Conveyor belts are critical infrastructure for mining operations.
Even minor tracking problems or decreased efficiency can impact the bottom line. Especially for large mine sites, small inefficiencies can accumulate into major revenue losses. That’s why operations managers carefully monitor conveyor performance. As site managers know, addressing these challenges swiftly keeps operations humming.
All conveyor systems can encounter tracking issues that disrupt operations and lead to safety hazards and expensive repairs.
In this article, we will delve into the specific tracking problems prevalent in the mining industry and provide conveyor belt tracking troubleshooting advice. Additionally, we’ll explore the advantages of using a conveyor tracking system to streamline operations and enhance efficiency.
Common conveyor belt tracking problems
Conveyor belt tracking is critical for efficient and safe operations in mining sites. Some common conveyor tracking problems that can occur include:
Misalignment and belt drift
Belt misalignment and drift occurs when a conveyor belt consistently moves to one side, gradually deviating from its intended path. This issue can be caused by various factors, including uneven loading, worn idlers, and inadequate belt tracking systems.
These issues often start small and gradually worsen, while exacerbating and creating other problems on this list.
Belt tension is a critical factor in belt tracking and is the cause for several other conveyor belt tracking problems. Improper tension can cause the belt to veer off course or wear prematurely, leading to costly repairs and downtime. High tension can lead to excessive stress on components, while low tension can result in slackness and frequent belt misalignment.
Material spillage is a persistent issue in the mining industry, causing not only operational disruptions but also environmental concerns. When a conveyor belt fails to track properly, it can result in uneven loading, leading to material spillage. This problem can arise due to various factors, including uneven belt tension, misalignment, and worn-out rollers.
If you notice any material spillage, you should promptly conduct conveyor belt tracking troubleshooting to identify the likely cause.
Given conveyor idlers are required to support the belt, take the weight of the load, and sometimes provide the shape, a minor fault may cause a major issue. In some cases, misalignment of an idler may go unnoticed, causing other idlers to become misaligned and increasing the motor load.
Belt edge damage
Over time, the edges of conveyor belts can become damaged due to contact with structural components, misalignment, or excessive friction. This damage can lead to belt tracking problems and reduced belt lifespan. Addressing these tracking problems proactively is important for avoiding disruptions, safety hazards, and costs associated with premature belt wear and replacement. Being aware of these common issues can help mining site staff prevent and troubleshoot conveyor problems.
Step-by-step conveyor belt tracking troubleshooting
1. Visual inspection and observation.
Regularly inspect conveyor components such as rollers, idlers, and pulleys. Look for misalignment, belt drift, signs of spillage, and test the belt’s tension. Ensure the belt runs smoothly and remains centred within the conveyor frame while checking the conveyor frame is square and level.
Note any anomalies or areas of concern and schedule maintenance as soon as possible to prevent the problem from worsening.
2. Regular maintenance
Completing regular maintenance tasks will assist in maximising the efficiency and longevity of the conveyor.
Realign and fix tension issues with the conveyor belt and monitor belt tension regularly using tension meters to ensure it falls within the recommended range.
Also, frequently clean and service all components, including using a washdown system to clear material buildup and blockages.
3. Replace worn-out equipment
If you’ve noticed damaged components, make sure to repair or replace them as soon as possible to avoid further damage and delays. Worn-out or damaged idlers and rollers in particular, should be replaced promptly.
You may also find value in installing new equipment like belt edge guards or v-guides to protect the belt edges from contact. It’s also worth installing belt scrapers and skirting systems to contain spillage.
4. Advanced tracking systems and alignment tools
Undeniably the best way to resolve conveyor belt tracking troubleshooting is to invest in an automatic conveyor tracking system. These systems continuously monitor and adjust the belt position, ensuring precise tracking without the need for constant manual intervention.
These systems significantly reduce operational risks and ensure productivity remains uninterrupted even during routine adjustments to the belt’s tracking.
Conveyor belt tracking troubleshooting with Innovative Mining
Solve conveyor belt tracking problems with Innovative Mining’s state-of-the-art Track Straight Automatic Conveyor Tracking System or the innovative Track Straight Mechanical Conveyor Tracking System. Both systems are high-grade, specialised solutions to ensure the well-being of your operators and the efficiency of your conveyor.
The Automatic System detects belt misalignment and adjusts accordingly to rectify the issue, while the Mechanical System allows easy online alignments.
Either of these industry-leading systems will optimise your conveyor set-up to guarantee its best possible performance. Check out our conveyor products and solutions, specifically tailored for Australian mine site conditions.
Conveyor Belt Tracking Solutions Australia
Efficient conveyor belt tracking is crucial for the smooth operation of mining conveyor systems. Material spillage, belt tension issues, and misalignment can all disrupt operations and lead to costly downtime. However, by implementing regular maintenance and installing advanced solutions like automatic conveyor tracking systems, mining companies can troubleshoot these tracking issues effectively.