maltster of the Year ahead of major international operators in only our second year of operation underlines our commitment to innovation and quality,” he says.
All images courtesy of John Kruger
TOP: The malting plant has a working capacity of 54,000 tonnes per year. BELOW: Coopers has been producing beer for more than 150 years.
Dr Stewart was involved with the design from the very beginning, bringing with him around 15 years of experience in managing similar facilities. He looked at what had worked well and what didn’t in other maltings in order to inform design decisions. “In particular, we paid a lot of attention to the steeping. It’s the first step in the malting process (followed by germination and kilning) and is critical for the final malt quality,” he says. Automation was a high priority, which is why most of the cleaning processes can be undertaken with the touch of a button. “We’ve got three steeps, with each using two brewery style spray balls. This is high end equipment you might see in a fermenter, which is part of Coopers’ brewing philosophy coming into the maltings,” Dr Stewart says. All of the transfers, which typically use conveyor belts to protect the grain, also use automated spraydowns where other plants may perform this manually. The design of the plant has taken temperature into account. The malting process can be highly sensitive to different levels of heat, and in the South Australian climate, heatwaves of more than 40°C are not uncommon. Dr Stewart says it’s important to keep the malting between 17°C to 20°C, and to ensure it can maintain that range, significant effort has been put into the plant’s temperature control system. “When water comes out of the aquifer, it’s usually around 32°C and we can chill that down when needed, which is something that not all malting plants can do,” he says. “The entire facility is amazingly well designed when it comes to heat. For example, on one of South Australia’s record-breaking hot days, I was in Brisbane. I was able to log on and check the germination vessels and found that even in the intense weather, all of them were at the perfect temperature.” Another included design feature is a wetting screw, which wets and pre-washes the barley. This
removes all of the dirt and dust before the grain go into a warm pre-steep to facilitate water uptake. Additionally, waste steam is generated from the brewery’s cogeneration unit that generates electricity on the site. The steam, which would have just been lost to the atmosphere, is captured and used to heat water and preheat the air going to the kiln. This saves around 33 per cent of the plant’s energy use. Dr Stewart says that Coopers’ commitment to quality had extended to the aesthetics of the plant, distinguishing it from the normal “agricultural” look of most older maltings around the world. “We made sure an architect was involved in the design phase and had discussions about colour, brickwork and lighting to tie the malting plant with the brew house. It uses the same floor to ceiling windows, floor tiles, and more. We took the aesthetics of the plant really seriously,” he says. “Our goal is to provide unique maltings, designed by brewers for brewers. Because of this, we focused heavily on creating high levels of hygiene, automation and process control that goes above and beyond.”
LEFT: The design goal was to provide a unique malting plant, designed by brewers for brewers.
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Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 41
Unchained productivity possibilities The Gates Corporation has engineered a power transmission belt that is lighter, cleaner and completely removes maintenance costs. ROLLER CHAINS PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN industrial machinery, commonly used for power transmission on drives. However, certain aspects of a roller chain’s metal composition can present potential productivity issues. Mark O’Brien, Inenco Product Manager, says that metal roller chains can be costly, labourintensive, heavy and messy. “Because roller chains are usually coming into contact with other metal components, they need to be kept well lubricated,” he says. “Lubricants can attract dirt and dust which can become a contaminant or lead to further wear. Because of the issues its customers were encountering with roller chains, the Gates Corporation tasked its material scientists to engineer a solution. The result is the Poly Chain synchronous belt. It uses a polyurethane material with carbon fibre tensile cords to provide increased power carrying capacity and extended flex fatigue life, helping it withstand shocks, surge loading and heavy abrasion. Mr O’Brien says Poly Chain belts are made from polyurethane so they can’t rust like a metal chain. “Poly Chain belts require no lubrication and eliminate contamination risks, making them ideal for food processing,” he says. “The belt materials are resistant to chemicals, oil, pollutants and abrasion, helping simplify washdowns.” Gates’ Poly Chain belts have traditionally been restricted to lengths below five metres. However,
42 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
recent innovations now allow for specialty madeto-order lengths of up to 20 metres to be produced, dramatically expand the range of applications for Poly Chain consideration. Mr O’Brien says one of the most appealing features of the Poly Chain belt is the complete reduction of maintenance costs. “Roller chains stretch, often requiring retensioning. This leads to downtime and lost productivity,” he says. “With Poly Chain’s, installation, set and forget.
ABOVE: Poly Chain has a total service life that is around three times longer than a roller chain. BELOW: The polyurethane material reduces noise, maintenance and weight.
Once it’s in place you almost never need to go back to it. “Gates has engineered the belts to be long lasting, with a total service life around three times longer than a roller chain.” Installation is made easier, with the overall weight of Poly Chain around 96 per cent lighter than the equivalent length of rolling chain. By doing so, it reduces potential for fatigue, strain and risk of pinching during installation. With less metal components, Poly Chain belts are also quieter, particularly when it gets up to speed. Mr O’Brien says this is an additional benefit for food producers working in a factory environment, where noise reduction can be a safety issue. Gates distributes its power transmission products through the Consolidated Bearing Company (CBC). The two companies work closely together to ensure the Australian market is supported with engineering and after sales support. CBC operates more than 45 branches around Australia, with each employing qualified product managers and engineering support teams to provide everything from design, installation and fitment. Mr O’Brien says most of the branches carry their own stock range, supported by major distribution
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LEFT: Poly Chain belts require no lubrication.
centres on the east and west coast. “Gates and CBC have had a strong relationship since the early 90s and both have grown over that period,” he says. “We’re forever looking to extend this in Australia to provide the best value to customers.”
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Controlling coffee to brew bulk beans ENVEA SWR Engineering’s moisture-monitoring systems are helping coffee roasters to continue caffeinating Australia. ROASTING COFFEE BEANS IS A CAREFUL AND considered process and needs to be precise in order to be consistently reproducible. If the roasting process goes wrong, it can ruin the taste and aroma of coffee that Australians love. During the roasting processes, beans need to be kept at a specific temperature range and moisture content, which is why a coffee producer reached out to SWR Engineering to help monitor its processes. The M-Sens 2 is installed onto the coffee roaster to measure the moisture content of the materials conveyed, to determine how much water needs to be injected into the final stage of the roasting process. It helps to regulate temperature to ensure the beans are roasted under precise conditions. Online measurement makes sure that as soon as the moisture content changes, the new set point for the water injection lines is sent, helping to make the process more reliable. Frank Silberberg, from Group Instrumentation, says the M-Sens has good applications in Australia and can be found in more than just the food industry, but also the minerals and cement industry. “Moisture sensors can be used as part of drying control systems to guarantee material moisture as a quality standard, integrate burning processes in order to control fuel injection, or to guarantee the right adherence behaviour for food or many different chemical materials,” he says. M-Sens 2 has been specifically designed for continuous moisture measurement of solids during
44 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
LEFT: Roasting coffee beans is a precise process that needs to be consistently reproducible. BELOW: The sensor has been designed for continuous measurement of solids.
matching. It can be used for online moisture measurement of all types of dust, powders, granulates and other bulk solids. The M-Sens 2’s sensor functionality is based on precise, high-frequency measurement and direct digitalisation of measured values to create high resolution results. It has a simple installation and calibration process and is resistant to mechanical shocks and abrasion, giving it a long service life. The sensor can be used in a variety of bulk handling systems, such as screw feeders where the material passes by the sensor window in even intervals with relatively consistent bulk density. On conveyor belts, the sensor can inform the user if the material is too humid or too dry, helping prevent plugging of subsequent aggregates. Another installation alternative is to mount it on a bin outlet. Due to the constant bulk density in a filled bin, the sensor finds almost unchanging measuring fields for monitoring the residual moisture, helping processes avoid material that is too damp reaching the next production level. “M-Sens is in constant development,” says Tiago Morais, ENVEA SWR Engineering’s International Sales Manager. “It’s also considered one of our main instruments. “The M-Sens line now includes a new version, M-Sens 3 with Flow-No Flow detection and material temperature measurement.”
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Not everyone wants to have their cake and eat it In this regular column, experts from specialist bulk materials engineering firm Jenike & Johanson answer readers’ questions about problems at their sites. In this edition, the company’s General Manager, Grant Wellwood, explains how to stop material from caking after it leaves the factory. Q. OUR CUSTOMERS CURRENTLY PAY A PREMIUM
ABOVE: Grant Wellwood is the General Manager for Jenike & Johanson in Perth. ABOVE RIGHT: Although it may sound delicious, caked material can affect the flow of bulk powders.
for our high quality, free-flowing powder product, however, we have started getting reports of caking. When our powders are packaged into bags at our plant, they are definitely lump free, yet when customers de-bag the contents at their facilities, they see “an excessive amount of caked material”. This situation creates problems and rework for the customer, putting our longstanding and lucrative supply contract at risk. We suspect moisture is the cause, but we recently upgraded our process to fill directly from the upstream dryer to eliminate the holding step and moisture pick-up before packaging. Our quality control records show we have actually reduced the as-packed moisture content of our powder and our bags have vapour barriers, so these incidents of caking are perplexing. We make a high-quality product that exceeds all its specifications when it leaves our facility, yet the customer is not happy. Although this problem occurs beyond our effective sphere of influence, we are held accountable for quality until the material is debagged and the customer is understandably not happy. Is there anything bulk solids science can do to help alleviate this problem even though the powder has left our facility (in perfect condition) and we can exert no influence? Thanks in advance: “On-a-Diet” (no cake for me thanks)
A. Dear On-a-Diet (OaD), Unwanted particle agglomeration (caking) is a major issue for many industries because of
46 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
its negative impact on so many aspects of a manufacturing process including: • Increased risk profile by resorting to non-standard procedures. These ad-hoc interventions often involve improvised tools which often have low integrity and put operators in the line of fire with respect to moving parts and/or collapsing cake structures. •R educed finished product quality from either the inability to properly disperse/spread or from good-intentioned interventions to break up caked particles that violate critical control point protocols and introduce impurities. •R educed productivity due to interruptions to flow in the value-chain arising from blockages, manual interventions, ingredient starvation or increased time for dispersion. • I nhibited process capability arising from reduced “live” holding capacities in the flowsheet,for example. • I ncreased operating cost because of rework or outright rejection of feed material batches. Perversely, eliminating your post dryer cooling step in order to minimise opportunities for moisture pick-up is probably the root cause of your caking problem, OaD. Let me explain. Even if your granular or powder product seems dry and free flowing going into its vapour barrier packaging, caking can still occur over time due to
something called moisture migration. Moisture migration occurs whenever there is a difference in a system’s water activity – the equilibrium relative humidity of the air in the void spaces between the powder particles – a phenomenon driven by temperature gradients. Transient temperature gradients are created when a powder is packaged at elevated temperatures and then stored or transported under ambient conditions. If the bags are stored outdoors or in a warehouse that has poor temperature control, temperature cycling may occur, which sets up temperature gradients within the bulk material. This is why the packaging of many free-flowing food ingredients like salt, sugar, or flour sport the “store in a cool place” recommendation. Based on my understanding of your current situation, the powder is being packaged at a temperature higher than ambient. If so, as that pack cools, powder closest to the fabric (polymer, paper, cloth) will be colder than material at the centre of the bag. As a result, the relative humidity of the interstitial air will be highest nearest the fabric exposed to ambient temperatures. The moisture in that air will adsorb onto the surface of the particles in an effort to establish equilibrium. This lowers the absolute humidity of the air closest to the fabric, thereby providing a concentration driving force for further transfer of moisture from the centre of the bag towards the fabric. In chemical engineering terms, each sealed vapour-barrier packet is a closed system, as energy but not mass can transfer across its boundary. Even in a closed system comprising visually dry and freeflowing powder, there can often be enough water trapped within to cause caking if it all migrates to one region of the packet. In addition to the moisture content of the particles that make up the powder (as measured by your quality control tests), the air between them, which is typically 40 per cent of the bulk volume, will also contribute to the water content within the closed system. Air at 25°C can carry 0.02 kilograms of water per kilogram of dry air and the carrying capacity goes up sharply with temperature. At 40°C air can carry 0.05 kilograms of water per kilogram of dry air. As the temperature of the air you are now packing is elevated, this could be a major contributor, especially if the drier unit is directly gas fired (products of combustion) or counter current. Once moisture migration takes place within the closed system, there are three mechanisms that can cause the particles in a powder to bond, resulting in caking: 1. With many powders water can act as a plasticiser. This will soften the material, leading to an increase in inter-particle contact area, a greater number
of contacts between neighbouring particles, and a decrease in distance between adjacent particles. The resulting increase in cohesive strength can be dramatic if the bulk material is one where plasticisation causes its glass transition temperature to fall below ambient, leading to the phenomenon known as sintering. 2. When some powders are exposed to high relative humidity air, the water adsorbed by the powder collects between powder particles due to capillary condensation, forming liquid bridges. If the entire void is filled with liquid, a negative capillary pressure will exist, resulting in additional attractive forces between particles. In general, the opportunity for incidental capillary formation between particles increases as particles size reduces, hence attrition and segregation can be important considerations. 3. Solid bridges between particles can form when soluble matter in liquid bridges precipitate during cooling or drying. In general, capillary condensation must first occur in order for solid bridging to take place. While there are a range of options available, identifying the root cause involved is always the pathway to the best long-term fix. Shear cell tests that measure the powder’s gain in cohesive strength when stored at rest can be conducted under controlled conditions in a laboratory. Caking phenomena is controlled by microproperties of the bulk, so to fully inform the science and get the best solution, a suite of characterisation tests (below) are recommended to explore the materials. • Adsorption isotherm • Segregation and attrition tendencies • Uniaxial compressibility • Particle size distribution • Shape and form via scanning electron microscopy (particle shape [points, flat surfaces…], surface cracks and fissures, chemical impurities • Thermal expansion behaviour-via dilatometry, Such analysis will help reveal the characteristics and moisture contents that must be avoided to prevent
BELOW: Sugar can be more prone to caking than other materials, but sugar cubes have turned this into an advantage.
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 І 47
ABOVE: If bags of powder are stored in areas with poor temperature control, it can result in caking.
caking and reveal the dominant bonding mechanism involved. Once the root cause and associated moisture threshold for unique packaging circumstances are known, you can confidently move into solution mode. •G o to your customers’ operations in search of links between bad packets (containing unacceptable levels of caked material) and your customers’ handling processes. In the warehouse, look for things like rough handling on receival (attrition, segregation and bag damage/puncturing traces of powder on the floor?), high packet stacking and extended storage in uncontrolled temperatures, and elevated temperatures in the roof-space. In the operation itself, first take a look at the debagging station and observe the caking problems first-hand. Speak to front-line staff about the issue and lookout for mechanistic clues. For example, is the caking more prevalent within in packages at the bottom of a stack (they are the deformed ones) or perhaps the ones one top (influenced by roof temperature)? Is the caked material within a packet adjacent to a fabric surface or perhaps always on the bottom surface (suggesting segregation issues)? If so, what type? Is the caked powder moist? Is it friable and easy to disintegrate or has it set like rock? Can you see bridges between individual particles? Most operators will appreciate your interest in their problem, while the line managers and engineering staff will savour the opportunity to share their pain while appreciating your determination to identify the root cause and solve the problem. •L ook at your powder’s production-to-customer transport journey and if possible, eliminate ambient temperature variations/cycling (don’t forget
48 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
distribution centres), excessive compressive forces (bag stacking) and sharp movements likely to cause segregation. • If you don’t already do so, start collecting and logging data at your packet filling point against batch numbers (moisture content of the powder, ambient temperature, relative humidity, time of day, fill temperature) in order to shine some light on the issue. Are the packets subject to compressive forces in your warehouse or distribution centre? If so, over what time? Ask your customer to keep a log of bad packet batch numbers, so you can map them to your fill data and look for discernible patterns. Within your own sphere of influence as a powder producer, consider the following changes in order to reduce the risk of post-dispatch caking: 1. C ooling the powder to ambient temperatures before packaging to avoid setting up a temperature gradient at the packaging stage. 2. Conditioning the powder prior to packaging by injecting low-humidity air as the powder flows through a mass-flow silo to purge moisture. Passing air will also improve the rate and quality of the cooling. 3. O ver-drying the powder to a sufficiently low level such that if moisture migration takes place, any local increase in powder moisture content will not cause agglomeration due to plasticisation or liquid or solid bridging. Dryer powders are generally harder and therefore less prone to sintering. 4. Adding a parting agent such as magnesium oxide or silicon dioxide to your powder to minimise interparticle contact area. 5. A dding desiccant pouches to the closed system packets in order to preferentially take up migrating moisture. 6. R educing the normal pressure on individual packets (imparted by stacking) before they leave your operations. Consider limiting stack heights and using load distributing sheets. 7. Handling induced attrition during filling or dispatch on your side which can lead to the creation of moisture trapping capillaries within the bulk (due to attrition and/or segregation) and an increase in the number of inter-particle contact points and surface area. 8. Consider the impact of shape and size distribution of the particles and if there is potential (use shear testing to determine), modifying your process to produce a “caking-resistant formulation” (sold at a premium over competitor’s product?). 9. I dentify any impurities (for example salts) that may promote caking, and if possible, eliminate them. In your case, it would appear that “warm” filling is the root cause, so you could cut to the chase and
revert to the previous workflow of holding the dried material before packing it off. However, rather than simply recommissioning the previous holding hopper, you may wish to consider an engineered solution featuring a counter current flow of dry cooling air. This approach would not only eliminate the temperature gradient within your packets, but also reduce the required holding time and inventory to do so. Actively drying the air used will minimise the moisture carried into each packet with the interstitial air. Some materials are more prone to caking than others, but instead of fighting thermodynamics, can you make caking actually work for you? For example, sugar is prone to caking but this tendency has actually been turned into an advantage. Cubed sugar is nothing more than engineered caking, but the resulting product is marketed as having many benefits including: • Convenience. They can be picked up by hand and hold their form until mixed into liquids where they dissolve quickly without dust, spilling and/or wet spoons going back into the bowl. • Portion control. Each cube is approximately equal to one and a half teaspoons of sugar and has
approximately 25 calories. • Higher transport intensity. Cubed sugar in a square packet on a square pellet equals higher packing density equals a smaller transport impact footprint. Jakub Krystof Rad invented the first sugar cubes in the 1840s at a sugar refining plant in Dacice, a small Moravian town in what is now the Czech Republic. A combination of sugar crystals and sugar syrup are mixed together and placed in moulds until dry. The dried cubes emerge from this engineered caking process as a 100 per cent sugar product hard enough to retain their shape yet dissolve instantly on contact with water. So, understanding and applying the science in the context of some marketing expertise has created a premium product. How much of a premium? Cubed sugar sells at 10 times the price of its free-flowing precursor, a 1000 per cent mark-up, the value of science and innovation. Do you have a bulk solids handling question? Jenike & Johanson has developed the science of bulk solids flow and specialises in applying it to solving the most challenging bulk solids handling problems. So why not put them to the test with your question? The harder, the better.
Note: The advice here is of a general nature. Specific solutions are very sensitive to their circumstances; therefore, you should consult with a specialist in the area before proceeding.
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Grow with the Flow After being acquired by South Australian engineering consultancy GJC Engineers in 2013, Flow Force Technologies began researching new ways to improve the performance accuracy of its impact weighers. LEFT: Flow Force Technologies designs and manufactures industrial weighing equipment.
FLOW FORCE TECHNOLOGIES (FFT) IS A SOUTH Australian designer and manufacturer of industrial weighing equipment, such as impact weighers. These devices provide a reliable, dusttight, low-maintenance weighing solution for free-flowing dry powders in applications where there is a continuous flow of particulate materials. Following an acquisition in 2016, the new owners recognised that continued success would require constant product development, which has driven the company’s approach since. Glenn Jobling, Managing Director at FFT, says the company started development with the electronic components, looking to improve the accuracy of FFT’s impact weighers. Impact weighers measure the flow rates of free-flowing bulk materials by measuring the horizontal force produced by impact on a plate inserted in the product flow. Because only the horizontal force is measured, the accuracy of the measurement isn’t compromised by erosion or build-up of product on the plate. FFT partnered with electronics company Rinstrum to upgrade its software algorithms resulting in a new controller, based on FFT software, with higher accuracy and better reliability that is now being used to develop a new line of impact weighers. Mr Jobling said the improved controller was especially important for the transport industry where changes to legislation, specifically when it comes to overloading, meant that accurate load measurement had become a key for customers. “In the past, operators may have loaded straight from the silo into the truck and had no issues. Now, if a truck arrives over the weight limit, or is involved in any incidents, there can be serious consequences,” he said. Prior to the acquisition FFT had many different impact weigher designs, depending on the application. To reduce manufacturing costs and for ease of installation, FFT redesigned the mechanical arrangement of its weighers. There are now two basic configurations, the first an inline weigher for insertion in a vertical pipe or chute with no horizontal offset between the inlet and outlet and the second, the MAGNE//FLO unit. This system has
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been designed to handle hazardous or food grade materials and protects the electronics from the product being measured and cleaning solutions used for clean-in-place procedures. In the first configuration the impact plates can be attached directly to the load cell or mounted on a trapeze arrangement with the load cell and its electrical connections located outside the measurement chamber. The trapeze mounting provides an almost linear response between the horizontal force on the impact plate and the flow rate leading to higher accuracy and better measurement repeatability. The MAGNE//FLO unit uses magnetic force
to provide the coupling between the impact plate and load cell, allowing the load cell to be located outside of the product flow. Some of the benefits to this are: • Improved accuracy • The load cell is protected from the product by being outside of the flow path • The weigher internals can be washed/ chemically cleaned • Suitable for explosive products • Suitable for products high in dust • Easy to perform calibration checks using a built-in check calibration weight. However, one drawback to this system is that process minerals can’t be magnetic. It is also unable to handle some applications which involve roasting the product to temperatures beyond the 80°C limit of the existing technology. “We then went back to basics and set about redesigning the impact weigher to make it suitable for high-temperature magnetic materials,” Mr Jobling says. “We needed to be able to retrofit the modifications as well, as we had customers who could take advantage of a higher process temperature tolerance.” The answer was to use the trapeze-mounted impact plate with the external load cell in applications involving high temperature and/or magnetic materials from the in-line weigher. Mr Jobling says FFT’s impact weighers have been used to great success within the cement industry, allowing manufacturers to reduce waste and better control the quality of the product. “Because cement is made to a particular quality specification, producers predominantly use impact weighers to measure product as it moves through the production process,” he says. “By using our impact weighers, manufacturers can measure the additives as they are being introduced, to keep the product as close to the specification as possible.” Processes in the rare earth mineral sector have also influenced FFT’s technology development. Rare earth mineral production often requires producing different grades of product and companies use samplers to measure the grade and impact weighers to control the quality of each grade. As a consequence, FFT has developed an integral sampler for the impact weigher which enables the collection of samples for lab testing to be done without interrupting production. This allows miners to monitor the quality, allowing them to make changes to production quickly if required. Ruggedness and maintainability were two key qualities that FFT strives to include in its new
LEFT: The MAGNE//FLO system has been designed to handle hazardous or foodgrade materials.
impact weighers. Stainless steel is used instead of painted steel to remove issues with corrosion, rust or scratching and parts have been standardised, making units easier to repair. This helps to reduce customer spare part storage requirements and makes manufacturing easier, as components are interchangeable across a number of sizes and designs. “This is important for most of our customers that are situated in remote locations,” Mr Jobling says. “The cost of spares is expensive, and holding spare parts in storage can be a financial burden. By making spares common to a number of units, people can buy a spare and use it across a number of installations.” FFT is now looking to grow internationally, with plans in place to appoint distributors and begin manufacturing in the USA and South Africa. Locally, the company aims to have its inline Flowforce truckfilling facilities trade-certified in 2020 and continue to provide more accurate and reliable units to future and existing customers.
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Lighter, faster, safer: Engineering HDPE conveyor guards Thomas Greaves, General Manager of DYNA Engineering, explains how high-density polyethylene is revolutionising conveyor guards, with a number of safety, convenience and maintenance benefits. CONVEYOR SYSTEMS ARE CONSIDERED ONE OF the highest risk areas on a mine site. Reducing time spent in and around the conveyors is a major benefit and helps reduce overall risk. Traditionally, steel is used to manufacture the guards that keep the area around a conveyor clear and safe. However, steel conveyor guards have a number of safety and maintenance limitations. Lifting heavy objects presents significant risks, especially in the mining industry. Lifting objects weighing 15 kilograms or more is considered a no-go, while most steel guards struggle to remain lighter than 12 kilograms. When site operators are consistently removing and re-installing guards to maintain conveyors, the repetitive nature and stress can add up and take its toll. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) conveyor guards can offer a lighter, safer and easier to maintain alternative. Compared with conventional steel, HDPE conveyor guards can be up to 40 per cent lighter. They can also be removed in a matter of minutes, where special hot tooling is needed for costly welding and cutting on steel guards. Installation is easy, with the guard simply sliding into place and fastened with two bolts so it can’t be removed. No complicated instructions or special skills are required, reducing the likelihood and risk of accidents. During maintenance shutdowns, HDPE guards can be safely and easily secured on the conveyor handrail.
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This conveniently ensures they are out of harm’s way and reduces the likelihood of them being misplaced, which sometimes occurs under maintenance shutdown pressures.
Manufactured in safety yellow Conventional steel guards require a great deal of painting to maintain the safety yellow colour. Due to the size of the mesh, it’s a costly and wasteful process. A lot of paint is used, and a significant amount is lost in the process. Often, operators resort to hand painting, which is time consuming and expensive. However, HDPE conveyor guards are made from safety yellow-coloured material, so no painting is required. This greatly reduces conveying system maintenance hours and cost.
ABOVE: DYNA Engineering’s General Manager, Thomas Greaves, inspects some of the first HDPE “X” design conveyor guarding panels in its Perth workshop. BELOW: The deflection differences between a conventional HDPE conveyor guard versus DYNA’s new “X” design HDPE guard.
Free of rust and corrosion One of the major outright benefits HDPE has over steel results from it being a non-metallic material. HDPE is rust and corrosion free, further reducing long-term maintenance costs and minimising potential rectification works. HDPE conveyor guards are also resistant to many chemicals, making them very applicable to conveyor
guarding in processing plants and facilities. Chemicals commonly used in mining processing, to which HDPE is resistant, include caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, kerosene and sulfuric acid.
No metal detector issues Steel guarding can cause interference issues with metal detectors used on conveyors to detect fugitive materials. This can require lowering the detector’s sensitivity to remove the problem, which can allow fugitive material to slip through. HDPE conveyor guards do not interfere with metal detectors. This allows for an increase in metal detector sensitivity and calibration to the optimum level.
Additional DYNA Engineering “X” HDPE Conveyor Guard advantages DYNA’s exclusive and patented “X” shape design increases the guard’s strength substantially (up to 60 per cent) when compared with others. It is engineered to be robust, suited to heavy-duty mining and industrial applications. The “X” design guards are engineered to deliver reduced deflection and exceed Australian Standards: • Series AS 4024 : 1 : 2014 • AS 4024 : 3610 : 2015 • AS 4024 : 3611 : 2015
They can be designed to suit existing equipment, replace conventional steel mesh guards and can be adapted to incorporate metal detectors, belt change stations, access platforms and points, conveyor trip wires, cabling and any other requirement. They can even be designed to incorporate retractable idler roller frames. In this case, access to the idler frame can be made via the simple removal of a single guard. There is also a fully enclosed design option which incorporates hungry boards to contain rogue material on the conveyor. DYNA Engineering HDPE conveyor guards can be as light as six kilograms for a one metre by one metre panel. The guard weight is engraved on the panel for quick and easy assessment by operators to help prevent the risk of lifting injuries. Manufactured in Perth, a replacement guard for an existing conveyor can be manufactured in a couple of days, much faster when compared to the potential weeks or months with others sourced from overseas.
SUMMARY OF HDPE BENEFITS OVER STEEL HDPE CONVEYOR GUARDS
STEEL CONVEYOR GUARDS
Doesn’t interfere with metal detectors
Minimised overhead lifting
Marked weight on panel
Manufactured in colour
Can be removed in minutes
Only simple tools required
Convenient conveyor railing storage during maintenance
ABOVE: There is a fully enclosed design option available, which incorporates hungry boards to contain rogue material on the conveyor. LEFT: HDPE guards can be installed by fastening two bolts.
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Common welding and fabrication defects and how to solve them Welding and fabrication defects can greatly affect the performance and longevity of steel structures on bulk material handling systems. Aspec Engineering details some of the more common defects, their causes and possible preventative and corrective measures. DEFECTS ON A STRUCTURE, EVEN THE most inconspicuous, can render a welded structure unfit to carry out its intended purpose. Understanding the various defects and their causes and remedies can help to ensure higher-quality and longer lasting structures. • Geometric imperfections Geometric imperfections are certain weld characteristics, such as fit-up and weld bead shape, determined by visual inspection. They are an indication of poor workmanship and may be cause for concern if they exceed the acceptable limits of the quality control code being used for the weld inspection. • Misalignment This type of geometric defect is generally caused by a setup/fit up problem or trying to join plates of different thickness.
• Overlap The protrusion of weld metal beyond the weld toe or weld root. It is caused by poor welding techniques and can generally be overcome by an improved weld procedure. The overlap can be repaired by grinding off excess weld metal and surface grinding smoothly to the base metal. • Undercutting Undercutting is one of the more severe welding defects. It is essentially an unfilled groove along the edge of the weld. The causes are usually associated with incorrect electrode angles, incorrect weaving technique, excessive current and travel speed. Undercutting can be avoided with careful attention to detail during preparation of the weld and by improving the welding process. It can be repaired in most cases by welding up the resultant groove with a smaller electrode. • Concave and convex welds Misshaped welds are caused by a combination of incorrect electrode current and speed. Excessive concavity (lack of reinforcement) results in insufficient throat thickness in relation to the nominated weld size. Excessive convexity results in poor weld contour. In multilayer welds, this can give rise to slag inclusions, while in the finished weld it provides a poor stress pattern and a local notch effect at the toe of the weld. They can be avoided by using an appropriate electrode size, current and weaving pattern. It can be repaired by either filling with further weld material or by grinding back to the base metal on each side of the weld and re-welding.
Cracking Cracks and planar discontinuities are some of the most dangerous, especially if they are subject to fatigueloading conditions. There are several different types of cracks and none are desired. They must be removed by grinding back (if superficial) or repaired by welding. Cracks can occur in the weld itself, the base metal, or the heat-affected zone.
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LEFT: Welding defects can significantly affect a structure’s performance.
Longitudinal cracks run along the direction of the weld and are usually caused by a weld metal hardness problem. This type of cracking is commonly caused by a cooling problem, the elements in the weld cooling at different rates. They can also be caused by the weld bead being too wide, current or welding speed too high, having the root gap too large, and shrinkage stresses in high constraint areas. Longitudinal cracks can be prevented by welding toward areas of less constraint, preheating the elements to even out the cooling rates and by using the correct choice of welding consumables. If cracks do appear, they can be repaired by grinding out or cutting the members apart and re-welding. A transverse crack is a crack in the base metal beginning at the toe of the weld. They are caused by transverse shrinkage stresses, and often indicates a brittleness problem in the heat-affected zone. To prevent them, it may require an increase in pre-heating or the use of a more ductile filler material. Underbead cracks are cracks in the unmelted parent metal of the heat-affected zone. Hydrogen embrittlement, a process by which various metals become brittle and crack following exposure to hydrogen, can cause such cracks. To prevent these, use hydrogen-controlled electrodes or preheat the elements being welded. These cracks can be repaired by gouging out and re-welding but can only be found using nondestructive testing. Cold cracking occurs after the weld metal has had the chance to completely solidify. They are caused by FIG 2.
highly restrained welds, shrinkage and discontinuities. Cold cracks can be prevented by preheating the weldments, welding towards areas of less constraint as well as using more ductile weld metal. They can be repaired by removing and re-welding the elements together.
FIGURE 1: Misalignment. FIGURE 2: Undercutting. FIGURE 3: Concave and convex weld.
• Lamellar tearing Lamellar tearing is a type of defect that is most likely to occur below a welded joint at points of high stress concentration. It is created by non-metallic inclusions being rolled into the hot plate metal during fabrication. These tears occur when weld metal is deposited on the surface of a joint where there is high restraint. Special joint design is one way to minimise this defect, but the best precaution is to specify materials of adequate quality and test at the receiving inspection.
Inclusions Inclusions are generated by extraneous material such as slag, tungsten, sulfide and oxide inclusions becoming part of the weld. These defects are often associated with undercut, incomplete penetration and lack of fusion in welds. Insufficient cleaning between multi-pass welds and incorrect current and electrode manipulation can leave slag and unfused sections along the weld joint. Slag inclusions not only reduce cross sectional area strength of the joint, but may also serve as an initiation point for serious cracking. This defect can only be repaired by grinding down or gouging out and re-welding.
Porosity Porosity is a collective name describing cavities or pores caused by gas and non-metallic material entrapment in molten metal during solidification. There are many causes including contamination, inadequate shielding, an unstable arc, the arc gap too short and poor welding technique in general. Porosity can be minimised in many different ways such as the proper selection of electrodes and/or filler FIG 3.
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FIGURE 4: Cracking.
FIGURE 5: Lamellar tearing. FIGURE 6: Incomplete fusion.
materials, improved welding techniques, more attention to the work area during weld preparation and a slower speed to allow gases time to escape. The effects of porosity on performance depend on quantity, size, alignment, and orientation to stresses. When clustered at the weld’s centre, porosity is not considered a dangerous fatigue promoter, or detrimental to fatigue resistance, although it may reduce the static stress carrying capacity of the weld.
Incomplete fusion/penetration Incomplete fusion or penetration is an internal planar discontinuity that is difficult to detect and evaluate, and very dangerous. It occurs when the weld metal does not form a cohesive bond with the base metal or when the weld metal does not extend into the base metal to the required depth, resulting in insufficient throat thickness. These defects are usually caused by incorrect welding condition such as current too low, insufficient preheating, welding speed too fast, incorrect edge preparation, short arc length, insufficient electrode size or the arc not placed in the centre of the seam. This type of defect can only be repaired by grinding/gouging out the defective area and re-welding.
Weld damage Arc strikes appear as localised spots of remelted metal. Hammer strikes are small dints or nicks. They are caused by excessive force when using a chipping hammer, careless handling of the welding electrode holder and from inadvertent or careless arc manipulation. They must be avoided, and any traces removed. These imperfections can lead to small cracks in the heat-affected zone of the weld metal and can cause localised stress concentrations.
Craters are visually inspectable depressions that indicate improper weld terminations, usually with the presence of radial cracks. They should be avoided if possible. The best way to do this is to ensure that correct welding techniques are used.
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Distortion Common types of distortion include shrinkage, angular distortion and bowing. Causes of distortion include the heat input, the degree of restraint applied and inherent stresses in the parent metal.
Spatter Metal drops expelled from the weld can stick to surrounding surfaces. This spatter can be minimised by correcting the welding conditions and should be eliminated by grinding. Welding defects can greatly affect weld performance and longevity. Early detection and correction is important to ensure that welds can carry out their designed purpose. Detection techniques need to be sensitive enough to detect harmful or rejectable discontinuities but not to the point where all defects are rejected. It is onlynecessary to repair defects that are considered to be detrimental to the structural integrity of the structure. Welds don’t have to be perfect – this is too costly and time consuming to achieve – simply within the acceptable working limits as specified by the quality control code being used during the weld inspection.
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Weighing in on belt conveyors STEVE DAVIS In his regular BULKtalk column, Steve Davis of Rio Tinto considers the basics of bulk handling that sites often struggle with. He shares his insights gained from more than 30 years in bulk materials handling. 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.
RIGHT Precision 5-roll belt scale with 4 stage stored in place calibration weights.
Rio Tinto’s Steve Davis explains the ins and outs of belt weighing systems and how they should be selected, installed and maintained to get the best accuracy possible. When transporting bulk commodities on belt conveyors it can be important to know the tonnes moved. Reasons for this could be to inform process monitoring, storage management, custody transfer and feed metering. To gain this insight, belt weighing systems (belt scales) are used. However, these devices should be selected, installed and maintained to meet specific aspects that define whether the system will achieve accuracy goals.
General aspects Belt scales do not directly weigh bulk on the belt. They are electromechanical devices that convert an instrument output to a weight indication. There are four generic types: 1. Electromechanical belt scales, using load cells and a deflecting load support frame, are the most common by far, and generally the most accurate. Deflection of the frame under load varies strain on load cells. Belt speed is measured, and an integrator converts the outputs to a weight. 2. Optical systems measure cross section of the load on the belt. The belt shape and speed, and the load bulk density must be consistent as these define the weight in the integrator. These are best with finer materials and consistent feed rates. 3. Nuclear systems measure absorption of radiation in the load and converts to a weight. Variations in the belt and the material coefficient of absorption can affect accuracy. 4. Impact weighers are also available for discharge chute installation. Deflection of the impact plate correlates to the flow of material in the discharge. These are suited for dry fine product. There is a common misconception that belt scales are 100 per cent accurate, which can lead to concern when two weigh systems do not match exactly. Conversely, there might be something wrong when two systems match consistently closer
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than realistically possible, for example, within 100 tonnes on a 200,000-tonne batch with a combined error of 0.05 per cent. Belt scales are sold based on error bands, such as being accurate to ±0.5 per cent. This accuracy cannot be attained just by installation on a conveyor. The accuracy of all belt scales depends on calibration, and repeatability through good installation and maintenance. External influences must be considered and mitigated. When all aspects of the belt scale and installation are in good condition, calibrated correctly, and external influences are minimal, the integrated weight readout will vary between 99.5 per cent and 100.5 per cent of the true weight on a ±0.5 per cent accurate scale. For a detailed explanation, I recommend reading Control Systems Technology Knowledge Bases. Good accuracy is possible, but it doesn’t just happen. Belt scales have a span, which is the range in which they deliver repeatable outputs. Go beyond the span and accuracy will drop. The best accuracy is generally in middle to top of the span range. Zero checking is not calibration. It is a regular reset
LEFT Application of rollerweighing calibration chains on a conveyor
of the electronic zero to accommodate change due to temperatures and other daily variables. Zero movement should oscillate around a centre value. Gradual drift in one direction likely indicates a fault. Calibrating a belt scale is done by simulating a load on the belt scale. There are two common methods; hanging known weight on the scale and using roller weigh chains over the scale. The belt is running empty in both methods. Stored in place, static weights are safer and simpler to apply, easier to maintain, and if split correctly will cover the load span in two or more stages. Chains have several safety risks associated with installation and operation and need to be stored carefully. Neither method is effective if there are any aspects of the belt scale design or the condition of the equipment that prevents this. If precise calibration is expected then the calibration weights should simulate full load, and preferably one or two intermediate loads. There are two accepted and similar methods used to certify belt scales for custody transfer. NMI / OIML R50-1 is the Australian Standard and used in many other countries while the USA and others use National Institute of Standards and Technology handbook 44. These standards define how to test the scale and provide minimum requirements for various aspects that are necessary to be tested. The lowest error band for which there is a regulated test available is ±0.2 per cent, and this is for a fully
installed and operational conveyor with a belt scale, designed to be tested according to one of the two standards. There is no other regulated method for testing belt scale accuracy on a conveyor, although there are many ways to confirm accuracy. Purchasing a weigh scale with a stated error band is only the start. It is design, installation, calibration, operation and maintenance of the belt scale that turns this into a precision instrument.
Specification Do not specify a belt scale, specify a conveyor with a weighing system. Understand the reason for weighing and the accuracy necessary for the process using the weight. If there are multiple scales in a process, consider developing a matrix that identifies maximum cumulative errors in accuracy. Is a belt scale the most appropriate and accurate? Why do you want to measure weight? What precision? Which conveyor(s) is it best for scale installation? Most belt scales will offer better than ±3 per cent to ±5 per cent accuracy in a basic installation with some regular attention. If this is sufficient, then a simple single/dual roll belt scale could be the solution. Is accurate weighing to ±0.2 per cent required for legal custody transfer and payment basis or as a check for draft survey? Is a repeatable accuracy of ±1 per cent acceptable? What
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 | 59
RIGHT Conveyor belt scale with spillage causing inaccurate weighing. (Note that idler frames are not micro adjustable.)
developments are available in belt scales? Is the load over the scale constant, variable or random? What are the maximum possible upset forces on the scale? What is more important, flow rate or total flow? Will the belt scale output be used to control any aspect of operation? If so, consider location and time delay. In any situation, the system including the belt scale, the conveyor, the location, and the installation and ancillaries, and provision for calibration and maintenance defines belt scale accuracy. These must all be appropriate if the required weighing accuracy is to be attained. Many belt scale suppliers have installation handbooks that provide guidance to achieve accuracy. These guides are minimum requirements. The best suppliers offer specific guidance for each application.
What matters? Support and service are key. A belt scale supplier should understand your requirements and provide guidance. A robust scale that will withstand the rigours of the operation. Real precision is achieved by custom design and longer multi roll-weigh frames. Conveyors that provide the best possible location for the scale are ideally at ground level, horizontal and with a robust isolated structural support. Transmission of vibration, external loads and the like must be as low as possible. Wind fences may be required. Install the scale according to supplier instructions and all moving parts must be free of restraint. Use best quality weigh-class idlers with micro adjust frames on the scale and in the lead-in and out zones. Weigh frame and idler alignment must be excellent. Install the belt speed generator correctly. Conveyor belt tracking should be good, and the load should be central to the belt. The belt should sit correctly into all weigh idlers from empty to fully loaded. The electrical installation should be excellent, especially the shielding of signal wires and earthing. Locally mounted integrators deserve to be in an ingress protection rating IP66 cabinet.
What changes? Several common changes affect the accuracy of the belt scale. • As the conveyor belt wears out, its weight reduces. Idler rolls also wear and lose weight. Calibration mitigates this. Replace seized idler rolls at the earliest opportunity, as they change the dynamics on the weigher and replace all idlers on a frame at the same time with weigh class idlers. • Any spillage build-up or carry back on the weigh
60 | Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
idlers or frame will change the weight reading. Cleaning will remove build-up, but it is better to prevent this. • Spillage build-up on gravity take-up weights will increase belt tension and change the weight reading. Deliberate change to the take up weight has the same impact. • Any damage to the structure will affect alignment and accuracy. Addition of pipes and cable trays to the structure may have a similar impact. • Changes to the conveyor, such as increasing speed or loads will change the scale dynamics, which will change the accuracy. • With age, conveyor components are replaced often with different components to the original. Belt weight and idler type may not affect the operation of the conveyor, but they will affect belt scale accuracy. • Damaged, corroded or incorrectly installed calibration weights or chains give false calibration. • Wear on the speed sensor wheel causes belt speed to be incorrect. Bouncing of the wheel caused by a wheel or belt irregularity gives incorrect speed. • Damaged belt or splices affects belt scale idlers and affects accuracy. • High pressure hosing may damage the belt scale. • Flooded belt load bends or breaks the scale. • Operator expresses doubts over accuracy of the
scale and installs a second check scale resulting in two different weight readings. Which is correct? No two scales will provide the same weight reading due to the error band, but they should trend in parallel. • Perception that belt scales do not need maintenance. Any moving part will eventually wear, seize or fail. Load cells gradually fail over time, from fatigue and overload, moisture ingress and cable failure.
the size and location of the impact plate and recalibrating the system. 3. A nuclear belt scale was manually calibrated using sacks of ore. This was the incoming conveyor from a mine. In operation, the scale consistently measured 10 per cent lower than the mine supplied through a truck weighbridge. After several checks and recalibrations, the trucking contractor was observed weighing every 10th truck twice, the belt scale was ok. 4. A customer complained that the certified belt scale for custody transfer at a port consistently did not agree with the draft surveys of the ships loaded over the scale. The unrealistic expectation was of an exact match. On evaluation, we found that the difference between scale and survey was a randomised ±50 tonnes on a cargo of 75,000 tonnes. With draft surveys being at best ±2 per cent or ±1500 tonnes there was cause to doubt one or other. The surveyor used the belt scale reading and randomised a fictitious survey. 5. A night shift plant operator used a brick on the belt scale weigh frame to reduce plant feed but maintain feed records. At lower feed rates, the plant was easier to manage. 6. D uring a site visit to an older facility we were advised that the weigh feed system no longer controlled feed correctly. Many possible reasons were given for the problem, but no one had thought to check the belt scales. They were dirty, corroded and had no maintenance for some time after a maintainer had retired. The system worked well after some maintenance and calibration.
BELOW Spiral belt speed generator wheel, more effective than single wheel.
Case histories 1. A belt scale had a random step change in reading under steady operations. It was caused by a combination of water-undercut foundations, loose structural bolts, and a nearby large compressor that randomly started and vibrated the belt scale. The issue was corrected by repairing the damage and using isolation pads on the compressor. 2. An impact scale located in a discharge chute after an air slide could not control the material flow. When the flow set point was increased, the scale increased flow through the upstream feed control. The trajectory changed and some of the material missed the impact plate, meaning the scale did not measure all flow, causing a further increase through the control system until the system choked. This was corrected by changing
Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019 | 61
Leon Fabrikanov In each issue, ABHR profiles a member of the Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling (ASBSH). We speak to Leon Fabrikanov, Principal Engineer at Engenium.
I have been a member of ASBSH since… June 2001.
I am a member of ASBSH because…
around the desired objectives for grid flexibility and stability.
In my role it’s important to...
It is the premier Australian institution for Bulk Solids Handling and provides a forum for the professionals that constitute Australia’s world leading core of expertise in the fields of bulk solids handling. This forum continues to provide value to engineers and project managers who work in this field.
Be open minded and understand the problems prior to finding solutions. It is also very important to get a competent team working on the problems and then harness their full capabilities. A good team with a shared vision of what success looks like sounds simple, but is not as common as one might think.
I got into bulk handling...
The project I am most proud of is...
As part of my second project after graduation, which involved a pneumatic conveying and bulk solids storage system for advanced process plants. The materials involved were highly explosive and flammable; hence my mind was opened to the world of hazardous bulk solids handling, which is where my career took me for many years afterwards.
The design engineering and project management of the Rio Tinto Aluminium (Comalco) ALC project in Bell Bay, Tasmania. The project involved the design and prototyping of several new technologies, including new pneumatic conveying techniques, fluid bed calciner reactors and powder packaging systems. These technologies were then incorporated into a fullscale production facility, which had deadlines for the production of saleable grade products with set delivery dates. I was lucky enough to work with some giants of the bulk solids world during this project and learned a vast amount in the process.
In my current role… I am seconded to a major Australian Energy Producer and working on projects designed to improve the flexibility of power stations and energy grids to form stable systems incorporating increased penetration of renewable energy. These projects help provide a lower power grid carbon footprint while maintaining power grid reliability. Bulk solids handling has a key role to play at coalfired power stations to achieve these required outcomes.
I love my current work because... Engineering innovation is required to change methodologies of coalfired power stations and is coming from integrating high levels of bulk-solids handling expertise, with recent innovations in automation and control systems. This requires teams of people with different expertise to work together
62 І Australian Bulk Handling Review: November/December 2019
I am inspired by ... People like Professor Peter Arnold and Professor Peter Wypych, who have made contributions to the wealth and prosperity of Australia that most Australians would not know about. Professor Peter Arnold (along with Professor Alan Roberts) has been at the forefront of creating a technological legacy that has played a key role in our global competitive advantage in the resources sector.
The most valuable lesson I have learned is … Listening and learning are great virtues to hold and practise.
To Australia’s only publication 100%-focused on bulk solids handling. It covers conveyors, silos, engineering, dust control, powder handling, weighing, pneumatics and much more, in industries such as mining and metals, ports and terminals, grain, fertiliser, sugar, salt, foods, milling, resins, cement and woodchips.
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